Saturday, January 26, 2002

Weekend at Home

It seems like every time I have the time to sit down and write in here, it's a Saturday. Well, not really surprising seeing the any other day, I am flat out and just want to die from the strain of teaching.

As you can tell, it isn't going that well. Well, it's going as well as can be. I've been given three new classes of History to teach and it's just given me a full and complete load, as any other teacher (full-time, with benefits and all). History isn't that hard to teach, especially since it's SIngapore history and I'd learnt the stuff since I was 10. I have been told that my history lessons are far more interesting than those by the teacher before me. He's was quite a character. I had to look him up ( we sit in different staff rooms) and he had just finished eating. But I realised, when I was speaking to him, that he still had food swirling around his mouth and it reminded me of a movie I'd seen, where the guy had worms in his mouth and they were crawling around. Yup. It was the grossest thing I'd seen since changing my nephew's diaper for the very first time. This was much worse.

Anyway, he didn't rank very high up in my book especially how during the school fire drill (where all the classes had to evacuate), he remarked that everything was "so confusion". Even the kids in my worst classes know better than to say that. Actually, come to think of it, they would just say, " teacher, so blur" , which is almost as bad, but not so blatantly and glaringly wrong. Speaking of kids-speak, I have banned my classes from calling me "teacher". My teachers did it to me and I thought it was a pretty good idea. I mean, the kids are old enough to remember our names and to address us correctly. We have to learn all 40 of their names (that's one class, I have 5!!!) so I don't see why they can't do that, plus it's just basic courtesy, I feel.

I feel also that they get away with a lot more than we got away with. I remember it was woe to the student who dared question the judgement or decision of the teacher. Not anymore. I couldn't set work without being asked why they had to do it. I have resorted to the lame reason of " BECAUSE.". The kids doth protest too much.

This weekend, we were supposed to go and take a look at apartments, not that we could afford to buy them yet, but because we like looking at other furnished apartments and also we like to cook up grand stories to convince the estate agents that we are serious buyers. It's worked due to the culmination of Dan's accented English and my ability to act snobby. So, to date, I think there's a condominuim establishment in an area somewhat like Brighton as well as a huge housing development in an area akin to Toorak waiting for us to come back with our parents and their cheque books. I think these estate agents just WANT to believe that such a young couple could afford a 3 million dollar house. Some can, but they are in the minority and much hated as they're the upstarts with Daddy's credit card. :) Yes, the resentment is beginning to surface.

So, we were supposed to do that this weekend, but I'm thinking it's not going to happen because the weather's iffy and I have a ton of marking to get through. It takes forever to get through it because the kids speak so badly and that equates into them writing badly and it just takes this side of forever for me to re-write their essays. Also, I'm sleepy.

I have been plagued by bizzare dreams. My subsconscience is having a field day at my expense. So, I'm in need of some good sleep soon. I also need to get back into dancing. It's sucky here where everyone is tiny and small and wear XS. The days of being able to squeeze into an XS is long gone.

Okay, the computer is acting up again so I'm uploading this before it gets a chance to do me in, so till next saturday...


Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:13

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Saturday, January 19, 2002

In Days of Yore

I was once told this story, that there was this box within the computer that contained magic smoke. This magic smoke was what powered the computer. It was sort of like harnessed energy. Anyway, the story goes that, the day the box is opened and the magic smoke escapes out of the computer, the computer will work no more.

So there, that's the explanation for why I haven't written. I tried to switch on my computer and white sparks flew from the back of the computer and it went "poof" and there was smoke all round.

I know that's not an excuse, but it's the truth.

I have also started work. I'm a form teacher of a Sec 1 class (that's about Year 7). So, it's exhausting and I've lost my voice since I yell on top of my lungs for 6 hours a day. I just found out that I can use a portable mike in class but I don't particularly want to look like one of those air-controller people, with a speaker piece and all. Not a good look.

I have realised from where I am that I love teaching and I love the interaction with the kids (providing the kids interact, but that's an entirely different story altogether). What I hate and will put me off teaching is the presence of self-serving individuals who will backstab you in order to make themselves look good. My department is headed by one such person. I had to sit through a two hour ordeal where she expounded on her great teaching virtues and diligence and how we should aspire to be like her. Excuse me while I barf in the corner.

The kids on the other hand, especially my form class, are rather wonderful. They're funny, they get sarcasm and think I'm cool because I indulge in buffyspeak to bring examples to life. However, I have been informed that my coolness is still under probation (their words, not mine), since I don't watch Roswell. Well, I do not apologise for not being 13 all over again.

