First of all, apologies for the lateness of this article.
I’ve been kind of busy and then when I checked ajarn.com yesterday, I realised that there was supposed to be a conclusion to getting a job interview - part 1, so here it is, kind of.
So my first interview was the result of a walk-in enquiry and it was a primary school about five minutes away from where we lived in Kalasin.
Myself and my good lady wife had made a list of the schools within a certain perimeter and this happened to be the first one. To be totally honest, I wasn’t overly keen on teaching at a primary school but my own son was 15 at the time, so I figured I would have a better chance of connecting with Thai kids of that age.
Anyway, we strolled into the government run school and we were met halfway to the main building by a chap called Elvis, I kid you not. He was from Nigeria and had a handshake that I still remember to this day. He welcomed us into the main office and another teacher, who happened to be his wife, was also there.
They were a very pleasant couple but their demeanour changed when a Thai lady entered the office. She was the Vice-Principal and was wearing the government school uniform.
‘Where are you from?’ she asked, without so much as an introduction.
This got us off on the wrong foot because I can’t abide rudeness in people, no matter how high they think they are on the social ladder.
I informed her Royal Rudeness that I was from the UK. She wasn’t impressed. Without so much as a word, up she left us and I could sense Elvis and Mrs Elvis start to relax a little more.
But then he went into a weird mode as he looked at my sparse CV and accompanying copies of my BA degree and TEFL certificate.
‘What is your experience?’
He practically shouted this at me but his accent was so heavy that I asked him to repeat himself.
‘You are not a native speaker?’
This was him asking, not me.
‘So we can only pay you a very low salary’
Mrs Elvis looked very excited at this point. He went on
‘You have a visa for working?’
I tried to explain that I could only get the required visa once I had a formal letter from the school inviting me to start work as a teacher. How wrong could I be?
‘No no no no!’ he went on, he really did…
‘You can work on a tourist visa here, it’s so easy, not like in Bangkok’
I was about to ask about how could that be so, and how could I get a work permit when the vice-principal reappeared out of nowhere, medals looking very shiny indeed. She cut Mr Presley off as he was about to make his reveal. I was almost relived to see her, almost.
‘Come with me now’
Elvis looked flustered but handed me back my papers and stood up, as did his wife.
This was the first time she had spoken and she was very loud indeed. So we all trooped off and seemed to be doing a single file march around the school’s playing fields until I realised there was a small building on the other side.
‘We are going to speak to the director, to show him how handsome you are!’
Oh God, I thought, he’ll not be impressed then.
We entered the building and inside was the man himself, he was sat at one of the largest tables I’ve ever seen and looked as if he was about to start eating a meal that was ample for five or six people. Maybe we were going to be offered a few snacks?
The director looked up and then back at his food, clearly more important.
‘This is Mr Philip, he is from the Ukraine’
That seemed to touch a nerve but before I could correct Elvis and the rest of the room, he looked back up and barked:
‘We don’t want people from that country!’
He was back to his feast and we were leaving the room.
Elvis escorted me to the school gates and his parting shot was pretty good.
‘Don’t worry, I can get you a job here but the salary is now ten thousand baht, you start tomorrow!’
Of course I had no intention of returning but I gave him my firmest handshake and without a hint of irony replied:
‘Thank you, thank you very much’
And that was that, well at least until we hit the next school.
To be continued…