No, Alexandre isn't going to do his residency in the US. :( I got super excited when I read Mrs. Carioca's blog and she said that her husband was doing HIS residency in the US. But while Mr. Carioca's plan worked out for him, it just wouldn't work out for Alexandre. Too bad. I'm already over it.
Because this decision happened just today:
1. I'm going to quit the school.
I've been saying this for months and months, but I really mean it this time. I'd like fellow teachers' thoughts on this, whether you think it's a good idea or not, etc. Here are my reasons why I've stayed this long:
*It's good for me to get out of the house and be with groups.
*I have coworkers, and coworkers lend themselves to possible friends and going-out buddies (though this hasn't been working out as well as I'd hoped).
*It keeps me introduced to a steady stream of new students. I don't actively "steal" students from this school, but sometimes people quit and then later decide to start private classes with me. I never bring up the idea, but it IS a result of working there. Also, many times people are students at the school but their brothers/friends/husbands want classes with me.
*It's a nice boost to my monthly income, but at this point, it's not making much of a difference. The money is actually the weakest/least important reason for me to still be working there. My American job pays about 5 times more than the school, depending on the month (I get paid by project with the American job, so the per-hour pay varies a bit). My private students pay twice as much. I also have translations on the side. This list is starting to turn into the reasons why I'm leaving:
I'm leaving because:
*I don't need the money, and I'm working too much, and something's gotta give. I have 15 hours of contracted students per week, plus an average of about 5 hours a week of non-contract people (students that can only come once in a while, or people doing short-term things, etc). I work about 15 hours a week on the American job. Then I do the translations on the side (Some months I have none; this month I got 2). As of now, I'm at the school about 12 hours a week. I'll help you with the math: Since I got back from vacation, I've been working about 50 hours a week (and we can't forget the pronunciation book!).
*Alexandre and I are so busy that it's getting to the point where we (and by we, I mostly mean I) don't have time to take care of the household things, like the grocery store and cooking and the laundry. And there's no point in working extra if I have to shell out money for dinner at a restaurant because I'm too tired to cook. And then we bicker about who should be less tired and should therefore be washing the clothes/doing the dishes/cooking dinner. These things are all "expensive" and factor into my real hourly wage.
*The textbooks are horrible and the students hate them and spend most of the class complaining about them to me. Some days I feel like I spend more time trying to be diplomatic and optimistic about the course than I do actually teaching. And the worst part is that they're totally right, the books ARE as bad as they think, and I feel like I'm selling my soul for 7 dollars an hour.
*I thought having coworkers would add to my social life, but the particular people I'm working with now just irritate me. I have met some good teachers that have turned into friends, but none of them are working with me at this moment. (That also proves that I can stay friends with people even if I'm not working with them.) The people I work with now are a particularly small-minded bunch. Today's metonymic conversation at work was a sort of tip of the iceburg:
Teacher 1: So, you're going to THE US for Carnaval?
Me: Yup. I'm going to visit my friends and family. I haven't seen them in 7 months.
Teacher 1: WOW! That's so cool! THE US!
Me: Yup. Also, ya know, my family is there, and I miss them. But anyway, what are you guys gonna do for Carnaval, since the school is closing?
Teacher 2: I'm going to the beach.
Me: Oh that sounds fun. What bea--
SUPER OMG SHOOT ME ANNOYING Teacher 3: Why doesn't your family come to Brazil?
Me: Well, you know, it's expensive to travel across the hemisphere.
SOMGSMA Teacher 3: But don't they want to 'know' Brazil? (Her English is as bad as she is annoying)
Me: Sure they do, but plane tickets are expensive. Plus, they'd have to miss work, and it's easier for me to just go there and see everyone at once. Speaking of seeing things, did you guys see Big Brother last night?
Teacher 2: No, but I saw a news report on Mardi Gras "there." Is it true that "there" girls take off their shirts for money? (If you haven't figured it out, some (usually the more ignorant) people here in Brazil just use the word "lá", or "there", to refer to the United States when they talk to me. It drives. me. crazy.)
Me: Well, not really. Some really drunk crazy girls do it during Mardi Gras for the beads. It's stupid but it's certainly not culture-wide.
SOMGSMA Teacher 3: But why doesn't your family come to Brazil, then? It's so beautiful here!
Me: I just said, it's expensive.
SOMGSMA Teacher 3: But they have DOLLARS!
Me: :: sighing and blinking a lot:: They can't afford it.
Teacher 2: :: showing some humanity and realizing that I was uncomfortable:: I was just going to tell you that I'm going to the beach for Carnaval. My family and I rented an apartment--
SOMGSMA Teacher 3: So Daniel (they also call me Daniel because they can't pronounce Danielle. I tell them that calling me "Daniele" in Portuguese is okay, but they insist on Daniel. It's not a langauge-wide thing, it's just THESE teachers), does that mean you're from a poor city, then?
Me: ::sighing:: No, it doesn't. But some parts of it are poor, just like in almost every city in the world. Just like Brazil.
Teacher 2: But I mean, POOR? "There" have Favelas?
Me: I have to go.
These people are supposed to be my peers, my equals. We have much more in common in our day-to-day lives than we don't. But as much as I try to be treated as an equal, and to treat them as equals, they can't get over my American-ness, and conversations like these show me that we're not equal at all. The ignorance is just all-encompassing. And these are the people who have gone to college here and everything. They don't really have an excuse.
I've been working at this school for 18 months and they STILL talk to me like this. I want to say so many things, like "Yes, I'm American! Effing get over it." It's clear that there is no sense of relativity for them. Like they just talk about how they're jealous of me going to the US, and making the same "can you pack me in your suitcase?" joke 500 times, and there's no like "yeah, it's America, and that's cool, but it's also her homeland, where her family is, where she grew up, where she feels comfortable." Because most of them have never even been to Sao Paulo, let alone out of the country or away from their comfort zones.
Since I've been there, they've also made comments like, "the only reason people want private classes with you is because you're American" and "wow! Bahia and The US in 3 months? You must be rich!" and "I saw the notes you made in the book, but I'm not going to teach it that way. You may say that we use the word 'anyway' wrong, but that's how I learned it, so that's how I'm teaching it."
Now that I've just typed all this up, it's hard for me to understand why I've stuck around this job for so long. I guess I thought it would get better. I guess I was scared of all of my private students canceling or something. But now, you know what sounds much better? Working less, taking better care of myself and my house, and focusing on my income-generators that don't infuriate me.
Yup. Sounds much better! Anyone think I should stay?
The second big update is way cooler and way better (and another motivating factor for why I'm quitting once this semester finishes in March), but this entry is just too long, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow. :D