I think that I have to start thinking of myself as an, “ESL Teacher for hire,” for the next while. This will not be terrible if I can make enough to consistently live on. Not sure how that is going to pan out.
First, I went to the corporation the other day briefly to hang out with a former colleague (we left quite quickly and went to a coffee shop). It was a strange feeling – I hadn’t been by in month and months. It was a year ago almost exactly that I got laid off from there! Time flies yet also crawls, go figure. Seems the place has been spruced up with a bit of paint. Students were swarming around. We went up to the teachers’ room briefly. It felt . . . familiar at first. My locker is still mine and all of my stuff is still in it! This is good actually as I may need some of it pretty soon. And then I felt . . . bored. That’s the only way I can explain it. Nothing at all to do with my former colleague, we had a fun time catching up. Anyway, interesting or, er, boring. You can’t go home again it seems.
There is one school in downtown Vancouver, a university transfer school actually. It has a tiny teeny tiny ESL department. This school has always been in the back of my mind. It is non-profit, which is unique in itself. Is it a perfect school? No, of course not. Does it pay a decent wage? More on that momentarily.
All in the timing. I e-mailed out a resume there last week. On Monday of this week, I got a call. On Tuesday, I had an interview. On Wednesday, I was offered some very very part-time temporary work. Two teachers are on leave and are comng back on Oct. 26. So, starting tomorrow, I will be teaching two hours – yes only two hours! a day for two weeks and then three hours a day for the remaining four weeks. It has been made very clear that there won’t be work after that. Fair enough.
Ok. Almost every other ESL school in Vancouver pays between $18-22/hour for what amounts to part-time contact hours but full time work. Prep. time is not considered and as a teacher, prepping takes hours and hours and hours sometimes. This is part of the reason I don’t rush to take $20/hour jobs because it’s $20 x at most 25 paid hours but with 40 hours at least at least spent at the job. You get the idea. I’ve emphasized that a lot because I think it is so important to understand.
This college pays a very nice hourly wage. If I worked there 25 hours a week on a permanent basis, I would be living nicely indeed. At two hours a day it will keep my rent paid and a bit more. And the four weeks of 3 hours a day? Woohoo! Won’t have to dip into my savings!
I went in this afternoon and spoke with two other teachers who are teaching the same course and some of whose students I am getting (they needed to add a class as the classes were simply too big). They helped me a lot. I prepped for three hours and am ready for tomorrow, at least. Phew.
More than that, it will, as pal Maggie May says, give me a consistent place to go five days a week for awhile. This is true. I’m going to try and ride my bike most days to save on transit costs.
Timing, it really is everything.
Now, I would love more job security and more hours and a permanent job and benefits and etc. But, this is not too bad for now. I have to say that I pat myself on the back just a bit that I held out and didn’t rush to the one other school that was offering a month’s worth of work at a bad wage and a not great atmosphere.
Anyway, so there you have it. And the class starts at 10 am but I’ll want to be there most days by 9:30 or so. Not bad at all. And when I do the three hours it will be 10-12 and 2-3. Not bad at all. Building the resume, building the plan. The plan has well taken a few months to get going. This was due to my attempting to get completely out of the field for several months. That didn’t work, not in this economy or in this town. So now, I’m trying to use the experience I already have to work in places that are not torturous. And this is happening. Slowly, yes, so slowly that I go ‘EEEEK’ much of the time but it’s -a-happening.
Apparently one of my former colleagues at the corporation got laid off as she wanted to be. When asked why, she just said she’d had enough. Good on her, I get that. Still, brave of her.