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Part 1

Kevin McAllion hails from Scotland and he has the humour to prove it. A journalist by trade, he took a sabbatical in Thailand where he spent an unlikely year teaching English before returning to more sensible employment drawing boxes and deleting commas for the Daily Mail. Here Kevin recalls his times in Thailand.

With the clock edging ever closer to a week since my return to Bangkok, I still remain unemployed and things are becoming a little worrying as I've become acquainted once more with my old friend Mr. Overdraft.

It has been a long time since we last met and he has become a little angrier and a great deal less patient. It has been over two years since I was last a student and thus my lazy, work-shy bastard privileges are now redundant and crippling interest rates come out to play.

With an interview lined up for the day after my arrival at James Wattana International, I thought I'd be scraping chalk off a dilapidated blackboard in a matter of hours while pondering the wisdom of sewing leather patches to my jacket.

But finding an English job hasn't been as easy as I'd been led to imagine. Impeccably decked out in some expensively acquired new togs, I headed into my first interview with more confidence than Peter Stringfellow during a "ladies drink for free" night at his local pub in Romford. However the cocky strut turned into a nervous wobble when I was handed a grammar test before anyone had even uttered a word.

The first poser "circle the irregular verbs" had the sweat pouring from my brow and I instantly regretted spending all my time in Second Year English classes devising filthy limericks and endlessly searching the dictionary for words than ended in "uck". I made an educated guess at six answers but later discovered only three were correct after printing out a massive list on the internet.

I fared slightly better at the rest of the exam but phrases like "stressed syllables" and "passive voices" seemed themselves like a foreign language. I don't remember being taught stuff like this in school and we certainly did bugger all at Uni - we all know how to read, write and speak English but when it comes to explaining the structure it's a whole new ball game.

After speaking to the other two teachers at the school (an ok guy from Leeds who was here to make some cash and a chump from near Birmingham who has been here for four years and considers the job his true calling) and the department head, I was told they'd be in touch, but one look at my erroneous exam paper seemed to set the alarm bells ringing and I haven't heard a whimper since.

I actually managed to make the shortlist for my next intended job target (being a primary one teacher at an international school) but again fell short, which is a shame as I would also have been responsible for teaching the ankle-biters maths, science and computing.

Science 10am: "Today children we are going to talk about where babies come from. I've picked up some cheap videos from Pat Pong that I'm sure will be very educational."

Maths 12pm: "If Kevin has 6000 baht and buys one bottle of whisky for 75 baht and four beers at 45 baht each will he have enough money to go to a brothel and get a tuk-tuk home?."

Computing 2pm: "For teacher to enjoy some free pornography, he has to first crack the code for a password. So try keying in different codes for the next 20 minutes and the first one to get access can spend the next hour in the sandpit."

Oh, the possibilities.......

It looks like I'll be able to corrupt at least one youth though as my latest trip to a job agency has seen me land a trial as a private tutor. Some rich Thai people want their 11-year-old nipper to have one hour's private tuition a day and the current lucky punter lumbered with this glorified form of babysitting finishes tomorrow.

Thus yours truly has been pencilled in to help him with his homework, brush up on his English and generally lark about. I'll have him fluent in phalanx within a few days if successful. At just five hours a week it won't do as a full-time job but at least it's a start. I'm thinking of going to see About A Boy as homework but I'm worried about modelling myself on Hugh Grant - though getting sucked off by a pro in your motor is slightly less frowned upon on these liberal shores.

Kevin McAllion – Originally written in 2002

Related Article: It's Like a Jungle Sometimes: Part 2

Related Article: It's Like a Jungle Sometimes: Part 3

Read more from Kevin (aka David Alsatian) at: http://www.thespoof.com/search.cfm?writer=564

Back to Teaching in Thailand

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Have your say...

dan loder
18 Nov 2011, 01:04
Kevin you are obviously a genuinely humorous fellow. I believe you have hit solving your unemployment problem with what comes naturally. Try a night performing at a comedy club. Many stars have started that way. A club in New York City called the comedy club was first opened in the 70's. People such as Robin Williams,The Canadian team which comprised Saturday night live Belushi, Akryod, and others were discovered there. Mangers troll these clubs looking for new talent to represent. With your brogue you will be a hit in NY. And chin up look what Sir William Wallace did. YOUR SCOTTISH TOUGH AS NAILS.-- I mean before they beheaded him leaving parts of his body on all four sides of the prison he spent his time in. Hopefully your show will have a better outcome.
29 Jul 2012, 09:10
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