Archive for January 2008

You have voicemail

January 31, 2008

He always comes to class bleary-eyed. He would look tired. His hair would be tousled. He seemed quiet and he kept to himself. He hardly spoke to anyone in the class. But I know he’s not anti-social. He slept through many of my lessons.

Last week, he stayed back and we talked. He’s actually not so reserved nor beyond reach. He opened up a little and I was very happy. He rubbed his red eyes as we spoke. He was very tired.

He slept again today. After class, I asked him to stay back a little to finish up his work. “Do you work part-time?” I asked as he handed in the book. “No comments,” he said as he left the room. I checked his work and left a message for him in the book. “I believe there is a reason why you sleep in class. If you want to share, I’d be very interested to know,” I wrote.

I remained in the room to counsel another boy who had earlier flung a chair across the room because he was upset with something. Beneath that bad boy exterior was actually a soft-spoken, polite kid who called me “Ma’am” and just needed an avenue to release all his pent-up frustrations.

When I got back to the office, I saw that I had a few missed calls and a voicemail message on my phone. The boy who sleeps in class left me an SMS. The machine read his message in a lifeless tone.

“Teacher, I am WC. I will try not to sleep in class next time. End of message.”

Was it telepathy that we both left messages for each other? I was touched and ever more determined to reach out to the them, who all have their own stories to tell.

But with 300 students, will I have the energy and time to listen to them all?

Haji Lane in Colour

January 29, 2008

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Haji Lane in B/W

January 29, 2008

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Anger management

January 28, 2008

Honestly, I think nursing students are overrated.

While some teachers think they are a godsend because they are so polite, enthusiatic and punctual, I beg to differ. Teaching my bunch of nurses can be extremely tiring. They don’t stop yakking, they have different learning attitudes and I find some of them quite arrogant and rude.

They’ve never been on time for my lessons. Lateness is not tolerated by their academic school. Students would be locked out and severely punished should they turn up late for lessons. The fact that they can stroll into my class ever so casually simply shows they believe I am a pushover.

When they came in, they forgot their books. They needed to go to their lockers. They had to go to the toilet. By the time we got the whole class in, it was 20 minutes past. “Teacher, we had a 40-minute break before your class. But it was not enough. That’s why we were late,” one male student looked me in the eye defiantly and said.

After they had finally settled down, I told them they were dismissed. “Go and enjoy a 2-hour break. Go and eat or sleep or do whatever you like. You’d all be marked absent. Come to class when you are ready with your books and can be punctual for your lesson. Goodbye.”

They sat still. “Which part of ‘please leave’ do you not understand?” They began to get up slowly and inch toward the door. Some of them left. Half the class stood rooted. “Teacher, we are sorry. Can we stay here?” I kept quiet as I fumed. And then the others slowly crept back.

I asked them what made a good nurse. Responsibility, Self-discipline, Respect, Punctuality, Perserverance, Preparedness, Positive Attitude, Professionalism, were the answers I got. “Sadly you have none of these qualities.”

Because they were so good at talking non-stop, I sent them home to write a 1,000 word essay on “The Cross Section of a Ping Pong Ball.” Thanks R for this cruel fab idea.

I look forward to next lesson.

I feel like such a bitch but what the hell, they deserved it.  

Thursdays with Shah

January 26, 2008

As usual, He inspires and motivates me through unique ways. He sends me little messages when I’m confused, hesistant or down.

My boys are a cheeky bunch and seem ever so desperate to get laid girls to notice them. Even I can’t escape from their advances. They want to know my number, whether I’m married, if I have a boyfriend, and will try their best to impress me. “Eh stop flirting with the teacher lah, you idiot!” they will scold their classmate when he tries too hard with his lame tactics.

During the 5-minute lesson break on Thursday, a Malay boy walked quietly up to the desk and asked, “Hey cher, how old are you?” I told him my age. “Oh that’s only 10 years older than me. I still stand a chance!” I replied that we are of different religions. “You can always convert, cher.” I said I was too old for him.

And then the 17-year-old told me this with a straight face. “Cher, age is only a number.” And I looked at him, speechless. I never thought of it this way before.

Cher, thank you for teaching me.

Woo hoo!

January 24, 2008

No no, don’t be mistaken. There was nothing major that happened to make me really happy.

I am just thankful that it’s finally Friday. Whilst this has been a nerve-wrecking, emotional roller-coaster one week, it has also been a fruitful one in many ways. And since it’s always been my preference to focus on the positive aspects, I tried not to let things get me down.

Well, I wasn’t that successful initially. I spent the first few days of the week in a daze. I fell down outside the main entrance to the staff room on Monday. I probably was too deep in thought. But I continued trying and then things got lot better as the week progressed.

There have been some key changes and good developments on Project M. I’m surprised that my mother hasn’t disowned me and has actually bounced back really quickly after the initial shock. We are actually talking like normal as she slowly comes to terms with my decision.

Though the deadline of Project M has been extended, the research work hasn’t stopped. I spent an enjoyable evening with Miss M and the event co-ordinator at Sentosa Resort & Spa on Wednesday to suss things out. Miss M has been very helpful and giving me so many suggestions. I really appreciate her enthusiasm and dedication.

This week, I also tried my best to pace myself so I do not feel so burnt out after class. I tried not to lose my temper, be patient and explore other ways to engage and discipline the classes. Well, the results are encouraging so I feel more confident and motivated to push forth.

My worries are neverending. Somehow they seem to be about everything in my life. I can only try to take one step at a time, pray and make sure I forget my troubles over the weekend!

Changes and Delays

January 22, 2008

It’s been an eventful month of plans and changes. It was the plan to tie the knot by the end of this year but I’m afraid looking at how things are moving along, we have to wait for another few more months.

My family is not ready. And at the moment, it just seems like we are trying to accomplish too many things at once. Putting the house together, getting me over, going through the ceremony, finding a job. Big tasks for 12 months.

And so we decided to rethink our priorities. Building a warm and comfortable home together takes precedence. Getting the outlandishly expensive visa to live there is necessary.

And thus, the veil, will wait. Till we are fully prepared for come what may.