I look at them, especially the ones who have just come up from the primary school and I remember what it was like when I was that age. Not funny. I fought with my mom a whole lot and was hated by most of my classmates because, a) I spoke English (most of them spoke Chinese), therefore I was branded a snob, b) I ran track and was thought to be the next big thing from day one of school. It made matters worse that the track coach was our form teacher, so the kids saw me as the teacher's pet. I now realise that it was part jealousy and part immaturity on their part, together with my inability to giggle hysterically (then and now). I don't know. I just never giggled and whispered; it must have been the growing up with 2 brothers that made me roll my eyes at such people. Therefore reinforcing the misperception of me as a snob. Well, maybe I was, in that sense, but REALLY... no matter how cute some guy is, he IS not giggle worthy.

So anyway, it's brought back all those feelings. Anxiety, loneliness, the desperate need to fit in...I watch my classes for people like that, mostly because I know how sucky it can feel. I made it through Secondary School fine and when I look back at it now, it wasn't that bad. Academically speaking, it was the best time of my life. But I must admit it was a character building exercise. Oh no, I'm turning into my brother. My brother once told me that anything horrible that happened to us in life, was to make us better people. That was the first thing he said to me, after handing me the tissue box, when I went to him crying about the end of a seven year relationship. But I think it's true and I tell that to my students whenever I make them do something unpleasant- that it builds character. They give me this very doubtful look but it shuts them up. Well, it will till they come up with some retort.

Well, that's what I've been thinking about since the last time I wrote. The re-settling process is getting easier. I still get cranky, especially when I don't have time to write, or email or be on icq. And sometimes, when I don't catch myself and hear someone speak in Singlish (English with a Singapore twist to it), I immediately think, " Oh, that person must be from Singapore" and then I realise that I am in Singapore. So, both Daniel and myself were quite thrilled when we were at Tangs (i.e. Myer) and this modelesque promoter gave us a sachet of perfume and spoke with an Aussie accent. I was also quite thrilled to have found P& N juice on the shelves here. Ah, the taste on Melbourne in a plastic bottle. :)

It's been only a month so it'll be a while more before I'm truly Singaporean again, if there is such a species.

I promise I'll try to write again soon... I always have so much to say but I'm often hampered by the fact that there are mosquitoes here and I would like very much to be far far away from them "make me itch and scratch" bugs.

So later now.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:11

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Tuesday, January 08, 2002

School Blues

Okay, I have about half an hour to do this and then Buffy is on. I haven't watched very much television since I've got back and I'm feeling slightly lost without it. I don't know what people are talking about these days when they talk about what's showing on television.

Anyway, since my last entry, I've found a temporary job. I'm teaching at Geylang Methodist Secondary which is a co-ed school. Everyone thinks it's a girls school so I'm just setting the record straight. I teach Sec 1 (13 year old kids) and some Sec 2's. Some of these classes are weaker students and they need lots of help. They tell me that you "make up" a house instead of "do up" a house and other things like that. The good thing about them is that they are willing to learn and will absorb any sort of explanation you give them. I now understand what my supervisor, Greg, said once about how as long as you are the one at the lectern, everything you say will be taken as lore even if you don't know what in the world you are talking about. I agree. :)

Speaking of Greg, I soooo need to get my thesis re-written. It's a few days late and I can't quite get to a computer that has word. My very clever brother wiped off half the hard drive programs on this computer so that he could play Baldurs Gate Two. So now we have no Word or Microsoft Office but he still has not enough space to play BG2. Haha.

I'm tired. I need a holiday from all this unpacking and settling in. It's just too much. The stress of having to find a job, and then getting up at 6 in the morning. It's not quite amusing. My education interview is next Tuesday and I have been strongly encouraged to think of other careers apart from teaching. I think the ones who have encouraged me this way have the best of intentions. They worry that I get jaded and cynical and bossy, therefore not having many friends.

I enjoy the teaching bit of the job. It's just the other bits that I don't particularly have a taste for. I have to work this Saturday and next because, well, I'm the form teacher of the class and need to meet the parents of the orientating students. I also need to be present at their orientation camp next saturday. That's worse because it's for 12 hours. And I found out, I get paid one day's work. One day's wage is based on a 5 1/2 hour day. I may not be good at math, but I suspect I'm getting only half of what I should be getting. Mutter mutter.

Well, I have a masque on because I decided that I needed to spoil myself today. But now, I have to go take it off before it cracks and leaves line all over the place. That would defeat the purpose of having the masque on in the first place.

This is a somehow mundane entry. It may have to do with the fact that I am so sleepy, but determined to watch Buffy, and that my brain is dead so asking me to have more structure or interesting bits to this is just a waste of time.

Later now, and hopefully, by the next time, I would have finished with my manuscript.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:09

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"