And here I am now, after a near month long ‘vacation’ from ESL teaching, having to resort to being thrown straight back into hell.
But first, a preface: My teaching job of the past 1.3 years kinda, sorta, let me go. I had switched from full-time to part-time by August 2018, and with the semester ending in January 2019, by early November, the powers-at-large called me in to ask if I could stay for the next semester.
“Sure,” I said, “but, I must leave China in April. I cannot stay the full semester.” “No problem,” they exclaimed. “We’d love to have you!” Wrong.
Fast forward to the Friday before New Year’s. “Sorry Donovan, we changed our minds. Because you cannot stay the entire semester, we will not keep you.” FUUCCCKKK YYOOOUUU.
The nerve of these motherf... After everything I’d done for them. I had helped build their new preschool program, recruit new students, train new teachers, host events—the whole woodworks. All I wished was to continue working there on the same schedule. and to leave China comfortably and on a good note by mid-April. So much for that dream.
And truthfully, I wasn’t even angry about the business decision of it all--that I understood. Rather, it’s the fact that it was them that should have had their shit together when I was first called in and told I could stay, point blank, period.
“Well your part time. You should understand the risk ...” No asshole, I understood the risk, but you promised that I could stay almost 2 months ago. Why would I think you’d retract that? It’s you that should’ve said, “Ok. We know your decision. Let us figure out some things first and we’ll get back to you,” right then and there.
And unfortunately, this is an instance that exemplifies a sad truth I’ve encountered time and time again teaching English in China—you just can’t trust promises from any ESL school. Even if it’s in writing, even then, you still might still get cheated. After all, you’re the expendable foreign employee that, no matter how good you are on the job, could get tossed to the curb at any given moment should the powers-at-large see fit.
Now back to my point. I was unemployed for a full 25 days before landing another steady part-time teaching gig—I know, thank God. And why 25 days? Well in addition to the near 2-week long holiday break for Chinese New Year at the start of February, most ESL employers and agents just weren’t looking to hire a teacher, whether full-time or part-time, that would up and leave in 2 months.
And as far as my current job? Eh, like I said, I’m already over it. It’s the shit-show all over again. Early Sunday morning demo classes parading around, shucking and jiving as a prized entertainer--not teacher—paid to perform and pull off tricks for the masses of children and parents all the while using teaching English language as a cover.
Plus, this is China—let’s not forget about the herds of parents, grandparents, and ayis constantly watching and recording my classes from the door windows. Jesus, why can’t they just sit down?
And then there’s the content. My first day back on the job, you know what I taught? “Raise your hands high, touch the sky. Twirl them around and give a pound!” Wow! How exciting to be back teaching this kind of essential conversational English.
And to add icing on the cake, or rather, fuel to the flame, in the same day, a young girl no older than 4 years old slapped my face in front of my colleagues and parents as I knelt and said goodbye to her. And what’d the parents do? Well, they just laughed it off. Again, this is China.
Who knows? Maybe I’m still fed up with my last job and now having to work at a new school with entirely new students only 2 months before I leave China. Or maybe it’s just that I had too long of a break away from teaching and need more time to adjust. Either way? I’m over it.
I’m content with the time I’ve had teaching English in China—it’s been an experience of a lifetime. I’ll do whatever I must do now that I’ve got a little one on the way, but boy, after 7 long years, 7 freaking years, does it truly suck to carry out the last leg of my final chapter in China miserable on the ESL job. Who’d have ever thought?