Sunday, January 24, 2010

Snap: Our Official Game

This post has been way overdue. I know I have not blogged in a while. That's cos I have been pretty busy.
Well, who isn't right?

Anyway, I want to write about my experience in the 2 weekends that I deem precious and valuable to me in the areas of friendship and relationships, as well as preparing myself for my future career.

On the 8-10th of January 2010, 20 of us in TESL Year 2 and 10 final-year seniors were shipped off (by force, for some of us) to Bougainvillea Resort, Port Dickson for a weekend of "brainstorming and creativity".
There was no proper briefing at first, as to why I could not go home that weekend and had to be stuck in PD instead.


It turns out that, we were "chosen" to be the facilitators for a Language Camp, to be held in Muar, Johor the following weekend. The Language Camp was aimed at helping a few small schools in rural area Kundang Ulu in improving their English in fun ways by carrying out a module of activities geared just for that purpose. This camp in PD was actually a training camp to prepare us to be facilitators.

Now, that does not sound so bad, eh?

What they didn't tell us at the time, was that we were supposed to come up with the module of activities. >.< Arriving in PD, not knowing exactly what to expect, not being properly briefed, confused, annoyed and frustrated, I expected a long, long, long, boring weekend of wanting to shoot myself in the head in order to be put out of my misery.

The weekend was totally unexpected.

After being told of the actual purpose for the camp, the kids in Kundang Ulu waiting for us, who desperately need our help and guidance, I was somewhat appeased. In fact, I could not wait to start ! :)

We were split into groups, a mix of second years and final years. I got to know a few seniors and how valuable their advice can be in preparing for our practicum the following year.
I also discovered how crazy our seniors actually are, and how they aren't really that different from us, after all :P

The brainstorming sessions were mentally tiring. We had a full day of just coming up with activity after activity for the children that could be easily executed and would be fun as well as educational, bearing in mind that the kids would be of differing ages, namely Primary Six, Form 3 and Form 5 - all examination years. Ice-breaking games, Writing activities, Reading activities, learning through songs and Vocabulary-enhancement activities.

I had a taste of how difficult it was going to be in the future when I start planning for my English lessons. There were so many things to think about: the children, their interest, their background, their different language proficiencies, the fun factor, their motivation, safety, available resources, the school area etc.

It was challenging. If my mind could actually feel exhausted, it did.

Work aside, my classmates and I had a great time of bonding and laughter. Lots of the latter :P

I brought my pack of playing cards, thinking we could play a game or two of Chor Dai Di quietly in our rooms at the end of the day, if we had any free time.

We, the whole gang of us, ended up playing Snap and Bluff and Bomb and crying tears of laughter !
The tears of laughter were definitely thanks to our beloved Shantini a.k.a. Karupi.
Oh, and it was anything but quiet !! XD

Oh, my God !
(ala Karupi)
Aiyoyo... (accompanied by a flick of the hair)

You would have to have been there to understand. It was so hilariously funny ! I seriously have never laughed so much in my life !
Gosh, we had an awesome time those two nights !

I hereby solemnly swear to never forget the LOL things that Karupi did that night in PD !
I think we shall remind her of them when she goes up to get her Degree scroll from the Canselor. :P
I also hereby declare Snap as our official TESL Year 2 game ! teehee

I enjoyed myself tremendously that weekend. What a turnaround of what I expected the weekend to be.

I got to know some of our crazy seniors and am indebted to them for their guidance and help; I found out that Dr. Hamidah is a pretty sporting person who does not mind getting down and dirty with the rest of us (lying down full-body sideways on the sandy beach with the rest of us smelly, sweaty people ! XD); I grew closer than ever with the rest of the girls and guys in our TESL batch. What awesome, hilarious people they are ! And I certainly have memories of great times with them that I will definitely cherish forever.

Ahaha. Forgive the mushy-ness. But I am sincerely grateful to all you guys who made my weekend ! It would have been a long, long, long and boring weekend if it weren't for you guys :)

Up next, Program Kecemerlangan Akademik Pendidikan Sekolah in Kundang Ulu, Johor. :P

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Blame My Bad Memory

I have a bad memory.

