Levelling the Field

Name: Jon Hales

Nationality: British

Vision: To level the field. As a British-English Caucasian with a degree in English Literature, Jon had no problem finding a teaching job in Taiwan. Many Caucasian teachers in Taiwan find employment easily based solely on their skin color, and thus are oblivious to the prevalent discrimination against non-Caucasians.  Jon is an exception.  Quite simply, he cares. He is a passionate, enthusiastic teacher who believes that equality, diversity and multiculturalism should be at the core of every education, in all societies. What an encouragement, to read how strongly Jon feels about an issue that doesn’t directly affect him. Let’s take a leaf out of his book.

 

名字:Jon Hales

國籍:英國

憧憬:保證所有人都有一樣的機會。由於Jon是一位拿到英文文學學士的英籍白人,因此來到台灣之後就找得到教學的工作。在台灣,很多白人老師因為他們皮膚的顏色容易就找到工作,以此他們對普遍的種族歧視還是盲目的。Jon是一個例外。簡單地說,他在乎。他是一位熱心的老師,相信不管在哪一個社會裡,平等與文化的多元性都要位於在教育的核心。雖然歧視的問題不會直接影響到他,但他還是有強烈的意見。真感人!應該將他當作我們的榜樣。

 

當從英國來的年輕(說實在的,“比較”年輕)白人的老師,住臺灣並不難。在臺灣我一共在三所學校教過英文。我有英文學士學位和之前學完一門週末TEFL課程,可是我沒有真正的教育證明書,雖然我沒有教育資格,可是這三份工作我沒有問題或挫折找到。我個人從來沒有受到任何的工作場所歧視。

As a young (well, fairly young!), white, male teacher from England I have it pretty easy in Taiwan. I have taught at three different schools and I didn’t have a problem finding those jobs despite having no teaching qualifications (aside from an English degree and a weekend TEFL course). Personally, I have never experienced anything close to discrimination.

不過,我跟大多數這篇文章的讀者也看過他們的朋友,家人或同事在臺灣受到歧視。我的未婚妻是在臺灣出生和在美國長大的華裔,她很多次受到種族歧視。

However, I, like most people reading this, have been exposed to the inherent discrimination here, especially since my fiancée (born in Taiwan, raised in the US) has experienced it on numerous occasions.

我剛到臺灣的時候,我跟一位幫外籍老師找英文教師工作的經紀人見面,我記得她說的話讓我非常驚訝。雖然我沒有那麼多關於教英文的資格,可是我很積極地告訴她我擁有的證件。因為她覺得我的外貌很好,於是她認為我會很順利地找到工作。那時候我以為她在說笑話,可是以後我發現她說的話是真的。我在我目前工作的學校開始教書的時候,他們開玩笑說因為家長會喜歡我的外貌,所以我的教書能力並不重要。說真的,這所學校非常重視教學品質,而且他們說的笑話都不是真話,都是笑話。不過,如果我們從他們的笑話來看,我們可以發覺一個很深入的實事。

I remember being surprised when I first arrived in Taiwan and met with a recruitment agent. Eager to play up what credentials I had, I was reassured that because she was happy with the way I looked, I would have no problem finding work. I thought she was joking but it turned out to be true. Then, when I first started working at my current school, they joked that my teaching ability didn’t matter because the parents would be happy with the way I looked. Actually, this school does take it’s teaching very seriously and of course it was meant as a joke, but behind those jokes and flippant remarks lies a deeper truth.

很多學校對白人老師比較寬容,而且學校可以接受白人老師的很誇張行為。我親眼看過一些白人老師有不可思議的惰性或懶惰的行為,無能,威脅或用暴力手段對學校員工,不願意遵守規則或老闆命令,挑釁,常常遲到,有酒癮,而且很多人告訴我他們也遇到這種的白人老師。反過來說,很多ABC(在美國出生的華裔)和CBC(在臺灣出生,常在國外長大)常被學校讓他們等到工作和約快結束才續約,學校給他們很多壓力達成很難達成的目標,收到比較低的薪水和學校直接說因為他們是華人,所以不願意雇用他們。很多臺灣的英文教育學校會因為老師的種族,膚色或樣貌,所以決定不雇用很好的老師,而且學校應該只以老師的能力來決定要不要雇用他,可是很多學校用不公平的雇用方法。能力的意思對我並不是資格,其實是積極和熱情的態度,教學能力,老師要一直改善自己的教學能力等等。因為上述不公平的雇用方法存在,很多臺灣學生沒有受到他們應該受到的好教育,再加上父母的辛苦地賺的錢常付不夠好老師的薪水。

It sometimes feels like as a white teacher, you are given carte blanche to get away with murder. I have personally witnessed several occasions when teachers displayed unbelievable laziness, ineptitude, aggression towards the school, defiance, tardiness and even alcoholism, and I’ve heard plenty more stories to support the trend. On the flip side, excellent ABC and CBC teachers can be made to wait until the last minute for the school to renew a contract, put under more pressure by the school to get results, offered lower pay or just refused point blank.

The fact is that while discrimination based on ethnicity, skin colour or appearance persists, and teachers are not selected (as they should be) solely on ability – by which I don’t mean qualifications, but passion, commitment and skill – a lot of Taiwanese kids aren’t getting the education they deserve or that their parents work very hard to give them.

臺灣父母需要發覺如果學校就根據老師的能力雇用教師,這會改善臺灣教育品質,而且會讓臺灣教育變成比較會接受各色各樣的人和文化的教育制度。

Taiwanese parents need to realise that by levelling the playing field so that ability becomes the sole criteria for hiring, they will pave the way for a better and more tolerant education system in Taiwan.

我不算是合格的教師,可是我覺得我的責任還是為了學生和家長拼命地教書。因為老師常在學生的旁邊,因此老師的行為會影響孩子的成長和發展,於是老師的責任是非常重要的。

Despite not being a qualified teacher, while I am here and teaching I feel I have a duty to my kids and their parents to give it everything I have. After all, a teacher – especially one who is with their class on a daily basis – plays an important role in the development of those kids and it is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

我要跟你分享一個故事我的未婚妻幾天以前告訴我。她在教她的7歲男性學生的時候,學生突然開始笑和向教材點書裡面的黑人男孩。我的未婚妻問他為什麼他覺得圖片很好笑,他回答不知道,可是他說自己從來沒有看過黑人。因為他沒有黑人的老師或朋友,等人,他不知道黑人是什麼。

I want to share a story with you that my fiancée told me a couple of days ago. She was in the middle of a personal tutor session with one of her students, a 7 year old boy. Suddenly, he started laughing and pointing at a picture he had seen in the textbook. It was a boy with black skin. When she asked why the picture was funny he didn’t really know except that it was something he had not really seen before. He had no frame of reference – a teacher, a friend – for that boy in the textbook.

很多臺灣人覺得西方社會是應該仿真的模範。 雖然西方社會有很多缺陷或問題,不過西方社會的核心是接受不同的人,多元文化主義,多元性與平等機會。教育場所是最適合的地方教臺灣人西方的價值觀。

Despite its’ many imperfections, Western society is often held up as a model for Taiwan to emulate. Well, at the core of Western society is tolerance, multiculturalism, diversity and equal opportunity. What better values for Taiwan to espouse and what better place to begin to install these values than a school.

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