Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm not ready to go back.

It's been a while.

Don't worry. Just because I'm MIA here doesn't mean my students have formed a revolution against me, abducted me and then tortured me beyond my sanity and then later chopped me up into pieces and dumped my body (or what's left of it) into the nearby big longkang for making them do ten journal entries during the holidays and some 20-items of subject-verb agreement and past tense verb forms.

All I've been doing is just savouring my one-week break from school. :)
Honestly, I do feel that we teachers damn well deserve our school holidays. So, shut it, you jealous 9-to-5 office people! It's not like our holidays are completely free.

Wanna know what I've been doing?

Well, besides watching Fringe episodes lar.

I've been writing my daily reflections online for each teaching day in school, writing about what I've done with both my classes, the activities I carried out, evaluating my own teaching and class management. (If you're interested to read that, it's all in my other newly resurrected blog--only for this purpose though--at The Call.)

I've been completing my Record Book, writing in whatever lesson plans I can plan as far ahead as I can. Pasting all the handouts I gave my students.

I've been writing a choral speaking script, because my head of the English Language panel suddenly called us up a few days ago and asked for it. >.< (If it's good, and our head likes it, I might just post it up here :D)

I've gone shopping for more baju kurung because I don't have enough to last the week before I'll be repeating them. And my kids are gonna have a field day with it, I can tell you that. (I know I would, if I were in their shoes at that age =.=) I have three new ones now, all of which need to be altered at the sleeves and the length of the skirts.

So yes, I've been doing work too, you know. Not completely lazing around, just so you know.

It feels really good to be home :)

But it's Thursday, today. And already, I'm feeling the beginnings of a panic attack, thinking about school and the fact that I'm solely in charge of the Choir who'll be performing for the Hari Anugerah Cemerlang on the 31st, which means that I'll have to decide on practices and train them and get the students to stay back, and get the permission letters ready for their parents to be informed of it.

Not to mention that, once the choral speaking scripts is approved and finalized, Sun and I will need to get started on training the kids to prepare them for the competition sometime in April. Which leaves us about a month. Not much time @.@

And also, after the holidays, I'll have to really shape up and deal with my trouble-making boys and students or otherwise look really bad when my supervisor comes to evaluate me.

Which reminds me that I was supposed to have started work again on my thesis, after taking such a long break--I'm supposed to work on the Analysis and Findings section. I've done the interviews and the survey. Now the Analysis and discussion of the findings is the toughest part. I'm still lost and haven't really got my thoughts organized properly to write anything yet. I mean, I've barely focused on it for long enough to do so. When am I going to do that???!! @.@

Do you feel the pressure reading that? Or is it just me? >.<

I don't wanna think about it, but at the same time, I know I can't not think about it. School's starting already.

Man, one week is not enough :(

I haven't fully recharged yet to face the world.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I've just survived a week in school.

Honest to God, I don't know how I'm going to survive four months. I'm falling apart, breaking down every few days, stressed out of my mind! I don't know how my dad, and other teachers, can do this every day for the past 30 years. I don't know if I even want to, now.

Q has been rather good to me this week. No problems, except for a little creaking and cranking when I turn right, sometimes. @.@ Thank God.

Finally, a photo of my baby! :D

SMK PP 14(1) is a school with a Malay population of 99.99% (thereabouts. I don't know the exact number). While I don't really have any real problem with that, it has, however, severely limited my wardrobe choices.

There is only one single non-Muslim female teacher, who happens to be the Ketua Bidang Bahasa (Head of Language Department) and every single day (for the past week I've been observing her) she wears a baju kurung. Nothing that doesn't completely cover everything but the face, neck and hands. Even the non-Muslim students wear long-sleeved shirts and long maxi skirts @.@

I had manyyyyyyy blouses and skirts which I was actually looking forward to wear to school. Unfortunately, with the strict Principal and what appears to be a rather Islam-driven school, I don't think it is wise for me to wear anything shorter than ankle-length. Unless I want to get reprimanded by the teachers or ogled by the students.

