Friday, August 26, 2005

L's micro-teaching

Just some notes on Miss L's class.

Level: Sec 1 N(A)
Topic: Earthquakes
Strategy: Powerpoint, video clip and related worksheet, writes keywords on whiteboard and mindmapping

I think she tried the constructivist method by trying to pique our prior knowledge of what earthquakes were and put it simply through her nephew's conception of earthquakes. Something about the earth shaking. As we are dealing with the younger kids, it is a good idea to keep it simple.

Several points were brought up. What happens when we are supposed to do groupwork and a student (qris) is being ostracised cos 1) he's a loner, 2) the class knows that he is smart and prefers to work alone. Initially if we foresee problems in larger groups, we scale it down to pairwork. And if this still doesn't work? Miss L asked him for the answer and he gave a perfect answer, reinforcing the pointthat he is smart and doesn't need a partner to drown him. Will the rest of the class feel inferior if this was not addressed properly? And how do we address it properly?

Miss L was prompt in settling kids down when there were disruptions... but her main method was to settle everything after class, so as not to disrupt her teaching. But this might be perceived as merely brushing everything aside. I felt that Miss L could have pinpointed the root of the problem instead of 'procastinating'. However, I also realised that probably 1) she was unsure over who had started the problems, 2) she din wanna waste time addressing these somewhat 'trivial' issues. So, do we as teachers actually spend time clarifying what had happened at the expense of the rest of the class? Cos by brushing it aside, it created a feeling that the teacher couldn't care more about the students and was only focused on the lesson proper. This resulted in "smelly pineapple" being 'accused' of being the culprit... when it was actually wesley whohad started the commotion.

Another point: What do we do if we have a foreigner in our class who doesn't understand english that well? How much time can we afford to give he kid private tuition after school? And do we really have the expertise to translate geographical terms into other languages?? Or can we even communicate properly with them in the first place?

During my 4-weeks stint, I encountered a Sec 1 N(A/T) class which I had to relief. I was thrown some English worksheets for them. So I handed them out after giving them the instructions. There was this girl who struck me. I wondered if she had autism.... cos she hadn't moved at all since I passed out the worksheets!! And she din move at all even though I was talking to her!! And in the end, her classmate told me that she doesn't understand English! My my... I peered at her nametag. She was a Thai! Hmm... though I had jsut returned from Chiangrai YEP, I still couldn't communicate with her too effectively lah! But I tried to explain to her what she was supposed to do to the best of my ability. And in the meantime... the whole class was just going bizarre!! And I learnt that you cun afford to focus on them at the expense of the whole class... even though you are just relieving not teaching!

I asked my CT how she would handle the situation. She said to come early every morning to coach her, and to be consistent in it. Ok, feasible idea. But will it really work with just 15 minutes every morning?! And what if you have more than 1 such student in your class... since we are becoming so much more global now?? Hmmm....

Aiyah, anyway, I think Miss L did a good job in handling the students' behaviour and din let anything blow out of proportion. And she is attentive to students' behaviour and picks on the quiet students to involve them. Good job. =)


Excited over GESL.
Something that is non-traditional makes it more exciting.
Praise God for letting me find favour in the group.
Thank God for the courage and wisdom.
Thank the Holy Spirit for teaching me humility.
Thank God for answering my prayer!! =)

Service learning is learning through service. You might not know the learning objectives at this moment, but as you work through it... you'll realise that learning does take place in areas which you might not thave expected.

Teaches us to keep our hearts and minds open and to be optimistic. Cos everything happens for a reason. If there is no intrinsic value, there must be an extrinsic value. Find it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


TOMATO: "te-mah-toe" or "too-mah-toe" or "te-meh-toh" or "toh-mah-toh"?

POTATO: "pe-teh-toe" or "poh-teh-toh" or "per-tah-toe"?

SALMON: "seh-men" or "sell-mon" or "sell-men"?

SINGAPORE: "Sing-er-por" or "Sing-Gar-Por"?

ASIA: "A-she" or "A-zia" or "Ah-sia"?

Groupwork/ Cooperative learning

"In human societies the individuals who are most likely to survive are those who are best enabled to do so by their group."
(Ashley Montagu, 1965)

"I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun."
(John D. Rockefeller)

It seems like interpersonal and small-group skills are very much valued. And there has als been an emphasis on student-centred learning. "Form into your small groups and discuss..." But the problem is, there has been little emphasis on teaching students HOW to interact with their peers and working together as a team. It seems to be taken for granted that all kids have innate social skills and know how to work in a group naturally.

