Tag Archives: Teaching

Project Grateful 365: Day 32: The learning of new ‘languages’; teaching

So yesterday, I was englightened to the fact that:

1) do***e-bag

2) sm**k

are very very bad words, I feel very *ashamed now* because I heard people using them and I thought it meant just like – you’re an ass/idiot.

I was told in very explicit terms what they really are, and I was like YIKES!!!!! I didn’t mean it that way!

Sorry if I offended anyone. Mental note to self, not every thing you hear on the streets can be repeated. My favourite thing I learnt on the streets is: COOL BEANS! Its so cute, I love it.

We speak the same language in Singapore and the US, but somehow its so similar yet so different. I find learning social nuances and ways of describing things very interesting and almost everyday I learn something new. I am proud to announce that I can actually listen in to conversations on the streets very clearly now. When I first visited this year, I was having a bit of difficulty listening to conversations that go-back-and-forth very quickly because I was just not used to the accent, but right now I can actually get it. Wooo Hooo!

Humor though, its a whole new ball game. I think I am very funny in my own way, but americans don’t get my humor, its very sad, only Kris will laugh. (My No.1 fan. YAYYY!) Some nice people will give me a polite half smile, but some just look at me like I’m some weirdo Asian from who-knows-where in the world. Some Americans who don’t travel, have no clue where Singapore is, but they are usually too polite to indicate otherwise. So I have been educating many about my awesome country! #patriotic

So today I am grateful that I get to learn about a new culture was in-depth-ly as I am right now. The opportunity to go to a new place and experience something (almost entirely) different from what I am used too. 

It has been a great city so far, there is no lack of activities for me to do and I’ve been meeting some nice Americans as well as people who are new immigrants like me and it has been a very culturally enriching experience. 🙂

I like the feeling of being free in this country. Nobody to watch over me like a hawk, I can do pretty much whatever I want. Its a very liberating feeling, I feel like I was born to be free. People have commented that I’m a banana, Asian on the outside Westernized on the inside. I think that existed way before I met Kris though, even though I feel that it is now being concretized by him, most definitely. I’ve always been opinionated, liberal and willing to challenge authority for the things I’ve believed in. That unfortunately did not sit very well with the Confucian ethics of Singapore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of my country, but that doesn’t mean I agree or like every aspect of it. I’m sure in time to come I will be annoyed with something in the US, actually I already am, the high taxes! The rough tax increase on the amount I make in Singapore in NYC, will be like a 15% jump up and I feel that teachers in Singapore don’t make that much comparative to the other professions and we work really hard! Or so I thought, then I realized that teachers in NYC public schools actually make a lot less after taxes!. So teachers in Singapore are actually paid pretty darn well comparatively to NYC.

But its okay, if you teach because of the money, you’re probably in the wrong profession. Someday teachers will have more leverage when the world sees how important they are. I feel like I can say that now, because I’m not a teacher currently and I would not be blowing my own trumpet. I feel that teaching is a very noble profession; because a good teacher requires a lot of heart, you need to discipline and sometimes its a very thankless job, because children who need to be disciplined do not see that and you will get so much crap from them, when you try to do the right thing. But soldier on comrades *hee hee*! for a cause you believe in! The best teachers I had are those that listened, told me things I didn’t want to hear at that time and yet always encouraged me to be the best that I can be. I hope to be one of those people.

Despite the ‘relatively low pay’, I want to go back to teaching because I feel like it is something that is meaningful, regardless of the financial renumeration. I firmly believe that money cannot buy happiness. I feel that if I was in the correct organisation which allows me to be who I am, I would be an excellent educator. Maybe I should be my own boss. Have my own mission statements and my own vision!  Which would probably be idealistic to a fault, but I’m going to make it work. Some day!

I spent many months thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and I wanted to try other professions but I feel like this is what I am called to do. I finally have gotten rid of the nagging/buzzing feeling in my heart/head when I was considering options like going to law school, doing my MBA, doing a 2nd degree in educational psychology. So I think this is it, my final decision! Its a huge weight lifted off my chest.