I am teaching one Form One class and one Form Two class: 1 Best and 2 Gem respectively. 1 Best is the second best class in Form One. There are 28 students and they are a lively, if rather noisy, bunch of kids. They've just come up from primary school, so they are still enthusiastic and excited about a lot of things. Even a simple activity like reading out and guessing their friends' favourites seems to be a lot of fun! There is quite a large gap in language proficiency though. Some have the fluency, but some are weak. It is still challenging though, learning to manage them. Hopefully I'll be able to help them improve. :)

2 Gem on the other hand, is another challenge altogether. I was surprised to find out, on the first day, that the class consisted of 20 Malay boys. Yes, all boys. *gulp* Even though boys are more sporting, and therefore, more fun to teach, they can also be extremely playful and naughty. In the first class itself I could pinpoint who were going to be the troublemakers. >.< Plus, this is the third class out of four in Form Two, and they are very very weak in the language. They are unable to understand even simple instructions like. They often respond to my questions with a (rather rude and) loud "HAAAA?"

I taught them, instead, to say, "Pardon?" when they don't understand, or can't catch what I'm saying. They made fun of it and said, "Apa cikgu? Pondan?!" (What, teacher? Transvestite?) =.=

Even though they are weak, they do not really listen to me. I suspect it is also because they cannot understand half of what I say in class. I resort to first language (Malay) translation in the classroom, which is not ideal. But otherwise, they would not be able to follow the lessons! Some don't pay attention, and one, in particular, has a smart mouth. He's rude, disrespectful and uncooperative. When I asked him to stand up and answer a question, he told me, "Cikgu, nak tidur la," ("Teacher, I want to sleep la) and proceeded to lay his head down on his arm on the table!

I can't control my class. They don't respect me, they don't listen to me. What do I do? T.T

Preparing lesson plans is still something awkward and difficult. I spend hours thinking about what to do, planning, and then doubting myself, so I revise it, and re-revise it... And that's only for one lesson. I have five periods with each class, each week. I have to follow the fixed Form One and Form Two syllabus and the school's scheme of work. And it didn't really help that their previous teacher was only a sub who was temporarily replacing a teacher on maternity leave. He had not really done much, nor anything that he was supposed to, according to the yearly plan. >.<

The students are supposed to be at Chapters 3 and 5 by now, but it appears that they have not really completed Chapter 1! Which makes it very difficult for me. >.<

Adding to the pressure is getting the "orientation" treatment every new trainee teacher seems to receive when they first start teaching. You know the kind. "Teacher, you got boyfriend ar?" "Teacher, are you married?" "Teacher, do you have Facebook?" "Teacher, where are you from?" "Teacher, how old are you? You look so young!" "Teacher, where do you live?" "Teacher, are you Malay?" "Teacher, you Chinese never been to China ar?"

The students are not afraid of you, AT ALL. They walk about, talk, laugh out loud, as if you weren't in the class at all. You give them the evil stare and they still manage to finish their sentence and laugh before they  keep quiet take a short pause in their conversation, after which, they continue anyway.

I got catcalls and wolf-whistles. One student actually commented that I looked "sexy". Another, when I stood at the front of the class, actually said, "Cikgu, tepi!" ("Teacher, move!") when he wanted to copy notes from the board.

I am utterly appalled at their lack of manners and the way in which they treat teachers nowadays. Granted, I am a trainee teacher and they are certainly not afraid of me (they have made that painfully clear to me T.T) but it does not change the fact that I am still older than them. I have never spoken to any of my teachers, in my entire life, the way that some of these kids did to me in this one week.

It's challenging. It's nerve-wrecking. It's exhausting. It's stressful. It's humiliating. It's terrifying. It's de-motivating.

Can I really do this? Do I want to?

At this point? I don't know and, I don't know. It just feels awful. Right now, the only light at the end of the tunnel is a school-free day: Sunday.

All in all, it's been an exhausting, depressing week. Not many highs, but many many lows. :(