The Ten Crack Commandments as a Guide to Teaching English
1) Rule nombre uno, never let no-one know / how much, dough you hold / cause you know / that cheddar greed, jealousy / specially if that man fucked up / get your ass stuck up
Relevance: This critical concept of economic competition is Commandment No. 1 for a reason, and it even bears special relevance to the teaching game. In any arena, being able to gauge the success of your peer-competitors is hugely beneficial. You can learn what tactics to copy, and, just as importantly, which fucking cliff not to walk off of. If you’ve got a good gig going, bragging about it into the Guangzhou Gossip Mill does nothing but give an invite to every swinging-dick Tom and Harry to crowd in on your shit. Say the company you work for pays well and you may literally be able to watch as the flood of new applicants either lowers your salary - as the company realizes how replaceable you are – or, replaces you outright. If your big mouth doesn’t lead to teacher-friends fucking with your money at work, it will in your social life. As every broke dick English teacher knows, those with more money pay more when partying because Socialism.
Even if your 3-digit bank account balance is enough to remind you that bragging about your income is the least of your concerns, still keep your mouth shut vis-à-vis your poverty. Admitting to a low salary pegs you as some combination of a) fool; b) newb; c) junkie; d) maniac, or, more likely, some combination of the four. Being deemed as such a person can semi-permanently damage your social reputation, and, given that the expat scene in Guangzhou has more rumor-based intrigue than King’s Landing, it’s best to avoid the subject altogether. I tell people I live off a police-brutality lawsuit settlement and just work to give my life structure.
Rating: Very important rule, unless you like paying for the bottles. *****
2) Number two – never let ‘em know your next move / don’t you know bad boys move in silence and violence?
Relevance: Let’s be honest here: we’re talking to kids; nobody’s curing cancer here. That is, the stakes of this industry are low, so if somebody learns your secrets, you’re not exactly losing a billion-dollar patent. Because of the low-stakes, being ultra-secretive about future plans tends to make one appear to be a delusional tool more than a savvy businessman. I’ve had more than one laugh at such people’s expense. They discuss their new “company,” and tell of trips across the world to “secure investors” so they can start “negotiations with factories.” The truth eventually comes out that this inter-continental mission involved going home – which they had to do anyway – and hitting parents and friends up for cash. Being secretive about teaching English, or, for that matter, any other business opportunity (you’re a fucking English teacher; would you even be able to recognize a business opportunity if it smacked you in the face with its dick, let alone be able to develop one? No) is generally bad form.
Additionally, re: Commandment No. 1, a healthy amount of nondisclosure is good and, because your plans will most likely fail, not having to explain why your plans went up like so much ZhongNanHai smoke will prevent loss of face. This commandment then, proves to hold true for both Crack and English work, but for somewhat competing reasons. In Crack, airing your plans to world could result in disaster, in English it just sets you up to look like an ineffectual tool (like we need any help.)
Rating: Better to remain silent and appear a fool, than to speak and prove it ***
3) Number three – never trust no-bo-dy / your moms’ll set that ass up, properly gassed up / hoodied and masked up / for that fast buck, she’ll be layin’ in the bushes ready to light that ass up
Relevance: Though the consequences are far less drastic than death by mother-fired gunshot, in teaching trust is a commodity in rare supply. As discussed about Commandment No. 1, fellow-teachers should be treated like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed shit. Employers, likewise, are worthy of little more than a modicum of trust. Here, and also below with Commandment No. 6, the issue relates primarily to contract clauses, salary and future scheduling.
Employers in China respect their employees’ time and listen to their concerns with about the same frequency that I fuck a fat chick. That is, once in a great while, but usually only by accident. Part of being a boss in China is reveling in the reward of not having to give a fuck – if they did give a fuck, they’d be like you, so, even if they want to be honest and deal with you forthrightly, they won’t because Socialism. So, recognize that in the pantheon of people you shouldn’t trust, people who don’t give a fuck about you are pretty near the top.
Rating: There’s no such thing as a girl you don’t fuck. There are only girls you should deny having fucked. ****
4) Number four – I know you heard this before / never get high on your own supply
Relevance: O! to be able to get high on being a native speaker of English! - for that is the supply of the English teacher. The fortunes of the bar owners and Xiaobei landlords of Guangzhou would surely suffer. Being a native speaker is the output, or, supply, of the English teacher and this circumstance of upbringing, combined with the (preferably light) shade of one’s skin combine to determine the overall desirability of any given teacher. Can one get high on being a native speaker? Again: if only that were so.
However, teachers demonstratively do get high on themselves, often to their own detriment. Their crack, more often than not, is a misused concept of self-importance. The lowest level of teacher does her job faithfully, because, dammit, that’s what a decent person should do. This level of educator is comprised mostly of the newly arrived and the fucking helpless.
With relative levels of speed, though, most teachers eventually reach the following professional outlook: I am the commodity being sold; I alone do the entirety of all marketable work being sold; therefore, I am entitled to commensurate pay and privileges. This is the outlook of the hardened veteran of teaching and, all in all, is not an inappropriate view of the teaching game.
