To start this site, I thought I would first give an introduction on how I got into teaching ESL in Asia back in 1996. The following is part of the introduction to a forthcoming ebook on teaching ESL in Korea I am presently writing. Enjoy
Welcome to small-town West Texas
It was in the spring of 1996 while living out in Alpine, Texas that I was first introduced to the idea of teaching ESL in Asia. My wife was finishing her MA in English at Sul Ross State University and we were thinking about what to do next. Do we go back to Austin where we lived, or do we try something else? When one afternoon she was walking down the hallway near her office on campus when a notice on a bulletin board about teaching English in Asia. My wife showed me this and to say the least I was intrigued after 7 fruitless years of trying to land a High School Social Studies Teacher or a community college teaching position and working a variety of low-level jobs just to pay the bills
You were living where?
So here we were out in small-town West Texas 450 miles from home in Austin and I was knocking on doors for the Census Bureau trying to get people to bare their financial souls to the government. That part of West Texas was a hotbed for the militia movement which was gaining strength after the Oklahoma City bombing which made doing this research difficult. Throw in a large Mexican population many of whom were illegal so imagine what kind of responses I’d get when after knocking on the door saying, “Hi I’m from the US Census Bureau and we would like to ask information about your income”.
Sometimes you got to say “What the…”
Looking back on this I think I was lucky I wasn’t shot or worse. So yeah with a bleak future both in Alpine and back in Austin, Yes. I was interested in teaching English in Asia. This despite I’d been out of the US exactly 5 times in my life for a total of like 80 hours total. As a Boy Scout in Ohio, I got to go on a weekend campout in Canada across from Detroit. During the preceding 10 years in Texas, I’d been across the Rio Grande like 4 times to go border towns for some cheap tequila and souvenirs. Heck, I didn’t even have a passport, nor did I know how to get one, but thanks to the wife who had her passport she knew how to get one for me.
To be continued…