Three Missed China ESL Opportunities
by Clair Lasater
The Guangzhou Institute of Rising Piano Stars was offering 8,000 Chinese Yuan, a room, and a toaster. I was in the mood for a fun C. V. entry -- and I had just ended my first-year-in-China contract. My chances were good, I felt. I had a full year of experience, and a master’s degree. (The job was teaching English, of course, not piano.)
I enquired about the room situation. The headmaster replied that, “Yes, it is a room, not an apartment.” (Not a verbatim quote.) Therefore, despite the fact I would be passing up the toaster, (yummy yummy), I decided not to chase the opening.
A few years later, in Hong Kong, during another break in semesters, I received an e-mail invitation from a public university. This school locates in the capital of the province and is named after the province.
“We need you here by the 27th,” the missive read. “We’ll pick you up at the airport, and drive you to your apartment.” “Okay,” I thought as I sat there in a crowded internet bar, “You got it!” Then, for whatever odd reason -- I was practically shaking from hearing this good news -- I remembered my e-mail account on another major site.
Halfway through my acceptance letter to this great university, I placed my “Yes” answer into “Drafts” and
checked my e-mail at the other site.
Here was another offer -- from a private college. Nice campus, close to Hong Kong and Canton, and promising me 4,000 more a month than the celebrated state university. I was at this school that evening about six p. m., and ensconced in my nice private apartment.
I still miss the chance to work at the big one, yet in all honesty, I can say that my stay at the private college has been the best experience I’ve had in China.
Quite lucky, also, I feel was my decision not to back out of my original acceptance to an offer from a chain school in Beijing. This was my first job in the P. R. China. The next day or so, after I replied I would work for the chain, a university e-mailed me a bid. For ethical reasons, I held to my word.
This vexing resolution turned sweet, however, as I found myself lecturing at a famous public college. I still cite the school on my five-page resume.
Clair Lasater has taught English at the Beijing Youth Political College; and as professor, at Zhangjiajie College of Jishou University, Ling Ling University -- (now the Hunan University of Science and Engineering), Shunde Polytechnic College, Maoming University, and Hainan University. He lectures, currently, at Shandong Jiaotong University.