Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Teacher's Dirty Secret


We all have secrets. 

Mild ones like, it was you who farted in the elevator; and serious ones like, uh, murder.

And when you have a "noble" profession like a teacher, those secrets could become dirty.  Like, you don't mind that your friends and family know about it, but it would be suicidal if your boss, colleagues AND students know about it.

I have one.

It's more like an embarrassing one, not dirty.  So I'm not talking about my sex tape.  Not that I have one.  I swear.  Moving on.

And thanks to Youtube, my students have found out about it.  And made fun of me EVERY TIME I enter class.  I could kill them, but I'd be charged with first degree mass murder.

For those who are familiar with TV show How I Met Your Mother, I call my outted secret as the Robin Sparkles Situation.

For those who aren't, Robin is a cool, sexy, funny and intelligent adult.  But when she was young, she did something embarrassing, and she kept it a secret.  Till her friends found out about it:


Since half of my school knew about my 'situation' already, I figure, why don't I just pull out the bandage, let the whole world see, and get it over with?

World, I present to you my short stint in a music video. Oh gawd, I'm going to regret this.


I didn't think they'd find this video, till oh, I don't know, maybe 5 years after the band make it real big?

Can you imagine the mean things my kids say to me? :/

P/S: This is my cousin's band, I got paid 50 bucks, and I only watched this vid twice -once when it came out, and another time when contemplating on blogging about it.  Creeps me out every time.  If you like what you hear (not see! not see!), 'like' them on their Facebook page.  They are doing pretty well in our local Sabah scene. (yes, I'm totally distracting you from the horrors of what you have just seen)

So, what other things do you think students shouldn't find out about their teachers?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Renovated!


As you can see, I have new a layout!

Well, it's still the same, just did a little tweaking here and there.

I started blogging in Blogspot in 2009.  Well actually I started blogging in 2005 in *gasp* Friendster.  Those were my darker days.

But it has been 3 years since I did anything to enhance my blog.  Among all the blogs I've followed, I believe that I have the plainest of them all.  After Patrick Teoh's Niamah!.

Actually from time to time, I did scour the Internet for interesting templates and skins.  But none suited me.  And you know that scouring would take hours, and by the time you realise it, you have already lost a whole day.  For nothing.

In the end, I was like, screw it.  I'm not entering The Most Beautiful Blog contest, nor am I getting paid by Nuffnang to prettify it.

I thought I'd wait till I have 200 followers, then I'll do something for my readers' eyes.

So 3 years later, I finally have 204 followers.  LOL.  I'm not getting any Miss Popularity blue ribbon any soon.

I now need to renovate my space.

I'm sure some of you have dropped by during my blog redesigning process and seen some horrific changes.  I wished that Blogspot would allow me to put a Work In Progress sign :/.

Anyway, I did find a few pretty skins, but haven't found what I was looking for.

The stupidest thing I did was forgetting to save my original template. WHAAAT.

So I was stuck with a mediocre looking skin for a day.  'Coz my eyes couldn't take the glare from my laptop anymore and body was screaming to lay the effing down.  I gave up.  Screw it, I'll just wait till have 300 followers then I'll go scouring again.

But then, loyal blog stalkers Carol and Lizee dropped me some pretty constructive comments.  I wasn't the only who didn't dig my new skin.

The next day, I went searching for my old photo of evil Mary, and luckily, I found it.  I went searching for simple skins, and googling my eyes for CSS pimping codes, in which by the way, aren't these CSS code providing geeks are the best?!  Where do they learn all these stuffs?  College?

And voila! My newly renovated blog.

You may need to get used with the artsy trimmings and the darker salmon background - I know I did.

But I'd love to hear your feedback.  Be brutal.  Don't mind my 8 hour effort, throbbing headache and watery eyes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

English Teachers, The Grammar Nazis


How many English teachers that you know who are very humble despite having a commendable proficiency in the language?

Most of them?

Well.

I hate to break it to ya, but I think secretly, deep down inside us, we are smug, and we believe we are lightyears away better than you.  In the language only, that is.  Not referring to having better hair, sports or giving/receiving blowjobs in a speeding vehicle.

