The winds of change are beginning to blow, and they are pushing my ship Eastward. Long have I bemoaned the atrocious realities of freelance writing, but living in Montreal means that I’m stuck doing it since it’s impossible to find a job out here without perfect bilingual fluency. I’ve stuck with it about as long as I can, but soon I’ll be embarking on the next stage of my career as a language professional: teaching ESL overseas.
You might be wondering, “Chris, why do you want to be an ESL teacher?” Well now, that’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked. I’ve thought about it for a long time, and I know many people who have done it before, so this isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly. Teaching English overseas is the perfect way for me to utilize my English language abilities in a way that contributes something to the world, and I can also travel to distant places and interact with people from different cultures while I’m doing it. Teaching people how to speak English is way for me to make a difference somewhere and satisfy my hunger for exploration while I’m at it. It seems to me that it’s the perfect career choice, really.
This month I completed the in-class portion of the TEFL course with Oxford Seminars, and now I just have to complete the online portion. It’s pretty easy so far, and once that’s done I’ll have access to their online job bank and I can start looking for teaching contracts. The fact that I have a college diploma, not a university degree, is going to be a stumbling block for me because all the highest paying jobs require degrees, so I’ll likely have to settle for less pay. Even still, it’s a career path with far more long term potential and reward than freelance writing.
I’m also moving back to Toronto in May to be with my family while I look for contracts. I need to be available to start immediately, and if I’m still in this apartment in Montreal and have to give 60 days notice to my landlord before moving out, that could potentially disqualify me from contracts. There’s a chance that whoever hires me might want me to start ASAP.There is also an equal chance that I might have several months lead time, but it’s best to play it safe and move back.
Another thing is that I just don’t want to live in Montreal anymore. I never intended on staying here permanently, but now I’ve finally had enough. I’m fed up with living alone, working alone, and having no one around to talk to. I have no people out here. No family. No close friends. No life, basically. Every day I ask myself what the hell am I doing out here? What is the point of all this? All my family and close friends are in Ontario, and Toronto is where all the opportunities are in my field. Montreal is great for art and culture, but it doesn’t have as much to offer an English language professional as Toronto does. Not even close. And the highest provincial income tax rate in the country makes Quebec a bad place for freelancers. When I move back to Toronto, even if this ESL thing doesn’t work out I can still find a job in the media, or advertising, or (gasp!) marketing.
The winds of change are blowing, and they are pushing me beyond the end of this sad chapter of my life. I wish I could say I had an amazing time living here, but in all honesty I didn’t. Montreal hasn’t worked out for me at all the way I thought it would. These have been some of the loneliest and most existentially painful years of my life. I’ve been smoking prodigious amounts of weed just to cope with everyday life sometimes, even though I know I really shouldn’t be spending the money. These are not the actions of someone who’s happy.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. It’s time to raise the sails and catch the winds of change. Take them into the horizon of a new age.