Today’s Colour is Red

Today is one of those days in which nearly everything gets to me. It may be because of the extended hours of parent-teachers-conferences we had yesterday, which ended in me having a severe headache as I lay in bed, or the cough, flu and bloated tummy that seems bent on driving discomfort upon me. But even at our worst, our opinions and  thoughts can carry some truth and weight, can’t it?

So this morning was our youth group’s picnic at the Botanic Gardens. I pulled myself out of bed, head still heavy and spinning, but a recreational visit to the garden can’t hurt, can it? So we reached the gardens and had a great time with friends and it was a potluck breakfast, so there was all sorts of good food. The food and fellowship was actually so good it helped to warm everyone up and we had some conversations that went slightly beyond casual friendly, and that geared us up for the games that was to follow. But when logistically they did not mention that the picnic involved us moving from one end of the Botanic Gardens to the the other end, or that we should bring our personal belongings with us unless we did not mind them carrying it over for us, or that we would be dismissed at the other end of the Gardens, or that the programme would end an hour and a half later than expected, it kinda made me really frustrated.

I must admit I wasn’t the keenest person at the picnic, but I was all ready to be sporting and participate. But I just did not agree with the part that involved them moving our belongings and valuables to another area. It was a huge risk to take, considering that some people may have needed their belongings urgently, had plans to leave early, or that they could have lost important things while shifting the belongings from one place to another. I just did not feel very respected as a grown-up, having my personal belongings transported from one place to another without prior warning. It was an interesting group game, but there were a few things that were not well thought out. It did not help that the carparks at the Botanic Gardens was terribly full and for about a half hour I was stuck waiting for a lot.

Then this evening we ladies decided to make a trip down to Scoopz to have waffles and ice cream after dinner. But it is a public holiday, and Scoopz is an outlet that opens till past midnight, and its target audience are the young people who likes to hang out at night after dinner with friends. The place was rather crowded and noisy, but I was mentally prepared for that. Or maybe it’s too similar to the classroom setting in school. What irritated me was mum and sis who just went on and on about the noise and the young people. The way they spoke, they volume they spoke in, the clothes they were wearing. I don’t agree with or enjoy the vulgarities or the late nights or the way they carry themselves, but I just felt irritated that they kept harping on those differences with a very judgmental and critical eye. Even when the waffle and ice cream was served to us, mum went, “The scoops are so small!” loudly enough for the lady to hear us. And although it may have been true, I just thought that it was not a necessary comment, and was definitely not presented in a constructive manner; and secondly, it just made everyone at the table sour and uncomfortable. Now I was going to dig into my waffle and ice cream with the rest of them in contentment, but the comment just kinda blew the experience for me. If only. You don’t have to accept everything that the world is, but neither do you have to keep throwing out criticisms one after another.

Even working on my CCA matters now frustrates me to no end. I have never been endowed with the gifts of coordinating events or managing people (even managing myself can be quite tiresome), so it is really quite stressful to have to coordinate this major national competition with a team of students (who at this point, honestly seems quite lost without the concept of time). The paperwork is the killer, really, on top of some colleague(s) who may be rather clueless about the events too.

So what shall I do?

What else, but sleep and dream sweet dreams and wake up tomorrow to face another new day with more PTC sessions to come!

Relationships

It has been one and a half years since I became a teacher to a classroom of dear monkeys, and after that long, I have come to realise one thing that is very important to me – relationships. No matter whether we have a professional working relationship, or a personal friendly relationship, it matters that it is a positive one. I get very much affected when a relationship I have with someone is unpleasant, or imbalanced. It feels like I have to settle it before the world will spin right again.

I was looking through the albums of photographs on Facebook of these wonderful people I have been working with and learning from the past one to two years, and really wanted to remind myself how awesome these people are, and how they are all so wondrously special to me.

This is M, ever so jubilant and enthusiastic and never afraid to speak her mind. :)

There is also the youthful and steady, pretty little teacher, honest, humble and realistic in her ideas and willing to lend a hand or word of advice to us young ones! This is L and I in a sea of students and residents at a public event.

There are some strange twins in the staffroom on certain days…

And my co-form who helps in whatever and whenever he can although sometimes I do feel like smacking him.

This is such a dear friend I will miss so much next year. :( She shares her thoughts so honestly, is so patient, and has helped me so much to integrate into the school!

Mentor who loves, cares and guides so patiently.

Friends whom you can speak without any pretenses or reservations. Miss S loves cheese (like I do!), pastamania (like I do!), and is a friend who is so easy to talk to! Meet Pup and Happyberrie, they will be best friends! Of course, Ms Y was the nice one who was behind the lens in this shot!

Here is my wonderful co-teacher, H, who is just so wonderfully the embodiment of grace and charm. She is an example of a contract teacher who has never looked down on herself or her colleagues, and who truly cares for her students (i’m so glad they know it!) and has become such a great friend outside of work! She doesn’t quite know how to take flattering photographs though hm.

Hmm I realised this is not a fair representation of the many wonderful colleagues I have come to respect (because we don’t go around taking photographs of our colleagues). But it is truly a blessing to have known every single one of them!

(The next time, I have to talk about my lovely monkeys..!)

Sending off my first group of N Level students

This morning I sent off the first group of N Level Students I taught to sit for their national examinations. To the school and most teachers, they would have had the privilege of watching cohort after cohort of students enter the school hall, sit for their papers, and collect their results at the end of the year.

It does feel different knowing that the group of students under your charge for the past one year is now going to sit for a major national examination. Will they do well? Have you done them and their parents justice, teaching them? Have they studied? Are they prepared? Will their minds blank out? Are they studying for the examination? Are they following the steps you have reiterated over and over again? Did they annotate the text before starting? Did they have enough sleep? Are they still writing, trying to beat the clock? Do they understand the vocabulary in the unseen text? How are the questions, were they tough? Do they remember PEEL? Are they trying their best? Will they remember what I taught them?

You know the list can go on if I wanted heh.

I expected to feel more anxious, more jittery, less calm. But strangely all those questions were very much safely contained in my mind. Their questions before the paper did not faze me; their reports after the paper did not scare me. I hope they will do well, but if they did not, and the results show it, I have done everything I could within the past year to get them to where they are now.

Hoshao, you have done whatever you can this year, to get them to where they are now.