Saturday, July 4, 2015

Starting to change them

In SA, I used to use technology a lot with the students. We often went to the computer lab and do things. We used the email, we used blogs. We used to just have the students type things and straight away email to me. We used to have them research there and then and prepare a writing assignment. Now in USJ12, they hardly do that. Not encouraged to use the computer lab, no computers in classrooms, got TV but no connections ... it is basically back to books and board. But no, I do not accept that. So I am changing them. The students, I mean. It's going to be a long road but I am starting to get them to email me, to have class blogs and all. It's on the way. It won't be an easy route. But we'll get there.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I surprised them, and myself

I find it extremely funny that I have been surprising the colleagues here. Though I am an experienced teacher, they didn't think that I was going to be a very able teacher. Or perhaps they just haven't encountered many teachers like me. And there ARE many, eh, Sib?
So, I think the fact that I just took over the choral speaking team from the get go, was a real surprise to them. No one thought I was going to do that, not the students, not the teachers. And certainly not the admin. Instead of assisting the teacher in charge, I ended up being THE teacher in charge (although on paper I was not). I did the script and I trained the students. In a way, I also surprised myself because I had not planned to do that. But when I agreed to help, well, those who know me just know that I would end up doing more than was expected of me. In a way I learned that I simply CANNOT be put in charge of anything really as I will BE IN CHARGE! Oh boy!
Then when I mentioned to my colleague that I did the exam paper within 2-3 days, again someone was surprised. I mean, that is how I operate. I have to quickly finish it when I have the time, and mood. ;-) And I just cannot be bothered to look through countless workbooks and reference books for suitable material.  Instead, I do my own. Yes, mostly original and authentic material. I have been doing this ever since I started teaching. No biggie. But this is not what most teachers do, I guess.
So, I am in charge of another choral speaking team ... I think I am going to end up being in charge of choral speaking for a long time, here. So I wrote the script within 2 days. My colleagues were very surprised. One commented I should write books for publishing. I showed her one of my workbooks, published in 2001, I think. She was VERY surprised. Hmm ... Maybe I should have kept very quiet. There goes my plan to stay under the radar. Nope, not going to happen.
So .... where am I going with this? I guess, I am not that much of an average teacher afterall. I have done things many have not thought to do.
Looking back, I realise I have done a lot! Oh yes, I am surprised too.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Almost mid way

It's now middle of May. I'm almost mid-way through the school year in this new environment. I am adjusting. Not that easy but not that difficult either.
I enjoy the students most of the time. It's been a while since I had boys in my classes. So it's one of the more challenging things. The noise level is so much higher. The mischief is also greater. But on the whole, it's not that bad.
I still do not particularly care for my colleagues. I have no close friend here. I do not feel like any of them wants to be my friend. And I don't feel like I want to be their friend either. It's a terrible thing, isn't it? 5 months and I still feel this way. I guess most people are just too busy working to actually bother about bonding.
In a  way it is an advantage. I don't spend as much time yakking, and doing other things. I concentrate on work more. However, I miss the camaraderie of an English panel that works together and are ... FRIENDS. I miss that. Really.
I also feel like I am being watched. By the powers that be. By those who might have to work more closely with me in future. I don't know. It's a strange feeling. I don't know what to expect. But I have this feeling I am not going to be in the afternoon much longer. A lot of pointers to the possibility of going to the morning session. My current KP is going to retire in Jan. So there is a spot to fill in the morning. My involvement with the choral speaking team which consisted of all morning students. It's like a tester for me. Anyway, Jon is going to the morning session next year. So it's ok. But I'll miss Jeremy again.
Am I going to stay on to teach for long? I still don't know. I think probably at least another 2 years? Or maybe, as I have always said of myself, just stay on .... and before long I'll be ready to retire.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Change for the better?

Most people resist change. Me included. But I have always known that change also means growth in some ways. And that, is good for me.
I have to constantly remind myself that I am no longer in SA. That things are not the same. That the people are not the same. That I have to CHANGE. It is easier said than done, of course. But I am determined to let God change me in this new environment. I will have to learn and unlearn and relearn quite a lot of things. Yes, sometimes that is scary. At times I have felt inadequate to deal with the things that have changed in the last 2.5 years in the school scene. But I will slowly get there. I just need a bit of reorganising of things.
I do hope, if I am to stay on for longer than the one or two years, that I will, indeed grow as a person and as an educator. I pray that I do not turn into some of those "old timers" who are unwilling to embrace new things and drag their feet when asked to move .... I hope I am still as adventurous and open to new things and new ways of doing things.

