Saturday, June 3, 2017

Silent and Slip Away

I asked my foster son to describe in details this working place prior to my visit. Usually he is a gabber, but this time he jumped to conclusions. “You might not like it here” he told me in a soft voice. I believed him, but needed to see the school myself first before I second that notion. He was right. When I came here the first time, thought wouldn’t last even a week. It was a perfect idea to give them my words to serve this institution for only seven days. And days rolled by like eternal–so slowly like it razzed me in purpose. Well, I am no big loser you know, whatever commitment I made, it is surely done. Look, I even did beyond that pledge–a total of seventeen weeks to be exact.

There is no perfect school or organization in this wild world–not that I know of. One would always find fault, discomfort, and reasons to quit or reasons to fire someone. That is because life is never lily-white. I’ve got a hundred or so to justify myself and whine about my situation, but it won’t help a thing. It doesn’t change a decision made. In my case, I resigned but I am sticking to my promise not to tell a soul. At the end of that journey, I am still grateful for every wonderful experience I had. Never mind about those odious ones, I have learned to let go and move on. I may sound so loud in here, but not in this village. What benefits I'd get from telling people? I will slip away tomorrow and silent about this scenario for as long as I can hold my feelings.   


Friday, June 2, 2017

The First Two Shades of June

“It’s finally the month of June.” I could hear the audible sound of joy even in my heart of hearts. “But so what!?” my truculent brain is in fulmination–in protest like it has never been. Yesterday we still worked hard as if it wasn’t a declared holiday. Such a crying shame!  And oh, before I forgot, today is actually my last hours teaching at this particular school. I have said it here once not so long ago, and I am saying it again…it is not a happy Friday to anticipate. I think have been vocal about this in the past that it isn’t the right place for me to last long. After all, I am here for a short term project. As sure as eggs is eggs, I’ve done enough–more than enough indeed.

It is both bad and good goodbyes. My health and patience are my main concerns this time. I can’t stand teaching more hours in the future any longer. And also, I got no patience with unbearable kids. I was for countless times, but those were gone with the wind. Their screeches annoy me a lot these days. Hmm, what about Andropause? It was the first word in my mind, but I think am still too young to have any of its symptoms. What else? Ah, and many more reasons wish I could tell, but whatever those awful circumstances were, I’ll just leave them here. So what good about this goodbye? Resting and de-stressing are in my top to-do-things. I pray in this isolation I will find strength and peace. Above all this, I will discover answers to my deep need–it is another soul searching only the grace of God can satisfy.

P.S. I am writing this sentiment while waiting for my students for my last two classes tonight. That is exactly in less than an hour.      

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Smorgasbord May

Even at the remaining hours last night trying to catch some shuteye, I couldn’t bottle up my excitement about the coming of a new dawn–today. Sorry, I was never a fan of the fifth month including those in the past years. It felt like each moment was like forever. As soon as the sun rose this morning, I got my brain in gear for words to say. Now my status on social media has it all. The thought expressed wasn’t that all prolific though, but sure enough my friends can tell how this month in particular had worn me out. Sixteen posts, countless challenges, silent cries, visa agonies, and all the hassles along the way to mind–not one of them is left unnoticed. I said them all last month, but it doesn’t make me less grateful about everyday’s life.

If those experiences are paralleled to food, they were undeniably heavy smorgasbords. They all came in various forms–so overwhelming that it gripped my energy until I almost dropped, restless and weary. There were bittersweet moments moved back and forth in a regular rhythm in a span of thirty days. All I had to do was survive. My emotions were in full swing–with ups and downs that confused my soul in the process. I had to ignore them anyway. And then some kind of life spiced up with endless unpredictability, like intoxicated drugs which left me blown away in agony for ages. I was grumbling to death. What a month and such a mélange of life to endure!  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Funny Name, Beautiful Falls.

It is utterly a household word within the vicinity, but it isn’t worthy of the name itself. So when I posted some photos on Facebook, I gave this amazing nature justice by leaving a beautiful mark–an epithet it truly deserves. Of course, I won’t change its name. They call it Tongtong falls which was simply derived from the sounds of falling waters…“tong, tong, tong.”  My co-teachers had been talking about it for the past days and persuaded me to visit the place itself. But I just couldn’t find a spare time on the weekdays because of an overload teaching hours–nine hours a day. At long last, yesterday was a glorious moment to have seen and indulged it myself. If my memory serves me correctly, the last time I had my whole body in contact with falls and flowing streams, soaking wet was five years ago. I hope it won’t take another five years to experience the same awesome thing.      

