Clash of Cultures: Top Reasons for Despising your Co-teacher

All good things. All good things.


No hateful diatribes here. Chinese co-teachers, don’t forget, have also joined us in that holiest of holy fraternities: educators. Education is the silver bullet. It’s the Everything. Teachers should make six-figure salaries. Schools should be palaces. They should be enormously expensive for government and absolutely free for its citizens…

…and then reality dumps a giant turd on our heads.

And the co-teachers feel it too, trust us.

So, no. Although the title may be ostensibly setting us up for a profanity-laced, Sino-phobic tirade, we’re simply offering a frank appraisal of those lovely co-teachers of ours. All under the spirit of bilateral cooperation of course. And don’t forget that they, like us, run through the gauntlet with scars, bruised genitals, and a dozen new vices as coping mechanisms. Unlike us, they usually come out the other end of it still smiling and with a functioning liver. God bless them for it.

Now, with all that said….yeah, they still piss us off at times. Here’s why:


Reason #1


Wait…you want me to use your ACTUAL name?


The Backfired Bullet of Cuteness:

Which, more often than not, seems shot out of a .22 caliber mind. Beware these standard Aren’t I just the cutest? tactics for building camaraderie with foreign teachers:

1) phonetically mutilating our names. NO! It’s Chris. NOT Ke-li-su with a giggle. I hear you speak English words fine. You speak English words fine. JUST SAY MY NAME NORMALLY;

2) showing pictures of their cats. Sorry, we don’t care about your cats, even if your cat is doing a meme-worthy pose with its paw on its balls;

3) assigning us nicknames (often at the impetus of the students) that would make even George Lucas’ ears bleed.

How to respond harmoniously:

If you don’t care for the names, simply saying so should put an end to it. Otherwise, try not to let blood show as you’re biting your tongue behind that smile.


Reason #2


This isn’t my teaching hour…why is it talking to me?


The Differentiated Responsibilities Dilemma:

Which, in short, means you’ve got a co-teacher who thinks it’s her to job to check-out during your lesson. You and the co-teacher may have common responsibilities, but don’t presume to think hers extends into your lesson plan; it’s YOUR hour, after all, not hers.

You’ll barely be able to sense her presence. Was that a tremor in the force? Nope. That was flatulence in the middle of her nap. And that ‘susurrus’ you keep hearing ain’t the wind either – it’s her moans of angst for whenever you have the gall to include her in the game you’re trying to play. If you’re real lucky, you’ll also get the Eli Manning face that in unspoken words says Go. Away.

How to respond harmoniously:

Try to talk to the co-teacher and butter her up a bit by demonstrating how you need her. Failing that, give her a blast of an air horn next time you catch her napping and say it was just part of the game.


Reason #3

I…really need you. To NOT. DO. That. Again.


The Commandeered Lesson Fumble:

Which, of course, has to happen on the 5-yard line after an awesome play that had you and your kids in a clamor. There you are, perfectly executing the perfectly-planned lesson plan.


Then the time comes for you to involve the co-teacher and – HOLY HIJACKED LESSON BATMAN, suddenly she is calling audibles and you’re standing in the corner looking futilely for the whistle. Co-teachers commandeering lessons will happen, and when it does, give yourself a timeout before you go postal on her. Because it will PISS YOU OFF.

How to respond harmoniously:

Nip this one in the bud. Fast. But exercise caution: odds are you’ll ultimaely get a shoulder shrug and an indifferent ‘cultural differences’ line (see below) that’ll have you shaking like Jimmy Dugan.


Reason #4


Surely there are reasons for engaging in cultural diplomacy


The Cultural Differences Crutch:

Which ought to be hacked to splinters and used to impale people. On a daily basis, essentially every spat, civilized argument, or difference in opinion with the co-teacher will have no closure. ‘Cultural differences’ is China’s aspirin.

It just works for everything. It may even bring hookers back to life. Remember that time you got angry at the co-teacher for not disciplining the kid who kicked you in the balls? Oh, you just don’t understand. That pain between your legs was just cultural differences.

How to respond harmoniously:

Take actual aspirin. If that doesn’twork, graduate to codeine mixed with two cups of coffee and find a leather belt to chew on.


Reason #5


HOLD ON…are you real right now?


The F%#& OFF Colonoscopy:

Which may be gentle (you won’t be subjected to profanity) when the CT blows you off, but no less uncomfortable and, like a real colonoscopy, derived from a ton of, uhm…fecal matter. The cause for it? You tried admonishing the co-teacher or giving her instructions, you son of a bitch!

Beware: routine tasks and simple favors qualify as foreign encroachment. To which there’s a scripted response that’s likely to drive you mad: nonsensical excuses (I have too much wind in my belly, I have to see a doctor) mixed with the indirect insult (Why are your ears so big?), followed by the petulant whine (Aiyaaa, but I’m so busyyyy).

How to respond harmoniously:

Spontaneously interrupt her rant with your best Burgess Meredith impression, bouncy jowls and all. This guy doesn’t just want to win you know…he wants to BURY YA! No, seriously.

To those Chinese co-teachers in the audience, before you burn us in effigy, just know that we still love you. And remember…



– Mike’s Guide to China