Sunday, 13 May 2018

Three more days to Persembahan Hari Guru...

"It's okay to make mistakes, just learn from it!"

"In all seriousness, yes it is important to do things right - but in the process, don't forget to have fun!"

As I am sitting here typing this blog post, I am sending these text messages to my students.

I will be performing with a group of students for Teachers' Day celebration, which is in...three days time. We haven't been practicing, at all (we should be, but it didn't happened...We met up once to decide on the song to sing, the students were excited, they ended up selecting a song, then changing it, and changing it, and changing it again and again. So yes, nothing was done), until we this morning ,at 8am (+- 30 minutes, Malaysian timing sigh). Because we had to meet in school at 9am for a full rehearsal. Talk about super last minute.

So the rehearsal came and go, and no surprise it was quite a disaster - we weren't following the tempo, we don't have a background music (because we kept changing songs, and we decided on a song mashup really last minute, which we can't find any track without vocals) etc. etc. Out of nervousness some held their mics too far, or sang too fast (yours truly). Even my student came up to me and said, "Teacher you were going too fast and out of beat" hahahahahaha. Lack of practice, lack of practice.

Yes, teachers get to perform during Teachers' Day without going through audition - but we must deliver some form of quality.

So we made a promise to practice again tomorrow and the day after. And here I am reassuring them, it's alright, let's just practice hard, and don't forget to have fun, because once they all graduate they won't be able to get this opportunity anymore - even though there's a side of me deep down inside, feeling skeptical, and hopeful - hopeful that they will take practices even more seriously, or get rid of their nervousness and shyness in two days times (which, to be frank, would be really hard, given it is the first time for most of them, but I am still keeping my hopes up!)

Thinking back to when I was in high school, I was one of the shyest kid one would ever imagine - I will NEVER EVER perform on stage, give a speech in front of a crowd, or even speak my mind (yes, I am a different person altogether now). Seeing my "band" behaving in a similar way how I used to really get me thinking - how do I empower my students to be more confident, to let go of looking good, to speak up and flaunt their talent? The girls in my "band" can sing - they really do, but they need that strong and bold confident push and reassurance. Without realizing it, their shyness or low self-confidence are clouding their inner talent to flaunt and shine.

I remember feeling a little frustrated when my students texted me and ask if they can have practice on x day, because I thought they could have practiced on their own, without waiting for me.  I was frustrated, because no practice took place at all, even though I pushed them to practice on their own without waiting for me, especially because I stay far from school (15km away) and they all live within stone throw from each other. But thinking about it thoroughly, they might have done this (asking me for practice instead of initiating their own practice) out of courtesy, or they just need an initiator - or someone who taught or guide them to be empowered and take charge of whatever they do. They were used to following instructions, perhaps.

And heck, when I was a student, no way I would initiate things on my own. I would wait for my teachers to give instructions.

Rather than feeling frustrated, I should be guiding them, empower them, and teach them to lead.


How do you empower a student?

Empowering definitely won't happen overnight. It is a process, that takes time and effort (lots of it!).

I am really use to speaking my mind - being really blatant and #nofilter. Sometimes I wonder, whether I am being too straightforward to my students - and does it really benefit them, or it is just bringing them down?

I remember how when you're a student, whenever something goes wrong, you can just seek help from a teacher - they will make things right.

But how about when you're a teacher?


Can we really make the cut, with two more days of practice left?

We have our background music now (thank you BFM for teaching me the basic of Adobe Audition) we finally have all our lines sorted. I pray that it wouldn't be a disaster, and it wouldn't leave a dent on students' confidence, if it will be a disaster. As much as I want to believe that my students can do it, I am still worried. And also their exam which is starting tomorrow isn't helpful at all.

You'd think that TFM Fellows' blog is full of success story but noooo take that. It is a roller coaster journey full of ups and downs.

But on the bright side, we had practice in one of the girl's house this morning, and her parents were really kind to host us and serve us breakfast T_T

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

It's all about the money, money, money

Today, I went out with two of my students to watch Avengers.

I paid for everyone's tickets first, and my students tried to pay me back the ticket cost (RM15 each).

I had this scene role-played in my head many times before I went out with them - just accept the money from them, I am not a charity organiztion, I am a teacher, who have not received any salary at all since March....accept the money Jia Qi....just accept it.

But nooooooo in reality that did not happen AT ALL.

Yes, this "kind" teacher decided to give her students a treat. Bye bye money.

After the movie I dropped by a night market nearby, and I bumped into one of my student from my school, who is working with his friend at a stall. AND GUESS WHO SPENT MORE MONEY?


I am not too sure how to feel about this at all - being in Johor, away from most of my friends in Central, and also being a busy fellow, I don't hang out with friends as much as I used to (okay I do go out for socials much more compared to most of the other fellows here though). Hence, the "savings" I reserved for socials can be spent on students instead, right?

When I was in high school and when my teacher treated me to something, anything at all, be it something small like a snack from the canteen, or a Starbucks at a mall (yep, a teacher bought us Starbucks after joining some competition!), I remember that felt really good - I was literally over the moon, and I really want to provide a similar feeling and experience to my students. At the same time, gosh how many students do I have?!!! I am aware that I can give this same feeling to every single one of my students.

I remember once a senior treated my friends and I to dinner and he told us this: "Once you all started working and can afford to pay for your meals, treat your friends/students who can't. My senior taught me this." This left a really strong impression on me, and I really wanted to do the same now that I am working (Despite, earning a meager salary). When I was interning in BFM, our higher-ups would always take turn treating us to lunch at least once a week. Same goes when I was in GE, sometimes they would treat us to a drink or meal.

When I told my dad I don't collect printing money from my students, he reminded me that I am not a charity organization. Hence, I started collecting monies from my English classes. Even my students were "lecturing" me, telling me I should have done it earlier.

I really do need to detach my emotions and attachment from my students, perhaps. Hoping to get my salary soon....

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