GPOY, nine years ago.
It came up during an exchange with Batmiz that I had been a teaching assistant circa 2002. That came about as a result of a government initiative to get people like myself back into the workforce, ergo I was effectively ‘volunteered’ into a part-time job with a six-month contract. I actually relished the challenge, but it was conversely easy in that I only lived across the road from the grade school I worked at, and sometimes my mother worked as a secretary in the school office - a parallel experience to my early 80’s education as a precocious student. (I was actually deemed intelligent enough to attend a school for advanced students, but my parents nixed the idea for various reasons.)
Mind you, the job - such as it was - had a steep learning curve, in that I had to learn to deal with children from the ages of five through to eleven/twelve, with all the myriad challenges that entails. That aside, though, I was essentially a technological dogsbody; one particular task involved setting up Hotmail accounts for the Year 6 students. At the other end of the scale, I would play through simple educational PC games with the littlies in Prep. I enjoyed both equally, I have to say.
As for the staff, I knew one teacher as I attended high school with her, while the principal - an expat American who still retained his midwestern burr despite living here for a number of years - took quite a shine to me during my stint there. He even gave me a Nick Cave CD (The Boatman’s Call) due to being impressed with my work. However, some of the other faculty members resented my being foisted upon them (which the principal mentioned in passing, followed by a swift reassurance that he liked having me there), and I actually had a heated argument with one of the older women on staff over - of all things - the sound quality during rehearsals for the end-of-term school concert. (I was manning the rudimentary mixing desk.) Thankfully, that was resolved in short order, and the concert went off without a hitch. (I still flinch when I hear Will Smith’s Wild, Wild West though.)
The photo above came about as I was given the task of testing out a new digital camera that had been bought for the school, which involved me taking pics of the grounds using various filters. I opted to get a MySpace-style pic of myself before I did that, though. (As you’ve all no doubt guessed, it’s the basis for my user ID.)
It’s weird (and, I hope, understandably so) looking at myself from nearly a decade ago. As the picture no doubt gives away, I had next-to-no sense of style, my glasses are Lennon-esque, and my haircut is appalling. (Not to mention the goatee. Why did I think that ever looked cool?) On top of that, I had no idea what the immediate future would hold; I just wanted to last out my contract and make of the training credits promised by the govenment, in their infinite wisdom, as a reward.
Eventually, once I had access to said credits, I made my decision: I would move once again to Melbourne and attend a screenwriting class at the CAE. That turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life thus far.
But that’s a story for another time.