“Promise yourself to be strong, that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side as long as you are true to the best that is in you.”—
The first month of 2013 has ended and I guess its time to take stock of the year thus far.
It hasn’t been a great year. Work has been hectic, some colleagues totally not enjoyable, grandma is (still) in hospital and we’ve had at least one major scare…
No wonder I have no life. That only makes me feel even worse. Though in all honesty, it’s almost a choice I have made.
I’m very tempted to just withdraw into my shell and ignore the world. Become stay a hermit. But of course it isn’t the right thing to do and I might actually become depressed.
So… 5 blessings to count: 1) Grandma is still hanging in there. Though my prayer everyday is that she is comfortable and not suffering. 2) My form class has still been rather sweet. I like them a lot. 3) Kat is moving to Singapore 4) We’re actually really going to renovate our place 5) I have a family that I love
:) So now, I really really need to figure out how to obtain a work life balance and to stop being the hermit that I am.
It’s almost 2 full weeks into the new year. Boy does time fly.
It has been such an exhausting period, what with the start of the new academic year and my grandma in hospital. Haven’t felt so physically and emotionally drained in awhile. I honestly hate seeing my grandma suffer so much.
I’ve also learnt that I’m terrible at multi-tasking. Which is why I can almost never leave work at work. How do I draw the line to ensure a healthy work life balance? I’ll have to work on my ability to compartmentalize.
In any case, there are still many points of thanksgiving. :)
1) I’ve managed to do some quiet time every night, regardless of how tired I am. So I thank God for helping me find the time and resolve to do it. Next step would be to eventually make it back to church.
2) It’s end of week 1 (almost 2 weeks of school) and none of my kids have tried to kill each other yet. As a matter of fact, they have been nothing but lovely. I was dreading it because of the horror stories I’ve heard of my class as well as certain people that I will have to work with this year. However, it has been such a blessing because my kids seem to be a really sweet bunch. (of course its only week 1 so who really knows) So, I don’t dread going to class… and I love how they try hard to listen and do what I tell them to do. It’s still a work in progress but as of now, I’m still very happy to be the form teacher of my class.
3) Even though the other class I have to teach isn’t as easy to handle (in fact, I feel like they’re the most challenging class of the level), I was very heartened when the kids saw me walk to class and exclaimed my name and proceeded to dump their stationery into their pencil case, pick up the litter on the floor, and arrange their tables, before proceeding to stand and wait to greet me. I was so encouraged that they actually remembered my instructions in the previous class about my expectations. Of course, they were still quite themselves as the lesson progressed… but I hope that what I witnessed was a good sign and that eventually I will be able to manage this class even better.
4) Despite living in different countries and leading very different lives, I still get to see my roomies relatively often. And I pray that come what may, the special relationship/bond that we share would not change. ever. :)
Ok dinner time, will blog more often to try to keep track of the daily craziness that is my life. :)
I am a little late in blogging, but happy new year! I can’t believe 2012 is over. To be honest, not much of the year was particularly memorable.
That being said, i) my niece was born ii) I graduated from NIE iii) started teaching in St Stephen’s as a trained teacher iv) Went to Korea, Sydney, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Beijing and HK on holiday v) attended Pei Lin’s ROM (special mention because she is a special friend)
(the not so good) i) got into 2 car accidents which pretty much caused me to develop an irrational driving phobia ii) my attendance at church has been pretty much non-existent
It wasn’t a particularly easy year, what with work really starting proper. I have so much to learn with regard to functioning in the Singaporean work force. That being said, I am very thankful for some of the really awesome people God has placed in my life to help me along to way.
Well 2013 is here, and I’m honestly scared of what is to come. I wish I were more excited but I feel more apprehensive and tired. Work scares me. And I guess the constant contemplation of what exactly I want to do with my life can be exhausting as well.
So, my new year resolutions (or at least the main ones I can think of at this point in time): i) To have a positive attitude towards work and to be the best teacher I can be ii) To work on my relationship with God (i.e. read the bible, pray and go to church) iii) To work on my bad temper iv) To try new things and not be so afraid of failure v) To work on my relationship with friends and family
Here’s to an fulfilling and blessed 2013 ahead. I pray that I will make the most of the year. :)
OMG! The day couldn’t have been more awesome. Strategic Planning Seminar was a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be; I simply love talking about education related issues and ideas. So discussing the minister’s speech, especially in relation to what is being done in the school, was totally up my alley.