How often have we encountered kids who complain that they dun wanna work in a group cos working individually is more efficient? Or some free-rider in a group? Or kid A refusing to work with kid B? Or a group which does their work individually but talk about unrelated stuff? Or an arugmentative group where assertive members refuse to compromise their ideas for someone else's? (This would actually make me beam, cos at least they are thrashing out ideas!)

There are several methods in which teachers can facilitate this cooperative learning process more effectively, such as coming up with guidelines and projects which ensure that the group either "swims or sinks together". (Think jigsaw... if one piece is missing, it will never be completed. This prevents free-riders.) But all in all, groupwork has to be planned properly, such that there are clear objectives for working in a group, and that it really exposes students to different viewpoints. If students are aware of the benefits, they will support groupwork. And the benefits are long-lasting... such as strenghtened relationships and social skills.

But the teacher has to take step-by-step efforts in getting to know the dynamics of the class first, proper groupings of the class, facilitate and drill in a cooperative learning environment through different projects. Mebbe for a start, one could organise pairwork first before venturing into larger 'natural social groups'. Hee.

""Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up...And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastics 4:9-12

Role play/Simulation

Role-play/Simulation. I was convinced of its benefits today.

Initially, I was a critic of it. Such as it being time-consuming, students having more fun than learning, effort not matching outcome, etc. But I have been bought over to the 'dark side'. I learnt about its merits. That of learning through fun, involvement of all students including the shy ones, creating empathy and an impact on the students' learning process. It trains students to use and apply their creativity and multiple intelligences (eg, IQ, EQ, AQ). It allows them to take on different perspectives and outcomes, which are now being tested in contrast to the regurgitation of facts. Affective learning. Holistic learning.

All these made possible only with the proper guidance of the teacher, the importance of debrief, the drilling of specific notable points, reflection with the students ("in-and-out" of role)...

I was reminded of a tourism module where a team presented in the form of a talk show. They had team members dressed up as an officer with the STB, an American tourist and a roti prata man from Serangoon Road. By imitating them through humour, they presented the general views held by these social groups. Through it all, the whole class learned through fun and laughter.

But role-plays require tremendous planning and preparation... so too many will kill us in the process! And as the tutor pointed out, it kills the novelty of it all.

Assessment... how would assess role-play? What if the acting sucks? Haha! But the best solution I thought, was to have peer evaluation. Of course one cun just rely on that solely... pre-role-play work such as scripting and post-role-play work such as reflections could be taken into account. Role-play can be highly-effective, only if it is conducted well.

Heh. This makes me all excited yet nervous! Am I up to it? Sometimes I wish I was still a student....

Monday, August 22, 2005

A teacher does not only teach. He/She is an admin officer, a counselor, a motivator, an observer, a babysitter... even a parent! Sometimes even first-aid skills are necessary... (actually everyone should learn first-aid!) The brain is stretched in all ways... from coming up with detailed lesson plans, creative teaching strategies, maintaining class discipline with 'monstrous' kids, handling an entanglement of admin stuff, having a hand in psychology... motivating students in order to produce good results, pushing for CCA achievements, dealing with kis with problems, being a friend yet maintaining the status quo, working in various school committees, etc. You wonder, how does one cope? In fact, some excel at it! The secret: Passion. Not $.

Gone are the days where teachers just teach and students listen obediently. Gone are the days where teachers work half-day. "Like sands through the hourglass... those are the days of our lives."

Let's embrace the new all-rounder, "bao1 gao4 liao4" teaching profession! Where we "mould the future". See? Teaching is a profession where not only your brains are invested, but your heart and soul, your emotions, your physical self, everything. We are dealing with 'malleable' young minds and tugging at the hearts of young kids, preparing them for the future. It's an important job. It's not an easy job. It's NOT a dumping ground! Argh!

Hmm... pay rise? Hee.

Special Watch's microteaching

Miss Tok's class.

Level: Sec 1 NA
Topic: Vulcanism
Strategy: Powerpoint, workheet to jolt preconceived memory of volcano through sketching, simulated lava flow (styrofoam as volcano and tapioca flour as lava with different viscosity) which students can time, with worksheet to describe activity.

"The bar has now been raised" (geognut, 2005) I cun concur more! =) Miss Tok really impressed me! I think all the experience really paid off! Solid teacher she is! She gives the impression that she is a no-nonsense teacher, but yet eludes this caring persona.

