Words Worth A Thousand Hearts

I always thought Wordsworth had a beautiful name that magically endowed him with the gift of words to bless and inspire.

Today is Teachers’ Day Celebration in most schools, a day when all the teachers nationwide are appreciated, their efforts acknowledged, their heartwork applauded. It is the day teachers have the excuse to let their hair down, and students have the excuse to do things and get away with it – haha. My second teachers’ day as an official educator brings along a slightly different perspective than last year, a more rounded one, I hope.

Firstly, Teachers’ Day is a day to acknowledge all teachers. It is not a day to acknowledge your hard work, or for you to receive thank you messages from students and parents. It is a day for all teachers to celebrate, give themselves a pat on the back, and just treat themselves for being awesome and pressing on three-quarters into the year! If our students do not yet know how to be appreciative or are not in the habit of showering us with notes, cards and gifts, then we teachers should – and must – show appreciation and give thanks to one another, all in the good spirit of encouraging and giving thanks for each other’s great work.

Colleagues here have been most kind. The first few teachers’ day gifts and memos were from colleagues, friends, who wanted to do just that – thank their coworkers and friends for being who they are. Although there are some gripes about the school, like there are in any other school, the colleagues around me have been most kind and supportive, nurturing and encouraging us to keep trying and to do better time and time again. They don’t even demand recognition or acknowledgement, some of them just quietly leave the love notes on your desk as a gesture of kindness. I didn’t participate in the mass giving of presents or cards, but this year, I felt very blessed to be part of a community of educators who cares enough to say “thank you!” and “keep going!” to their friends. That is one thing that made me smile today, and one thing I will always count as my blessing.

The second realization was how the “small successes” are really the things that made me smile. There wasn’t anything fanciful that bowled me over today. There wasn’t a cake with the words, “Happy Teachers’ Day!” on it, nor was there a united enthusiasm to take a class photograph, or fans crowding around to get my autographs signed. But more importantly, there were students whose actions and kind words really left an impact on me today.

This young man went through a GIANT of a tornado this year, and us with him. It was a mixture of anger, exasperation, misunderstanding, mind games and power play, fire extinguisher, parent-teacher-meetings, discipline committee reviews, vulgarities. – oh you wouldn’t want to know. Up till now he is still a LB (hm teacher code: ask to know), but there has been the slightest positive change in this one kid, and it started when he began to be more active in Interact Green Club. When he stood on stage to give the presentation representing the CCA, I think he felt clearly, for once, how he could garner positive support from his peers, and be accepted and acknowledged by his teachers. I hope he really meant what he posted on Facebook – how sweet is he! :)

The girl who could not look at herself in the mirror earlier this year, and who was absent for a massive few months this year, actually made effort to come back to school today despite being excused from school, to personally thank the teachers who have supported her these few months. This was a card she gave, accompanied with a beautiful plastic rose (it took us a while to figure out if it was real), with a poem composed on her own! The language is error-free and the words are beautifully chosen, and it rhymes! Even if this girl doesn’t clear her EOY, I know that she can really go on to do great things, because she has heart for people. I just hope and pray that God keep her and keep her safe and out of harm’s way. When I saw her at the corridor waiting with the gifts, I couldn’t help but give her a hug. It was just lovely to see your child regain that little bit of confidence to do something for someone around her. Yayness. And like what R said, it is today that reaffirms you and make you feel that what you have been doing, if only for these few kids, have been all worthwhile.

Thank God for today. Now hello holidays, and Term 4, and examinations, and heartbreak, and hopefully, pleasant surprises. :)

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List of To-Dos and Getaway!

Today we finished the Green Living @ NSE which we have been making preparations for the longest time!! Phew everything went relatively smoothly, a few hiccups, but it was all good. Putting pressure on ourselves and the girls every once in a while can be somewhat… therapeutic, actually.

Here’s the rest of my to-do list (allow me to let out a tiny scream at this point, please – arh!):

  • 3R Data Collation and Draft by 7 September
  • Green Audit Data Collation and Draft
  • National Pushcart Challenge 2012 – meet up with social entrepreneur and project proposal
  • Project Kaleidoscope Book Launch in November
  • National Pushcart Challenge 2012 – project development and task in November

By this weekend:

  • Plan lessons for Sec 2, 3, 4 in Week 10
  • Mark Prelims 2 for Sec 4 NA Literature – halfway through!
  • Set questions for Sec 3 Comprehension for meeting by Monday 3pm
  • Write and Submit BCV Award Nominations by Monday
  • Type in and submit Passport details to Celine by Monday
  • Churn out Marks Analysis for EL Dept by Tuesday
  • Pass results to FT/C0-FT for Literature by Tuesday morning after checking scripts
  • Chase kiddos for FILES (kill me nawww)
  • Mark – Summary, Personal Recount, Comprehension Worksheets yada yada (all sitting on my desk catching dust bleah)

And WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAYS TO COME!!!

