Monday, June 30, 2014

Choking on the Red Pill: Interview with English Teacher H

I used to get e-mails all the time from people saying, "HEY DOOD YOU INSPIRED ME TO TEACH ENGLISH LOL WISH ME LUCK!"

Then unfortunately, a few months later, I usually got one saying something like, "Jesus you were right TEFL really sucks, I hate it."

But not so much anymore; the kids all want to be "digital nomads" these days and instead spend all day futzing around with their affiliate sites. (Now I tend to get e-mails from older teachers asking about working in the Middle East.)

Anyway, the only problem with the sort of "lifestyle sculpting" / self-help / self-improvement / take-charge-of- your-life philosophy is that if you're responsible for your own success, then you're doubly responsible for your own failure, and it's therefore doubly painful.

Now I think that's a bad thing. You gotta know, kids, sometimes life just kicks you in the ass, regardless of your country and your job and your best intentions and even in spite of your preparations.

Anyway, here's a little case study.

So in the last part of 2012 I requested interviews with teachers new and old for the new edition of ETX GUIDE TO TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD; I was contacted on Facebook by this guy, and he offered me the following interview, which I published in January of 2013.


Another new guy, an American in his 20s, gives us his perspective and a healthy dose of piss and vinegar.

How long have you been teaching and where?

I've been teaching for the greater part of 3 months in Vodkagrad, Kazakhstan.

Why did you decide to become an English teacher?

I was quite miserable working two jobs that were unsatisfying for 60-70 hours a week, and I had recently swallowed the red pill, so essentially I didn't choose the job, but it chose me. And I'm glad I quit both jobs on the spot and told my employers to fuck off because I was embarking on a journey and had steered my destiny in a total different direction: one shunning comfort, mediocrity, and soul-killing drudgery. Best choice I've ever made.

What do you like and not like about teaching?

What I do like is that in most parts of the world, it allows you to make a decent leaving when compared to local standards and work less hours compared to the automatons in the States and western Europe.
For me, personally, it also forced me to be more social and work on controlling the frame, which is a priceless 'tool' to have when it comes to social situations. As for things I don't like: the fact that a student's words are treated as sacrosanct and if they want to build a case against you for whatever reason, it's quite difficult to defend yourself. Difficult, but possible. As I learned.

Who is the most fucked-up teacher you've ever met?

Due to my limited experience in the field, I haven't met any fucked-up teachers, but I've met quite a few hotties (women, of course) that I wouldn't mind fucking. God bless Russian women!

How is your standard of living compared to salary and cost of living?

I would say my standard of living is great for the number of hours I'm working. I eat-out regularly and go out once or twice a week to party. Not too bad. Back in the States, I had a lot more money, but I was miserable due to the hours I was working and the soulless automatons I was surrounded by. Standard of living can't be measured soley in monetary units. Fuck that. I would prefer doing this than making 75k in NYC working three times the hours. Did I forget to say 'fuck that!?' Okay, just checking.

What qualifications do you have?

Just a CELTA at the moment, but I might be pursuing a DELTA and other various certifications in ELT. Not having a degree might deter some employers from hiring you, but in some countries, it isn't essential you have a degree. In some countries, the only way you can become 'legal' is with a degree: and that's most of Asia.

Where do you stand on the issue of teachers having sex with students?

Females are abundant everywhere. Why would I risk my job to sex some girl that happens to be a student? She would have to be a supreme 10 for me to push my rationalizing to the side and decide to smash that pussy. But if you're coming from a perspective of scarcity: it doesn't matter if she's a student or some drug addict. You will get your rocks off one way or another.

Any horrifying stories you'd like to tell?

I have none yet ... unfortunately. Give me some time, though.

What's your favorite way to kill 10 minutes in class?

Write a theme (e.g., sports or music) on the board and get students to construct 5 questions pertaining to the theme and then ask at least 3 other students in the class. I waste ten minutes, but create a mingling activity. You've just killed two birds with one stone.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to travel around the F.S.U. and get a DELTA and perhaps go back to school to pursue something like international business in order to have an escape plan from EFL teaching as everything gets old. Even banging a 10 for a few months gets boring. Alas, it's part of the human experience: constantly changing and molding yourself. "If you aren't busy being born, you're busy dying." – Anonymous

* * *

So what happened to English Teacher H?

Well, he lasted about 6 months in his first job, and after problems with his employers and a lack of success with a girl he liked, he had a drunken meltdown and woke up in an alley covered with blood,

"BUT IT WASN'T MY BLOOD!" he said on Facebook.

He tried to get another job in Spain, and had the usual problems with documents and employers; he then went back to America and got a job in a bar and soon afterward disappeared from Facebook and never contacted me again.

Sometimes the old Red Pill just doesn't go down so smoothly.

If you're out there, Former Teacher H, do let us know how you are.

Read this interview and many others in the now-venerable ETX GUIDE TO TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD 2013 EDITION. As a special 45th birthday present, NOW ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS!

BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON as an e-book for 99 cents!

BUY IT HERE ON SMASHWORDS as an e-book for 99 cents!


And remember kids, in real life, never accept pills, red or otherwise, from strangers. They might be Roofies.

Anyway I vote we retire the hackneyed "swallow the red pill" metaphor and instead adopt "put on the funky They Live glasses." 


Pete M said...


Jug Jugette said...

Nice wun. For every success like myself there are three hopeless cases in the world of ELT. But I am tedious and they are so amusing.

Anonymous said...

Ah,"red pill", "control the frame" and "smashing that pussy". Why didn't you just come out and ask him what his forum name was on the Rooshv forum?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, bad influences all around.

Eccentric Expat said...

I can tell you what his name was on the RooshV forum, but of course, I won't. I know exactly who ETH is, as he used to message me quite often back before he disappeared from Facebook. Last I heard from him, he was in Vegas, so you can probably rest assured that he was up to no good. RIP, ETH. And just remember this, kids: "You can run away from your country, but you can't run away from yourself".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This can happen with newbie teachers. I'd like to email you, I did a year in Oman, which can be hell for teaching and met a lot of ex saudi teaching expats. How bad (or good?) is it really over there? do you really have to live in a trailer in the desert....your blog is interesting and inspiring!!

englishteacherx said...

contact info in the "Who is English Teacher X" tab.

Tom said...

Hasn't met any fucked up teachers = not actual EFL teacher or is the fucked up teacher.

Has no fucked up stories = not yet real EFL teacher.

wants to go back to school for "international business" = wet-behind-the-ears muppet

Geez, ETX, what exactly is your screening process for these interviews?

The mobile career motivation is understandable, if not naive in its ideal, because of the ever devolving fuckedupedness of the globalized economy. However, anyone who teaches EFL for a year and doesn't come to the conclusion that, at its rare best, you are giving up the option to return home to anything for between the equivalent of $50k (ROK) to $90k+ (sandbox) per year while enjoying permanent stranger status, and that it isn't worth it, is a hopeless twat. No offense. Exceptions to that status are obviously made for the few who actually take to it like a fish to water or who power through it with full knowledge regardless. They exist. Though, a lot of those guys (single girls - almost never)don't have much home to return to, I would guess. I sympathize in full.

I'm envisioning guys I knew when teaching. None of that was typed with you in mind ETX. Not that you require the dis/qualification.

deb auchery said...

Great! I love a story with a happy ending :)

Anonymous said...

Tom, would your description apply to international teaching, i.e. certified secondary teachers.

Shiny Elena said...
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