Friday, September 29, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
My first upper secondary form class, the batch of graduating students still keeps in contact with me. The infrequent sms-es that never failed to warm the heart, the yearly CNY visits. And before I knew it, most of them are already starting their tertiary education.
We met up for brunch on Saturday ( actually it should be lunch since so many of them were late) to bid farewell to one of the girls who got a scholarship to study in the UK. Vanessa, had to, of all professions, choose to join the army and was offered a scholarship to study in York University. I haven't seen some of them for almost 2 years since they left IJ and thus I was kinda looking forward to see how they were getting on. Sad to say, many of them couldnt make it at such short notice and many had to leave for other appointments and we were left with only 5 - 6 of us at Marche. It was quite nice catching up with my ex students. Seeing them talking about their dreams and aspirations, boyfriends and stuff, I suddenly felt really old. There they were, a figment of my memory, sitting at the respective areas in the classroom. Vanessa was always the hyper-active and studious one. Her affectious laughter and her "omigosh" everytime when there is a difficult maths question. How times flies as right in front of me then was a mature lady embarking on her new phase of her life.
I am happy to see all of them happily moving on. But like all parents, there is always a part of me that hope that every single one will stay the same as they use to be. Maybe they still do, Maybe I still do.
To Vanessa, I am sorry that I would not be able to send you off on Monday as I guess it might be too hard for me to say goodbye (and of course you will be coming back like December for your semestral break) It seems like yesterday that I wrote your testimonial and remember you in your blue pinafore. And there you are now, a confident lady going to embark on something new. I hope that you will read the gift I gave you as it was one book which i felt will be something impactful and meaningful. I am happy to see you moving on so well in your life and hope that you will do well for your studies and come back and make your family and friends proud. Challenges await you ahead and believe me the fruits of labour will be even sweeter with each trial and tribulation.
As i was writing this, a tune started ringing in my head. I googled it and there is the lyrics
"Stay the Same"
Don't you ever wish you were someone else,
You were meant to be the way you are exactly.
Don't you ever say you don't like the way you are.
When you learn to love yourself, you're better off by far.
And I hope you always stay the same, cuz there's nothin' 'bout you I would change.
[Verse]I think that you could be whatever you wanted to be
If you could realize, all the dreams you have inside.
Don't be afraid if you've got something to say,
Just open up your heart and let it show you the way.
[Bridge]Believe in yourself.
Reach down inside.
The love you find will set you free.
Believe in yourself, you will come alive.
Have faith in what you do.
You'll make it through.
Take care and God Bless!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
In continuation with what i set out to do in my previous post, I decided to write a little bit about how I was enticed into the teaching profession and finally took it up as a calling and a career.
Memory lane back to 1989, when I have exchanged my khaki shorts for the long white pants of an upper secondary student. In the only class in the entire cohort which take history and literature as the humanities in the pure science cohort, the class 3s5 was considered as an oddball. However I guess that was where my love affair with the subject started.
Young man with hormones raging, and there she was, a sweet history teacher who left the NIE just a couple of years ago. She was not really the prettiest thing on earth, but in my eyes she was a goddess, someone who was kind enough to give us help and explain history, and of course satisfy our curiosity for the bloodiest and gory stuff of the 3 Java wars. I can always remember the many times where she would take up the afternoons ( yes then school really ends at 1.00pm) to get to know us better and of course to enthuse us with all the history books with the troves of information. She was not really the most interesting teacher, in fact she fall into those category of a typical history teacher who flashed transparencies with summarized versions of the textbook which we would so studiously strained our eyes copying and busily highlighting our textbook. Perhap it was her ( I guess most probably) that got me my consistent A1s for history, and with success you start to breed interest. In fact I find myself working harder and harder for the subject to impress her. I guess it was then the seed of the love of the subject and finally the decision to become a teacher like her was laid.
Fast forward to the present, a casual comment by a member in the school who mentioned that there were only 30 out of the entire sec 2 cohort opted for history in the trial streaming exercise only served to tell me that history is a dying subject. Maybe kids nowadays are not as "guillible" as I was or I was deemed to be "not-that-attractive". I guess the under the belt insult that I am not as fresh and as goodlooking as the Geography teachers only bring the harsh reality that I am indeed getting old (Sigh!!)
I am really quite sick of all this, unjustifiable comparison between history and geography and this peddling of the subjects like commodities or shares which were perceived to have better returns or values. I think I just need to sit on the toilet bowl and flush out my thoughts.
