Monday, 16 July 2018

Days when I feel like giving up

Can I just give up?

Really, what's the point of helping people who don't even want to help themselves?

But then again, they might feel this way because of some incident that happened to them. And who else is going to help them if you don't?

Time and again, I tell myself to chin up, and try to pull through the day.

I am tired. I really am.

I dislike Mondays. Because I have 5 back-to-back classes. Science-English-Science.

I usually leave my first Science class earlier to prep for my upcoming English class. And sometimes because I feel like I have nothing else to teach them about.

My English class just goes by quickly (and because it is a single period as well).

And the last two periods are always when students get really restless.

I don't blame them, really. After all, they have to sit down an entire day.

But it gets really frustrating, when you spend so much hours preparing for a lesson, hoping the best for them, but students are tired, or they are bored of listening to someone lecturing.

I hope for attention from the students when I teach. But they can't give their full 100% attention to all the teacher in the school, they will get tired.

I feel sorry, for students who can't learn, because their class is noisy and I can't control the class.

I feel sorry, for students I get angry at, because I am way too irritated and grumpy to think straight especially after back-to-back of teaching.

Focus on the positive things that happen. But it is tough. I am tired.


Yesterday was my school's parents-teachers meeting, and I replaced one of my English class' homeroom teacher as she was on leave. My students reaction was O_O when I told them she's on MC. Not too sure whether it is a positive or negative respond. Chinese students were happy because of the easier language of communication I guess.

I love that class, I really do. It was nice meeting their parents.

I was packing up my stuff, getting ready to go home and one of my student approached me and asked for my help to remove vocal from a track, for a singing competition happening on Wednesday. Ended up staying an hour, trying to work on it (but unfortunately, the product wasn't up to standard).

He is one of the student that often helps me control the class when it goes haywire, and today, he was sleeping when I entered his class, which probably aggravated my anger and discontentment.

Thinking deeper, he is probably tired because he is in charge of most of the school events. Maybe that's why he was tired.


Can I buy more time and patience?

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A day in the life of A Guru Bertugas

So I am now a Guru Bertugas (ie: Teacher on Duty) every Tuesday morning. So here's a random log of my short stint as a guru bertugas so far.

Week 1, 26 June 2018: 
Nothing special. Thought it was fun, standing at the gate greeting & being greeted by students.

Week 2, 3 July 2018:
Bunch of Form 3 broke a glass window pane. Found out that it wasn't their first time doing so. A few prefects complained that that bunch of students have been playing around that same area for days. Sent the bunch to the disciplinary teacher.

Week 3, 10 July 2018, which is also today:
A young man came to the school around 8am, asking permission to bring her sister home as her mum is hospitalized. Asking which class is the sister in, he say he don't know but claims she is in form 5. Posted an announcement in the school's Telegram group, and a teacher responded that the particular girl is actually a Form 4 girl.

Feeling suspicious, the school's admin and teacher started probing the boy more. There were cases where students were taken "home" by their so-called "siblings" or "uncles" and it did not end up well.

After some probing, the boy claims that they don't have a dad, and the mum was hospitalized the day before, not on the same day. And the reason why the girl came to school is because she wants to take her attendance. School admin got suspicious and asked for the boy's IC and we found out that he has a different surname than the girl. The boy then claims that he is the girl's step-sister.

By school policies, any individual who are not the students' parents are not allowed to take the students home. Hence, the boy was turned away.

And after some investigation by the teacher, we found out that the boy is actually the boyfriend of that girl.

Nearly fell for that one. I wonder am I too naive.

An hour later, I got a call from the school's admin to send a kid home (during school hour) because she is not feeling well and her mum can't drive.

After school, a Peralihan boy approached me with a bleeding hand asking for plaster. He was drenched in sweat, which probably means he got the cut by running around or something, which he admitted in doing so.

And on the same day, a lesson that I planned meticulously did not went well. These kind of things happens, but somehow the feeling of failure is just rather amplified today. Students weren't in the mood to do things, or perhaps I didn't present the lesson well. Or could it be that I am too "soft" to them, and somehow students think that they can get away easily by doing minimal work in my lesson?


My school mentor pointed out I was being too soft to one of my English class (Class X, yes the same Class X I wrote in this blog post), which is true. I thought that they are a good class that don't need me to scream and shout to do their work and I realize recently they did not take my work seriously.

