By Paul Dalnoky
My ties to Downtown date back to 1972 as a sophomore at a prestigious high school at 1st Avenue and 15th Street. After college, I moved into this neighborhood (the West Village), which an attorney for a former landlord of mine called one of the trendiest in the City. Back then, it wasn’t so trendy, and I could live there, and pay the rent, on a bike messenger’s salary—which I did from 1982 to 1985.
Finding some modest success in circulation and advertising sales for two local weeklies, I was able to put myself through law school. However, the practice of law turned out not to be as I had envisioned it.
Fast forward, and for two years I have held a New Jersey license to teach English. In New Jersey, you don’t need an education degree and student teaching; an undergraduate degree will do. This is the plot device in my full-length script, “May It Please the Court,” which I will be uploading to Amazon Studios shortly. This loosely autobiographical script tells the story of a New York lawyer-turned-New Jersey English teacher.
Despite the fact that I have a great graduate degree (many full-time teachers hold degrees or just credits from one of a number of online, Masters mills, such as Grand Canyon University), three years of classroom experience as a substitute teacher, and one of the highest teacher-testing scores in the state (think 790 on an SAT test), I have continued to labor as a substitute teacher for slave wages since 2015.
They love me in China, but unfortunately (or maybe not so unfortunately) not here, where I have had a series of unsuccessful job interviews for full-time teaching positions. So, it’s off to China, where two schools are vying for my services, as soon as my work visa goes through. This process began in early September, and with any luck, it will be completed soon. At least I was able to spend Thanksgiving with old friends.
A modern-day Hemingway, I will file regular dispatches to this excellent publication from there, trying to get into the hearts and minds of my soon-to-be countrymen.
I have been warned about culture shock, but I say: Bring it on!