A good strategy is to get the students to clear everything on their tables except what is needed, or else she will confiscate it. She gave out worksheets which were different-coloured. This allows students to differentiate between them easily. Another plus point. And if Tutor K had not pointed out that her powerpoint slides were so zai... I would never have noticed it! Miss Tok tested our surface knowledge first by allowing us to draw an impression of a volcano, then she displayed a childish sketch... followed by 'slicing' the childish sketch into a proper volcano, etc. It was very gradual, which is perfect for weaker students.

Miss Tok throws her voice very well and is very firm in class management... always one step ahead of our 'pranks'. I think it was amazing how she quietly walked over to YZ and took away her history textbook, even before YZ could start reading it. I tried walking around the class like some students do when they are bored, but the moment I took my second step, she called upon me and asked me what I was up to. (She never gave me the chance to pull a successful prank! Haha!) But she is also very fair, cos she didn't label anyone of us as a trouble-maker and when we did ask questions, she would patiently listen to us and address them.

Even when YZ started crying (she does it quite well!) cos superlambanana had bullied her, she swiftly broke up the fight and comforted YZ. It is here that we realised that the most Jenny can come up with is, "I don't wanna friend you." Hahaha! Also, when wes threw a piece of paper across the class while she was attending to someone else, she calmly continued to give her attention to the student and ignored Wes, hence also giving him another chance. But when he did try his trick again, she reprimanded him and threatened to inform his parents.

The ultimate, which deserves an encore, was the simulated lava flow. It's such a innovative, powerfully visual strategy! It captures the essence of the different viscosity of lava and gets students to deduce the difference between the cones formed. (Well, they can see the effect!) Can I steal the idea? Is it copyrighted?

Yep. Impressed I am. Awed I am.

YZ's microteaching

Now on YZ's mircoteaching... You wouldn't believe this. I took down the points on a piece of paper... and lost it. So I re-jotted the points when we had the debrief. And now it's LOST again! Talking about scatterbrain. Hmmm... mebbe YZ stole it. Hahaha! Or mebbe it got squashed up and got thrown about in class. Or got folded into a nice aeroplane and returned to where it belonged... *grin*

Level: Sec 3 Express
Topic: Faulting
Strategy: Powerpoint and worksheets with blanks, block props to demonstrate faulting, photographs in plastic bags and markers for students to identify faultlines.

Wow... I think there were many pockets of problems for YZ! Haha! Seems like many of the goody-two-shoes are unleashing already! =) But I must say she handled them quite well. There was a different kind of disruption... (read: the intellectual teacher's-pet wannabes.) Haha!

geognut was trying to be the smart aleck (k, he doesn't need to try hard, cos this is his pet topic!) and asked 'intelligent' questions. I think this is a problem when teachers are caught in the middle. A common solution is to just admit that we are not sure and that we'll check it out and get back to the students asap. But sometimes, we are unwilling to admit that we don't know cos we don't want to lose credit... and hence shrug it off and ask the student to go research himself. I guess in this case, we might discourage these students from probing more and gradually lose interest in the subject. (Gone are the days when students keep quiet and passive about everything! Hee)

Hmm, YZ should also have picked on other students to answer her questions, and not focus too much on the attentive and smart students like Lily. Cos that seems unfair and the other students will feel discouraged and worthless. And too much focus was placed on cheeky ones like superlambanana, geognut and me. It seemed like every move we make was being picked on, even though we were genuinely discussing her lesson. And her eyes seemed set on us... such that sleepy SJ got off. Heh.

But I thought she handled it very well when she reprimanded geognut for throwing paper aeroplanes around. "Where are you? Where is this place? Where do aeroplanes belong?" She was also very firm in getting geognut to pick up the plane and dump it where it belonged... the "hangar" as geognut puts it. Haha! And when I was making some noise, she went "Do you have anything to say?" rather than just telling me to shut up. And I am super impressed by the way she handled the situation when there was a sexual comment... something like, "Cher, I like your rift valley!" She reacted promptly and shot back the question, I think. I cun really remember. It went something like, "Do you own a rift valley?" But the point is, she did not allow the sexual joke to carry on and did not show that she was embarassed... cos that would have met the purposes of the cheeky student. Yet she did not flare up and start firing at the student. Kudos to "deh" YZ! =)

The asthma case... hmm...
Firstly, bad acting by wes... such that it was comical! Hahah! Geognut and myself were wondering what that noise was! Such that YZ was confused by whether he was just playing a fool or really having asthma! Hee. But I think it was a really good idea to introduce such emergencies. Hmm.. "Call ambulance!" was too wise, I feel. But I guess YZ had no choice... like in her blog, she mentioned that if she had accompanied Wes to the sickbay... she wouldn't have to microteach anymore. But in a real situation, I think it is best if we can accompany the student to the sickbay ourselves... while setting some work for the students to keep them occupied and maybe putting someone in-charge... either the class rep, subject rep or a naughty one to maintain order in the class.

