The meetings and discussions I had with Declan and Rapin had effectively scared me into thinking that this was all a mistake, even before I set foot into my first classroom. How on earth could things get so bad in a school? How could this Geoffrey guy barge into a school in another country and then just burrow himself in like a tick? It didn’t make sense to me at all.
Furthermore, why were they telling me all of this? Was I really supposed to be the guy to come in their and dislodge the guy who had overstayed his welcome? Is that what they were driving at? They used me for that purpose at the other job, so it wasn’t a notion that I could discount. Why doesn’t anybody fire anybody in this country? Are you all just that polite?
And why were they so open about what a mess the place was? Hey, man, thanks for taking this job. Everybody’s going to hate you, and the kids probably won’t listen. Is that ok? It had to be an exaggeration. I wasn’t going to let it go down like that.
However, there was just as much of a chance that Rapin and Declan were the bad guys in this situation. After all, they did spend quite a long time trying to tell me how I should feel about other people. It all seemed dodgy to me. But again, I wasn’t going to let it go down like that. If people didn’t like me, I would fix it. If kids didn’t listen to me, I would prove myself to them. I spent every last dime I had to move to this city and keep going on this screwy journey. There was no way I was walking away now.
The day finally came, and after a few grave warnings from Declan, I marched as bravely as I could upstairs to my office. I was in a rather large and mostly empty room with a very nice older Thai woman who introduced herself as Miss Kay, but when I tried to get a read on the environment from her she had nothing to say. I wanted to kick myself for possibly divulging too much in my first hour, but after too long of a bit of silence she told me just to do my best and not worry about anything. Wow. Was she just being nice or was she warning me? I remember thinking that her interjection was a bit foreboding.
A glance at my watch told me that it was time for second period, my first class. I walked down the hallway to find my room, and when I located where I was supposed to be (according to my schedule), I was a bit surprised to see a Thai woman sitting on a computer playing on Facebook. A few kids had gathered around, so I figured the class had ended, or, at the very least, had winded down and maybe I could go in and talk to this teacher briefly before I began.
But as I opened the door I was greeted with words that still echo in my mind: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I’M TEACHING!!!”
Exasperated, embarrassed, and confused, I bolted outside and stood there stupidly. My mind couldn’t even produce any thoughts other than holy shit what have I gotten myself into.
A mere two minutes later (though it could have been less than that for all I know), I heard a bell sound, indicating the end of class. The teacher stormed out of the room, scowling at me. She scowled so long and so hard at me that I was worried that she was going to smack into the wall. She held that foul gaze for so long that you could have sworn it was all a joke.