Monday, September 19, 2011

A Confession of A Young Teacher

When I turned One (as in teaching for one year), I posed this question to myself:  Do I enjoy being a teacher?

At that time, I couldn't give you a straight answer.

But now I can.  And I have a confession to make.

I don't.

Today, as previous weeks depression sets in coupled with Mr. Monday Blues, I totally skipped my weakest class and I procastinated going to my second weakest class.  Then I gave a hard look at my kids' sleepy faces and half ass attempt in doing their work. 

It dawned upon me.

I hate my job.

There. I said it.

It could be the demotivation talking, but as for now, this is what I'm feeling.

I mean,'coz if I enjoy my job, I'd get excited when Monday comes and I'd be full of sunshine and won't let anything get me down.

But all I can think of today is anticipating the moment when the clock strikes 12.20 p.m.

And thinking tomorrow is another day of futile battle, teaching 16 year old kids numbers.


The only thing that keeps me going are my Science and Account classes.  'Coz even though they are weak, they are still within my reach.

I hate being unable to teach the weak ones, but I have no qualms teaching the good ones.

So that makes me a bad teacher.  For wanting ONLY the good classes, for wanting ONLY to focus on the smart ones.

Which goes totally against what I believe - that every child deserves the best education and attention, not just the smart ones.  Why do the smart kids need to go to smart schools when they are already smart?  It's the weak ones that need the best teachers and facilities.  It's the sick that needs a doctor the most.

My money now is nowhere near my mouth.

I was probably just so naive.  I didn't think that some of the sick choose not to get treated.

I'm not as awesome as I think I am.  'Coz if I were awesome, I can make classroom magic in ANY classes.   

But I know I'm not alone in this. 

We're fighting a losing battle everyday.  But we just have to suck it up till we find a way out.  Or we wait for the system to finally not produce messed up products.

They say what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger.

Pessimistic Amanda would say, "What doesn't kill you will only make you jaded."

Happy Monday people.

5 more days till the weekend.


v said...

I hope the pessimism phase will fade away...phew...phew...*sprinkling positive vibes upon you*

DoRa Priscilla said...

hehe.. I hope V positives vibes works on you ^^

Good article Amanda! Who said being a teacher is easy! I will teach 7-12 years old in three years and the fact in freaking me out.. I hope is not that bad like I thought it will be, they are just little kids.. I hope I am ready by then :/ hmmm...

till then, have a great week! it will come fast hopefully for you ^^ and me... By next week I will free from assignments =D haha

Zen said...

oh wow.

imo, a losing battle can sometimes be worth fighting.

i just do what i can (teach, give them work, scold them if they don't and if they still continue their course of action: a little this-is-nothing-personal slap to the face. Then IGNORE).

What keeps me going are the students who are willing, and wanting, to learn. I just don't have the heart to leave them behind. all i did what getting to know them. I don't have to be best friends with them. just know about enough to identify them.

the teachers here who are constantly "out" of school are the ones who rarely connect with students.

In short, I'm just here for those who want it. The others? Sorry. There's just so much for this regular dude.

on the contrary, my advice, if don't like it and you can, explore other career options. Everybody deserves to run away from a miserable life.

p/s: Agreeing to the disclaimer every time I enter this blog makes me feel like i'm entering an NSFW (a.k.a PORN!) site. Makes me paranoid every time.

Zen said...


children who deserve education are those who want them, and willing to work for them. no use in someone deserving something they don't want.

chegu carol said...

If there's a Like button for your friend Zen's comment, I would have clicked it so many times.

Go for another try. Like Zen said, be there for the sake of those who want to learn. Those who don't, keep your expectation low. I believe (me and optimism), someday at least one of them (the weakest class) will have this light bulb moment where they realized how much their Teacher Amanda has done for them and be grateful for what you have done. Even the tiniest change is considered hope and Im sure you of all people, understand that perfectly.

again, like Zen said...if you have the options to venture out...why not?

but of course, if you ask venture out is after all other ways to gain back that love for teaching have proven failed.

apa-apa pun manda, im sure you are hanging tight there. and hope this is just temporary pessimism la kan :)

TaQuiLa said...

i don't have experience to teach teenagers but i guess it could be worse hundred thousand times compare to my kids.

I feel you girl. To teach kids who don't want to 'teach' themselves are totally useless. Just IGNORE them. You have done your job, and it depends on them to take it or not.

Nanti kalau semua pandai, ramai pulak PTI tukang di negara kita buat kerja-kerja am :) Just a thought by the way..

Miss Jess_Lyne said...

:( This is something I've been afraid to admit. I still hope though.

