Welcome to my latest series: China Culture Shock!
Part of the reason I was interested in moving to China in the first place was to explore a culture completely different from my own. I wanted to experience “culture shock” and challenge myself. I’ve been living in China for almost two years now, and I’m still constantly experiencing things that shock me, or just don’t make sense. Here is a collection of my crazy stories and cultural insights as I explore this mystifying nation.
In America, almost all primary teachers are female. It’s not until you reach middle school or high school that a significant portion of teachers are male. It’s sexist (towards women and men who want to teach young children), but it’s common practice in the USA. I think it has something to do with the idea that women are more “motherly” to younger children.
Last year I taught English in a Chinese high school. I actually really enjoyed teaching older children, and the rapport I had with a lot of my students. This year there’s a new girl that’s teaching at the school (hi Daphne!). Since we live in the same city, sometimes we meet up and swap crazy teaching stories.
A few weeks ago Daphne and I were talking, and she told me the school mentioned they would never hire a foreign male teacher. When she asked why, they told her the girls would go crazy and wouldn’t be able to pay attention in class.
Really? I went to an all-girls school so trust me, I know how “crazy” a group of girls can be towards a cute male teacher. But is that really reason not to hire a male teacher? Usually it’s the other way around. Female teachers in America need to worry about covering up and not being too “sexy” for their impressionable male students.
Last year my male (and female) students called me sexy all the time, which I reminded them was completely inappropriate, but it still didn’t stop them. The boys definitely weren’t little angels. One of them even said “sexyyy” as I walked in the room mimicking large boobs. But for some reason that’s okay?
Why is it that my old high school administration thinks that boys can control themselves but girls can’t? Boys can focus with a young, foreign female teacher, but the girls are somehow unable to do so? I really want to take one of my guy friends to the school just to see what happens. Will they swarm him like Justin Beiber fans?
What do you think? Is it fair to discriminate against male teachers in this way?