Next, I think we shouldn't kick up a big fuss and scare the class by the incident. We should handle it as calmly as we can. But on the other hand, we should also address the confusion, fears and concerns of the class. Cos I felt that YZ was brushed the issue aside so that she could stick to her lesson plan... which is why I kept saying "Wesley is going to die!", in hope of her addressing the issue. And I even thought of crying... and accusing her of not showing enough care. I think it is important to assure the class that their classmate is fine... even if he isn't at that point of time!

All in all... it's a job well done! =)



Whatever our hands touch -
We leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture,
On doorknobs, dishes, books,
As we touch we leave our identity.
O God, wherever I go today,
Help me to leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion,
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
And genuine concern.
May my heart touch a lonely neighbor,
Or a runaway daughter,
Or an anxious mother,
Or, pehaps, a dear friend!
Lord, send me out today
To leave heartprints,
And if someone should say,
"I felt your touch,"
May that one sense YOUR LOVE
Touching through ME.

- Ruth Harms Calkin

Every small gesture can make a BIG difference in someone's life.

LY's micro-teaching

Have been procastinating too long. Gotta blog gotta blog gotta blog..........

K firstly let me comment on OBSunsetLY's micro-teaching. Better late than never...

Level: Sec 3 Express
Topic: Karst Landscapes
Strategy: Powerpoint, video, rock samples and worksheets

Overall, I felt that the lesson was interesting... especially with the rock samples. There's visual and hands-on activity for the students. Hmmm... maybe all the rocks are fairly similar... but if they are not... mebbe students could exchange the samples so that they can observe all of them? Putting them in little bags are a good idea.... I remember how a teacher I was observing din do so... and hence had to keep reminding the students that the samples were her prized possessions when they started playing with them. The worksheet is a good way to keep the students occupied. But we weren't told how long we had to complete the worksheet... so we had no motivation.

Very cool pictures on karst as well. But the video flashed past before I could catch anything. But then again, I was being mischievous. Hmm... should we capture the students' attention first before playing the video? Cos naughty ones in general take a longer time to settle down... and hence lose out on the video, which might have sparked an interest in them in relation to the lesson... and might result in less disruption.

Hmm... on the issue of confiscating EZlink. I personally do not support it... but it is an innovative idea. Firstly, after confiscating the EZlink, it kinda gives the naughty ones more liberty and freedom to revolt. Cos there is nothing restraining them anymore. Secondly, the students know that their cards will be returned in any case, cos it is something important which the teacher has no right to keep for long. Thirdly, the case of the teacher losing the cards... which is highly possible for scatterbrain me! And finally, what do you do when a student tells you that his/her card is being 'stolen' by his/her classmates during the lesson? First, do you believe the student? Second, do you pursue the matter if you do believe? And do you raise the issue to the whole class by questioning who 'stole' the EZlink? What to do... what to do?? "Willy Wonka... Willy Wonka.." =)

And if I might say this... I think LY was speaking too fast. (I have this problem too... and was initially told by students to slow down... but I was gan-cheong lah... cos it's my first lesson!!) So I can understand LY. And mebbe there should be more variation in the tone? I guess teachers have to be animated? In order to capture the attention of the kids, cos kids nowadays are easily bored. We are actors! "Willy Wonka... Willy Wonka.." Ohoh... and the consistency in getting students to stand when answering questions. I guess if we want to make students stand when answering a question, we should apply it to all students. (Think we have a tendency to forget...)

But all aside, I still think it was a good lesson. And sorry LY, if I was too "into" the role of the pai-kia by flinging the wallet. But you know that nothing is directed towards you rite? =)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wonder Why? woman's lesson

Now to comment on Wonder Why? woman's micro-teaching.

Level: Sec 3 Express.
Topic: Tourism
Strategy: Work in groups to design a trip to 5 places in Singapore where we can bring our friends to. Explain why. Include budget. Present to the class at the end.
Resources: Postcards, mahjong paper, markers, whiteboard.