It may be just me, but, here's a litmus test to all English teachers (in a country where English is a second language).

  1. When listening to someone speaking English e.g. speech, church sermons, do you listen to their language or speech content?  And when they are better than you expected, do you lean in to listen for grammatically wrong sentences and wrong pronunciations?
  2. Do you have the incontrollable urge to correct people's grammar/pronunciation when they talk, just like how you'd do for your students?
  3. Do you secretly feel superior speaking English in public, especially when the salesgirl at a high end boutique didn't bother to assist you initially for wearing shorts and toilet flip flops, until you open your mouth?

If you answer YES for more than two questions, you have Anglo God Complex.

It's the feeling of superiority due to your ability to converse well in English in a society where it is a second language.

And I just made that up.  See, you almost believed me.

We're not saying we're good, or that we're perfect.  We're just saying we are better than you.

And we are willing to help you to improve your proficiency.

That's when we become Grammar Nazis.

No, I didn't just make that up.  Now you won't believe me.

According to Urbandictionary.com, a Grammar Nazi is someone who believes it's their duty to attempt to correct any grammar and/or spelling mistakes they observe.


As if it isn't bad enough that we studied English for more than half a decade AND become teachers.


It's of course what we need to do at work, but it can become a bad habit outside school.

We become a douchebag for constantly correcting other people's grammar/pronunciation, and we missed out on great speeches/sermons just because we were waiting for them to linguistically screw up.  And we can scoff at them for acting like they are so good. 

It's a blessing and a curse.


Social networking sites like Facebook is currently the best executioning ground for grammar nazis.  Most of the time, we'll just be polite and laugh at their mistakes, which takes every ounce of us to fight the urge to fix their spellings because it hurts, oh my gawd it hurts, why has nobody notice this?!  Then we move on to The Sims Social.

But sometimes, we just can't help ourselves.

First it starts within our family circle.

Which is an irony as I typo'd.  See, not perfect.  Just better.

Then with friends.


Then somebody's engagement cake.



But of course, I successfully restrained myself.

So yeah.  I'm not generalising and saying that ALL English teachers have said superiority complex - it could just be me alone.

Albeit under control and will still be invited to weddings and social events, without running the risk of causing a linguistic holocaust.

But if you are the same like me, do let me know you exist.

The Internet is ours to troll.

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.

Ergh.

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.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Malaysia Day - not 1Malaysia Day, dumbfuck.


I'm all for Jibby's 1Malaysia idea and the pillars it stands for.


But this is really offensive.  SINCE WHEN 16 SEPTEMBER IS ONE MALAYSIA DAY?


Fucking ass kissers.

Also, defecation of our Malaysian flag.

Excrement.  Total excrement.

Guess we can't really blame these producers of national abomination.  Our leaders themselves are confuse on whether our country which has been celebrating independance day for half a century now was colonised or not.


Malaysia, you're still a young country.  You have to go through shit for quite some time before you'll be truly free and prosperous. 

Happy 48th birthday.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye :(


After raising 8 pups for 8 weeks, it's time to say goodbye to 3 of them.


Velvet was adopted yesterday.


Carol came and took her for her new master.  You can read about it here.

At first I didn't feel that sad.  As in, bawling for the loss of one of my pup.

'Coz I mean, we have already decided a long time ago to give a few of them away, and also, it's only an animal.

But the minute I saw tears in my mom's eyes as Carol and hubby pulled away from the driveway and went to my dad's arm for comfort, I too started tearing involuntarily.

It's not only an animal.  It's my puppy that I've witnessed its birth.


She's my baby.


Was.

:(

But when Kay told me her new master decided to retain her name, I felt so much better.  It feels like even though she is gone, she has brought a little part of us with her, and it will stay with her forever.(Melodramatic, I know.)

Plus her new master welcomed her with a collar!


So I'm convinced she's in good hands, and will be as loved as much as we did.  Probably pampered even more ('coz you know, there's only one of her, not eight).

Wong Plus 8

But she will be definitely missed and remembered forever.  Especially when all her other siblings are grown up and up to no good.  We'll be wondering if Velvet too has captured the neighbours' chicken.  Not like I'm implying anything that had happened recently.

