Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rumours of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated. . But. . .

See, I'm just not sure if I'm going to continue this blog, or continue updating the www.englishteacherx.com website.

The reasons are many. I started the website in late 2002 because it seemed to me there was a dearth of information about the generally drunk, boring, lonely, yet chaotic life of English teachers abroad on the Internet, and that most sites painted a falsely rosy picture of English teaching; but now, every moron in the world keeps a blog about their English teaching experiences. Myspace, Blogspot, Livejournal -- hundreds of thousands of pages of pointless ramblings. (No offense to any of my fine readers who may keep a blog.) Some of them are pretty funny, some are absolutely tedious, but there are so many you couldn't possibly have enough time to wade through them all to find the best stuff, and they are all united in being generally pointless.

I am no longer able, in good conscience, to add to the pointless ramblings. I don't feel like I have anything particularly important to add to what I have already written about, though I have plenty more "funny" stories -- but you get the idea, I think. I made my main points long ago.

Another reason I started the site was to, if not discourage people from going abroad to teach English, then at least to dispel the idea that it was anything remotely like a life-changing, noble, cultural experience.

But then, as I explained in a previous entry, not only did I inspire somebody to become a teacher, but he actually tracked me to Vodkaberg -- which I will now admit is the city of Samara, Russia. (Since it's already now so packed with foreigners that a few more could not possibly make a difference.)

Discussing it with him, I find that I am guilty of the very thing I wanted to avoid -- painting English teaching as a wacky, interesting, endlessly fun adventure. It boggles my mind that anybody could read one of my stories like WORST-CASE SCENARIO or THREE REASONS NOT TO TEACH ENGLISH and be inspired to get into teaching, but amazingly . .

See, I understand it though. Take a boring or unpleasant incident, and write a funny story about it, and people will think the incident was funny.

Not the case -- it's only the story that's funny. Write as many funny stories as you want about English teaching though, and it's still a generally stressful and low-paying job with bad hours.

(edit -- that evening)

The other thing is that I've begun to feel blogging -- like Myspace -- is just another example of the "Reality Show Effect" on all of us -- we're not content to just live our lives anymore, we all want to be in the public eye. What are blogs other than written versions of Big Brother or Real World? Why would I put a picture of Brintey Spear's crotch on my blog, or random pictures of the breasts of girls in nightclubs, if I wasn't falling victim to this desperation?

Having actually met somebody whose life I affected, now, makes me reconsider whether I want to be in that "public eye." Of all the heroes, or all the people in the world whose lives you could follow, why me? Why not Gandhi, or Albert Schweitzer? Because I'm there, and of course, because it's not too high a target to aim for.

I'm not exactly sure I'm going to stop absolutely -- I might decide I miss writing and go back to it, who knows. I'll take a couple of weeks to think about it, and I'll either post a final message or get back to writing full time.

Don't worry though -- I'm not suicidal, my life is fine. In fact, I'm about to become the Director of Studies for my school, if you can imagine that.

Rock on,
English Teacher X


Anonymous said...

so, English becomes a DOS and decides to stop writing. Coincidence? sell out?

kyiv said...

Yeah that would make sense, become a DOS and now the school doesn't want that sort of disclosure from one of its managers. But regardless, some of us actually enjoy clubbing every weekend, and going home with some hot Russian tart. To many of us, this is much more exciting than the boring, trendy life we had back in America. I say fuck what people think, if you want to write, do it, it just makes me wonder, because I love my circumstance in teaching in Ukraine, but it seems you have a whole negative spin on your experiences, so why even bother staying over there to experience something that you yourself seem to vilify.

English Teacher X said...

Now why did I just, then, tell you the name of the city I worked in, after four years of trying to conceal it?

"Sell out," ha, yeah, right. . . I'm rolling in the fucking bucks now.

English Teacher X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

well x sensational or not I find your stuff a good read, yeah a bit entertaining and in the sense of "im watching a trainwreck but I can't stop looking" sort of way but damn you got style, guts and your writing has a certain honesty and sarcasm to it that is pretty unique.

Although there are a million blogs out there most of them are totally fucking boring but ive been coming back and reading yours for about a year now...can't say that about too many other blogs. Well if you do decide to hang it up at least keep the pictures of the russian birds coming along. You can't totally throw us under the bus here.

All the best -


Anonymous said...

