Friday, May 20, 2011

Do I really want to teach English?

'I'll probably end up teaching English in Japan or Korea or somewhere, when I get bored of travelling or if I want to have a reason to stay in one place for longer.

'It'd also be nice to have a job that actually helps people, rather than just filling the internet with more crap'

is the standard postscript after I tell people I meet about the freelance writing job I currently work and love, and then feel uncomfortable about their wide-eyed envy. I've sadly met very few other people who have the freedom to work and travel, which I suppose is why I feel the need to add the teaching thing to bring myself back down to Earth. To give the impression that - while it may be going well for me now - there'll be a price to pay later, when I have to wear a suit and report for duty at 9AM sharp like everybody else.

But I'm not sure if I really want to teach English to kids. Actually, on the rare occasions I actually think about the words coming out of my face-hole, I remember that I don't really like teaching, don't really like English (or the English) and don't like kids. I also really don't like a lot of the other stuff that comes with the package, like having to dress smartly and to endure work colleagues. So why don't I let the slightly unpleasant dream die?

Why do you want to teach then, you idiot?

The only reason I even thought about teaching English in the first place is that it seemed a relatively easy way to get work in other countries, with some being easier than others (Japan used to be hard to get into, but there have been loads of vacancies these last couple of months for some weird reason... too soon?)

When I was sick of my life in Edinburgh and wanted a change, I took a weekend TEFL course to get the most basic certificate possible (turns out I could have just bought the piece of paper in Bangkok) and started dreaming about heading to the ridiculously exotic world of Japan.

But my hopes and dreams shattered and reassembled entirely after Oliver pointed out I could just carry on doing the freelance job that was currently earning me more than the day job, but instead of typing on my laptop in a shit Scottish flat I could type on my laptop on a beach on Tioman Island or somewhere. It hadn't occurred to me before. I could still escape, but I didn't have to entirely abandon my dream writing career to do it! I owe Oliver a lot, but don't ever tell him that.

The teaching dream still doesn't die though. When you're travelling as aimlessly as I am, going wherever the wind or adolescent lust may take you, it's good to have some kind of ultimate goal - even if the notion of one day teaching Korean or Japanese kids is just a MacGuffin to give my pointless life the illusion of a linear narrative structure. There would probably still be benefits to giving up my freedom and embarking on a career I have no interest or desire in... right?

Benefits of teaching

1. If I want to spend a longer time in a country, a teaching job makes it easier to obtain a working visa

2. If I meet a beautiful Korean girl (what other sort is there?), I have a reason to hang around

3. A good way to meet local people and make new friends

4. There would probably be some soul-enriching satisfaction

5. I can earn a bit more money


1. Working visa: If I want to spend a longer time in a country, I can just leave and come back again, ask the embassy, or work out some other way to extend my stay

2. Beautiful Korean girls: I can hang around just as easily doing my current job, with the advantage that I choose my working hours

3. Make new friends: I make new friends practically every day already, and people who are travelling and enjoying life are bound to be more my type of people than people who like to work in a school, the idiots

4. Soul-enriching satisfaction: If I really want this, I can volunteer for a week with turtles or monkeys or something. Not kids though. I don't like kids

5. Money: Who cares? I'm doing alright

Things I would hate about teaching

1. Giving up my freedom

2. Having to dress smartly and comb my hair

3. Having to deal with kids (unless I taught adults - but they can be annoying too)

4. Having to deal with co-workers

5. Having to pretend I like the English language, which increasingly frustrates me

6. All the stress involved in a 'proper' job - interviews, meetings, progress reviews, vomiting blood, etc.

So what are you going to do?

Dave at the office (sexiest pic yet - look at those legs)

I think writing this down has helped me decide.

I would be an idiot to give up the freedom I currently enjoy, where I can wake up early in the morning, sit outside and work for a couple of hours, then eat breakfast and begin my day. It's as if the work never even happened, and was just a hazy, slightly boring dream, and by starting the day doing something productive, I give myself license to waste the rest of it however I choose.

I know this freedom might not last forever anyway, though I have a couple of back-ups in case the company I write for goes bust, or gets sick of me slagging them off or complaining about payment delays every month and decides my services are no longer required (damn, there I go again). But with technology making it ever easier for people to work remotely, I shouldn't find it too hard to work as a freelance writer forever, without ever having to endure an office full of mostly twats again. I've also never been anywhere that doesn't have Wi-Fi in the vicinity.

Maybe teaching is for me, but it's not for me right now. And probably won't be for a long time.


  1. Dear Dave,
    Oh, you should have just continue your freelance job..I think writing is a noble profession too-you help ppl (well, i love to think so as im a writer tooo..lolx)...through your writing, ppl like me can see the world..I would love to be like u too, travel and write, but not until i hate doing my current reporting job...^^
    cheers from someone who write too..^^

  2. Thanks for your comment! The stuff I write for my job doesn't really help people though, it's just about driving customers to companies' websites.

    That's why I write this stupid blog to let off steam and keep me sane. If anyone else enjoys it, that's cool too.

  3. hahhah...tell me about it..I always wonder if people read my articles (if u read Malaysia newspaper u will know what i am talking about..@@') but once in a while when some1 suddenly write an email, giving compliment, suggestion or even critic, then I know people do read my, i love to believe that somewhere, some time, my article will be read by some1, maybe benefit them with, you better start thinking tat tooo...some1 out there will enjoy ur writing..keep on writin "stupid" things...

  4. That's only cause you can't see my dreamy, slightly wonky eyes.

  5. 5,133 page views? That is insane. I'm not going to host enticing images that bring me that level of traffic - either come here because you want to see some amateurish photos of temples or not at all!