Recently, I felt very thankful and fortunate. It's like becoming a new and beginning teacher all over again. Doing things different, feeling that heartbeat of a teacher.
During my college and NIE training days, I ask myself what kind of teacher do I want to be ? I told myself I want to be a effective teacher. One who makes lesson interesting and not someone who nags about making the world better type of bullshit.
That have been my guiding principle for a decade. Of course, that is not to say I care nothing but their results.
Recently, as I came back from my break, I start to listen intently to what pupils say during form teachers time. I tried not to steer the conversation to learning. I am quite surprise there are many pupils with a bad cards dealt to them (single families, re-married parents, etc) have a cheerful and kind disposition. Of course, their academic performance are not up to par.
It makes me wonder why the fuss over divorces and single families or low income families. Affluence and greed seem to be the greater curse.
One of those mornings where I meet my weaker pupils, I realize the reason why 1 pupil kept missing my lesson is she has no time for breakfast. I felt sorry for her and offer to get her breakfast. I talk to her more and realise it is not like she is going hungry or what, although she does has a life that is different from the typical Singaporean child. It is really a matter of lack of attention and time. I still get breakfast for her occasionally, she has pocket money btw, because she seem very happy to get breakfast from me. I realise I was to quick to feel "sorry" and too eager to "help" without even trying to understand the pupils.
Yesterday was again one of those days where homework are not completed. After reminding them to focus on their work; I ask about their "learning conditions" at home. If what they say is true, then there is hardly any conditions for home studying.
I felt time passing away with homework still not done. But I push aside the work and instead ask the rest do they face the same situation at home. All except 1 face the same situation.
I told them we couldn't change the situations and given that life has dealt a bad set of cards, we can only make do with what we can. I told them how to manage time by staggering the different types of homworks for different times etc.
I saw the girl eyes swelling and nose stuffing, I ask if she is crying. She said no, she has running nose and I joke the way to solve it is to give a punch to the nose. We all laugh. I observe if the running nose continues, it doesn't. It should be tears, but it doesn't matter. For a very long time, I didn't had that feeling that stirs when doing my work a teacher.
I am grateful.