Whether you add to it or not, though I hope you will from time to time, please keep the ETX site up; all ESL teachers or those thinking of it should read it. The blog has its moments, but the site is something special.

chancedugan said...

Wow...You mean somebody pissing off the teachers besides the "Translator" Who knows, maybe they will let me come back and teach.


Anonymous said...

It was pretty easy to figure out where Vodkaberg was from your posts. We'll know when Vodkaberg hits the big time when they put up a Peter the Great statue/sculpture/thingy by the river.


Matt said...

I think a few posters missed the point entirely.

Although I don't know much about the inner workings of an English school, I'd imagine that his promotion to DOS is probably similar to being promoted from Banquet Captain to Assistant Banquet Manager. Not the type of thing that is going to get you blacklisted for your political or social views. This isn't an insult; I actually know ETX quite well, which makes it all the more surprising it actually isn't meant to be insulting.

His point wasn't about clubbing or foreign whores, it was about the fact that he felt he had added most of what he could to the Internet conversation on teaching English. Oh and that Myspace is retarded.

For a bunch of English teachers you certainly have poor reading comprehension.

And you will eventually tire of clubbing (maybe not whores) unless you plan to be a 45 year old man hanging out with 18 year old girls with father issues.

Anonymous said...

matt said
"For a bunch of English teachers you certainly have poor reading comprehension"

go bugger off. you neglect to remember that humans can be deceitful provocateurs. :-)

English Teacher X said...

Actually, I thank you, readers, for the support I've gotten, by email and in the comments hear. As for you "sell out" people -- what's more sell-out than putting a picture of Britney Spear's vagina on my blog?

I will, whether I decide to continue or not, leave up the ETX website, I don't see any particular reason to pull it down -- and it worked in discouraging at least one person from becoming an English teacher, according to an email I got, so it must be worthwhile.

Matt said...

Anonymous said...

"go bugger off. you neglect to remember that humans can be deceitful provocateurs. :-)"

Believe me, that is one of the many things I shall never forget about human nature.

I wasn't sure if the quotation marks should come before or after the little :-), perhaps one of you English types can tell me.

And Charlie still don't blog.

Jason said...

hey dude,

I enjoy your site quite a bit, wish you blogged once or twice a week. This media allows us to decide to pay attention to people you don't know and will probably never meet and yet connect with them about some of the things that happen. I'm not as bitter as you, per se, I've only been teaching for almost 4 years in the same place the whole time because of a girl, totally different situation but it's been humorous.


Anonymous said...


Way to ruin it for everyone Scott. "Tracking" ETX all the way to Samara. I need something to read on this miserable slutnet. I guess I can just read the onion.... It ain't easy making 7 bucks an hour and reading missionary blogs from Russia.

Anonymous said...

x, i saw guys with this attitude in japan. Can't say I disagree with it, but life back home is a drudge too. English teaching has a bad schedule, not bad hours. My bro is working as a permiter at an engineering firm, gets 50,000, but puts in 10-11 hr days, little if any vacation and has to put up with the fat women, non-intellectual conservative humbug of the U.S. (the parts middle-class people can afford). So basically no sex, respect, mental stimulation or free time. However, he does have more job security and disposable income then English teachers.
I myself couldn't take the transition from Japan to medical school, and ended up dropping out and am now in pharm school. Medicine was the "height" for a middle-class guy but the hours and wasted youth and professional culture was too much.
Saying that I didn't have the balls to stay in esl for the negative financial and security reasons you state.
I also take issue with the chick factor. This is by far and away the biggest component that gets men to do esl, a mostly male driven industry. In Japan is was real. Yeah, part of it was Hollywood and that I was "unique" in a foreign society, but the women were far more feminine, far more healthy, pure and the skills I acquired in the U.S., far more developed then any native I've heard or met.
In Japan there are English groupies but these are in it for the thing we fled: to be a selfish American women with all the power, quite an impossiblity in Japan.

In my 1.5 medical years, there wasn't a day I didn't think about going back to Japan. Now that my life is less hectic I don't think about Japan as much, but the fact remains, unless I go overseas, I will just be a working drone. That said, I am too scared of the "what ifs" to do ESL.

Anonymous said...

matt, how olds to old to club in Russia, other parts of the world. After pharm school I'll be thirty when I go abroad again. What do guys that age do? Does language ability become a factor?