Monday, December 14, 2009

"Good"

The school has seven new Eastern teachers. They've been watching classes for the past two weeks. After this week's Conversational English, the observing teacher said something like "This was a good class. I learned a lot. You're a good teacher," which made me feel great, of course. However, I've been told repeatedly, by non-Chinese, that you can't trust a compliment here, that a compliment is in actuality a way of calling attention to a problem. The experienced staff has dealt with Westerners long enough, though, that even if the compliment–cum–vague-critical-piece-of-advice stuff is true, they should feel free to be straightforward. But do they? When is a compliment just a compliment?

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