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.