Ajarn lesson number one

The first steps to becoming a teacher

"Do you believe in religion?" "What religious teachings do you practice daily and why?" " Do you drink and like to party?" "What does your sister do for a living?" These were just SOME of the questions on a job application for an international model booker. 8 A4 pages to fill and I had had my fill of iced cake!

Along with my sunscreen I packed my public relations skills and one way ticket to Melbourne ready to begin a new chapter in both my social and professional life. Thailand was scheduled as a mini stop to catch up with my oldest friend who has been residing here for the last 8 months. Without a trace of malice she single handily sabotaged my plan. She MADE me fall in love with Thailand. Finally on my third visa run I realized that I had no intention of leaving, at least not in 2004.

Decision made, next steps, start earning. Mornings were spent reviewing newspaper classifieds, afternoons composing emails and evenings I tried not to spend - torture when in a country where everything is readily available for the baht spender (and I'm a girl!). Week 4, I called a friend to help with the discussed application as my iced sugar water (aka coffee) was not a strong enough stimulate. He relayed key Thai ‘power' words, but then softly, he told me that getting my dream glam job was going to take a while. I had a choice, spend money waiting for my purple button phone to ring or earn, as a teacher.

A teacher, me! Terror was my first reaction, yes I was used to handling million pound budgets and protecting the reputation of celebrities form the British tabloid, but teaching is such a responsibility! Finally my fear was sedated and with a huge dose of reality rolling around in my denial bubble, I logged on to ajarn.com, attached my c.v. and sent an email bcc'd to all job offers targeting non tefler's. I was being sensible in Bangkok and on a Saturday night - urgh!

15 minutes later I had an interview set up, by the end of Monday morning I had 4 more scheduled (bottom of the barrel anyone?). Quick call to my little sister who is a high school teacher at our old school (teaching with teachers that taught you - surely signs of a self harmer) and a speed shop at MBK for non beach clothes (again another hit of sensible - no more holidaying for this little welsh girl) and I was ready to dazzle.

On the drive to my first interview I scoured through my mind for inspiring teachers portrayed in the movies or in a sitcom. I was drawing a blank; doesn't Hollywood do sexy with teachers? The Taxi pulled up and my interviewer was standing waiting with a killer watt smile. As I slammed the door I remembered an episode of Happy Days. The Fonz had to teach a biology class at Ritchie's school, his approach, swagger, smile and wing it. So with a confident sashay, a smile at full sparkle, I winged it like only an ex-pr girl can. I got the job. In fact I was offered all five jobs.

Ever since a song from the movie Grease 2 has been on repeat play in my head "I gotta back, back, back to school....AGAIN!"


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