Friday, 22 February 2008

Tired

I'm on MC today. :)

It feels good because I badly need a break from the crazy schedule. I've been working from 7.15am to 5.30pm every day of the week, with a 15 mins' break to buy, and gobbling up, the brunch. When I get back, I do my marking until 8pm or 9pm. I think it's very unfair to expect teachers to burn their lives working this kind of hours. It would have been fairer if we get to have some time off during our ' stipulated office hours' (which is non-existent) to do our marking. Isn't marking part of our job? It would have been fairer if our training or workshops are conducted within our 'office hours'. Don't other organisations operate this way? If you go for training, you don't come to work. Since when do their employees work from 8 to 5pm, and after that rush off to attend a 3.5 h workshop? Since when does attending workshops and training so much a part of our job that it takes precedence over everything else?

No teacher would mind if the workshops and training take place during our working hours. It's above and beyond our working hours and we have to delay our marking to after the workshops. And honestly, 3 days of workshops in a week are way too much!

Monday: Workshop (1.30 to 4.30pm)
Tuesday: Remedial and House Practice (1.30 to 4.30pm)
Wednesday: CCA (3.30 to 4.30pm)
Thursday: Workshop (2 to 5.30pm)
Friday: Workshop (2 to 5.30pm)

I really think it's too much. After our in-house workshop, we usually don't go home immediately after that, because we still have other admin work to clear. It's funny how teachers are not able to explain what 'admin stuff' they need to do when others ask them. I reflected on why this is so and surmised that it could be because the admin work is so mundane that we decided that the public would not be able to understand or it's not worth mentioning for fear of being accused of whining as the admin work is made more mundance by the inefficiencies of the school. In private organisations, it's likely that there are specific departments handling tasks specific. But in schools, very often, there isn't a specific department or person handling a specific item. And if there is, it's often very difficult to find that particular person, and you're not allowed to leave the items, or paperwork on the person's desk. We spend a lot of time trying to locate the person responsible for certain things.

Just the other day, I had a 30-min break. I had marking to do, but I had to fill up a 'Do you like this aspect?' survey form on the Total Defence Day Event: What are the 3 things you have learnt? Can you recall the 5 components of Total Defence? What other activities would you suggest? After that, I had to nominate a 'Star Pupil of the Month' for the quality 'Self-discipline' and word a few beautiful reasons why the child was nominated. After that, I was required to find another teacher to pass this piece of paper down to make him the next victim.

After all these are done, I was left with 5 to 10 mins for my marking, which was barely sufficient for 4 books. And it was back to the classroom again.

And come to think of it, I haven't done my weekly lesson plan which was due on Monday.

I'm a very prompt person. I believe in finishing the task before the day ends, but this school has made it impossible for me to finish my work because it loads me down with the irrelevant training and workshops that I don't have time to implement. I don't even have time to teach the items in the syllabus for goodness' sake! My kids don't know how to solve the word problems in the Maths workbook, but I don't have time to teach them. My kids don't know Comparatives which I am testing them for the CA, but I don't have the time to teach them.

I spend the bulk of my time chasing after the forms, letters, files, homework and worksheets I've given them. If I don't chase them, I will have problems when it's file-checking time. But these kids ... even if I chase them, they still don't do their work, still don't bring their books. Call their parents, parents say 'tell the sister', 'tell the father', 'tell the mother', 'tell the grandmother', 'oh, don't know la', 'oh, teacher, I don't know what to do with him lah. You help me.'

It's hard not to give up on these kids.

I did think about the 'how' if I take an MC today,"I've not finished their homework books and worksheets with them. I've not gone through the answers with them. They haven't got back their worksheets."

But like all sane teachers, who have gone through the ministry's grind, I managed to convince myself,"One day of absence won't make a difference. If they are good, they are good. If they are lousy, that one day of me being there won't help. And it'll do me some justice if I take time off from these rascals. At least I don't have to feel angry that they are not bringing their homework back, which I know for certain they won't. I need some rest." :)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Can't sleep

I'm still up right now. 4.18am.

I can't sleep because I was thinking about what I should do about this marriage. Yup. We had a fight again. He was running me down over the Grow package, saying that my friends and I don't know a thing about all these and still want to discuss.

He was sitting at the end of my feet. I was upset and scraped his calf with my toe nail. He used his two fingers to squeeze hard on my ankle so that I was in pain. I had to limp hours after that because it was still painful.

It's hard not to think of leaving him. And the whole world asks me to leave him.

The only thing that's stopping me is my faith, as in my religion.

But it torments me. I do want out of this horrible marriage. It's nightmarish. It's fear-inducing. I live in fear most of the time - that he would hurt me, that he would quarrel with me loudly, that he would hurt Coco, that he would ask me for money, that he would say he's going to jail or become bankrupted next month or week.

