18 April 2013


Just two days back at work then two more weeks and my contract in Bangkok will be over. I'm returning to England on May 9th having factored in a five day break at the end of my time here. But where to go? Where to go? It's a nice problem to have though I guess that rampant Thatcherites out there in bloggoland will tell me to go to hell. Koh Lipe? Luang Prabang? Singapore? Vietnam?

Returning to school after a holiday contains none of the half-remembered trauma of yesteryear when you'd need to steel yourself for the term ahead - don your metaphorical emotional armour and prepare for the battle ahead. I am not thinking simply of the many recalcitrant youngsters I had to serve but also the endless paper work, the spreadsheets, the mountains of A4 ring binders, the soulless Thatcherite witch who was my last headteacher. 

Here it's so different. I strolled along the street at seven o' clock without a care in the world, confident that everything would be okay and I could leave my psychological armour mouldering in the bottom of my wardrobe. A frog in the shubbery tried to croak along to the Thai national anthem at morning "flag". Year Eleven boy Peem was keen to show me his holiday snaps from The Maldives and in Year Nine Marisa and Mandy were "giving it tons" in the drama room as they improvised a scene of conflict between a mother and an awkward teenager. They were roundly applauded. The Year Tens began constructing their own crosswords following the simple demonstration I provided via the whiteboard. No fuss. They just got on with it as I circulated suggesting words they could fit in.

I had lunch with Mr Jon in the school canteen - chicken, rice, vegetables, egg stew and fresh pineapple chunks. Mr Haydn told us about his trip to Indonesia. Earlier Mr Jon had filled me in on his trip back to England where his wife Denise and Alexa his baby daughter are presently residing. Seeing them seems to have put a smile back on his face as he looks ahead to his next international school contract in Taiwan.

I have a free afternoon until my little tutor group of nine students returns for the final ten minutes of the day. Gradually,  I have been drawing caricatures of them all in a family group that I shall leave as a goodbye present when I go. Being here has once again reminded me why I became a teacher in the first place - what's good about the job -  and it has also reminded me that teaching is in my blood - it's something I do very well. I have a talent for it and it was always there. As the author of "Angela's Ashes", Frank McCourt said....
Frank McCourt in "Teacher Man"


  1. You could always come back...?

    I like that saying. Natalie was capped today so we are all thinking about life, meaning, and what it's all about too. It was a wonderful day!

  2. Lucky the person who finds and enjoys their true vocation.

  3. Our daughter flies out to Thailand a week today to start her one year teaching stint in Rayong, so your posts are very reassuring!

    We hope to visit her later in the year and I have been plotting the route through Cambodia and on to Hanoi, but I've no idea how practical this might be.

  4. KATHERINE Capped? You mean she has graduated? Please give her my congratulations.
    HIPPO You are right though in the middle of it all I had many doubts. Only now do I feel a sense of confirmation.
    SHOOTING PARROTS Rayong? Not far from Koh Samet. Avoid Jep's Bunglaows if you go there. Cambodia? Fantastic. Angkor Wat and the surrounding temple sites are a wonder to behold. Check out the Air Asia site for flights to Hanoi. Many visitors to Cambodia fly into Phnom Penh. There are cheap buses to Siem Reap. It's lovely that your daughter has secured this opportunity. I think she will love it over here.

  5. I agree with Hippo....not on everything mind you..but in this respect then yes..if you are lucky enough to be able to live a life doing what you love you are truly blessed.....what will your next adventure be YP?

  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22202694
    Hope you're not the one who's been telling our Mr Gove about these fantastic eastern schools where kids go 8 days a week, with bed & breakfast included, and school holidays are just a figment of the imagination ..... (all this from a MP who gets a 7-week summer break!).

  7. I am a teacher in Australia and been following your blog. An international school in Asia might be on the agenda I think after my son graduates this year and I can travel the world. You could always pop down to Cairns in Far North Queensland to sample OZ before your return to the UK.


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