My last perfectly imperfect shot with Velvet

And soon, the golden twins, Puput and Puggie will be adopted too.


Don't know if the separation will be as difficult and sad as Velvet, but I think my mom and I are stronger now.  I think.  Or we can just drop by their new masters house ('coz they live in the same hometown too) everyday to say hi.

Here's the last video of all of them attacking me with love.


And in the meantime, I still can have entertainment with the other pups.


Puppies, you will be dearly missed.  And so will by my 198 followers.



Friday, September 9, 2011

A Teacher's Dilemma


I've met horrifyingly weak students in my whole one year teaching experience.

16 year old kids who can barely do a Year 1 level worksheet.

I thought I have long accepted this shocking, sad fact.

Till recently during my oral assessment with them.

I decided to do an interview with them.

Knowing that their proficiency is beyond basic, I've prepared the interview questions.  All they have to do is answer the questions, give it back to me to edit their grammatically wrong answer, and just memorise the whole damn thing.

Questions like, "What is your name?", "How old are you?", "When were you born?", yada yada.  

The dedicated kids managed to do what was required.

 And as for the rest, they just didn't give a damn.

I don't mind if they are able to answer these simple questions.

But they couldn't.

First, they didn't understand the questions.  "What is your name?" was as far as they could answer.

Second, even if they do, they do not how to construct the answer.

There's this one kid who simply just didn't give a fuck who didn't even bother to answer the questionnaire.  And when he couldn't answer the question, who just sat there saying he doesn't know.  He didn't even bother asking for the meaning of the questions, nor how to answer it, unlike his other classmates.

My class with him was from 7.40 a.m. till 8.15 a.m.  I wasn't just going to let him go with his I-don't-know answers.  I dragged him to my next class and made him sit with me as I conducted the same oral assessment with another class, while occassionaly asking him if he has any questions pertaining the questions that he couldn't understand.  Only 'bout after an hour then he realised what he should do to avoid being dragged to the staffroom, to my next class, and basically, till school period ends.  'Coz I was adamant to make him speak.  4 hours and 3 classes later, his oral test with me was finally over.

On a different but still disgruntled note, I can accept that they don't understand the question.  In which getting pissed off with them for not making the effort to understand it weeks prior the test even after we have discussed it together is a futile show of emotion.  I can't lose my youth this young.

But what I couldn't accept is that at 16, they don't know numbers.  Say if their birthday is on the 16th, I have to make them count from 1.  Like a million times till they can remember.  Don't make me start on making them say their year of birth.  And another shocking revelation was that a couple of them DO NOT KNOW THE NAME OF THE MONTHS.

WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED DURING THEIR PRIMARY SCHOOL YEARS?

My biggest bet is NOTHING.

And so my oral assessment turned into a one on one lesson on counting and name of the months.

Then there's this kid who sleeps whole day in class, and dreams to be a mechanic.  And by gawd, he's going to make RM1500 every month and that's going to sustain his life and his family till he grows old and frail.  When you wave at him the possibilities of making double the amount by just studying hard, meh.  Sleeping through his school years and yet still making RM1.5K is the dream.

I'm never gonna get used to this ignorance.  As long as the system sucks, we're bound to produce more blue collar citizens and poverty will always be part of our nation.  But who knows, that might be the exact agenda.  We all can't be millionaires, can we?  Who's going to serve our food and fix our car if not the school drop outs?

Which begs the question. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

Do we ignore those who choose not to learn, and focus on those who still wants to; OR, do we try our best and never give up on those who have already given up on themselves  -as part of our responsibility as a teacher to motivate students to better their lives?

In the movie Lean On Me (based on a true strory), the new, hard ass principal expelled all the drug addicts and thugs - no question asked, in order to save the school.  Did he do the right thing?  Is he denying these students chance to change to be a better person?  In the movie Freedom Writer (also based on a true story), this teacher, Erin Gruwell, was given the most unteacheable class, but she managed to build these students broken lives and see them graduate.