*PS: M**, I know you think that being a lawyer is more prestigious, but the question is, do you want prestige? Or do you want me to be happy? At the end of the road, it doesn’t matter what society think of me, what matters is what I think of myself and whether I am proud of my own achievements.

**PPS: Although! Some people say that ……



Conversation with my ex student

Below is an exerpt of a conversation I had with a 16 year old. * I cut off certain aspects of the conversation and replaced them with ‘……….’*

“Yes, in fact, one of the reasons why I picked the NY trip is because I wanted to experience city life for what it really is. No doubt, the Americans’ lifestyles have constantly been negatively portrayed by the media, which doesn’t do justice to them at all! I believe there are so many other wonderful and unique aspects of their culture, especially the huge belief in freedom of speech and human rights! I’m planning to go into political science in the future, and so I certainly hope to be able to get some enriching insights out of this trip. ……………. Last but not least, I hope you’re doing well in America!  God bless …….” 

There is hope for the younger generation! This conversation ‘WOW-ed’ me because there are some educated adults that I have personally encountered and their world view of America and the world in general is no where as mature as this 16 year old! She was one of my favourite students too. I really really enjoyed having her as a student, she’s always attentive, handed in perfect work all the time with perfect hand writing.  Professionally, she helped me be a better teacher because she would always ask me difficult questions and that forced me to be ultra prepared for lessons! At the same time because of her enthusiasm I would invariably want to plan better differentiated learning lessons because I didn’t want to see all that talent go to waste! The part about her that that I loved was that she was really intelligent, humble and kind to her classmates.

I miss teaching.

I like having a break though, its so so so so wonderful having your own home. 😀

Cleaning is not so wonderful! But its good exercise

An ode to 2011

2011 has gone by almost in a flash. The year has been significant in many ways, it marked the end of my teaching days (at least for a while). For the past 3 years teaching consumed my life and the end of finishing my bond left a bittersweet memory.

In its totality I fee like I’ve largely succeeded as a teacher. I have learnt many things from this last couple of years and it has humbled me to a certain extent. There are things I wished I hadn’t done, wished I had managed certain emotions better but mostly I wished I hadn’t been so hard on myself. (As you can see I am doing it again!)

I feel like I’ve succeeded because I made a difference and impact on some. I have grown as a teacher and as a person. I became a lot more introspective and more acutely aware of my strengths and limitations. I became more principled and stuck to my instincts a lot more. I have also been more confident in my abilities in some way. At the same time, I am more aware of what I do not want in my life. However what I want is not too clear as yet.

2012 is going to be extra special because I am finally flying away from my nest. Somehow I knew that this day would come. Singapore will always be my home but somehow I ALWAYS knew that I needed to be in a place less pragmatic, a little more idealist and a lil less materialistic.

The last 3 years killed a lot of my idealism and made me more cynical. Some of it was due to circumstantial reasons but could have been avoided if I was equipped with the right tools. I loved what I did, yet at the same time what I was doing, or rather the institution that I was in made me more cynical and emotionally drained then I would have liked. I still feel that I would have made a greater difference to my students if I had done some things a little differently and handed certain emotions a little more carefully. But it was a good learning curve for me. I stood firm in my beliefs, fought hard for my integrity and for that I will be eternally proud of myself. I refused to be betray my conscience and bend over backwards for things that I didn’t believe in, regardless of the cost. It made my life a little harder, but difficult things concretise character and makes one stronger.

I am going to miss the friends I made there. Some of which I feel I will be able to keep when I’m gone. Some of which I will lose, but that is the reality of life. At every stage different people become more important, but memories…. Ahhhhhhh….memories can never be stolen from you.

I am crazily excited about this big move, but also nervous as hell. Nonetheless I’m confident that it provides me with better opportunities. I’m not sure exactly where I will be after the next couple of months but I know that I am lucky as hell to be able to quit my job for a while and take a break.

I am going to use 2012 as a period of rest for me. To find myself, enjoy my life, travel as much as possible and recharge myself for the amazing opportunities ahead of me. I am really excited and I cannot wait to begin this new journey of mine. Legally as Mrs B, after March 14.

Thank you creator of the universe. Whoever you may be. In whatever shape of form, for,

I am blessed in so many ways.