Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another Satisfied Customer

Guy writes me last year, says he's thinking about becoming an English teacher. I tell him a number of reasons it might not be a good idea, and he responds with:

Hey ETX,

Despite your friendly warnings about moving to Russia, I can't get the idea out of my head. I had more fun in the six weeks I spent there than in the last ten years in America.

Although I have a Master's and a good work record, good jobs are very difficult to find now that I am middle aged. The job market is the inverse of what it was during the Clinton years. It's a Republican economy and workers are taking it up the shorts. I was an IT guy and this sector of the economy has never recovered. Hundreds of thousands of programmers lost their jobs. I am underemployed now, but one of the fortunate ones. Men I know who once were well off had to become custodians or pizza delivery guys. I have nothing to lose by trying this.

I have to get a Celta first, so I anticipate 6-9 months before I can make
the move.

What other cities if any would you recommend in Russia? Would the
fact that I rarely drink anymore make me a social outcast? Would bringing my
cat be a stupid idea?

Don't worry, you are not responsible for my decision to do this...

Same guy writes me yesterday:

Hey ETX,

I should have listened to you man, ESL is a really shitty job. I got my CELTA last summer and have been working at a dodgy school here in Kiev. I like teaching, but I've had enough of private language schools and Russians/Ukrainians. I am going to China and teach at a University in Beijing. My contract is for 10-14 hrs a week, so I can moonlight and goof off. If that sucks too, I'm going back to the states.
Now I know your site is filled with warnings, but I think they are too subtle. It should be more like...

NO! Don't do it! Stop now! You'll regret it!

At least you tried. Sme tohings I have experienced were just beyond my comprehension. I now know exactly what you have been saying.
It's not all bad. Lots of hot babes want to learn English.

Right from the horse's mouth. Or your mouth to God's ear. Or whatever.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

It's not all bad X. I made the decision to get a CELTA in November, read your site in December with great interest (tutorials, blog, warnings, et al) and stuck with it despite the warnings. I'm currently in Peru, teaching the FCE to English profs at a University and enjoying myself a great deal. My students are great, my town is great, I'm getting in good with the local women, and I make great money by Peruvian english teacher standards (pennies by US standards). Sure I work epic split shifts and have minimal hot water in my bathroom and no refrigerator in my kitchen, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Now, I think that if I showed up in Russia and got a job at a low level private school with shitty pay and shittier living conditions, my experience would be different. I guess what I'm saying is that in this profession, it seems to be the luck of the draw. You may have a romantic vision of the country your moving to and the school you'll be working at that gets completely crushed when you arrive. Or you may come with low expectations (like myself after reading your site) and end up feeling pretty good about where you're at and what you're doing.

Anyway, there is a reason that I didn't pick Russia. The country does not seem to be for entry-levelers such as myself. I just think that the whole "You WILL hate this job" thing is not exactly a universal law (maybe even in Russia). Again, it's a matter of luck and expectations in my opinion. Regards, and amazing site. Keep up the good work, and I await your upcoming post on your status in Russia. Good luck in life.

-English Teacher J