Friday, May 30, 2008

I have yet to start teaching according to the syllabus. Instead, I have spent this whole week trying to know my students and their competency level better by playing games and giving them essays to write. It sounds simple and easy but the workload is heavy, I have more than two hundred essays to read through and marking these essays is a challenge to my brain.
Each time I look at the pile of essays on my desk, I shake my head and wonder why on earth did I make them write those essays.? As if I have all the time in the world to mark all of it. Though it can be a mental torture, I do somehow enjoy reading those essays., an expression of themselves through writing. Many of those essays are very personal and are not meant to be read out loud. I admire my students for their openness to express what is within them, to share their personal feelings through their work.
I am glad to have given them essays to write. Those essays has served as an avenue for me to know my students better. Reading those essays changed some of the earlier perceptions I had towards my students and I believe it will help me to be more effective in my classes. Ambitious I may sound, but I’m actually tempted to see my students individually when I give them back their essays.
As for now, Jenn has stopped cooking for the time being, she marks papers during her free time.
To be honest, what happened to me on Monday did discourage me from being positive minded. I was exhausted, discouraged and miserable. I saw myself unworthy as a teacher. Being a person with low self esteem, I’ve always considered my level of English competency to be average. Therefore when I discovered that half of my class consisted of students who got A in their SPM English, I felt like running away from the class and shooting myself. To me, I was unworthy to be their teacher and of course I was afraid of embarrassing myself in their presence. As I drove home that day, I asked myself if I had taken the right path.
Perhaps it was God’s way of preparing me to be a better teacher. Fortunately for me, unlike the rest of my collogues, that Monday’s class was the only difficult class for me. My other collogues had more than one challenging class to deal with. I questioned God on Monday for putting me in such a difficult situation and dragged my feet to college the very next day, dreading to face the other classes for fear that the worst had yet to come.
Interestingly, I changed my approach towards my classes on Tuesday and I realized that things were not that dreadful after all, Wednesday improved and today, I faced that horrible class for the second time. Surprisingly, my fear towards my students disappeared, I did not see them as a threat anymore. I was relaxed in their midst and I honestly believed that God purposely put me in charge of that class for a reason. So that I may bug up and push myself a little harder in my new profession.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

27 May 08

The experience yesterday was challenging. I taught in 3 classes yesterday, 1 an a half hours for each class, I had a good mix of students with a vast difference in their level of English competency.

For one of the classes, I had to deal with students who spoke almost perfect English, half of the class scored an A for English in SPM and a great majority of them came from English speaking background. In that class, I thought "God, just shoot me now!" One of them came to approach me saying, "actually teacher, I'm from XYZ School (a famous School in Penang), can I get exempted from this class? " To be honest, I did not want students like him in my class but of course, I don't have a choice because in the college system, everyone has to attend my class even though they may have gotten band 6 for their MUET. That class currently tops my list as the most challenging class for now. It's very imbalance. I have both the extremes in that class and I really wonder what kind of exercises I need to prepare for them as I do not want to push the weaker students too hard neither do I want to make the class boring for the competent students.

Thank goodness, as for now, that is the only problematic class for me, the other classes are not easy as well but I think I can handle them once I get adjusted to the environment. Yesterday was an exhausting day for me, today is going to be worst with 4 classes to teach in. Having learned from yesterday's encounter, I'm better prepared for today. I foresee a temporary halt to my social life for now. Until I get myself adjusted to this new environment, I'm going to be a workaholic.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ms. Jennifer

Ms. Jennifer embarked a new chapter of her life today. She faced 28 boys and 1 girl in a silent class. All of them were engineering students and my role was to teach them English, so that they will become professional Engineers. It was not too bad for a start but I know, I need to buck up and be more professional in my methods of teaching.

They said the new lecturer looks serious. What do you expect? I'm scared and am also new and I can't behave like how I used to or else I would be assumed as a student. One class over, two more classes to go and I'm done for today but things are not that simple, all that happens today are just introductory and that is the most simplest. I now need to prepare for the lessons. To think of effective and creative ways to teach the students so that they will not memorize and study English.