Part 2 of the day was even more awesome. I honestly didn’t expect too much from the Art and Science Museum… But it TOTALLY BLEW MY MIND AWAY. We got to see 2 different exhibition: i) The Art of Brick by Nathan Sawaya, and ii) Magnum, a photography exhibition. Both were extremely enjoyable, but Nathan Sawaya’s work was exceptionally brilliant. Impressive. Didn’t know one could do so much with lego! Pictures soon to come. Also, I think the curators (or whoever was in charge of arranging and designing the exhibits) were really good too! Even though its $15 per pax for the lego exhibition, $6 for the photography exhibition, $18 for both, I TOTALLY still recommend it. Especially the lego exhibition. It’s fun and inspiring and just mind-blowing.
Of course, it was even better that it was free for my colleagues and I. I just wish I had more time to enjoy the exhibits. It’s so good I might actually consider going again. Therefore, I’ve decided that the Art Science Museum would be a place I’ll probably frequent. (I just think their exhibitions were done well so I’ll probably check out a few more.)
Then, I came home and played with my new toy. Brought it out for my virgin shoot around my neighbourhood and had people staring at me because I looked sketchy, taking photos of their houses/cars/dogs etc. LOL. :)
I realized taking P6s after PSLE isn’t THAT bad. I remember being terrified because they barely knew me and so usually didn’t really listen to me.
Today, there were so few of them there because the rest probably disappeared to some computer lab to play computer games. So I watched the few in my class play Monopoly deal and some other card games.
Then I played 2 games with them. And WON. BOTH. :):):) The boys just don’t seem to have much strategy but I guess they are 12. lol. I guess playing monopoly deal legitimately at work is awesome!
That was the highlight of an exhausting day. But I think my boys did a great job for the use-your-hands campaign with me as the conductor orchestrating it all! The classroom has never been cleaner. Yay!
Today I took my dad to the hospital and back for his gastroscope. For the record, I really HATE multi-story carparks… most probably because of my inability to accurately gauge how to maneuver those ramps. I mounted the kerb with my back wheel TWICE (oh the horrors because we were parked on L4). I always have this fear of scratching the passenger side of the car against the wall.
I also went for a run. FINALLY. After goodness knows how many months of my sloth-like behaviour. I am SO unfit. I almost died after only running approximately 2.7km and had to walk the rest of the way home. HAHA. OH WELL. That being said, I loved how I felt after the run. Not immediately when I feel like I’m about to puke and pass out, but after cooling down and drinking some water. I just felt refreshed and lighter, and I just don’t think so much; it’s just so much easier to take my mind off things. No wonder I ran like a mad woman back in 2010 (up to 4 times a week).
So in conclusion, I should run more; it’s good for my emotional well-being. :)
Last Wednesday, I went for my virgin book-signing/book-launch event.
My friend is a fan of boey. So, when he had a book-signing/book-launch event, she asked me to go along to keep her company. I went cos I thought it would be interesting. But I honestly had no clue who he was, nor did I bother checking out his blog.
Of course, I had such a great time because it was awesomeeee! Boey is awesome. He was so funny, has such a fun personality and is UBER talented. If you don’t know, he was one of the main animators for diablo, and now he’s famous for his paper/styrofoam-cup drawings. He also has a comic blog (i.e. the LINK!) and he recently published a comic book.
So after the session, I became a fan, bought his book, got a free sharpie, and had my first personally autographed book… Now, I have became totally addicted to his blog. I never knew I liked comics this much. But I just cant stop reading it. He is really FUNNY! :) And he’s from Malaysia but went to school in Singapore!
Go check his blog out and buy his book, When I was a Kid! :)
Today I went for a Destination Imagination Team Manager’s training. The training itself was ok but I thought the program was pretty darn cool. I think the boys could benefit a lot from it.
I just wish it could really be about the kids and how they would benefit and learn from it. Instead, at the end of the day, I feel that it’s still all about fulfilling some checklist, in order to obtain some awards to beef up someone’s portfolio. ^____^ How disappointing.
I’ve been feeling rather pmsy of late. I can’t think another reason for why so many things piss me off or annoy me.
1) A parent made a police report against a teacher for verbal abuse of his daughter because she said ‘I don’t want to see your face’ to the girl.
