Monday, 2 March 2009

The Wonders of Working at Web

The halls of Web, where genius is cultivated

The marketing department at Web had devised a set of 3 demonstration classes centred around applying for a new job. I should mention what the demo class really is: a sales pitch to lure in new students. The first of these classes, "How to write a CV", was handed to Johann and I. We had covered this topic a few months ago in one of the extra curricular activities Web occasionally holds (I mentioned it here), so this would be no problem for us. We still had to do some preparation, and spent a good couple of hours finalizing the power point presentation and running through what we would say. All of this was to absolutely no avail. We were expecting 30 students or so we had been told -- 3 showed up. This sums up how Web usually operates:
  1. Somebody (probably the boss) has an idea that he thinks will make money for the school.
  2. The idea is not run passed anybody first.
  3. The people who have to actually work to make the idea a reality are told at the very last minute.
  4. If multiple departments have to work together there will be no communication whatsoever.
  5. Because there was nobody to manage the situation the event is an utter shambles.
I read a fantastic quote on another blog a couple of years ago that defines what it can be like working in the Chinese education system:
"In China information is on a need to know basis, and you don't need to know"
I wish I could remember the website I read this on to credit the statement. It has rung true on uncountable occasions.

Web has also introduced another brilliant idea with LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). It involves the foreign teachers talking to a select set of students about how to live a healthy alternative lifestyle. Once again, we were all clueless, we didn't even know anything about the concept. The first of these LOHAS classes came from Kristian who had to introduce the topic and talk about tea drinking. The idea could have been worse I thought. That was until they revealed the venue where the class would be taking place: Pizza Hut. Yes, Pizza Hut. Of all the places to discuss healthy lifestyles. Again, bewilderment is the word.

I had my LOHAS class on Saturday, my topic: clay sculpting. Where it fits into the definition of the term is beyond me, but at least it wasn't in Pizza Hut this time. A group of six students, a couple of marketing personnel, and me would be going to a clay shop and apparently have a go at sculpting something (I wasn't told any details, I just wait for the surprises). The shop in question wasn't exactly close to the school, it would take a taxi ride for sure. Of course money is no object at Web, but they insisted that walking there would be part of a healthy lifestyle, so a twenty minute walk in the rain was scheduled for us. When we arrived we were shown around the tiny shop and introduced to many small figures and crockery. All explanations were in Chinese which again made me question the relevance of doing any of this, as the activity should primarily be an English learning exercise more than anything else. We were then taken into the back of the shop, handed a few slabs of clay, and began copying one of the already finished sculptures. I worked with Cucu who is one of the marketing brains behind the idea. We sculpted this:

It was surprisingly enjoyable moulding this lady out of a slab of clay, I was proud of the result even though she seems to have minor back problems


mabelp said...

Wow! U made that Clay lady? It seems not too bad! I think the management of WEB is a mess like my school. They always inform me to do something at very last min. If there's a mistake, who would responsible for it?

You said: "They insisted that walking there would be part of a healthy lifestyle, so a twenty minute walk in the rain was scheduled for us." When I hear it, I supposed they must be the very smart people. Ha!

flyingfish said...

That "You don't need to know" comment is so hilarious I'm still laughing.

But I must say, that's a seriously nice little sculpture. Good for you!

Johnny Ding said...

Web is lack of managering force. I think they should have had a better group. But unfortunately, they are loosing it.

By the way, the lady in your picture is cool. Not bad

Chris said...

Mabel, yes, one of the other staff members and I managed to put together that lady. We were quite proud of it. I must admit that we did have some help with the face, the shop owner moulded the nose for us, but I promise that was it!

Thank you flyingfish. I too also love that quote, I wish I could take credit for it. I will have to search around and see if I can find who wrote it.

Johnny, I agree Web is lacking in the managerial department, I hope they change things soon, but I know they won't. We just have to put up with it I guess.