Friday, January 30, 2015

New school, new things to learn

The third week is officially over. I have been in this new school for 3 weeks. I have survived in a new environment. Big deal, some might say. Well, it's a big deal to me. Mainly because it is hard to go back to work and in a new place, after 2.5 years. Change is always hard, as I have mentioned in one or more of my previous posts. And yet, I experience a change at this time in my life.
What have I learned so far?
1. After being in SA for almost 16 years, I have almost seen it all in terms of paper work and online work. So being here is .... nothing I can't handle, as long as the admins all keep me updated on what I need to do and give me a deadline.
2. My English panel in SA is an entity hard to replace. Especially the head. The current place is and feels disjointed. There is the 2 session school disease where it's morning vs afternoon session. So things don't feel like one unit. The head is ready to retire. She's probably scouting for a replacement. Not me, thankfully.
3. People will complain. Some people are such complainers. I mean everyone complains at one time or another, but some much more than others. And being in SA, I have been tuned to work at a much faster pace than most have experienced. And right now, this pace here, considered very fast by some, is okay with me. Never thought I'd say that, EVER!
4. Students come in such diverse backgrounds. In SA we almost lived in a bubble. Students were generally (not all) from the middle class and higher. They were a lot of English speaking people and hence, teaching English to them was generally easier. The challenge was to up our skills so that we could teach higher skills. Over here, students are not streamed according to their abilities. And in one class you can find a student who writes beautifully, and another who could barely write a grammatical sentence. The dilemma for the teacher would be .... how fast can I go?
5. Teaching boys is a lot more fun. Yes, it is true. With girls it is a different set of fun. And we girls understand one another. But the boys ... now they are a different thing altogether. I have had a boy saying "Teacher, you're so beautiful" twice. And he's only 12 going 13. I have boys who are so in need of attention that they would do anything just so that I call out to their names.
These are just some that I can put into writing now. But what I can say is this : I can and will survive. I can and will love my students. I can and will work WITH my colleagues. Question is whether they are ready for me. LOL. Now THAT is another story for another time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 brings me back to school

It's been almost a year since I came here and updated. There have been so many things that occurred in the last one year.
As a family we have moved back to Malaysia for good. We were blessed to have been granted a way to come back. Hubby got a job before leaving Shanghai. We came back in June. Hubby came back a little earlier to prepare for his new job, which now takes him away from us more than when he was in Shanghai. The rest of us came back a little later so that the children could finish the school year and so that we could organise our stuff to bring back or ship back.
Before we came back to Shanghai, we were hit by a family emergency. MIL suffered a massive stroke and did not look good. Hubby flew off to Sydney to be with her and then we followed suit. We were so worried that she would leave and we would not have the chance to see her. We wanted very much to be there, to be with the whole family and to support in whatever way we could, Through much prayer and medical care, she regained consciousness. But through the experience we saw how she had degenerated especially mentally. She now no longer recognises anyone. Dementia is very real. She still depends on a feeding tube to sustain her. We are all very affected by all these. Nevertheless we still pray for her that she will regain some mental faculties, and that she will be able to stand unaided. We also worry for FIL as he has withdrawn into a more reclusive person. Very sad, really. I hope we can visit them again one of these days. They are not young anymore, and we really don't know how many more times we will be able to see them face to face.
Back here, the boys started attending school in August (Jon and Jeremy) and September (Joel). I came back to Malaysia to an education system that did not appeal to me. But I reported for work anyway, and was duly given a school to go to. I went there and extended my unpaid leave, to the chagrin of the principal. The challenge was to find a school for Joel as he had practically no BM and he needed a school which allowed him more space and opportunity to learn at his own pace. And so, we prayed and found a school which seems to cater to his needs. He's happy there.
I extended my leave until 31 December 2014. And so, with 2015, comes WORK. Work outside the home. Work that takes me away from my family. Work that makes me think and do more.
On the one hand, I really have learned to enjoy being a stay home mum. I have enjoyed more time with the children and seeing to their needs. But on the other hand I have also become easily satisfied with what I was doing and perhaps have become just a little too comfortable. If I have learned one thing in the last few years, it is that God will not let me be too comfortable in one place for long, and He will challenge me to do something else, or go somewhere else. So I look upon this as a change that God has planned for me. Though it is not much different from what I used to do, I see it as a call to change direction.
So I have attended my first day of work. I was worried, apprehensive. Possibly about my teaching ability or lack of, perhaps about whether I would still enjoy teaching. Well, after the first day, I can say that I enjoy teaching young people. I still have what it takes, though I will need to change my methods and approaches. And I will trust God to direct my ways so that I do not fall into the trap of trusting too much in myself.
As for this blog? I will probably give it a resuscitation and see that I come back more often than I have done in the last 2 years.