Granted, I don’t necessarily agree with what the teacher said, but what the parent did really pissed me off big time. Perhaps Im not a parent and hence fail to fully comprehend the extent of the ridiculousness of the comment, but i honestly don’t even think it was a particularly nasty comment. In any case, even if it was uncalled for and really upset your daughter, shouldn’t the first call of action be to contact the teacher directly to raise your concerns and your unhappiness? And if abd only if the teacher is unreasonable and or recalcitrant, would it be neccessary to escalate the matter to the principal. Personally, i feel that matters should end here. I am actually of the opinion that the ministry should not even entertain every little complaint that parents have. Shouldn’t they have more faith in their principals to deal with the issues appropriately? Unfortunately, parents feel that the FIRST thing they should do when unhappy with a teacher, is it *drumroll* go straight to the police! No wonder the police is so busy if they have to entertain nonsense like this. Others just go straight to the press.
As a teacher to be, I find this phenomenon extremely disturbing. How can a responsible teacher take any proper action if they are constantly in fear of unreasonable parents complaining about anything and everything? I feel that we should trust the judgement and decisions of the teachers more. It is almost impossible to be an effective teacher if one is unable to assert reasonable authority and discipline the class. Of course, even the best teachers a only human beings who WILL make mistakes. Therefore, if there’s anything a parent is unhappy about, I’m sure a responsible teacher will take the time to hear them out and explain their point of view. Parents should then try to understand why a teacher might have needed to say or do something. If what was said or done was really unneccessary or wrong, I’m sure the teacher would also really like to know of they have upset or a hurt a student that they care about. I’m sure a teacher would make a conscious effort not to make the same mistake twice, and also apologize to the student. What’s the point of making such a big fuss out of nothing and going straight to the police?
I just hate how people like to use underhand means to assert what power they feel they should have. People like to use external agencies and the higher ups to pressurize the schools and teachers to give them what they want. Instead of really wanting to right the wrong and help both their teacher and their child, they are just spiteful and want to get the teacher in trouble. perhaps they just want to vent their unhappiness and anger. Is a top down approach in situations like this reply helpful and neccessary? I really beg to differ. No wonder so many teachers just try so hard to protect themselves these days. I just hope I will never end up like that, and that I will dare to make decisions and do things based on my beliefs and what I feel is right. Why can teachers be treated with dignity and respect as they once were?
That being said, I know that not all parents a like that. I really appreciate the nice parents out there. I think it is ok to be demanding, after all, I know parents want what’s best for their kids, I firmly believe that. Surprise surprise, teachers care too! Most anyway. So why not work together? Just please do not be unreasonable. And the first person you should speak to when unhappy is the teacher. Thank you. I mean, if your colleague was unhappy with you, wouldn’t you appreciate them speaking nicely with you than going straight up to your boss? Same logic.
Attended Adelene’s wedding and finally got to meet the lucky dude! :) (Well, actually it was just the dinner held in Singapore. Her actual wedding was held in Melbourne sometime in April!)
It was really fun helping out, in whatever little way I could. I just can’t describe how happy I feel, watching my dear friends get married. It’s just watching them move on to the next stage of their life, watching them embark on the next chapter with a person they love who loves them back.
It’s amazing because I’ve known the twins for more than 10 years now! Time just flies so ridiculously fast. I can still remember the many times I went to their place to hang out before ballet, or the many times I met them for lunch during their lunch break at work… <3
Ms Ho and I taking photos at the reception desk - duty part 1. :)
It was also a LOT of fun seeing my ballet friends again. Honestly, my table was rowdy beyond words. We were all just very happy for the couple, and we wanted to have fun. We were using our chopsticks to hit our drinking glass (an aussie/western tradition) to get the couple to kiss, took photos with our phones, laughed at my pathetic driving in a carpark skills, and we talked and laughed about everything from children these days (many teachers at the table!), dance, and even traveling! All I needed to do was say that I wanted to go to Sri Lanka for a holiday at the end of the year and all hell broke loose. My ballet teacher and her husband went on and on about how UNpleasant the place was. I think they were kinda high, but the way they described the place was just hilarious. I think, it might have been one of the most fun weddings I have attended. Can’t remember the last time I laughed this much.
Our crazy table with the gorgeous couple! :)
Ballet girls all grown up with our hot ballet teacher! LOL! The lucky bello among the bellas! :):):) Our ballet teacher’s hubby kept getting us to show off our legs and point our toes to take this photo… all the time calling us ‘bellas’ at the top of his lungs!
