Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What Makes a Good Teacher

All my life so far, I've been pretty much convinced that a good teacher instills in me an interest for the subject she is teaching, makes learning fun, and provides me with an abundance of knowledge, motivation and to some extent, friendship. The teachers I loved most were those who gave me hell in my school work - my English teacher who made us dissect a comprehension passage (especially from those past year 1119 papers!) and analyse the parts bit by bit; my physics teacher who talked (and walked) like a bullet train, sets really high standards and tough questions, but treats all her students like her own children; the list goes on. Teachers make me understand that if I want to achieve anything, I will need to work hard, and teachers can be there to guide - only to guide.

Yet, since starting on my teaching profession, I have learned a new meaning to the phrase "good teacher". He is one who makes learning easy - don't talk too much technical stuff in class, don't ask students any questions, give simple and straight-forward assignments, end the class early. He must also be friendly - just ask him for some extra marks for tests/assignments and he will give them freely (or for a cup of coffee). And most importantly, he must have a record of high passing rates - write two sentences in the final exams and you can get a C at least!
How can I be a good teacher when the new definition of one is so much different from all that I believe in? So what makes a good teacher? I know that, according to the current definition, I do not.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Quiet Period

A time for us to rest, reflect and think about what we have done for the past semester, and how we are going to cope for the coming one. A time to catch up on sleep, on leisure reading and ahem, blog-writing. A time to clear the mind and clear the heart, reset level of dissatisfaction with our boss back to zero, ready to build up again when it all begins.

We, who while drawing on the same salary scale as a few choice others, are usually given twice, or even thrice their workload. Compare 8 hours per week to 18 (usual for me) and 24 (it happens). We, who would be so busy that we have to work while we eat, have to put up with endless chatters, giggles and in general, noise, generated by those choice ones, who do so out of having too much free time.

You may wonder why we do not voice out the lop-sided workload distribution. Oh, but we did. You will not believe the response. The choice ones are not capable of handling technical (i.e. difficult) courses, so they are given the easy (very little hours) ones. Cool. Do we get extra incentives for handling tougher courses? Nope. More bonus? Nope. Higher increment? Nope. Hmmm.

This is a time to think about it all!

Friday, April 22, 2005

After the soul is healed...

Look at how fresh and happy everyone looks after an invigorating session of shouting, screaming, screeching, ... ahem, singing.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Singing heals your soul

After the whole four months of facing and dealing with numerous "customers" unworthy of any of your attention, trying to get the lessons across and ending up vomiting blood almost everyday; after the long, gruelling hours of marking numerous scripts unworthy of your time and experiencing first hand how your hard work of giving knowledge had all gone to waste; after the frustrating meeting in which you had to convince the having-nothing-better-to-ask bosses that those who failed indeed failed on their own free will - the soul is drained, deeply wounded and on the verge of permanent insanity.

So sing! Sing away the tiredness and the frustration. Sing away the anger and the dissatisfaction. Sing away the gloomy foreboding of the sufferings of the next four months. Of course, meanwhile, you have to make sure you're not the worst-sounding one among the singing-participants.

At the end of the day, some of your sweat-and-blood hard-earned money will go to the karaoke center owner. But at least your soul is healed - and all ready to be battered at again!