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Lesson 27

                          Is It an Ideal Career?

                                       Text A

    I am not an extreme feminist. I am not an extreme anything. However, I am a firm believer in equality and freedom. I think we are all entitled to the same rights and opportunities.
    perhaps my views on feminism are influenced by the fact that I was an only child and perhaps if I had had a brother,he (and I) might have been treated differently.


    My mother was the perfect example of all an ardent feminist would hate: she waited hand and foot on my father and did it all without complaint. When my father arrived home from work his soup was served. Every night his clothes for the next day were left out with the underwear thoughtfully placed on top so that he didn't even have to think what to put on first. 

His shoes were always polished for him, his right to be first in the bathroom was never challenged, and if he ever found himself in the kitchen, it was by mistake. My mother was honestly content with this situstion and regarded my father as a perfect husband: he was a caring, generous man-a good provider. What more could any woman ask?


    I remember being brought up, not as a male or femaie,but simply as an individual, and although I suppose I must have been influenced by my parents, I do not remember ever being eneouraged to make marriage my major ambition.
    I was fortunate enough to marry a man who did not expect to chain me to the kitchen sink. He was quite capable of polishing his own shoes , and mine too while he was at it. He was also able to wash dishes , dust , or do anything else around the house. We managed beautifully, with no strict male/female division of labour.


    Our first baby arrived, much to our delight, six months ago. I was more than pleased to give up my job as I had become sick of it. I looked forward to my baby, and now he is here I actually enjoy him very much. I have no intention of returning to Work, as I think our son ought to have a parent to care for him for a few years at least. Indeed, I could be very happy with the situation, were I not experiencing quite unexpected problems adapting to my new role.


    When I attended the ante-natal clinicfi, I remember the doctor asking me what I 'was' , meaning my occupation, rather than my blood group or star sign. Yet when I went to the baby clinic for the first time, all they wanted to know was what my husband 'was'. I am still wonderirig what difference that makes to anything, and I was hurt that nobody wanted to know about me any more. Quite suddenly I was just someone's wife and someone's mother. I no longer seemed to have an identity of my


    Where, previously, my husband was quite happy to help around the house, his attitude now seems to be that if I'm at home all day, I can do all the housework. And what bugs me most is that I find myself going along with it. If the baby cries during the night, then there is no question about who gets up. Have I taken leave of my senses? My sense of self-esteern seems to be clogged with baby powder and baby cream!      


    But the aspect of motherhood I've found hardest to take has been the loss of earning power, and what I see as a loss of financial independence. For seven years I enjoyed helping to bring home the bacon; and money never caused a row. It does now.


    Although the decision to have our baby and for me to stay at home was a joint one, I feel totally dependent on my husband, who is becoming more and more irritated by my stupidity. The indignity of being financially dependent on my husband is something I feel very, sensitive about. Logically, having a baby ought to have extended me as a person: I should be the person I was plus the person I am, as a result of my new experience.


    It hasn't worked out like that. Motherhood seems to have wiped out ten years of varied and interesting work experience and taken me back, not forwards-a whole generation back. But the hig difference between my mother and me is that she was happy and I am not. I know a conflict that she couldn't have imagined.

 
                                       Text B

    Having a specia! day in honour of teachers is a fine thing. But one day a year is not enough!
    Where would the world be withocrt teachers? What hope would there be for human progress? Teachers deserve the respect of the whole of society the whole year round. But they haven't got it. What is most remarkable and regrettable is that in this great land of China, with its ancient civilization and traditional respect for learning, teachers are so looked d'own upon that it is necessary to set aside a day to show respect for them.


    Why is this? I believe that teachers' low social status is inseparable
from their I'ow pay, and poor living and: working conditions-though
these are gradually being improved. But still the state allocation of funds for education is, per capila, amongthe lowest in the world. So teachers are, in gengeral,under-paid and overworded-especially those in pre-school, primary and secondary education. 

This despite the faat that Comrade Deng Xiaoping immediately onv resuming office pointedout: education is a continuous process and the pay and'conditions of teachers from the most elementary level must be improved. This statement was most encouraging', but progress since it was made, some years ago,. has been painfully slow.
    So today, who wants to become a teacher? Who wants to marry a teacher? When far better prospects are offered in other professions?

 True,"man does not live by bread alone " -but he can't live without it. Of course many fine dedicated people are still willing, even eager to become and remain teachers. Many, but not enough. That's one reason why there are middle sehool classes of 70 and more pupils , an intolerabl'e situation. The lower the number of students in a class , the higher the quality of education can be.


    Of course I am not speaking personally. Looking back on, 35 years as a teacher in China I feel grateful. As a teacher here I have had a happy and rewarding life. Being surrounded by young people has helped to keep me young. But my pay and conditions are well above those of my Chinese colleagues.A big and rapid improvement in their social status, together with a similar improvement in their pay, working cond'i~ions and bousing, will attract more and more fine people to the teaching profession. Th is a vital and urgent necessity for China's socialist modernization.

                           Additional Information

    For many of you this will be your last year at shcool and now is the time for you to begin thinking seriously about your future careers. In order to give you as much help as possible, I have drawn up a list of questions that you ought to ask yourself.


"Have I given thought to what I would like to be doing 15 to 20 yeas from now?" Bear in mind that the career you choose will affect the future course of your life. It will partially determine your range of friends, your choice of husband or wife, where you live, your recreational activities. and other important aspects of your life.


    "Have I a clear knowledge of my abilities and aptitudes, as well as my interests and aims?" & honest about your weak points as well as your strong ones. Take a really good look at yourself and give real thought to the kind of person you are, what you are good at, and what kind of person you want to be.


    "Do I know the kind of occupations in which people like myself tend to find success and satisfaction?" Once you have examined and found out about yourself , your next question is what you can really do with yourself. You can gain some idea of what other people, with similar abilities and interests. consider to be important and challenging in the careers that they chose , by talking to people already in the careers that interest you. Watch these people at work.


    "Have I weighed carefully the immediate advantages against the longterm
prospects offered by the jobs I am considering?" Will the occupation you select give you satisfaction, not just when you start, but in the years to come? Realize now the importance of education in all fields, technical and professional. Remember that when promotion occurs, preference is usually given to educated persons-other things being equal.


    "Have I talked about my job references with my careers master, my parents, my teachers and my headmaster?" Remember they have a tremendous furid of experience from which you should benefit. They can help you think about the job in which you will find satisfaction and challenge. They can stimulate you to give careful thought to what you really want to do, and offer useful suggestions as to how you might take full advantage of your personal qualities and qualification.


    "Have I made a real study of jobs in Hong Kong?" It takes a very long time to find the work that suits you the best. Reading about and studying a number of occupations is something you should do over and over again. In Hong Kong very little written material is provided about the careers available. But there is some. You or your parents should obtairi it as soon as possible. Your careers master will be able to help you in this, if your school has one.


    "How do I regard my job? Is it just a means of getting money to do the things that I want to do? Is the work important to me and my future happiness and contentment? Is it a combination of both these things?" The above questions and their answers should give you some better ideas about how you should start planning your career. Your life-long job cannot be approached in any kind of haphazard fashion. It must be considered carefull, examined from every angle, talked over with those who know you and those who can help you in any way.