Finally… a photo with the gorgeous couple. :):) Congrats Adelene & Liam! <3<3<3 I wish you 2 a happy and blissful marriage! Can’t wait for us to have dinner before you 2 head back to Aussieland!
“The secret for long relationships is not having a perfect and harmonious love affair. It is not how less often you fight, not because of the number of similarities and the stuffs you both like doing together nor the number of mistakes you did. Those things count but it is the faith that keeps you going. A relationship would last if both of you are willing not to give up, if both of you is willing to stand up and still try every time one of you or both of you fall. You should not lose hope when you are struck with problems along the way. Give each other hope and hold on as long as you can.”—(via wordsandlyrics)
So, my roomie introduced the wonderful world of geocaching to me. After 2 miserable failed attempts, Nita and I embarked on a geocaching hunt yesterday.
Our first hunt revolved around a bull in town. However, we quickly abandoned the search for this cache because the bull at said location was no longer to be found. LOL.
We then ended up in McDonalds (as we somehow always do) and ate and chatted for 2 hours! Somethings just don’t change, whatever time of the day, wherever we are, whether it’s one of our birthdays or not! Time just flew by.
Anyhow, we decided to try looking for the next cache… even though it was already dark outside. We ended up looking near one of my favourite places/views in Singapore, right in the middle of MBS, Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, Fullerton… I love that view. We looked for a long time and at first had no idea what we were looking for. We also probably looked really retarded. It really didn’t help that it was dark!
Finally, Nita’s sharp eyes finally spotted what we were looking for. SUCCESS! :)
With our find…
Then off we went to chill by the waterfront at the Esplanade, before heading off to Max Brenner for dessert. :) We were so tempted to head over to another location for another geocache but decided it was too long a walk, and too dark that we probably wouldn’t have been successful anyway. There will always be a next time! :)
The birthday girl with her dessert. :)
My yummy, sinful dessert! :)
Hope you had a great birthday my dearest friend! :):):)
I still get demoralized very easily when lessons don’t go well. And honestly, they haven’t this new term. 3 days of battering my confidence in teaching. What’s worse… to spend a lot of time planning and preparing for a lesson, and then watching it FAIL right before your eyes.. I don’t think I can describe the dejection and disappointment I felt.
Thankfully, I thought today’s class with my P2s went rather well. I know it when I complete my tasks (at least most of them), have the kids under control, and when I enjoyed myself. I enjoy the interaction with the kids… they make me smile, they make me laugh. Nothing beats an attentive, participative and engaged class. :)
Unfortunately, my rapport with my P4s seems to have disappeared over the March holidays. I’m not sure what happened, or if its me… But both classes on Monday and today I felt were terrible. :( And I feel like I’m losing control of that class… SIGH. They break my heart.
I hope tomorrow will be a better day. And that the next 6 weeks will be better. *crosses fingers*
“You know you’re family, when you can hang out with my family, even when I’m not there. :)”—
- my personal thoughts.
I think my brother has many such friends. And I envy him. I think I’m not as sociable a person as he is. But I’m glad to know that I do have friends like that too… maybe only 1, or 2… but that’s enough for me! :)
It was also a privilege to get to know my roomies’ families rather well during my short stint in Canada. I can never fully describe how much that meant to me. :):):)
'To be future-ready, education must develop the whole person,' he said.
This was less about content knowledge, as content will have to be re-learnt and even un-learnt during one’s lifetime.
Rather, he said, it was more about how to process information, discern truths from untruths, connect seemingly disparate dots, and create knowledge even as the context changes.
'It is about developing an enduring core of competencies, values and character to anchor our young and ensure they have the resilience to succeed.'
- Minister of Education Heng Swee Keat, Budget Debate 2012, from The Straits Times.
Even though I’m not sure what I feel about the new minister. I think this quote sums up what I feel about education, especially after my experience in university. The world is changing too quickly. What is the point in focusing on content if we cannot even be sure that it would be the absolute truth? Naturally, I feel that it is far more important to acquire the skills necessary to acquire new knowledge and think critically about what we learn.
Today, I witnessed one of my closest friends getting married. A friend of 14 years and counting.
Even though we don’t see each other as much anymore, I know your friendship means the world to me.
I felt so honoured to be invited. My card to let me know where to sit.
I know it because seeing you there with your husband, saying your vows and exchanging your rings… my eyes were filled with tears. Tears of joy. :) I didn’t think I would cry, but I did. lol. I was soooo happy for you, so excited for you to lead your new life together with him as a married couple. Seeing how he always looked at you so tenderly and lovingly, I know you are in good hands and will be loved dearly. :) You deserve nothing less. Thank you for letting me be a part of this.
