I was having yet another pointless argument about ultimately nothing at work. Then at the end of my shift i said to myself “I’m done…” and i was; My friends always said to me that you would know when it is time to go, and at that particular moment i knew i didn’t have it in me anymore. I didn’t have that spark, that drive, that desire to do my job to the best of my capabilities.
Of course, this is not a decision i have taken lightly, i have been teaching for a little over four years now. Unfortunately most teachers are aware of the politics that go on behind the scenes, especially in language schools. The fact you have to fight to get paid, the power trip that all your bosses seem to be on because they have a rich person in their family, the list is endless… This never stopped my desire to help people less fortunate than me. I felt that despite all these obstacles that people were going to throw at me along the way, that wasn’t going to stop me from giving people that one opportunity that so many people don’t get. I knew that if they learnt from me they were in safe hands, rather than some alcoholic who technically got a degree from some mickey mouse school so they land a teaching job to pay for their habit, and at the same time potentially ruining the one chance that some of these kids have.
After jumping through these hoops for a year and a half i was ready to cut my losses and go home. I didn’t want to; i loved, and still love this country, but i was fed up of all the roadblocks put in front of me because i wanted to do the right thing by the students, rather than do what was ‘best for business’… or have the audacity to suggest that the boss was not ‘always right’. Then out of nowhere i got offered a new job working for a school that cared. Sure they had their faults, but you could see they genuinely cared, instead of trying to squeeze as much money out of a student as possible, whether it benefited the student or not was a secondary issue to the other schools, however this school didn’t mind if i gave them honest advice, because they knew that it might benefit them in the long run to take different perspectives on board.
This school respected their teachers, and treated them like people. You never had to fight about money anymore and the organisation was although not a first world standard, still miles better than anywhere else i had been.
Unfortunately by now it was too late. Any time there was a discrepancy i was riled up because i had seen it many times before. Progression was something i struggled to see and it frustrated me. Many teachers were willing to sit back and not care because all they had to do was keep their mouth shut, smile and say ‘yes’ to everything and they would get paid. Not me, i couldn’t live like that.
I started teaching a course called IELTS. It’s basically a test that non native English speakers have to take if they want to study at an English speaking university to prove they can understand what’s being said. I thrived doing this course, mainly because i knew that i was indirectly helping these kids (i say kids, they were normally the same age as me…) better themselves, whether it was to better their future, or so they could come back home with new knowledge to better their own country. It was a great feeling to know that i was a part of that.
But for over the last year or so i haven’t enjoyed it. I would even go as far as to say i detested putting that shirt and tie on, then cycle 25 minutes to work just to teach people that didn’t care. Don’t get me wrong there are normally less than 10% of students who do care, and they are the ones as a teacher you latch on to. There were even times where i would say to my students that i could tell didn’t have an unlimited source of money and truly wanted to succeed that i would teach them for free at a coffee shop to help push them over the line. most of the girls would understandably be hesitant at first, wondering what my angle was. But once they realized i wasn’t trying to get into their pants they would be receptive to the idea and appreciative that someone cared enough about their future to do something like that.
In the end though i would notice these students that didn’t care more and more. And the anger and frustration i would build from that would rub off onto the small percentage of students that did care.
Then on Friday after having a pointless argument with a receptionist that wouldn’t listen and in turn would cause frequent mis-communications i knew that it was a me thing; i couldn’t fight anymore. I had nothing left in me. It was affecting my confidence, my personality and my health. I knew that when i exhaled the words “I’m done” to my boss. I meant them.
The next day i felt a massive weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to go into work anymore. I was, in fact, done. Who knows, in the future i may want to go back and teach. The passion i have will never truly die. But for now i can’t see myself going back anytime soon. It’s a new chapter in my life, and i’m looking forward to seeing what happens as a result of this.
So what happens now do you ask? Well, i have my work permit until September, so i have to come up with something before then. I may start my world travelling trip early. I may even decide to get a couple of tourist visas and stay here a bit longer, but be a tourist as opposed to someone working their arse off all day every day. Until then i have at least three months to chill out and plan my next move. It’s been emotional Thailand, and i’ll never forget you. But everyone knows when it’s their time to go, and this time it’s mine….