Looking back at the last fortnight, one thing is getting clearer and clearer, teaching is worth it, my job isn't. I am making plans...
I enjoyed the Nanjing Immersion trip, appreciated the time spent with the children, it was sobering both for them (I hoped) and myself.
First day, there was a flight delay and we were 3 hours late. When we arrived at Shanghai and took a coach to the school at 5 p.m. On the coach ride from Shanghai to Nanjing, I have 2 kids that pee on the travel coach! When I realized it, I was shocked that they cannot even hold their bladders for 2 hours. They use the SIA paper bag to contain their fluid and when I tried to get a plastic bag to hold it, I was 2 seconds late and my hand is....
Then I talked to the teacher from China, I realized all the prior discussion on the activities we would like to have were "empty talk"- promises but no delivery. But to her credit, she did make changes to some of the programmes. There are lessons from my part too, I should have insisted on a detailed black and white program sheet, (Which I asked for, but not delivered, instead I was given a whatsapp chat group to discuss the needs..) Then, I realized the weebly website that I PAID to update the activities and photographs in China side cannot be accessed from China. This is my fault. When I asked the China counterpart to check, he did told me he could view the website but could not logged in. I thought he got the password wrong, but end up I spending the first night recreating another QQ website.
Second night, 2 kids start to fall ill. Then 4 kids. but 2 recovered on the second day. Someone unhappy with the results of the cleanest dormitory competition break the dormitory door! sigh...
Third day, the sicked recovered but another 6 fell ill after a mountain climb. By night time after the hot afternoon activity, half the group is unwell. I went to get masks, vitamin C and isolated all unwell.
Fourth day, almost all recovered, but 3 were still unwell and we sent all of them to see a doctor.
By the night, we were quietly happy that we had only 2 kids unwell. Throughout the trip, I have feverish pupils in my room. I am surprised I have not taken ill until now.
Fifth day, we had a girl with fever at 38.7, which we also sent to the doctor, and there was a big downpour. We have to wait for her return before we returned to Shanghai.
She was given a drip with herbal fluid because the Chinese doctors are worried that she might be allergic to the antibiotics. Her temperature went down to 38.4 and we decided to leave for Shanghai
One hour into the coach ride, the storm get bigger and her temperature become 39.4! I later found out that that day was the same day the storm caused the Nanjing Vessel to capsize
We keep sponging her to try to bring down her temperature but it went up to 40.1 instead, and she kept asking "are we reaching? are we reaching?" Although everything turn up well now, we were getting ready for medical evacuation and were worried sick then.
We were told we need to get a Doctor report before they tell us how to go about getting the evacuation. I was busy getting the paper works done with another colleague as we carter a car to bring her to a Kids Specialist Hospital in the city area.
The paper work to be done is ridiculous daunting, having need to get Principal and Parents signature for a document that is password protected!! My colleague and I slept less than 3 hours as we took turns to sponge her throughout the night. We were later told that there will be no evacuation.
We took a big risk and had the parents' consent for the girl to take antibiotic. She recovered then.
Hell of a ride.
I enjoyed it. My mind is a constant state of vigilance. I was very worried that once I let down my state, I would fall sick. We got the next 2 days off from work, but I still go back to clear my backlog slowly, and let down my guard slowly. My colleague who was fighting side by side fallen sick yesterday.
My Principal ask me why so many fell sick just now, I explained. Although she was very gentle, she seems to suggest that so many fell sick because we didn't isolated the first 2 kids enough. (e.g. Gather in group, meal time etc, although we isolated them from the school activities and the dormitory from the rest.) I was rather offended although I am sure I didn't show.
Right before the trip, I was preparing pupils for a entrepreneurship competition. We did the worst. I couldn't really get over that results although I know the 2 objectives of signing up for that competition are meet. They are selling sponsored stationery to FAS (financial assistance scheme ) pupils who will each receive $20 worth of vouchers. I wanted my pupils in the FAS to get some free stationery. First objective met. Second objective, I get the whole class involved in folding paper cranes and hearts as stickers on the pens as a gift. They told me that are very happy helping others. Second objective met. I have no desire for the top 3 positions because the results was based on 2 criteria, one was presentation, another was sales. I sold my pens cheaply so that many could more for less. My stall sold the goods the cheapest. The presentation, I didn't prepare them well enough as I only have 3 sessions with them. I believed the killer for the poor results was the component on a slogan (口号), the schools have slogans that are paragraphs long...I only have 7 words.
The organizer are very kind and reminded me that it is very different from the rest and marks are given for that component.
I thought about it, and told my pupils that if we look at the world around us, "fingers lickin Good" for KFC, "I'm loving it" for MacDonald and "delighting you always" from Cannon, none will have a tagline or slogan that are longer than a sentence. I prepared them that we definitely would not win anything from this competition but I insist that we live in the real world, and we learn the real stuff. Looking back, did I regret my decision for not changing the slogan and hence getting last in the competition? I don't know. I am not as Zen as I thought I could be.
I love educating and teaching children, maybe because of my big ego, that like to tell others what to do. I however, are contemplating my options. Maybe It is better to leave when there is still love...