Laurie's story
In search of the January blues
DUBAI

Laurie’s story – In search of the January blues

It’s cold, it’s drab and I’ve been up early. I’m tired. I have the January blues. You know what they are, you’ve had them too. The Christmas gluttony is over. Diets begin, falter and collapse in a matter of days.

I’m sat in my classroom before the morning rush. This period is normally a scramble for most teachers as they complete their prep for the day. For me, it’s a moment of calm reflection. I look out of the old 10-foot high windows of the classroom and notice a plane slicing through the sky. It leaves a faint contrail camouflaged against the clouds.

“I wonder where that’s headed?” I asked myself. I wished I was on it.

Plane contrails

January 2019 was a turning point for me, professionally and personally. I’d lived in the UK all my life. I’d travelled a little bit, but not a lot. Mostly in Europe. I’d been a teacher for five years, moving schools twice in that time.

I was working hard, or maybe I should say, I was worked hard by the system, the processes, the consequences of underfunding; overcrowded classrooms.

As I gazed at the plane flying overhead I promised myself that, this evening, I would see what I could do with my life. Escape the January blues.

With only a brief haul of marking to complete and nothing on the TV other than Holby City, my resolution to find a new lifestyle began in earnest.

It started, like every query does these days, at the gates of Google. I entered ‘international teaching jobs’ into the search and discovered a company that would take me to places I never thought I’d go.

Suddenly I was awash with polaroid photos of exotic locations, desert safaris and tropical islands. I felt the vitamin D radiate from the page. This was the life I was after.

With the cold outside air assaulting the windows of my apartment, I found solace in the research I was doing on the International Teaching Partnership’s website.

There was useful information about different areas of the world, everything from average teaching salaries to the price of a two-bed apartment. I decided to register…

The team at the International Teaching Partnership didn’t disappoint. Interviews were scheduled, jobs (yes, multiple) were offered and visas were organised.

It’s January 2020 and 24 degrees in Dubai. Vitamin D blankets the schoolyard and me. I head towards my classroom, smug and content. I look up at the sky and see a plane slicing through the pearl blue background. The contrail no longer camouflaged by a blanket of cloud but contrasting against the blue. You could say, I’ve got the January blues.

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