Friday, 21 December 2018

The Fourth Quarter of First Year

A fellow once shared to always document your feelings - even if you're in your busiest period of time. And I am glad I did (though just a wee bit). I've forgotten that I felt like these once upon a time.

Wrote this somewhere in early October
I always ponder and wonder about this: How will my students remember me one day in the future?

Will there remember me as the teacher who was always kelam-kabut (all over the place)? Or as the teacher who mengamuk (go on a rampage) in class, shouting their names whenever they are bising (noisy), and (occasionally) throwing a marker pen/eraser across the room.

Did I prepare my students well for the exams?

Did they learn a lot from me?

Was I a good teacher?

But wait, what is the definition of a good teacher? It varies from students to students, no?


To be honest, I thought my first year of teaching was horrible, horrendous, atrocious, (insert any negative adjectives there).

The first three months was a lot of trial and error. Figuring out the level of proficiency of the student, figuring out how to teach and so on..

I remember how I taught during the first three months - it was a lot of guess work. I had to assume their levels

"Let me try this lesson, and figure out if they are good in this!"

What I could have done better: Make the students sit for a diagnostic test

The next three months was figuring out the syllabus, figuring out the lesson planning process
And the next one month was panicking over my students having exams soon.

Was I doing enough?

But what is enough?

4 October 2018
Pop quiz:

What congratulates you for failing?


A Medical Certificate. "CONGRATULATIONS, your immune system failed you."

I absolutely despise being sick. I mean, who likes being sick? As I am typing this I can feel my chest tightening from the phlegm deposit, and my head feels heavy and clouded. My judgement is suspended, and productivity? Probably at rock-bottom.

A pang of guiltiness hits me for taking a sick day for work today. My students are one week away from their final exams and I have yet to finish up their syllabus.

I woke up at 6am today, telling my housemate/collab Sophie "Ya know what, I'm going to cancel my MC and go to school today!" to which she responds "don't be crazy you look very sick". I'm glad I didn't cancel my MC because I ended up crashing again and waking up at 4pm....

7 October 2018
Do you ever feel so overwhelmed from your never ending to do list, and you just feel like doing nothing?

Well, that's what I am feeling right now.


I am sort of in denial phase right now with the amount of work (x number of books to grade and check, exam paper to set, some event to handle, and oh, DPLI assignments and so on)

It's okay let me kill some time here and I'll hopefully get back to my to-do list soon.

12 October 2018

Have you ever, wake up in the middle of the night, with butterflies in your stomach, unable to sleep back in peace, because of a certain thought, haunting you?

I woke up last night with cold sweat, from a nightmare,

For some reason, I can't seem to forgive myself, for some silly mistake I made.


Truth to be told, I am really afraid of making mistakes. I always feel as though my heart stops for a beat when I am called out for a mistake.

Mistakes are inevitable in life. It is part and parcel of our every day life. Yet, us humans tend to feel uneasy when we make a mistake.

My Leadership Development Officer, Jess, introduced me to the four stages of competency, which is illustrated below in this graph. We always start of doing something new rather incompetence. And sometimes, we are unconsciously incompetence - where we might (unconsciously) deny there's a problem.
Image result for unconscious competence cycle
Some might move on to the next stage which is conscious incompetence, where one will start to realize and be open about the incompetency, but take steps and measure to rectify it. But before one reaches that stage, one has to go through a roller-coaster ride of fear, anger, resistance and so on.

But once you can pass the first two stages, you can slowly make your way to competency.

For teaching, I wish if I am more competent, because what we do affects students greatly. Whatever we say might leave a mark on them.

What I wish I have done better?
Reach out to the teachers more often to understand the teaching process much better. I admit, I am a very new and inexperience teacher. Of course, the best teacher is experience itself, but it takes time, and lots of reflection. And along the way, I feel like my students are the victim/lab rat of my inexperience-ness.


Looking back, there really were times where I felt really down. I'd tell myself "Maybe I just need a good meal!" or "Maybe I just need a drink!" or "Maybe I just need dessert!" or "Maybe I just need a holiday!".

These work, temporarily, but I remember falling into the whole cycle of despair (despair is a strong word, but I can't think of another word now), like, everything just wasn't going well.

I remember reaching out to our seniors, and asking them if this is normal at all, and to my relief, they acknowledge that it was normal. And it is fine to feel like this.

Really, it is alright. There are times where you will feel down. There are days where you feel like you can't pick yourself up.

It's okay.

You will pick yourself up soon. You have to learn to accept, and move on. And perhaps implement something along the way. Improve the situation.

I kept wishing, if I could turn back time, and re-do my first year. Because honestly, there are so many things I feel like I could have done better.

But OK reality check, Doraemon ain't here. And you learn from mistake. Accept that.

Come to think of it, what really helped me picked myself up after all these hoohah was finding a project to work on. Spending time with people. I got enveloped in my students' Running Man project and that gave me the drive, the motivation and the energy. At the same time, I remember being all over the place for the DHL Help a School Programme.

And it also helped that there was the holidays to look forward to :P


Us 2018s will be proceeding to our second year of teaching soon. It'll still be tough, I guarantee it. But it's okay, you'll always find a way. to pick yourself up. Remember that.

And looking back at my entree on 17 October, oh my, that was such a horrible period of time. I couldn't sleep well, I lost my appetite to eat and so on. But now looking back, I can't help but to laugh at myself.

Four more days before I head back to Johor to begin the Cikgu Life...

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