The thing about Packing and Unpacking
Recently, with the results out and the students, san the sec 4 leaving to enjoy their ill deserved holidays, the teachers in the various staffrooms are busy packing for the new school. In fact this is a painful process as after going through that two and a half years ago, we are going through the same process of doing that again. Of course it felt better as now we are in anticipation of a newer, more modern staffroom ( yes and that means a staffroom with a proper kitchenette attached and not the long kampung bench that the teachers are so used to for the past few years.)
Surprising, most of us are reacting to the return ambivalently; While some look forward to the modern facilities as compared to the run down state of the holding school, many especially in my staffroom will really miss the wonderful times that we had together. A lot of teachers love the morning air and the vast greenery in the Thomson campus. The long leisure walks which could kill in the scorching heat of the afternoon sun and of course the thought of sharing the habitats of birds, squirrels, mosquitoes and of course (gasp) snakes! In fact there are some who are apprehensive about coming back to one big staffroom after some many years working independently of each other in three different staffrooms, where 3 starkly different working cultures had emerged. There will bound to be conflicts and of course, there will be the occasional bickerings. It won't be easy but we will try, and we can make it work.
However I must conclude, the past few years had been memorable, especially in a staffroom where it was really like a big family. It was during this few years that I got to know a couple of my colleagues better, and of course made real good friends. It is in this small but yet cozy environment that I got to know a fellow colleague so much better. I will definitely miss the monday morning jibes on the latest progess of our favourite EPL teams, the late afternoon sharings sessions with my colleagues and the saturday stressfree mornings where you just "indulge" your time in the staffroom marking books/assignments, writing and preparing lessons, with the stereos blasting.
It is also through this painful process that we discovered something - teachers are sentimental beings. A couple of colleagues, myself inclusive still have our Practicum files ( when we first started teaching) with us hidden in some dusty corners which we will not have realised if we didn't start packing. Although the syllabus had changed, content had changed, we still hold on to that file, for it reminds us of the hard work we had gone through then. Of course there were also boxes which remained unopen since we first moved in and that it will returned to Toa Payoh Campus in their pristine form. Going trough the massive stuff of mess also uncovered things like - my sec 2 maths notebook when I started teaching maths 4 years ago, a stack of sec 3/4 adventure camp consent form, an envelope containing tens of dollars in coins!, sec 4/3 2003 prelim results etc.. "Archaeological searches" had also uncovered cards, thanks you notes, little souvenirs and of course years of photographs and magazine clippings of past events and people. They only served to remind us how things have changed, how we had aged and of course how we had mellowed down over the years...
As I bring back the bits and pieces of stuff- books, files and souvenirs, that is when i realised that all this is all that I am left with...in 3 years of life in the Thomson Campus.