Andy Dutton is a teacher at The Luxury Gardens International school in China. The school director Mr. Li has decided that the school must have an International Diploma certification. To help achieve this, he has hired new teachers who are better trained and have professional qualifications, unlike Andy and some of his current colleagues. One new teacher, Glenn is from Stanford University and his blonde hair and blue eyes make him a hit with the students and staff. But he appears naive and intent on speaking his mind even when it’s best to remain quiet. Andy and some other teachers are waiting to see if their contracts will be renewed or if the new arrivals will push them out. But of course, things don’t always go to plan.
Foreign Teachers is a fun novel full of engaging characters who often find themselves in interesting and entertaining circumstances. I thought Andy was a good choice as the narrator. At one point, when he wandered off to the Philippines and Thailand looking for beer and women in what seemed an endless dead-end quest, I wanted to grab him by the collar and tell him to buck up. That’s when I realized that even though I didn’t necessarily like where his fictional life was going, the author did a fantastic job of making me care about this man’s story. And Glenn, what can I say. I laughed when he received his spam and cheese sandwich. But, without giving anything away, I would say that I loved his story and how it all played out in the end.
Perhaps the best part of the novel is the overall message which is summed up at the end. There may be two sides to a story, but it doesn’t mean one, or either side, for that matter, is correct. Overall, I thought this was a good look at cultural expectations and differences, and difficulties in communication. I think anyone who has worked or studied in an international environment will recognize some of these personalities. I did think that a few characters like Jill and the former prison guard could have been a little more developed. But Andy, Danny, Glen, Ivy, Mr. Li, and Mr. Wu were wonderfully done, making this a thoroughly engaging story. I only wish the book had included a little background about the author and any previous publications.
|Page Count||112 pages|
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