Working as a Substitute Teacher

After the casino and mental asylum jobs, I continued to look for work but couldn’t find anything. All of this student loan money was gone and it was getting to the point where I wasn’t going to be able to pay the rent and whatnot. So with massive reluctance, I moved back to my childhood home.

I won’t get into it but I hated living there. I hated it since high school. I couldn’t wait to get out. And now I had to be there again.

I was getting massive bills from the student loan companies. More than what I had been paying in rent. And it was all for this fucking scam school. One year.

I was never going to pay this off. Not with the jobs that I was doing. And I wasn’t working at all at this time.

I became massively depressed and started thinking about ways to get out of this. But in the meantime, I also had to find a job.

So I applied to a place that I worked at, part-time, while in college. No reply. I applied to every job I could find on the internet. I must have been really desperate because I even remember getting a response back from a “recruiter” who wanted me to pay something like $30 for him to get me a job. And I actually considered that. But it was obviously a scam, and even at the time I knew this, but I was really desperate.

I applied to a police department. This was sort of my plan at one point. That’s why I took the job as a security guard. So I saw a place that was hiring, I filled in the online application and that was that.

I got a reply at some point asking me to come in to do the written test. You had to take a written test first and if you passed that, you’d be invited to take the physical test. You had to do a certain number of push ups and sit ups in a minute and shit like this.

So I started working out. Trying to get huge.

I drove hours to take this test. It was nowhere near me. It was two states over. I get to the test room, it’s like theatre or university seating where the seats are higher as you go towards the back. There might have been 100 people there. Something like this.

It was a reading comprehension and vocabulary test. You needed a 40% to pass and get moved on to the physical test.

So I’m taking the test and thinking, “Wow. I know all of this shit.” There were a few vocabulary questions that I had to kind of guess on but I was able to give educated guesses. Certainly, I got 40%. No problem. I turn the test in and I’m feeling great.

I mean, 40%? Come on. You’d have to be a fucking retard to get a 40% on this thing. I’m a shoo in to go to the next part of the exam process. I just have to keep working out. Doing those push ups and sit ups.

A week later, I get the exam results. I got a 99% on the test. Holy shit. That’s way better than 40%. Nearly two and a half times as good.

Next day, I get a letter thanking me for attending but that they won’t be proceeding with my application.

What? A 99% isn’t good enough? They’re only taking people who got 100%? Wasn’t 40% the cut off?

So I called them up. There was a number on the letter if you wanted to talk to somebody about their decision.

The guy says, “We just didn’t think that you had enough work experience.”

What? Then why did you invite me to take the written test in the first place? You knew how much work experience I had. If you didn’t think I had enough work experience, you wouldn’t have done that. This was all part of the application process. They didn’t invite everybody to take this written test. It was only people who they were potentially interested in hiring.

They didn’t progress me to the next part of the process because I scored too well on the written test. That’s the actual reason. It’s well known that police departments will refuse candidates who score too well. There was a lawsuit about this 30 years ago. It’s what they do.

So I gave up on that idea. I’m not going to bang my head against a wall until I’m dumb enough to fall within the preferred parameters of this test.

Back at home. Really depressed. These enormous student loan bills keep coming every month. How am I going to get out of this?

I have to get out of the country. It’s that or suicide because I can’t fucking pay this loan back. I’m thinking about this shit every day. I’m going to be a slave to this loan for the rest of my life. And for what? I went to a scam school for one fucking year? This isn’t right.

Teaching English in Asia. This is the easiest way to leave the country. From what I read, it seems like they hire anybody. If you’re under 30 and white, that’s preferred, so I was good there. And most countries just required a degree in anything. I had that. China didn’t even require that much. No education requirement to teach in China. This was the case 20 years ago, I don’t know about today.

So I started looking into this shit on Dave’s ESL Cafe, which is a website and message board. It still exists. I didn’t particularly want to go to Japan. It was just too cliche. But I read that Korea paid well so I was thinking maybe that would be good.

In any event, it was recommended that you have some teaching experience before you apply to these jobs. It was also recommended that you get some kind of English as a Foreign Language certification. Neither of these things were requirements but it helps. That certification looked like a scam. You pay some “company” fifty bucks or something, take a few online “courses”, take a “test” and then they give you the certification. Who cares? This means nothing.

But I looked for some teaching jobs. I sent my resume to the public school system that I went to as a student and applied for a job as a substitute teacher. And they said, yeah come to our office.

So I did that. It was a shitty little office for their administration. And they started putting me down in their schedule. Asking what days I can do and whatnot. I expected an interview but no. There was no interview. Anybody who’s willing to do this job for $70/day, they’ll take them.

I received no training. I wasn’t told what to do at all. One day, I just got a call in the morning saying, “Go to such and such school at whatever time”. Okay.

So I get there and I don’t know what I’m doing but it’s just babysitting. The teacher leaves a note of what they want done. Usually it’s just watch a movie. So you press play on the DVD and you’re done.

I did this for quite a while. It was nine months. It wasn’t so good at first but as time went on, and the students recognised me, things became easier and I started to enjoy it more. There were fewer behaviour problems.

You’d get sent to different schools in the district. The high schools were mostly fine. Except for the really ghetto one. This school was like 90% black and I’m not here to make racist comments but certain observations have to be made. Conclusions have to be drawn. It was shit. The behaviour of the students was dramatically worse. Not from everybody, of course, but I’m saying overall.

You had to ask a student to send the attendance slip to the principal’s office every day. You try to look for somebody responsible to do this. So I asked a girl in the front row if she would do this, she was black, almost everybody in the class was, and she gets up and she’s heavily pregnant. Oh fuck. I wouldn’t have asked if I knew. But she was fine with it. She went to the principal’s office and came back. No problems.

The middle schools were also bad. Really bad. All of them, regardless of the demographics of the students. And some of the schools were combined middle school and high school.

So I spoke to the people in the office who give the jobs out and said that I don’t want to work in middle schools. They said, “We don’t know which teachers teach middle school and which ones teach high school” which is preposterous. I knew. I knew from when I was a student at one of these schools. And if they don’t know, why don’t they just get a list?

So I said, “Okay, just don’t send me to any school that has a combined middle school and high school”, which meant that I would no longer go to the school where I was a student and where they sent me the most. The school was like 50% Mexican, 40% white, 10% black. It was fine. The high school wasn’t a problem, other than the odd problem with a certain demographic.

But I was able to go to this ghetto school that was 90% black because it was strictly a high school. Great.

They ended up giving me way less work after I complained about not wanting to go to schools that had middle schools. But I’d occasionally get a job at this ghetto school. They were all ghetto schools in the sense that the students were impoverished but when I’m saying “ghetto” here, I mean “black.”

One day, I just had enough. I spoke to the teacher who I was covering for, who was in school for some reason, and she said that it’s the worst class she’s ever had in 30 years of teaching. I don’t think that she was sick or anything, she was just taking time off to get away from them.

Personally, I found them reasonably manageable the first day (compared to the absolute chaos that I’d see in the middle schools) but on the second day, it was horrendous. Throwing shit at the one white kid in the class and shit like this. So I finished the day and decided that I was never going to do this again. The next time I got a call asking me to go to some school and I told them that I’m not interested and to take me off the list.

But I did it for nine months so I got a good run out of it. By the end, I was only working like one or two days a week so it wasn’t too bad in that sense. But I was still getting these massive student loan bills. Bills that were more than my entire paycheque.

So what was I doing for that nine months? Was I looking for work in Korea? Was I trying to get this scam certificate? No. None of that shit. Because I had discovered a better way to leave the country. I’ll discuss this in next week’s thrilling article.

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