I am The Shai.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Yes, you can call me, Sir.

Yayness! I am blogging again!

Finally nearing the end of my 5th week at work, which only spells that the dreaded NS day looms nearer.

And as I write this, another after effect of the job is setting in, a sore throat. It doesn't help when you have to constantly raise your voice to the class. Not in the angry way lah. Just wanted to make myself heard over their incessant chattering. And it got a little frustrating today as the day neared its end when I had to repeat myself time and again.

As I told my students, it is not helping that the English Mid-Year Exam is less than 2 weeks away and that there's this stressful air around the office mainly due to tomorrow's Speech Day.

While we're on the topic of the Speech Day, I was telling my Sec 3 class that tomorrow will be the first time I'll be attending it in 4 years. By golly gees. And for once, I'll actually be a member of the audience and staff too. Hahakz.

Wells, on the the entry proper.

On 20th March 2006, I embarked on my first real job, a teaching stint at my alma mater. The scene in the office over the first week was that of genuine surprise. Teachers who once taught me were now my colleagues and apparently, I need not refer to them as Sir or Madam anymore. As one of them said, "You're gonna be the only teacher in here who calls the rest Sir/Madam". Not that I can help. Five weeks on, I'm still doing that.

The first week wasn't entirely bad. I learnt that my status was that of a full-time relief teacher. It meant that I had to report to work every morning regardless of my timetable. Oh, I have actually been given a class to teach! The wonder of wonders. I was going to have an English class of my own! Wells, on top of the class I was given, I had to relief other teachers for the whole week and I went into many classes that had familiar faces.

The weirdest thing? Getting used to being called Mr. Shaiful instead of MSB. A week before the March holiday, I was a senior. A week after, I was a teacher. In any case, as I explained, it'd probably take a little while for everyone to get used to addressing me formally.

In any case, talking about surprises, before the week was over, I was given a new timetable. Despite my status still being the same, I now had to teach two other English classes and one Lifeskills (formerly known as CME) class the next week onwards. The good thing about it was that I need not relief teachers who were absent anymore. And despite having a co-teacher for the new classes, she was to be away for the next few weeks, as I would learn later. The biggest problem for me then was that I actually had to teach properly lah!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I terrorised most of the English teachers I knew, gathering relevant materials, etc etc. And everyone's been really helpful too, so that's good. I've made new friends with the new, trainee and contract teachers. And of course some of the other relief teachers too! In any case, I now know what exactly transpires in the office, something I never really saw my four years there.

With regards to how the students are, a friend aptly quipped, "This is retribution for the torture we gave our teachers when we were students." True enough. The attitudes and characters of the classes I teach are so varied that I have to use different approaches with all of them. Generally, I do like my classes. Of course there are the occassional incidents which frustrates any teacher. I won't go into detail with regards to each class and what I like/don't like about each. Confidentiality purposes. If you want to know, I'll gladly talk to you about it though. Haha.

Ultimately, the biggest problem I had with teaching was not what happens in school per se. It's what happens after. I get so exhausted that I fall flat on my bed most days and having to cancel various prior engagements. Good news is that the body clock has almost fully settled and I should feel fully energized by next despite the sore throat and the promise of week's worth of remedial classes.

On the other hand, without singling out a particular group (you know who you are if you read this), I have been inspired to write. I've written a poem (haven't done that for the longest time) after a music appreciation activity that I conducted and a story after a composition activity. So, despite the impending mid-years exams, things seem fine and dandy.

I have more stories and instances to share. Will blog about them when I remember them.


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