Amanda Christine Wong said...

V: hehe. thanks v! would really need that :/

Dora priscilla: Well, i think probably teaching the little ones is not as bad as the teens? so yeah. better to prepare the worst. 3 more years? u will be ready by then with all the SBE and all :). and yes, weekends come faster laaa....

Zen: Hm. wait, u literally slap them? But i like ur take. Usually the good ones are the ones who want to learn. so that's the logic. got also la from the weakest class who wants to learn...ergh, now i feel so bad for them. p/s: ur addendum will be my motivational words of the week.

carol: oh carol. kau sangat optimistic it's contagious! im starting to see the light as i read ur comment. hehe. hence, i will hang tight n hope this negative vibe will go away soon :D

Sheila: betul2...not everyone is going to be a doctor, right?

Jess: well, dont let it get to u like it got to me. i just hope this is a temporary thing. the comments above are sangat the useful :D

J. Izenhertz said...

3 difficult subjects for one teacher? Must take a toll on you.

Throw that routine out the window and be spontaneous. You can teach in more than one way and anywhere you want to. Just imagine, an open field, gloomy windy cold day and you smiling under a brolly - playing 'name that objects' in english while waiting for the rain to come.

Or perhaps a change of career is in order? Open up full time tuition classes. You get to manage how many people you want to teach. At least you knows that those you will be tutoring are those who wanted to be better.

Talking about teachers made me think of my ol' school teachers. I can't even remembers their names anymore. Pity. Sigh...

Phoebe said...

It's normal to prefer teaching 'smarter' kids over the weaker ones. Who wouldn't? It's so much easier after all. Although I'm sure you wouldn't mind teaching the weaker kids if only they make an effort to meet you halfway right?

Do you hate teaching itself or do you hate teaching kids who are weak AND at the same time don't care about learning?

If it's the former, are you willing to pay for not fulfilling your bond? If it's the latter maybe you can consider requesting for transfer.

If you don't want to transfer then you'll need to take care of the students who want to learn and just let those who don't be. There is only so much you can do to help them. Thy have to do the rest on their own. It might seem cruel but it's true.

Amanda Christine Wong said...

J. Izenhertz: Oh no, I'm teaching just English. What I meant is Science and Accounts stream classes. I could use spontaneity in my class. Only if they give a dickshit about it. Well, I got my future planned out already. Masters. Lecturer. No kids.

Phy: YES!I don't mind teaching weak kids, I really don't - as long as they want to effing learn. So yeah, I guess it's the latter. Mana2 pun gitu ba phy. Unless in smart schools. In which is very hard to get. Aih, nda sanggup sy bayar bond oh. so that's why i have to suck it up for another 3 years. and after that, will take my masters and get out of the system. so yeah, in the meantime,i'll just be there for those who want to learn. cruel, but effective and won't cause major headache.

Yen said...

u can do it amanda..fighting! fighting! never give up..

tida apa..kira bagus jg la tu manda ko ajar budak2 gitu..drpd ko mengajar d bandar besar (eg.kk) lagi teruk tu..budak2 dia tlampau pandai..sampai pijak kepala n suka lawan cakap, lepas tu pantang kena sentuh n psycho lagi tu, mesti mo report sama parents. (based on my friend la)

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Yen: ya ba. that should be another set of problem. yes, i can do it! (mau start positif sdh :D)

Phoebe said...

Boleh tu manda. Pejam celik 3 thn tu kejap jak blalu. Yg penting accept the situation and be kind to yourself. Poor results doesn't reflect you, they reflect the students effort.

kei-1 said...

Explore career options Amanda.

Honestly speaking, I've been giving up on the whole education system in Malaysia since UPM. My whole family is a teacher, so I always hear stories of school nearly all the time and truth be told it has been nothing but confusion and disappointment.

That however should just be the motivation for you to find something else. If you cannot stand the school system (like me) find an alternative to teach somewhere that is not within the system. Adult learners / somewhere else.

Good thing about having TESL degree is that it has the bloody word English on it, thus a damned huge opportunity out there.

Applying for British Council or things of the like might be the thing you need. IF you are so ever in need of a change.

However the most F up stuff around here is that we have 5 years contract. That has been stopping me from going away from this country.

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Phy: Yes Phy! I choose to be happy :D (plus tmrw is friday already...hehe)

K: That's exactly what i plan to do. btw k, it's 4 years, not 5. i reread the contract. SO that means we have another 3 bloody years to go :D

Zen said...

omg i feel so appreciated already. thank you!

Amanda Christine Wong said...

zen: welcome