Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek
benpeek

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Pieces of Paper

On Monday I signed up with a private tutoring agency. It was run from a home out near where I live, and conveniently placed near two schools, which I thought was a nice way to bring in some easy clients. At any rate, I was sitting there at the kitchen table, filling in the forms to be checked if I'm a child molester and what days I am available and what I can teach, because I figure private tutoring could be a way to get a solid bit of part time money. My goal with work, currently, is to find an outlet that doesn't eat up all my time, but which gets me a bit of cash, and won't bore me senseless. My main interest is that I can keep time to write. It's not a money thing: money wise, I've never made much from writing. I was told last year that the average income for a writer in Australia is three grand, but I can't remember if this is just with fiction, or part time, or what; it's certainly not the income of journalists, or anyone with a staff job, and last year I was about the average, doing mostly fiction (I could have made more should I pushed the freelance thing harder, but I wrote 26Lies instead). At any rate, that's not a lot of money, average income or not, but I never look too hard at fiction to get by. I certainly don't aim to keep the time to write so that I can make money through writing, which may seem strange, but there are easier ways, in my mind, to make money; still, I have a few opportunities which I didn't have before, and they require that I have the time to sit and write, so I look for work that will give me time and money to get by, mostly.

Private tutoring is this week's attempt. If it works out, it will work out nicely, but time will tell.

At any rate, I sat in this house filled with family photos and children's toys and a guy about ten years younger than me filled out a form, too. University students: cheap labour in the private tutoring world. But then, so are people with doctorates, or so I learnt, later, when I asked the woman in charge some of the details. It turns out that I am the cheaper choice to an actual High School teacher, who charge forty five dollars an hour (I get thirty); she--T is her name--reckons she had a guy like me a few years back, and he was very popular, and got a lot of work, so I can only hope, but with a laugh, I said, "I should charge more."

"Nah, you need that piece of paper," she replied. "It's all about the paper."

Well, the right paper, it seems.

Towards the end of last year, I thought it might be worth applying to do a diploma of education. I figured I could do the year course and then get onto the education system, and teach part time at High School. I don't really want to be a teacher at a High School, but I could handle the work, and teaching is a lot more reasonable to me than writing law reports and speeches for politicians and so forth. Plus, L, who used to do it, made it sound so glamorous, that I just couldn't resist (that's a joke, by the by; she didn't make it sound good at all). Anyhow, so I did the application, and sent it in, and in December, got a letter back telling me that I had been declined admission into the course.

The reason?

Not enough english (literature) studies in my academic transcript. At an undergrad level.

It was pretty funny, I thought. I had gotten into the Phd program in an english department, and had enough background there, but to teach High School level english, I needed to either go and do another year of University undergraduate literature and creative writing--courses which, you know, I taught in and continue to do so--or perhaps do a whole new BA, but this time in literature. The thought of it all made me laugh. It still does.

All my pieces of paper mean very little, but that's okay, because they were never meant to mean much.
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