When you’re a foreigner in China, the most common phrase you might hear is: “Can you teach me English?” Your foreign face is like a walking advertisement that new friends or friends of friends can’t help but answer — because they live in a world where English could determine their future, or change their destiny.
Chinese must study English to pass the college entrance exam. In college, Chinese must pass the band-four English exam to get a four-year diploma. With good English, a Chinese could study abroad — leading to a new life in a new country, or a prestigious job upon returning to China — or build their career in a multinational company. To the Chinese — especially Chinese parents — learning English can change lives and fortunes.
And sometimes, you, as a foreigner, have the fortune — good or bad — to meet someone who wants you…to teach English.
My next-door neighbor, Zhang, asked me to teach her English the first day we met — and she discovered she had a foreigner living across the hall. Continue reading “Chapter 29: An Indecent English Teaching Proposal”