( PS I think I am having my mood swings again.... must be the stress acting up... I think)
Sometimes the honours of a leader has to be earned
2 incidents which so happen in quick succession showed me what it meant to be slighted....
1) When the P introduced the key personnel during the parents-teacher dialogue, guess who was the only one present not mentioned?
2) when the sms was send to all Key personnel regarding the cancellation for the photo-taking session, guess again who was the only one oblivious and dressed to the nines?
It is already hard being a Key personnel, and it is even harder when you are not recognised as one ( sure th meagre allowance do soften the blow a little)
Maybe it was a mistake.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
In my blog surfing to find equally depressing people in the teaching profession, :P, I saw a comment written on a fellow professional's blog
In the blog, Mr A wrote that teachers blogs are generally depressing, and it had in some way made his cousin think twice about joining the sacred profession. He was glad that Jeanie had address this issue and I quote
"Your positive tone helped remove the depression I felt. And I think you are right. We must remember WHY we joined and if we have not left yet, we must still feel the passion somewhere in us. If there is no more passion left, we should leave. And not gripe and moan and do a greater disservice to our profession."
I totally agree with what A say about depressing teacher blogs. In fact it is not usual to see teachers griping about the system, the students, the colleagues and every thing under the sun. Sad to say, as teachers, sometimes we do not have the proper channels to address our frustrations, our unhappinesses or even our take on certain governmental policies which would have been dumped if we were the Minister of Education a day (hey everyone is entitled to their own opinion). But as an individual, everyone has their own take on issues that concern us and the very fact that we gripe about it, show that we are passionate and bothered by the things we see and experience. I do agree that griping too much can be detrimental to the service and to our own physical well being but I also understand that we need to let it out our systems at times. The fact is teachers do complain and the fact is that teachers who do complain do have this passion. Sometimes it is this passion that really got us burned out and frustrated.
I have to admit I do moan and groan and the sad/true thing is that the very fact that I have made my identity known means that my every actions, words are under constant scrutiny to the students, parents, fellow teachers and *gasp* MOE officials ( Now I wonder whether it is because of this that I am not being promoted as fast as I hope for, or maybe it is just my CEP ;P) But then again, I stand by what I have written and I know that the very fact that I bothered to even write a blog to document what has happened, is a good indication that I have *sadly* made teaching my life and my mission. And I must say life is always bittersweet and never rosy :)
( Maybe an audacious appeal to all the teachers bloggers who read this, to write about why you join teaching in the first place and what prompted you to continue on and on everyday. Maybe as what A say, this would be a timely reminder about our "mission" in life. :)) Not if you would excuse me, I got to overcome my initial depression of the blues from coming back from my reservist)
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I attended a IT class on how to do podcasting and was fiddling with it with a colleague during the computer lab.
This is my first attempt at podcasting. So the quality is really bad. Do give your comments.
PS the issue may be a bit controversial and I have to acknowledge that I drew some inspiration from a fellow teacher blogger's blog entry ( This blogger had gotten quite a lot of flak recently and I shan't add fuel to the fire). Contrary to what people may feel, I put this up not to whinge about the things I am doing but rather as a form of trying out a new way of expression. As such I am just experimenting with the topic.
If of course the content is too rauchy or too controversial to your liking... Well.......
Waiting in tredipation, outside the examination hall, as my 4n kids handed in their SS scripts.
As they swarmed out of the hall, my first question upon seeing some of the dejected faces was "why? what happened?"
"cher, very difficult, no time to finish leh, I left with only 5 minutes to answer the 25 mark structured question"
"Mr ng, aiyoh, why the question so like that, how come the topic that you spot did not come out, I study so hard for it leh!"
My heart sunk a little. To give myself some credit, I did managed to spot about 3 out of the 4 questions correctly which will give the students ample choice to answer. Even the question styles were similar, and I was hoping that the kids would have aced the paper. However sad to say, many had forgot or did not remember the important things that I had so emphasized so many times during the course of the revision and the state of shock when I rattled the answers and the sources ( midyear, prelim, and the countless practice papers) I gave them which were so similar to what they had encountered in the exams. Many of them then realised that the answers were there for them. It was whether they had made the attempt to just look for them and scrutinise them.
As I walked back to the staffroom and plonked into my little cubicle, I just have to pray that the markers would be a little more lenient with them, for even they had forgotten some of those that I taught, I knew that these kids had tried their best. And I would like to see that that in itself is already a commendable thing.