This article discusses a case study that explored the impacts of a market economy on some Northwestern Chinese teachers’ working and living conditions as well as opportunities and challenges the new economy presented from teachers’ perspectives. Analysis of surveys, interviews, and documents revealed that the participants believed they had benefited from the market economy, citing pay raises as well as improved working and living conditions. Participants thought opportunities under the market economy included additional earnings as well as improved national and international professional development. However, the participants found the shift from the traditional teacher-centered pedagogy to a more student-centered approach and working with more resourceful students and their parents required constant professional development and overtime work which was challenging and stressful. Findings indicate that the Hanyu (national language also referred to as Putonghua) medium of instruction for minority students, another pedagogical change under the market economy, presented additional challenges to minority teachers who were concerned that the Hanyu medium of instruction may have been an impediment to minority students’ educational achievement and presented serious issues that deserved urgent attention.

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Table 1: Participant Demographic Information