Imagination takes flight

The teaching profession has never been famed for its excellent perks. There are no six figure bonuses, no "team building" weekend jaunts to Miami, and certainly no company car (unless you count the school minibus). What do I get for my troubles? A loaned laptop that cuts out every 20 minutes and has a sticky, tobacco-filled keyboard, showing signs of ill-treatment from its previous owner.

My friends in other professions like to cling to the tenuous argument that I should stop moan-ing because at least I get the long holidays.

They are untouched by the fact that said holidays are less about luxury and more about need - clearly they have never known the brain-mashing and bone-draining exhaustion that tends to catch up with one at the end of a killer term.

The fringe benefits of a career in teaching seem few and far between. So when an opportunity arose to take part in a teaching research trip "likely to involve long-haul flying", I near cartwheeled with joy. Five days, with all my expenses paid, somewhere far away. Where? I could barely contain my excitement. Jamaica? Hong Kong? New Zealand? Actually, they gave me Denmark.

Now, the last time I looked at an atlas, the flight path between London and Copenhagen was not quite classified as long haul, but since it's a place I know little about, I suppose I can convince myself that it's exotic of sorts, and hell, it's a freeby. Wait a minute... the small print states that I will have to pay for all meals other than breakfast. This is looking less and less like a perk holiday.

One thing I do know is that Denmark is the land of the pound;5 pint. I can't imagine their smorgasbords will come cheap either. Let's just hope the breakfast buffet is well stocked. Big plates at the ready Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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