Seriously. I do.

I cannot remember a lot of things. Significant things. Important things. Big events that happened.
What more the small details of my life so far?

Which is why I always find it a challenge to write a summary of my life in a year, when I cannot even recall what I had for dinner last week (not that it's worth remembering). But I'll give it a try:

I honestly find it difficult to say whether 2009 has been a good year, or a bad year for me. But to be safe, I will say that it naturally has had its ups and downs. Here are some random things from the year (not in chronological order):

1. I remember that I did well my last semester. My highest grade point average to date. It was hardly expected (cos I due to my "awesome" memory, I had no inclination of how well I did during the final examinations). But I thank God for having been with me. I realized that my pride often makes me forget He has anything to do with my achievements - something I need to work on.

2. It was a great experience doing my pre-practicum in my former school. It was very strange indeed going back to school not as a student, but as a teacher (just a trainee, really, but strange nonetheless). It changed my perspective on a lot of things. I remember feeling very guilty at having teased and made fun of teachers (especially their choice of wardrobe) when I was in school, knowing now that I most likely would be a similar target in the future. I remember doubting myself - if I was really meant for this profession; if I could actually do my future students justice.

3. Meeting my teachers again brought back a sense of nostalgia. Ironic, because my secondary school life seems such a blur to me now. Going back to school during my pre-prac showed me that I was a different person from when I was still a student. I grew closer to some teachers I was not before this, and spent less time with those whom I was close with. I suddenly felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude towards my teachers - those who are still in the school, and some who have left. Now (almost) in their shoes, I understand the challenges that they faced, that I will face, and am ashamed at my lack of understanding for them then.

4. I am still grateful and appreciative of what my teachers have done for me (another point on teachers??). I remember those who were responsible for having inspired me to be one as well, and I finally told one of them as much, during Christmas. She was surprised and (I imagine) touched that I am now taking up the teaching career thanks to her. I daydream of the day when one of my own will tell me the same thing :)

5. My 21st birthday this year is something (I hope) I will remember for many years to come. I am so very thankful to my friends, and family for making that day (or that week, including my surprise party a few days before) so very special. I cannot believe that I have friends who would go to such lengths for me :) I'd like to think that, throughout this year, I have been the best kind of friend to all I know. I want to be the kind of friend people know they can turn to should they need anything. I hope I can :)

6. Although I (playfully) abuse my brothers when I am home, it feels great to feel missed by them when I am not at home. :) My parents tell me that the house is oh-so-very-quiet when I am not around (now, in retrospect, was that a good thing, or a bad thing?) >.< 

7. I have grown closer to a lot of people I know-but-never-took-the-time-to-get-to-know. Some of my course mates are actually such fun crazy people (like me) !! I regret that I had assumed a language barrier might dampen the relationship. But it was not like that at all ! I learned that friendships can be forged, if we only would take the time and effort to work on it. I pray that our coming years together will seal the tight bonds of friendship that have been formed this last semester. Hopefully, these friendships will last way beyond our studying life, the eventual marriage invitations (for some :P) and into our twilight years. 

8. I take pride in the fact that I have matured in a lot of ways (compared to secondary school life, of course, by self reflection XP), but also concede that I am lacking in many ways. I sometimes have difficulty making decisions, especially with regards to events that will take up my time. I want to do so many things, yet am afraid that, due to time constraints, I may not be able to give my best to each commitment. Which makes me afraid to say yes. Or when I have said yes, am then afraid that I have made a mistake. I cannot decide ! >.< Hopefully, I will grow in this area, to be able to make the right decisions, and to be courageous enough to deal with the consequences of said decisions. 

I cannot think of anymore things to say. 

Hopefully, that (more or less) wraps it up for my life in 2009 (hardly ! >.<). 

Anyway, I sincerely wish that this year will be a journey of progress for me. Not a perfect one, mind you. I'm allowing myself space to make mistakes. But in making those mistakes, to be strong enough to keep trying, to keep pushing, to learn from them and start again.

I know, not very specific stuff.

I have my "good" memory to thank for that.

May this year be a fresh start, a second chance and a step forward in all areas of my life.
Happy New Year 2010 !! :)