Within this self-focused, diva-like view of things, however, lay a great liability. In this view’s blind spot stands the person of the school boss, firmly. Teachers who view themselves as the beginning and end of the line quite often overlook the unique roles and skill sets of the sales staff and, sometimes, even those of the administrators, though, again, this is all too rare. Teachers would be well served to maintain a healthy respect for the rest of the industry, as it is all too easy to ignore the contributions of others when you’re the star of the show. Now get me some fucking Zima!
Rating: Don’t be a diva, because: You. Teach. English. If you ever need help remembering that fact, just spend some time with non-teacher expats. They never forget it. ****
5) Number five – never sell no crack where you rest at / I don’t care if they want an ounce tell ‘em bounce
Relevance: This whole essay is a thought experiment. By no means do I mean to imply that the rules of selling crack cocaine should be expected to wholly align with those of English education. Indeed, Biggie’s Commandment No. 5 is a stark example of just how dissimilar the Crack and English games are. You don’t sell crack out of house because you don’t want crackheads swarming around the place where your head rest, because, 1. Nobody wants to be surrounded by crackheads (though Elephant & Castle regulars tend to discredit this maxim), and 2. You don’t want to peg your own home as a crackhouse and attract police attention. Otherwise, selling crack from your home is great. You don’t have to get dressed; you don’t have to commute; you can safely serve fiends through a barred gate; you can play Madden in between crack sales; and by and large avoid the drama of the corner.
While sharing all the advantages of slinging cooked up fish-scale at home, teaching English at home shares none of crack-dealing’s negatives. Nobody fiends for that English and, despite the 85% chance you hold an L-visa, the D.A. still ain’t givin’ a fuck. Working at home is also great because it generally means you have a private student and are cutting out the middleman of the center and banking their cut. Additionally, a student who comes to your home will likely be the kind of student you can fuck around with and play video games, if they’re a kid, or, if they’re an adult, literally fuck around with. Easy, easy.
Rating: Very instructive, insofar as it shows what not to do. ****
6) Number six – that goddamn credit / dead it / thinkin’ a crack-head payin you back, shit forget it
Relevance: This is definitely one of the more instructive commandments. Can you imagine a crack dealer NOT getting paid? If so, you got it 360 cause that shit ain’t 100. Of course a distributor should get paid upfront, or at the very least, upon services rendered. Once the high’s been had, future money is allotted to future highs, not past ones. I have met very, very few teachers – or for that matter, any people doing business – who have been in the game in China for more than at least a year who have not, in some way, been outright cheated out of salary, all or partial, misled or lied to about upcoming work (space in your schedule has value in and of itself), or in some other way bamboozled. Strangely, for a society supposedly based on the importance of interpersonal relationships, fucking and getting fucked – and, no, not in the Dongguan kind of way – seems to be matter of course.
So, defend yourself. Assume that 80% of everything schools tell you about salaries is bullshit and try to build-in some protections for yourself. Pay attention to a places reputation. If you work for smaller outfits, get the money upfront (they do) or, at least, weekly. They’ll tell you that’s impossible at first, but taking a strong stance will either get you what you want, or, at the minimum should give centers pause before assuming their SOP of no-Vaselining your foreign ass.
Rating: Getting Dongguaned is only fun in Dongguan… or Macau… or Vegas… or, well, a lot of places, actually. *****
7) Seven – this rule is so underrated, keep your family and business completely separated / money and blood don’t mix / like two dicks / and no bitch / find yourself in serious shit
Relevance: By necessity, this one is pretty easy to follow. To make sure my family and business are completely separated, I use the Pacific Ocean. Some English citizens prefer to use continental Asia and Europe. Just find whatever works best for you.
Rating: If your family really loved you, they’d come visit. ***
8) Number eight – never keep no weight on you / them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jumps too
Relevance: Dealing Crack and Teaching English are not the same. Though they do share some aspects and many rules of behavior govern both activities, possessing felony-weight class 4 narcotics as a prerequisite to doing business and maintaining a posse of gun-toting, loyal, hood-ass soldiers to ensure your enterprise’s territorial and reputational respect are elements which belong strictly to the Crack game and have no relevance whatsoever to teaching English.
Rating: As much as I’d like to pretend otherwise. *
9) Nine – if you ain’t getting’ bagged, stay the fuck from police / if niggas think you snitchin’, they ain’t tryna listen / they be sittin’ in your kitchen / waitin’ to start hittin’
Relevance: Really, they’re not the same at all.
Rating: I’m just gonna deny it, though. I sell crack. *
10) Number ten – a strong word called consignment / strictly for live men, not for freshmen / if you ain’t got the clientele say hell no / cause they gonna want they money rain, sleet, hail, snow
Relevance: Not. The. Same.
Rating:I’m in these streets all day, come find me, EC stand up. *