How to Teach, What to Wear, Teacher Tributes, and Teacher Journals

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  • A Tribute To Becky Kavoussi by Shelby Stroud 2011

    The Beckster and I were the only fresh meat to arrive in October. We had emailed a few times, but when I met her, she stampeded through the gate at the big house, threw down her bags, and said, “Oh my God, you’re Shelby. You look just like your pictures!” She swooped in for a hug. Moments later, we were in the car with Michael and Wen—headed to the oh so famous Big C, and I realized Becky was a wild force to be reckoned with when she shamelessly began belting Zombie with Wen.

    Becky is a spitfire, and somehow or another on zero sleep, little caffeine, and a bad day can still be full of positive energy. She’s never met a stranger, which I learned on night one with her at CN Blue. We instantly were handed drinks from the bottles of many locals as Becky made her rounds, speaking zero Thai but wearing a giant smile. Since then, she has made local friends that have taught her to play guitar, given her a few dreads, given her drinks while she chats with them at the 108, and even became a “regular” at a bar where they speak next to zero English but know her well.

    Another example of how positive Becky can be is that when her motorbike, so freshly purchased the bite of the cost hadn’t probably settled in, was stolen. I woke up to Becky and Brittany in a frenzy. They spent a long morning at the police station. I am sure a few frustrated tears were shed, but alas, Becky acknowledged it as being just an odd collaboration of events and that life goes on. After that, she pedaled around town on a bicycle with zero complaint in the bright, blazing, Thai sun.

    Beck-a-leck has a truly selfless heart. There are many times that she shows up to Super English or at The Big House with snacks, coffees, or whatever else that she shares with everyone passing through. Often times at work, I think to myself how I am hungry or need a caffeine buzz, and there she is with a tasty medley of coffee and snack. She never wants to take any Baht for it, but she is more than happy to share. If you are running low on cash at the bar or on a trip, she will be the first to spot you. I have even seen her go as far as to literally offer the shirt off of her back to Amber (okay, not literally, but you get the point), so that she would have a cover up.

    On that note, if you need a class covered, she is always willing and without a word of complaint. Becky has covered people’s classes at Thida, Suratpittiya, and has worked every camp or extra opportunity given to her. She is very mai pen rai about it, and forges her on path in the classroom with that boundless energy—there isn’t a shy bone in the girl’s body.

    She is also always down for anything. If you need someone to fearlessly sit on the back of your motorbike (riding with me is no joy ride) and listen to your mishaps of the day, she’s your girl. If you need someone to grab a drink, coffee, or snack at the night market with you, she’s your girl. Last minute trip? She’s down.

    I traveled some with Becky over the long break, and saw her warmness spread to others, like in Cambodia when she would give her last dollar or last bit of food to the beggars that can be found all over Cambodia. I never worry about knocking on her door and being a bother, and I truly appreciate how selfless, high spirited, and caring she is. Thanks for making it the year with me as the only other newbie!

    Girl—the world is at your feet, and I know you’ll take it.