I and I have made it official. We have bought tickets to Melbourne for the end of the year WOOTS!! It is confirmed, finalized, done, and sealed! :D

May the rest of the year look up lift up!  :D

Reblogged: Why Teach Literature?

Kathleen: I started helping my mother
here after school when I was six years
old. I used to watch her, and it wasn’t
that she was selling books, it was that
she was helping people become whoever
they were going to turn out to be.

– You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Sometimes when people talk about being a teacher, we inevitably end up thinking of our personal motivations for pursuing (or accepting) this profession. When I watched ‘You’ve Got Mail’ today, I realise Meg Ryan’s character in the film says it just the way I want to. Why teach, literature? Because I believe in it’s magic to help people become better persons as they grow up.

(:

Essays in Love (I)

Upon recommendation by some friends, I purchased the book “Essays in Love” by Alain De Botton from BookDepository. Given it’s short, lyrical manner that so accurately captured human emotions and capacity at its most intrinsic and precise, I cannot put this book down. It’s almost akin to a painter painting a scene exactly like a photograph of it would look like – only that he did not first see it with his own pair of eyes.

Anyway, this one of many short statements I found to be true:

Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge.

How apt and how true. We know for a fact love is not romantic and dreamy like movies (still) make it out to be. But we live off that idealistic desire that love can be romantic and dreamy like in movies, anyway. When we fall “in love” if there ever was such a thing, it would be because we desire a suspension of reality, a pretending that true love is not bollocks, and that reality is a dream.

But in a strange elusive way, Alain De Botton’s lyrical thoughts on love and life is making me become more of a cynic really, about the concept of falling in love altogether. I am not sure if the book is meant to have that sort of impact of its readers. In any case, it may be a good dose of joy heart medicine I need right now, to take my mind away from things unreal and unnervingly so.

So, to De Botton, thank you! Gracias!

A Restful Weekend of Heart-to-Hearts

Most of my friends including myself now find ourselves in the mid-twenties. Just one to two years ago this meant that we had just embarked on our individual career paths and it was a period of adjustments and readjustments, trying to make time for what was important to us, earning our first salary and trying to prayerfully arrive at the decision of how to make use of our pockets of cash. But fast forward to the present time, and I find myself wondering, and in increasing frequencies, if our singlehood will ever meet change.

This weekend I find myself thinking about life and love. I attended the wedding of a JC classmate, a watched the film Life is Beautiful, I also had the privilege of catching up with colleagues and friends. There is something more to life than mere marching to the routines and rhythms of work. Guido in the film was a Jew who embodied the passion of life and love in his entire mind, body and soul. Even in time of war, his uplifting spirit and all-encompassing love for his family, moved me to tears. The laughter you see on their faces in the photograph from the film, is a result of that love. Will the man I share my life with in future, and build a home together in future, have the same uplifting and courageous spirit as he?

We sang K a few evenings ago, and I try not to let my mind wander after he sent me home. It was a pleasant evening, and I wish that we could have more evenings like that – casual, pleasant, and relaxing – cathartic, really, to be in a room with two other colleagues, singing your lungs out, and having reason to behave in a silly, liberating way. But let me not get too carried away, we did not behave in any way more than colleagues outside of work, and thank God we did not.

At HY’s wedding today, the groom J said “I knew I wanted to marry you, after I realized that I loved you more than I loved myself.” The line stayed with me because I do not know what it feels like to love someone to that extent, more than myself. Have I ever loved someone that much? Could I ever? Would anyone love me that much? Could anyone?

M and I had a long talk during our brunch on Friday about relationships. At the end of it, we figured that the best and perhaps only thing to do, is to go back to God and pray. He knows our heart and our desires, He knows what or who is the best for us at when. He can make people fall in love in Him, and if there was a source of life and love, it would be God Himself.

When I have a family, I would hope that our life will be like Guido and Dora’s – full of vibrancy and life, sparkly eyes and passion for each brand new day. The wife, submissive and respectful to protect her husband’s honour; the husband, the leader of the family in so many ways, the one who keeps his family together, even at the expense of his own life. The son, who trusts, wholeheartedly. Would we mind riding the same bicycle to school and work every single day? If one day we need to face hardship as a unit, will we mind boarding that train to Auschwitz, even though we know almost for certain, that it would cost us our lives and souls?

I can only wish and hope that I would discover a love like that for someone in Christ. And someone for me.

I love Joshua, though. :)