10 Reasons to Quit Your English Teaching Job and Leave a Country

If you are an international English teacher with a massive hard-on for adventure, one lesson you’ll eventually learn is that you cannot choose to teach English just anywhere.  There are many bad English schools out there that will do nothing but scam you.  (And of course, the world is littered with dangerous countries, cities, etc.)  In other words, shit can happen to you. 

After spending an intellectually stimulating year of personal growth and enlightenment in South Korea (ie. drinking my ass off; puking almost every weekend; accidentally destroying various forms of property; getting turned down by women from just about every country and culture; eating dog soup without realizing it; and spending an interesting evening in one of those “special” karaoke rooms dancing with 3 drunk Koreans who couldn’t speak English and a half-naked Korean hooker whose nipples could have cut glass)…I decided to “party on” by getting an English teaching job in Istanbul, Turkey.  This turned out to be a BAD FUCKING IDEA!!!

To make a long story short, I lasted less than 2 weeks there.  The school that hired me lied about my teaching hours and about pretty much everything else as well.  In addition to this, the building we had to live in (called a “lojmon”) was an extremely creepy, dormitory-style, 6-floor building in the middle of Taksim Square, which is a rather dangerous tourist area.  Without ranting further, I will just say that everything else was pretty much a big scam.  

These things considered, here is my list of ten reasons to quit your English teaching job and go back home.  If any of these things happen to you…RUN AWAY!!!


1. The school that has employed you assigns you a co-ed place of residence in the loudest part of the city. You are almost 30 years old, but the policy of your residence hall forbids men from being on women’s floors and women from being on men’s floors. The building is old and decrepit, and the owner has irreversible mental problems.

2. You are told that some guy drank himself to death in your residence hall a few weeks before you arrived.

3. You see other westerners leave the immediate area when a group of local police pass through the street, and you are later informed that the only difference between the local police and the local mafia is that the police have uniforms.

4. On your first visit to the school, your head teacher says, “Welcome to Hell.”

5. On your first visit to the school, you meet another teacher who tells you (with a big, beaming smile of confidence on her face) that she is very strong because she “survived” one full year of teaching at the school.

*6. Upon completion of your first visit to the school, you are privately informed that the school’s head office has become aware that you have a “drinking problem.” You are also told that the only reason they know this is because the owner of your residence hall spies on the teachers who live there and reports them to the head office. You are then told that your best option is to leave your residence hall as soon as possible and find your own place.  (You are told this right before someone pick-pockets your newly purchased cell phone)

7. You would like to leave your residence hall and find your own place, but you meet other western teachers who are willing to sleep in other people’s hallways in order to avoid getting scammed by local landlords.

8. You tell your new students that you taught English in South Korea last year, and they predict that you will probably want to go back there in about 2 months.

9. You become so used to the school lying to you about your contract, your teaching hours, and your living conditions that you become slightly nervous whenever you suspect that they might be telling you the truth about something.

and finally…

10. You are walking up the long, narrow, spiral stairway of your 6-floor residence hall with a couple of your fellow teachers. One of them is holding onto the thick wooden rail leading up the stairs when suddenly a large chunk of it comes off in her hand. You all laugh gleefully at the incident…but deep down you start to wish that you had a hard hat, a rope, and a degree in archaeology…because you get that uncomfortable, instinctive feeling that if you stand in the wrong place of your residence hall, you will crash through several floors and layers of earth only to find yourself in a deep, dark, underground labyrinth full of dead teachers who used to work for the school at which you are now currently employed.

*A further note about #6:

I still consider number 6 to be a point of contention. What does “drinking problem” really mean, anyway? The phrase, “drinking problem,” means so many different things to so many different people. I was accused of having a “drinking problem,” but they never gave me their definition of what they consider a “drinking problem” to be. I remember that night very well, and I didn’t have ANY problem drinking my 17 beers.

And…just because I drank 17 beers, went back to my residence hall, walked up the stairs, and urinated off the 6th floor balcony onto the street accidentally hitting a group of angry-looking rival Turkish gangsters which in turn caused an amazing chain-reaction of events that resulted in two gun-fights, three massive street brawls, a few burning buildings, a small riot, four people dead, and numerous others permanently injured…is still no reason to get all upset about things. I mean, we all make mistakes sometimes, right? (Well, just replace the words “we all” with the word “I” and the word “sometimes” with the word “repeatedly.”) But either way, it’s no use crying over spilt milk. Whatever happened to “Forgive and Forget?” I forgave myself for the incident, and I’m willing to forget about it…so why won’t the Turkish community?

I guess some people just can’t let go of the past.


One Response to “10 Reasons to Quit Your English Teaching Job and Leave a Country”

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