For now, I have to deal with the old fashion printing machine, download the course outline using the very sickly(full of virus) staff computer and get my notes ready for class. Looking forward to a good week ahead!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

13th May

I'm now in a cyber cafe. There's more than 100 computers in this cafe and the whole cafe is crowded. I believe I'm one of the odd ones surfing the net for everyone else are gaming away. It's 3pm in the afternoon on a week day and yet "netcity" is doing so well. I wonder how is it that people actually can find time to play games at this hour when logically speaking, most people are suppose to be either busy at work ar at school. I wonder and shall continue wondering.....

Thank you everyone for your comments, I did not tell everyone about my job interview because part of me was unconfident and I did not want to announce my failure, just in case I did not get the job. Anyway, I see myself very fortunate to have friends suporting me all the way. I told a few people to keep me in prayer for the interview and at around noon time, my phone was filled with smses asking me how I fared in the interview. I guess I really have good friends around me, people who care for me and really want to know what's going on in my life and I'm grateful for that.

It's nice to recieve your messages of congratulations. Thank you all so much. As for now, I'm very anxious. I've looked through the files and I think it will not be too difficult for me to be a good teacher, I hope I'll be a good teacher like Mr. Sui (I have not met him in person, but I read his blogs and his comments tell me that he is someone worth learning from, wise yet down to earth). I will not (or at least hope that) I will still be consistant in my friendships, to continue to stay in touch with old friends. Therefore I think you don't have to worry too much Mr. Alex. I have started letter writing since leaving KL in January, and I love it. I love the idea of recieving handwritten letters from old friends, to see their handwritting and personal touch...hint...hint..heheheh

I'll be down in KL this Friday for Fern's wedding. The feeling is weired, sorry Fern to say this but I feel weired knowing the fact that my Standard 1 classmate is getting married. I think of Fern and I remember the days when her dad used to give me a ride home after school whenever they see me waiting for the bus at the bus stop. Fern has always reminded me of childhood and now she is getting married, a reminder that I'm no more "that young" going to be a nice wedding to attend, a reunion of old friends, friends that I've not been meeting too often, friends who have been with me in school. I look forward for 17th May to come. I hope everything goes well on that day.

Since I'll be down for the weekend, I have made it a point to extend my stay in town. I hope to catch up with friends in KL before I officially get tied up with work. So please give me an sms if you think there are chances for us to meet. I'm not that free but I'll try to adjust my time.

Am looking forward to an interesting weekend in KL....

Friday, May 09, 2008

9th May 08

I can see clearly now, the rain has gone,
I can see all obstacles, in my way,
I can see clearly now, the rain has gone,
It's gonna be a bright, bright, sun shiny day........

Yes, my unemployment days are over, finally, I am employed. I went for an interview today, it was my first interview in the teaching sector and I got the job. I'll be teaching English in a popular public college and to make things even better, I discovered today that I have four friends working together with me in the same place. The environment looks fun and I believe I will enjoy my job for even the principal and my head of department seemed to be very pleasant people.

I start work on 26th May when the semester begins, God willing, I'll be passionate in what I do. I'm a happy girl today!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

TodaY 8th May 08

I am sitting in front of this freakin computer, it's SO SLOW!
And I am outside USM, I can't even find a cyber cafe that has Microsoft Word programme except for this shop, the other shops are meant for surfing and cyber games only, I could not believe it.Outside USMand there is only 1 Cyber Cafe that is usable, how do they actually do their assignments I wonder.

Apologies for not updating my blogs.Reason being, I do not have internet acess, will only consider that when I start earning again. Life has not been boring for me, neither has it been a total fulfillment, all I can say is that I am fitter than I was 2 weeks ago. I have made it a point to jog and hike and thankfully, since last Sat, I have not missed a single day of excercising.Unfortunately, I am still far behind what I used to be, yet I hope that I will persevere and sustain my enthusiasm to stay healthy.

7th May 08

Every child dreams for an ideal family. There can be no perfect definition for an ideal family but generally, an ideal family is a family with a father and mother and children. In an ideal family, a parent becomes the breadwinner while the other either stays at home to manage the family or goes out to work so that there is enough for the family’s expenses. In an ideal family, every member plays their part, parents will play their parental roles whilst children will carry their responsibilities as children like to study and perhaps help their parents in some household chores.