I personally felt that Wonder Why? woman was very brave to take the first step to kick off a whole series of micro-teaching in our Geog class. I'm very excited about this whole thing, and it makes my day just to know that there is Geog class that day... so I can be the cheeky kid in class! Haha! Not ALL in the name of fun lah... there are really situations which I dun think I can handle and hence wanna deal with it before I am dumped into the deep end of the pool (ie. officially teaching). So disruptive as it may be... I promise I won't cross the line to it being ridiculous. So though things do go in a full circle.... please please please have mercy on me!! Just sabo my accomplice geognut!! Hahaha! (Just joking lah...)

OK, back to Wonder Why? woman's lesson. I think the objectives of the activity and the lesson could have been more clearly spelt out. But then it might have been my own inattentiveness (ie. discussing of how to disrupt class) that caused me to think so. Erm... clearer instructions as well? I think for kids... regardless of how old they are... instructions have to be clear and concise. Cos everyone has their own mind and way of doing things... so if instructions are not clear... conflict and misunderstanding will arise. However I do have to commend the strategy of writing the instructions on the whiteboard. That prevents students from asking and asking and asking. =) Oh, and giving out instructions before distributing the materials is a good method, cos this makes them listen attentively and not get distracted with the distribution.

Hmm... distributing of materials. Yeah, I think it is more convenient to divide them into the various groups first... instead of having students come to the front. Cos they'll fight over what colours they want, etc. But having the group leaders come to the front, and not just a volunteer, is also a good way. If this is too much work, maybe we could have the monitor/monitress or the subject rep to divide the materials.

I must say that Wonder Why? woman was good at dealing with the fighting scene that Geognut and myself were involved in. (Geognut tore the mahjong paper in the middle of the fight. Then we agreed to work on a smaller piece of mahjong paper. But we listed 8 places instead of 5. We were told to redo it. So instead of just cancelling the extra places, we tore them out... resulting in a chesse-like piece of mahjong paper with holes all over. Hahahah!) But a disclaimer: we were prompted to do so... though Geognut did come up with the idea.. Hee. And it was fun! Hahah! Oops! Wonder Why? woman maintained good eye-contact with Geognut in reprimanding him... while being careful not to raise her voice (but vaired it slightly to let us know that she was not too pleased) to prevent us from losing 'face' in front of the class. I must say that her quick and forward-thinking are some stuff I cun foresee myself having! Hee. She didn't allow us to switch groups... to maintain the fairness and not allowing us to take the easy way out. This forced us to deal with the situation at hand. She also mentioned how unfair it is to our groupmates, which should have struck out conscience (though it didn't, cos it was all planned! Hee.) But it's a good move. Cos we did feel that our beautiful piece of work was wasted... or else can compete with the "Gifted students" group liao! Hahaha!

And making Geognut go off to wash his face and cool down was a good idea too. However, one down point was that I felt that she didn't focus on reprimanding me enough. (Not that I am masochistic lah!) It's just unfair for Geognut lah. And commenting on his 'big size' was erm... Hee. The boy's self-esteem might be hurt even further lah. But I understand that it's a spur of a moment to break up the fight. Mebbe if we are faced with such situations, we can pull the kids aside at the end of the lesson and do a detailed follow-up with them.

The question about whether she was focusing too much on the problematic students and neglecting the rest. I think she did find a balance there lah. If you dun control the naughty ones... how is the class gonna function? And she did make an effort to go around to the different groups rite? Hmm.. maybe to facilitate more, she could have asked them questions lor. Cos sometimes kids are shy and tend to clam in more when the teacher comes near them.

Another point of contention was about making superlambanana and wesley read the text on the postcard. For superlambanana, it was because he didn't understand the instructions... and it worked, cos he did went "Oh!" after reading it. However, I think making him stand up to read to the whole class was like a punishment, when all he did was give a wrong answer... This might discourage students from offering answers and speaking their mind. But I might be exaggerating here lah... it might not be that bad afterall. As for Wes, he was being disruptive lah. So the punishment is warranted. The benefit of making him read aloud to the whole class was so that he would understand what was going on despite being inattentive. But I think it went on for too long lah... such that it became awkward... and I think she forgot to ask him to sit down afterward. This happens all the time... and I think we should be conscious about not forgetting to ask students to sit down... or else they might think that they are still being punished. Worse still, they might think we are punishing them not for their 'crime' but 'attacking' them.

Yeah. I am looking forward to the next micro-teaching class!! WooHoooooo!!!
(I really should have gone first so that I dun incur so much wrath and create an opportunity to get shot! Hee)

Steve Job

(As I'm typing this, I'm being attacked by this brave, lone warrior of a mosquito... To kill or not to kill? The power lies with you. No, with me. Heh.)