In my opinion (or rather, absolutely inspired by Erin Gruwell and her crusade), abandoning them is not an option.  Especially when you are a young teacher, full of energy, ideas and inspiration.  But for how long till I break, ignore them, and just save those who want to be saved?

I might be doing those who really want to learn a favour by not wasting time on those who don't, but that doesn't mean my hands are clean.  And that doesn't make me happy.  Even though I can make a difference in half of my students, I'd still have blood on my hands of the other half.  To be a little more melodramatic.


Which again, boosts my motivation in furthering my studies and get the hell out of the school system, even to the extend asking friends and lecturers for opinions on the whatnots.  Even if I still have another 4 years to go, according to my bond.  But there has to be a loophole.  There has to be.

So peeps, I now repeat the question for you, regardless whether you're a teacher or not.

Do you amputate the infected foot before it infects the whole leg, or do you try to treat and save it?

(I've always wanted to say that actually.  Medical TV drama is just so cool.)

Should a teacher ignore those who don't want to study and focus on those who want, or should he or she try his/her best to motivate them and never give up on them?

Unlike toilet paper - we now know the answer.
 Photosource
  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I FOUND THE CURE FOR TICKS!


 Well actually I found it a long time ago - just kept forgetting to blog about it.

Till I read Carol's recent post on her horrifyingly tick-infested dogs.  Just make sure you're not eating raisins while you read it.  You'll never look at raisins the same way again.

It reminded me of my dogs, and I've posted 'bout my annoyance of these critters.

I knew that ticks and picking ticks is a losing battle, but the adage "know thy enemy" motivated me to do extensive Internet research on how to deal with it.

I finally found the answer: Garlic.

However, there are two school of thoughts on giving garlic to dogs.  Some say it's harmful, some swear by it that it does help prevent ticks, and even help keeps the fur and skin healthy.

You can decide which side you're own by reading this article here.

As for me, trying can't possible kill my dogs, right? I was already out of my effing wits.

So I got this garlic capsules from Watsons.


It was the cheapest too, only at RM18.70 for 320 capsules (there's a free 100's bottle that comes together with it).

I popped two capsules for each dog every day.  Within about three weeks, as its properties started to set in their blood, there were less ticks, and in a month, the dogs were TICK-FREE!

Their ears, armpits (doggy pits?), and in between their paws were cleared off ticks.

HALELUJAH!

Now another burning question, do the dogs want to eat it?  Out of my five (adult) dogs, three of them aren't a problem.  As for the other two, the pills sometimes would slip out of their mouth as their chew (or rather, rolling it in their mouth for fun), and at other times, they'd just spit it out -which is a real nuisance.   But they'll eat it (like they have any other choice) when I mix it with their food.

There weren't any health problems as pointed by several netizens.  The only side effect is that their breath would stink right after eating it.  But it only lasts for a few while.

As Carol had pointed out that it is the dry season where the ticks come out to play, I did find but a few ticks on my dogs.  No more a whole nation of ticks.

So now, I am one of the people who swears by garlic pills.  Try it, if you have tick infested dogs and is sick of taking them to vets for jabs, buying expensive collars, medicines and sprays or picking out ticks for eternity.  And do let me know if it works.

Just hope that ticks don't fucking evolve to be garlic tolerant. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Story of Stuck Puppy and Back Up Puppy


Once upon a time, there was a puppy who wanted to get into the house, just like her mom.


However, puppies aren't allowed inside the house, 'coz unlike Mom, there are EIGHT of them.

But  she tried anyway.


And got her head stuck.

So Stuck Puppy called for back up.


Back Up Puppy then used Puppy Dog Eyes.


It didn't work.

Back Up Puppy used Glamour/Mind Control.


It didn't work.

Back Up Puppy used Lick.


It didn't work.

Back Up Puppy used Bite.


It didn't work.

Back Up Puppy got frustrated.  Back Up Puppy attacked Stuck Puppy.


Stuck Puppy felt sad.


So Stuck Puppy went to sleep.


The End.

PS: Stuck Puppy, Back Up Puppy and Puput will be given away soon. So enjoy this last bit of them. :(



PPS: I decided not to give Hershey away, even if it means I'll get rotten elbows.  Like, how can you not, right?