To have a family is a joy, because you are loved and cared for by your family members in accordance to their abilities. For example, a child may show his love towards his parents by doing his best in his studies and helping in household chores while parents on the other hand might show their love towards their child by spending time with their child and caring for their child’s needs and well being. Ideally, the family should be the place where one finds comfort and refuge, a place where one will find confidence in themselves and is brave to face the world because they know that no matter how badly they fall, their family will always be there to pick them up.

The unfortunate thing is that the concept of this ideal family cannot be experienced by many these days. Many people have become individualistic so much so that they forget to care for others, not even the people they call as a family. Husbands or wives who forget about their spouse and children in the midst of achieving their career aspirations, children who seek for fun and entertainment to the extend of forgetting home. Often people put themselves above others and is unwilling to sacrifice even a little bit of their personal joy for the sake of others.

I write this today because I feel sad. Since coming back home, I’ve been hearing of stories of broken families, stories of selfish people who are willing to destroy their own family because of their own pride. I hear of parents who refuse to let go of their unprofitable business because they don’t want others to see that their business has failed. They’d rather borrow their money from loan sharks to sustain the failing business. In pursued of their business, they neglect their children’s well being, there’s no family meals at home because everyone is expected to sustain on their own, when the loan shark seeks for payment, the parents loan from other loan sharks in order to settle their earlier debts. And so the debts of the family increases and everyone becomes stressed. The child knows that the family is poor and she studies hard to become a qualified accountant, hoping to ease the parent’s financial crisis. The parent’s jubilates when they discover her income, they expect her to settle their debts but their habits never stop, they continue to borrow from the loan sharks and the debt never decreases, the daughter finds no fulfillment in life, she works night and day but is never able to enjoy the fruits of her labor, she begins to see her family as an obstacle to her ideal life, she looks forward to the day she marries and moves out of the family.

A story like this is real, it’s a story of someone I know and my heart aches to read her smses. She is no different from any of us but she has to carry this burden, I ask myself how can I help her. How can I ease her stress and heartache. I cannot understand why are her parents so stubborn, why are they doing this again and again. Often, my friend wants to just move away and not worry about all these troubles but she can’t because, they are her family and she is a big sister to her three brothers.

6th May 08

Is it love when….

You don’t take responsibility towards your own doings because you know that someone else will always be there to wipe the mess you made?

You spend all your money gallivanting, enjoying all the entertainment the world has to offer, eating at famous restaurants and watching nice movies when your parents think twice even before they decide to eat KFC because they want to save enough so that there is enough for you to spend?

You work and earn just enough for your own expenses and not even share a little bit of your earnings with people who need your care most?

You point fingers accusing people for not being good enough when you yourself have not sat close enough to the accused to understand what they are going through?

You constantly send money home but has never sat down to have a heart to heart conversation with the people you send money to?

You never listen or accept what others have to say because it is troublesome and you’d rather have things your way?

Very often, many of us persecute others in a very subtle manner. We may not crucify them on the cross, or stone them to death but we kill their spirits with our word and actions, we neglect their needs because to us, those needs are not important enough. We kill their desires because to us, those dreams are too small for our efforts, we kill their self esteem because we always compare them with others.

Many of us are successful and popular in life, we have at least a degree and earn a generally good income. For the being that we are, how many of us actually deserve to be where we are today? If God were to make His graces and blessings on us as an investment, would He be laughing His way to the bank?

5th May 08

While I was at her place, I was invited by Simmi to join her friend Mr. Ho Liao for a hike up the Bukit Jambul Hill today, though I was not dressed for exercise, I accepted the invitation. And so, Mr. Ho Liao drove us there in his Avanza.

The Bukit Jambul Hill is not an easy hill to climb, it is popular for it’s steepness. Last Saturday, when I hiked up the hill for the first time, my heart pump so hard that I felt like it was going to pop out anytime from my mouth. Mr. Ho Liao is a good badminton player but has a big build and weights easily over 100 hundred Kg. He was hiking up the hill for the first time after a long time. As we walked through the tracks, we could hear Mr. Ho Liao huff and puff all the way. Yes he was struggling like how I was on Saturday. There were moments when he had to stop and grab a tree to catch a breath. Halfway through our journey, he shouted at us, telling us to go ahead without him and that he was turning back. He could not take it anymore. And so we continued our journey without him.