Tot I'd update my blog... =)

Kenneth played this audio clip of Steve Job's commencement speech at Stanford University. To find a copy of the speech, do look up geognut. Cos I tried creating the link but the link just won't work... and since geognut has it... Shall advertise for him then! Hee. Really just listened to it in awe. He has such an amazing never-say-die spirit! It has instantly risen up the priority chart of "must-listen" inspirational speeches. And it coincides with what I want my students to strive for... their DREAMS. To follow their hearts and to have no regrets. (Of course not harmful stuff lah...) To dare to dream, to have the courage to take the first step, and to have faith to continue and finish the race even when the whole world isn't with you... (God will never leave us nor forsake us, so we just need to stay focused on Him.)

Just several pointers that hit me.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." (Jobs, 2005) Isn't this so true? We must always believe that there is a future, so that we can move forward and find meaning in the things we do. But it order to move forward towards our future, we have to grab opportunities now... plant the seeds now, water the seeds now... so that the seeds will grow in future! So what matters is NOW, and not the past, but hope for the future! Hee. Strange huh... coming from someone with History as CS2! Hahah! No lah.... I mean that we should not be trapped in the past and entangled in regret over the things that we failed to do. We should LEARN from the past and apply to the present and the future! And that's vital... to learn from past mistakes. That's what my approach is. Not that the past is redundant.

I believe that everything is planned by God. He is the Creator and knows best how our lives are best crafted. Every trial, every tribulation, every mistake, is just a stepping stone... for us to strengthen ourselves for the future. Not to show that we are totally useless and cannot stand up to hardship. Cos with God, everything is possible! We just need to trust in Him.

"And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." (Jobs, 2005) Right on the dot! I always believed in doing what I love, cos this is where you will succeed regardless of how discouraging the situation is. It's only when we love what we do are we willing to throw in more effort and commitment... only then are we willing to brush aside all unpleasanties and not mind the hardship. It's so true about our jobs... and so true about students dealing with the subjects they love. Hence our main motivation should be to infuse the love of Geography and whatever other subjects we are teaching into our students. Our enthusiasm will be rubbed off onto them!Then I imagine it as a 'dominoes effect', where everything falls into place. Cos this is just a perfect scenario lah... but I believe it's possible! Hee. Love conquers ALL! =)

"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" (Jobs, 2005) This has always been a powerful tool... but I always seem to be just sucked into everyday life and commitment. Of course I would wanna do more exciting stuff than... erm... better not say lah! Haha! But on a more serious note, I would wanna make a difference in ppl's lives. A positive influence, I mean! But this kinda thing is a long-term 'contract', and cun be accomplished in just one day's work. But I believe that tiny gestures can be magnified in someone else's life... even though we do not see the result. So yeah, we should have a goal/s and work towards it continuously.

"Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. " (Jobs, 2005)

Courage. But with a nice mix of humility. =)

Hee. After all the 'advertisment' for Steve Job... do you think I'll get any royalty?? (And we were just talking about humility?? Hee. Courage mah. Must grab the opportunity! Hahaha!)

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Podcast. If you are not in Kenneth's class, you probably wouldn't have even heard of this rite? Hee. Which makes me so proud to be in his class! Haha!

Podcast is new technology. And for a techno-idiot who usually doesn't embrace new stuff too early on in the tech cycle... this is like WOOHOOooo!! Hee. Actually I'm really quite excited about it... though I must admit I dunno much about it. I just pray that we do come up with a bright idea of incorporating Geog and boosting pedagogy in this field. (Cos Geog to me was always more visual than audio.... hmmm...) It's just exciting having a chance to experiment with this lah. And if there are any technical problems... there's always Kenneth we can turn to.

Although today's class was power-packed with technology and Mac and iPod stuff... and I must admit that I did get fidgety and restless and... err... finally dozed off in the middle. Oops! Hee. But I did pay attention for most of the parts lah! And very tempted to give in to iBook! Just concerned with the application problems... but I think it shouldn't be too much of a hassle... seeing how Rezal has been using it for quite long and how Kenneth is 'googoogaga' (if I might say that!) over Mac! "It's my MACdonald's...." Hee.

Yep, so now I just pray that my group will be committed to coming up with good podcasts...

