Since returning from my first stint as a ‘volunteer’, I have wanted to do it again – but as a wiser, more patient and experienced individual. Twenty years later I reapplied, with vigour. After travelling through SE Asia with my sister (2014-15), I decided to look for possibilities in either Myanmar (Burma) or Laos.
So here I am, 22 years later, about to head off to Savannakhet in Laos, to try to get it a bit more ‘right’ this time around. Definitely wiser and more experienced – more patient? Only time will tell. I believe that I got the job partly through being absolutely honest about mistakes that I’ve made and learnt from. I’m going in with my eyes wide open, and I have a lot of varied experiences to draw from to help me through. I’d like to think these qualities could have got me an ongoing position to continue doing what I do now, working with pre-service teachers in a university but no, it seems that research/publishing status, youth and ‘potential’ are the pre-requisites, rather than anything I have to offer. So leaving my ten+ years in sessional/casual positions in the university system is not difficult – really, who would notice?