Even if one day we run out of things to say to each other, I will still always want to be there at the important moments in your life. Do know that I will always be there when you need me.
Congratulations, my dear!! I wish wish you a blissful marriage and everlasting happiness… * hugs*
Some days just don’t go very well, other days are just plain tiring.
Yesterday didn’t start out well. I was reminded once again of a weakness of mine. I’ve been aware of it for a long time now - I have zero ability to hide annoyance on my face when I am annoyed at someone. Especially when I think the other party makes absolutely no sense. Also, I HAVE to speak up, when I feel that something isn’t right.
Of course, it works against my favour. I definitely piss a lot of people off. The working world will never be the cushy place that NIE was, and to some extents… even the way my old workplace was.
Yet strangely, after it hit home how I had totally lost it again, I felt happy. Because being able to see and recognize our faults would definitely be the first step to allowing us to work on it. I try. And I spent quite awhile trying to figure out what I could do to make myself a better person (for the lack of a better word). And I must say I was happy that I was taking things in a positive way, seeing this as a learning point (what we teachers like to call teachable moments), rather than crushing myself up over it. After all, we all ain’t perfect! Mistakes are fine, as long as we learn from them. And that is something I definitely hope to teach my kids..
I still definitely don’t feel safe making mistakes in my current environment, but I was greatly encouraged knowing that God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.
The link is to a post inspired by ‘date a girl who reads’! Another interesting read!
I would like to add, that someone who has traveled and lived overseas before would have seen and experienced so much more than someone who has only lived in one place. It is without a doubt that traveling opens not only our eyes but our minds. It shows you that there is always more than one way to do something; it shakes and challenges our thoughts and beliefs. I cannot describe that strange feeling when we realize that what we grew up thinking and perceiving as the way things should be or as the truth, need not necessarily be the case. The world out there is so big. After you travel, you learn to appreciate diversity, you learn that things need not always have to be the way you used to believe they had to be, you also learn to appreciate what you have at home a lot more - at least for me as a Singaporean. It teaches us to be observant, responsible, careful, more outgoing… the list never ends. I’m glad for the 4 years I spent in Canada and the traveling I did as a student.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I can call myself a traveler anymore (or if I ever really was one). Life is about work, getting some semblance of sanity, and the children that I meet on a daily basis. My breaks are spent recuperating and catching up on sleep. I don’t think the travel-lust is gone; I’d still really really REALLY love to see the world, to experience everything there is to experience out there, to spend time overseas! Additionally, I find staying in a place (and actually getting a good feel of the place, the people, and the lifestyle) much more rewarding than visiting a place on a short holiday. But of course, I don’t have the luxury of time anymore.
Here’s to promising myself to never stop trying to travel! :)
“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Just had a class on inequality in education. We talked about the different factors that might lead to the inequality students face, resulting in different educational outcomes. Some of the factors we talked about included family background (i.e. SES, parental educational level, home learning environment, attitudes towards education), ethnic differences (which I personally felt wasn’t a very good point of discussion), and gender differences.
We talked about how teachers do have the ability to influence and impact our children.
The class ended with a discussion on ways we can reduce inequality in the classroom. Personally, I feel that the idea of ‘reducing’ inequality seems to imply that we disadvantage the pupils from more favourable backgrounds (or academically stronger pupils) for the pupils from less favourable backgrounds. And I’m not sure this should be the case. In fact, I feel rather strongly against this notion. =X I feel that we should give our students equal opportunities, and cater our teaching to best suit our students, giving each and every pupil (regardless of background) the most value-add we can possibly give. This does not mean that we treat all our pupils in the same way, nor does this mean that we give certain groups of pupils additional support to ‘level out’ the unequal playing field. I believe that inequality will always exist in our society. It is inevitable. As a teacher, we should make it a point not to discriminate against any group of students in our class, contributing to the divide that already exists as a consequence.
This is something that I should be conscious about because I noted my own tendency as a teacher to focus on students at both ends of the spectrum (i.e. the extremely bright students who are bored, and the extremely weak students who cannot cope), neglecting the ‘average’ students who just seem to get by with the current system.
p.s. this post is rather incoherent at the moment. I have not organized my thoughts but just wanted to note them down before I forget about them. will edit later.