We shouldn't give in in the midst of difficulty and say, "Aiyah... cannot make it one lah... What's the point? Put in so much work for what?!" Sometimes we need to take things into perspective as well... not to lose sight of what our goals are. And if there's an opportunity to try new things, why not? When we think we are ready, the opportunity would have left us. Additionally, if we wanna do something, we might as well put in our hearts and soul and do a good job if possible? Why settle for effortless, meaningless and skimpy results when we have the resources, the opportunity and the capability to excel, go the distance and make a difference?

I'm feeling quite strongly about this cos I was a little frustrated (k, not little...) in GESL today. Some of the vocal members in my group have the 'take-the-easy-way-out' attitude. For eg, "Let's just chopchop and get it done." I understand efficiency. I understand the workload. But corny as it may be, I really believe in service learning. My two YEPs have taught me that. And for NIE to set aside so much time to incorporate this, it should mean something lah... (eh? politically correct? Hee) other than governmental stipulations and what not. That doesn't concern me. But c'mon... here's a chance to strive to come out with an excellent project... and it involves the community, (which grows in significance for me) and we are just gonna chopchop and just go do a one-day project cleaning up old folks' homes or a one-day beach clean-up and that's it? Never to bother about any of our so-called volunteer work again? What crap.

I'm not saying that this kinda volunteer work is pointless... What I do mean is that we are already doing this kinda volunteer work in our own free-time... Therefore we are not achieving the objectives of this GESL, whereby with our pool of resources, we can actually achieve a WHOLE LOT more! Like a project which will make an impact on the community and can be sustained even after this ends.

Don't people seek the sense of satisfaction in ploughing and harvesting the fruits of labour anymore? Other than just 'getting by' and producing 3rd grade harvests... if there is a harvest in the first place! Brrrr....

Career options

Remember when we were young... people were fond of asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up? (Hmm... do they really keep track of our answers anyway??) Oh well, I was thinking about it and I recall some of my 'proper' answers being... police officer, pilot, sportswoman, explorer, etc. How varied the answers were (sometimes ridiculous!) and how often they were changed, according to our whims and fancies!! Haha!

As I matured, (yes, I did mature ok!) I began thinking more seriously about it... I knew there were some careers which were total no-nos for me. For instance, sales.... not when I needed to convince strangers of my product, present my pitch and perform... definitely not in the light of "the customer is always right" attitude. (Cos we all know that customers are NOT always right! So why go against our principles just to cut the deal?!) I'm saying this from a specific experience... when I worked in outdoor sales... the most basic and 'xiong' sales. Directly face-to-face pitching by catching any Tom, Dick or Harry on the street. You name it, I've done it. From peddling watches to office workers on the streets to ah-pehs lim-ming kopi or Guinness Stout at kopitiam to selling perfume to mechanics repairing the underneath of cars in ROV to sneaking in and out of private office's backdoors, etc. It's people-related alright, but just not my kinda tea. Deceptive promotion lah, I feel. But I do give the thumbs-up and respect to good, honest, sincere salepersons. Some people do have the flair for it, I must admit.

Similarly, when I took a marketing module, I felt like it was just deceiving consumers into buying a certain product they do not need/want through tricky measures like promotion, packaging, etc. It's just not right.... It's corrupt!! (Though I did excel in that module! Haha!) And here's an even more extreme view. I feel that charging people at selling price in order to earn profit is not too right, though it is 'natural'... So yeah, I'm definitely not cut out for business. I think I'll die from my own conscience before anything! =) Haha! I think I belong in the era of barter trading for necessities! *grin*

And to focus on my passions... there are only several career options which I can envision myself in. Other than teaching, there's working with an NGO in a developing country iimmersing in the culture and helping the villagers and especially the kids, working at a summer camp in US monkeying around indulging myself in the outdoors and loving the company of the kids, (I'm still bitter over Singapore's 'summer holidays' clashing with the US one... such that I cannot afford to go over to work anymore!!) organising local outdoor camps and workshops for kids, or become a chef and just enjoy the cooking (though the business will have to be run by someone else!).... Yeah. I guess these are the few options...

But anyway, teaching is the main course now (not just cos of the bond lah!). At least in teaching, I'll get to work with kids... it's a dynamic job (cun imagine myself in a static desk-bound job!), and 'innocent' and 'hassle-free' in the sense that I dun have to deal directly with money issues (I suck at number-crunching anyway!)... like which deal is the most profitable, etc. I'll just have to focus on my main objective, and that is to teach the kids whom I'm entrusted with well. I dun go, "Your parents pay me more, so I'll have to teach you more. Your parents don't pay me enough... I'm not gonna teach you!" And though now kids are not considered as 'innocent' anymore, in general they are still 'purer' than the adults lah. The commerical world, so-called 'adult world' is frightening! (Too luan4 for innocent young banana saviour. Hahaha!) I guess it's this attitude that I wanna remain in the school environment. Disclaimer: This is NOT self-psychoing. Heh.