Along the way, I felt bad for Mr. Ho Liao, I wondered how he felt. I knew, if I was in his shoes, I’d definitely see myself as a burden to others and loose hope. Anyway, me and Simmi made it to the top and I was nearly out of breath. After resting awhile, we headed down as soon as we could so that Mr. Ho Liao would not have to wait too long. As we were beginning to make our journey down, Simmi spotted a figure in red making it’s way up, it was actually Mr Ho Liao. He did not turn back, he actually managed to make his way up the hill.

I don’t know Mr. Ho Liao well, but when I saw him make his way up the hill, I just clapped, I wanted to run to him and give him a hug for reaching the top, but of course I did not lah, It would be so weird if I did. I was amazed by his perseverance, I admired his determination, to continue to push on even though he was at the verge of giving up. What I saw in Mr. Ho Liao today motivates me. I’m sure if I go exercising often with him, there should be no problem for me to gain back my fitness.

3rd May 08

Dear Stupid Man,

When you wanted to marry her, her mother opposed your relationship because she felt that you were not capable to care for her daughter. You said she judged you too much and claimed that you were way much a better person.

You managed to get things your way and successfully married her despite the opposition. Today, you are forty five, it’s been nine years since you married her and both of you now have a child. At only forty five, you tell your wife that you want to retire. You want to stay at home to care for your child because she needs the supervision of an adult.

I can’t help but wonder how are you going to care for your child when you can’t even cook (all these while you only wait for others to serve you), you don’t even know how to do the laundry, you never sweep the floor and have always expected your wife to do all the housework? The only thing you seem to know is to drive and buy food.

Nine years ago, you swore to her mother that you would be a good husband to her daughter, you claimed that she had misjudged you. Today, you made a decision that requires your wife to work extra harder because she is going to be the sole income provider in your family, you have placed all the important responsibilities on the shoulders of the woman you vowed to look after at your wedding. How could you?

When I hear of husbands like you, I just feel like giving you a good punch in the face. I pray that you will not age that fast due to your early retirement because I do not hope to see your wife overworked just to pay for your medical bills.

2nd May 08

I could not help but laughed when I read the headlines this morning. He did not want the parliamentary proceedings to be broadcasted because he felt that it was like a circus and he did not want the citizens to see what was happening because it was shameful. In other words, he was ashamed of the parliament that he led. He found them embarrassing and did not want us commoners to see the clowns in action. And so he hides them? Hoping that we, the citizens do not see and know that we have wrongly elected our leaders? My goodness I thought! I guess I need not elaborate for you to guess what’s working in my head.

Anyway, today while I was waiting at the customer service in Tesco today, I could not help but over hear this excited old lady’s conversation with the TESCO staff.

“Nama saya XYZ, saya tau, nama saya sangat special” (She looked Chinese but had a really special name)
“Aiseh aunty,you punya nama, aunty ni Melayu kah?”
“Oh, bapa saya Melayu Brunei, Mak saya Cina mali, gua punya suami orang Cina, gua punya anak kahwin Iban pun ada, Arab pun ada, Cina pun ada, Melanau ada, Korea pun ada, saya ni banyak international punya huh”
“So aunty ni agama apa?”
“Oh, saya Kristian tapi, anak saya muslim lah, kan suami Arab, mana mungkin agama lain kan.”
The staff looks at me and smiles.
“Dik ni umur berapa? Nampak mudah saja”
“Aiyoh Aunty, saya sudah tiga puluh lima dah”
“Haiyor, you ni nampak macam dua puluhan saja lo, you ni ada susuk kah?”
“Mana ada lah aunty, anak sudah ada tiga lo, aunty ni mulut banyak manis lah”
“Eh, mana ada, saya hanya cakap benar saja lah”

I had to leave, that aunty continued to butter the Tesco staff. I thought it was sweet, it’s so rare these days to have customers who really care for a conversation, I’m sure that Tesco staff was a happier lady today thanks to that old lady. I would not mind having someone like that old lady as my grandmother. She was such a happy go lucky.