And now it seems to be affecting my other English class (Class Y!)?

(Or my emotions are just highly volatile today. Calm down Jia Qi your lesson with that Class Y is fine, it is just today. Just today. Just that it is extra hurtful given the amount of time I usually spent planning lesson for that class)


But on the positive side, Class X took my work seriously today. I wonder if my mentor talked to them, or they themselves realized it, or it is because my change of tone today (being more firm in what I expect them). I wanted them to complete their work in class, but in the end I had to let them complete it at home, not sure if that is a good move or not....

And on the other positive side, a few students from Class Y came over to help me carry my projector and stuff because they realize I am always clumsy with my stuff. So that's something to be grateful about.


It hurts a lot thinking about my "failed" lesson at Class Y. Dwelling over it wouldn't help but I can't help but to be very upset, upset that the lesson might seem stupid to the students, sad because they just wasted one hour of their life gaining nothing at all. And also because I spend hours preparing that lesson.

I can't expect all lesson to be smooth sailing, and after all to the students, it is just another lesson, like any other lesson in their school. 2 out of 10 (or 12) lessons they have to sit through a day.

Maybe I need a new hobby. Or at least something I can enjoy doing, other than teaching, or any thing that has to do with my students.

Let me take a break from lesson planning today.


So much things happened today, my third week as a guru bertugas. But somehow the one that hurts the most is the failed lesson. WHAI.

OH and the monkeys attacked teachers today too.

Saturday, 7 July 2018


Woke up at 7am, and I told myself, "Ok Jia, you have 15 hours before the clock strikes ten (night) which is the time my brain shuts down from doing anything productive. Minus off 5 hours of productivity lost (due to household chores or daily activities and procrastinating on 9gag), you have 10 hours to lesson plan. 10 hours. 10 hours. You can sure think of something for class X, Jia."

It's almost 8pm. Two more hours to 10.


I have been struggling to plan lesson for class X recently, especially after marking their recent mid term paper. I realize only 10% of the class can write a decent essay (Grade C or D), around 20% of them are at borderline pass, and the remaining 70% of them failed their English exam.

And quite a few handed up an empty exam script for their Paper 1 (which is their essay paper, consisting of two essay component).


It is hard planning a lesson for them because their proficiency in English is very....spread out. And it doesn't help that I am currently running their Oral Test concurrently, so I have to plan a rather passive lesson T______T

And dahlah this class isn't very interested in learning English T_____T

Sure I can make them copy stuff but what is the purpose if their interest isn't there?

Tick tock tick tock, less than 16 more weeks till the academic year ends.

Tick tock tick tock, I can't let them go to Form 5 like this.

Tick tock tick tock, is there a magic potion that can solve this problem?

Tick tock tick tock, I should go back to work.

So how do I make a lesson that could generate their interest, at the same time make them learn, even without me constantly guiding and coaching them?

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Science Lab situation

"Copy down this note!"
"Will I get rewarded if I do so?"
"So why then do I get punishment for not doing my work?"
"Because doing your work is expected out of shouldn't expect getting rewards for doing something that you should do from the start"

Random conversation with one of my Science class student (whom I sent to the discipline teacher a few days ago for deliberately coming late to my Science class). I talked to them (briefly) after class and explained why I did so, and how much I hate sending students to the discipline room.

I was worried whether the students will be spiteful towards me. Insecurities, worries loom over my mind.

The group of students who were late to the Science lab the other day were on time today. Some came 5 minutes late (which was acceptable to me), and some even came earlier than me!

"Teacher, I'm not late today right?" One of the boy cheekily told me.

"Yes, in fact, you're earlier than me!"


"Teacher! Look! I've completed it"

The student showed me his completed work before my class ends.

This might be one of my happiest day in a while.

To be frank today's lesson wasn't really one of the best ones. It was a class about endothermic and exothermic reaction, and the class were doing their experiments in groups. A boy broke a thermometer, some students were having fun adding (way too much) ammonia chloride salt in their test tube, most students weren't doing the experiment properly (not keeping the constant variable a constant...) it was chaotic!

But, it seems that the group of students that I always had trouble connecting with actually bothered paying attention today.

For once, I could feel the connection with the students.

And heck, it was one of my best lesson with this class in a while.

Not keeping my hopes up too high, but I'll try my best.
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