Whatever it is, I trust that God will lead me. He is my perfect guide because He knows all my needs (He created me!!), and has infinite wisdom and power and riches.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6.


Some incidents....

You know how short my hair is now... (resulted from me telling the hairdresser "anything". Haha! So smart hor?) So yeah, with that in mind, let me tell you what happened a few days ago.
I was in the toilet and waiting for a friend, and there was this cutle little girl around 3 or 4 years old, I assume... who looked at me and went "Mummy! There's a man in the toilet!" (The mummy was in the cubicle attending to an even younger kid.) I was super amused... and was wondering what would happen next. The mummy peeked out of the toilet and went, "No... that's not a man..." Hahahaha! Interesting to see how social constructions of what constitutes male and female work out... especially in young kids! *grin*

And another incident....

A friend was having difficulty cutting a hard-boiled egg into 2 today. After she succeeded, she proceeded to remove the egg yolk and ate only the egg white. But it seemed like there was a lot of egg yolk to be removed, and I commented so. She agreed.

I went, "Because this is an egg stuffed with egg yolk."
Friend: "Is it?" And accepted it without qualms.
Me: "Yeah." Looking as convincing as possible and amused that she actually fell for it. After a while I tak boleh tahan and burst out laughing. It was then that she realised. Cute friend I have.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I never thought that one day, I would become a blogger too! And I thought I could be 'one of a kind' by not succumbing to blogging! Haha! Anyway, this blog will have many uses. I'm gonna make it a tool that will be a source of encouragement for my teaching career, allow me to learn, and remind me of the past when I do look back someday.

K firstly, why banana saviour? I LOVE bananas. Those YUMMY, potassium-filled soft, tender, white thingy wrapped in smooth yellow, easily-peel-able skin. And hence I am doing them a great favour by rescuing them from a slow, painful death of rotting... by finishing them off fast. A theory that buddy helped come up with in a spur of a moment. =)

Anyway, why I took up teaching... It's not for the money... and I am not just trying to be politically-correct here just because this blog might be made public and it might affect whatever reputation I have! I have always loved kids... I still do... and I wanna love them even more! (K, now this sounds corny.) Aiyah, kids in general lah... from the huggable, googoogaga kind to the unsteady ones who have just learnt to walk to the ones who just learnt how to talk to the innocent ones who ask this and that and imitate you to the ones who are easily fascinated and entertained by your actions to the ones who start to learn how to socialise in school etc etc.... all the way to the ones who enter their teenage (mutant ninja turtles!!) years.

I have always loved camps and the outdoors... and so I ended up working part-time doing primary and secondary camps. I would describe it as a period of ups-and-downs... laughter, enjoyment, exhiliaration, excitement, satisfaction, bonding, maturity, opportunities, learning, perserverance, miracles, fatique, disbelief, sadness, tears and frustration all weaved in together. But it's all so so worth it!! At camp, you have to interact with them, teach them, faciliate them, discipline them, bring the shy students to the forefront, have fun with them, go crazy with them... We are the leader, the disciplinarian, the facilitator, the actor, the clown... many roles which a teacher has to take up. And at the end of the road, the satisfying part is when they achieve the goals (be it a group goal, or personal ones) that you have set with them, and motivated them towards... Awwww... the feeling is just AWESOME! (Eg. When a shy kid actually volunteers to do something at the end, or when the group bonds at the end though they were strangers in the beginning, or when I played a huge part in helping a kids step out of his/her comfort zone to achieve something they never thought possible, or helped someone overcome certain fears, etc.) Hee. All the low points would then miraculously disappear! Only the high points will shine and you feel such an uplifting in your heart that it will leave you grinning like it was the best thing that ever happened to you. Hee... especially when you know you are appreciated! Be it explicitly or implicitly! *grin* Who doesn't like to feel appreciated?

Though camps are like miniscule examples compared to the teaching profession in whole, I know that teaching is what I really really wanna do. I wanna mould lives (corny as it sounds!) and motivate/influence young minds at this age when they are searching for their identity and place in the world. I wanna do what God has in plan for me. And when I am doing God's will, He will definitely provide.