Thought I had my last post for this month a day ago, but just couldn’t restrain this feeling–happy as a clam. The scenery was simple and yet breathtaking. I fell in love and had a good time after all the weariness. The pictures I shared on social media had hit likes, but that wasn’t the reason for my jumping joy, it was this rare opportunity to get closer to natures, enjoy the moment, and appreciate life after all. I would love to go there again, but hoping for a longer stay. We were there for only an hour because it was already late afternoon. Happy weekends everyone!  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Listening Art–The Art of Listening

My drawing from the story
Students who got the instructions right.

Last Thursday afternoon was another unmitigated disaster as fifty learners swarmed in my tiny classroom. I was caught off guard by the situation. In a normal manner, I teach twenty children this hour. And a large number like thirty is too much–now fifty. Wow! And when it happens, it drives me nut. The rule is the students must inform the receptionist if they couldn’t study in the morning, but nobody did–not even one. Sending half of the students back home it wasn’t a perfect idea. I had to do something else impromptu even if it took me changing my activities for the day. What about playing any game? “No!” defied my unmerciful instinct. Not this time–not in this tiny, crowded room. Guess what? I came with up a listening art where no messy movements are involved. After giving a few instructions (wondering if they could hear me well for being noisy), there came silence. Thanks goodness, it turned out so well.

In this particular activity, I had to tell them a very short story about me having an adventure in a dream. I told it as vivid and as colorful as I could describing each picture and character until they grasped the whole scenario enough–in a hope I will be able to see at least a fifty percent of mutual communication. When I checked their art works this morning, only two kids got it right. Some got it closely right but not that enough. They have to learn the art of listening and its importance. In fact, each one of them can draw beautifully and no doubts about it. But that task wasn’t about who could bring out the most colorful or unique or eccentric portrait–it was all about following instructions. I didn’t ask them to draw exactly like I did, but all I needed to see was the right placement of every object or nature–the right color would also help. I think have to give more activities like this in the future. 

Students' artworks colorfully and uniquely done.
Students' artworks colorfully and uniquely done.


The past sixteen weeks until tonight I feel so out-and-out drained. But life in this world isn’t compared to a doughnut at all times. Whether or not it is pleasant or in-between, I just have to deal with it. I know it is easier said than done. If only destiny could speak audibly, it could have told me: “He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens.” This is my present circumstance–jaded. Honestly, I am exerting extra efforts to remain firm under my own tribulation–of teaching hours and hours a day, but my weariness is really to the brim–so sick of it. Not sure if I could still take it for another month or even have a ken left for this sitch. No matter how I turned a blind eye to about this how-do-you-do condition, it just stings too much–like so much to bear.

Let me clarify this, I don’t hate teaching but handling kids is a different story. And also I’ve been doing this for seventeen years. You know what it means–it is no longer exciting like it used to. Well, no one said that educating toddlers or young ones is a jackpot or always up for grabs–it’s the total opposite sad to say. Perhaps in my case is age issue. I am getting older and my tolerance with small learners is deteriorating unlike my first ten years in this endeavor. I can still remember vividly my first love for mock teaching as a child, but those were the days. I hope there is an instant cure for being jaded. I would love to experience it right this moment. But this is not how life turns out in reality. For now I just have to connive at this obvious torment of mine. My heart is agonizing, but I am hoping to have a final decision soon–to wait or leave.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Two-day Arts

Two arts, two days in a row I thought were too much. But my learners can actually draw or color forever. I forgot they are kids. Thank God it saved me from talking. As a teacher, wordless days are also needed–let’s say once in a while. Don’t get me wrong though, this is not about making smoke and mirrors. We just had our successive review for three days and felt like they had enough to absorb. And so activities like these help unwind.  

Drawing, painting, sketching, and the like are not really my inclination. Happy to say, it doesn’t make me a less lover of arts. When I became an ESL educator from seventeen years ago, I took the initiative of loving them. I learned to draw–something like that. Perhaps I would realize soon that there must be a hidden talent from these. Ha, lo and behold, I don’t find any. My kids actually do better than I am when I was their age. I still draw until this time point for my materials and flashcards to use, but I’m not yet an expert. There were even funny situations when my students didn’t understand what I was trying to show. Once I had shown them a mango and was mistaken as a pear. This is what I define as: “someone’s delight, somebody’s agony”–an inseparable existence for as long as I teach kids. Of course, I just don’t let my kids draw or do arts. I always take this as an opportunity to empower them and advocate something aside from focusing on necessary lessons. Today, it was all for expressing feelings and developing confidence as they explained what they had. Here are mine. Please forgive me for these ones.