Does God want me to be trapped in a tormenting marriage? I certainly don't think so. What torments me even more is I know divorce is never God's way of resolving conflicts.

I've heard and read that prayer changes things. My friend and sister tell me that miracles could happen, William could change for the better. But honestly, I have this strong unbelief - that he can change, or willing to change. I only believe that a leopard never changes its spots. I can't pray about it because I've such a strong unbelief. It would be an insult to the act of praying if I pray about this because I totally can't believe in it. Even if I pray about it, I still won't believe it. I just can't believe it. Two years of proving me right, or wrong has made me a staunch believer that this marriage is meant to doom.

I am at a loss.

I don't even know who I can talk to. The pastor said that William backed out at the last minute after they had arranged to meet. He said that he can't help us unless he's willing to talk, and both of us are willing to sit down and talk.

The pastor is not God. He can't transform William for sure. I don't hold him responsible for the state of our marriage although he feels bad that he hasn't followed up on us since the wedding. I feel that even if he did, he still doesn't have control over how William turns out. If a person means to deceive, how can we find him out?

I'm full of regrets now for marrying him.

Full of.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

A bad scare

I had a bad scare this morning.

I was trying to find my ex-employers' referential letters to see if I could try applying for the mid-career salary adjustment when I realised that my degree cert has gone missing.

A panic streak hit me. I searched frantically for the NIE folder which contained the cert. It was the only cert I didn't laminate and place inside the bulky NIE folder. I didn't want to spoil the 'beauty' of it. It's so precious to me that I don't want to risk creasing it if I take it out for any purpose.

Not on the bookshelf. Not in my 'important stuff' drawers. Not in any of the envelopes. Not in William's drawers or bookshelf. I kept tracing back to where I could have left it at: my mother's place? My sister and parents went to my convo, so I might have left it in one of the plastic bags which they jolly well brought home; my workplace? I might have taken it to school to laminate it. I remember myself laminating my transcript, although I don't really remember myself laminating the degree cert. I even remember I had to make some effort to remember to be humbler about my 'academic achievement' - it's a big deal to me but it's of no consequence to anybody else.

I thought very hard about it, and 'storeroom' came to my mind. I hate to go into the messy, disorganised, rackless storeroom. But I just tried anyway. Lo and behold! I saw the two NIE folders. The first one was empty - abit disappointed, but I quickly told myself I've already been disappointed by all the empty finds anyway. Yet another disappointment doesn't mean much. I opened the second one, and it's there!!! In its raw state, not laminated, just sitting quietly in the folder.

Silly me. I must have thought that the folders were empty and as usual, useless and bulky and so threw them together into the storeroom with my old notes. It's a good thing I didn't listen to William and throw the notes away. I would have thrown the degree cert out of the window as well. And I remember distinctively well that NIE has warned us against losing our cert as they do not provide any replacement for it.

It's a hard-earned cert. It means so much to me. It contains so much of my two years of memories, effort and hard work. And it is a significant milestone for me as I completed the course. More than just the qualification, I certainly don't want to lose all the sentiments that come along with this cert. Phew ...

Friday, 15 February 2008

Stupid parent and brother

Two students stayed back in the classroom to take down the CNY decorations today, with one of them staying back without my knowledge.

Her mother came to the general office asking for her kid. When she saw me, I got the feeling that she sized me up and decided that she could take it out on me. She started to question me, even a question like "Did you see her leaving school?" in a rude way.

I went to the classroom and found the stupid kid there. I took her down and told the mother in an equally unfriendly tone that the kid wanted to stay back herself when I told her she was not staying back.

She didn't even apologise. Stupid parent!

Then right after her, the other kid's brother asked for his brother. When I asked him to take a seat first while I go fetch him, he asked, rudely,"How soon? I really need to go now!"

The kid told me that he didn't know his brother was coming to pick him up. The episode ended with the brother apologising to me, but I accepted it curtly.

These people! Who do they think they are? Who are they to take it out on teachers?

The public seem to have taken the cue that they can shout and scream at teachers if they like. They take it that we are supposed to take in all their nonsense and keep quiet and suffer in silence. NOT ME!

Stupid parents!

I'm only human. Since you are rude to me and do not give me the respect I deserve, I don't have to be bothered about your child. Damn!

What's more damning today was the fire drill. The discipline mistress took out one of my boys so that I was caught 'not doing the headcount properly'. For goodness' sake! I also won't dare to go tell you that my boy is missing even if I am aware of it. I would keep mum about it until everything is over. My first count was 35 kids and I did suspect that one boy had gone missing. My second count was 36, so I thought all's well. But well, I'm still at fault for not being able to count properly.

It doesn't really affect me though. It's not as if I'm eyeing for a post up there. If anybody had targeted me because he or she thinks I might be a threat, then so be it.

Monday, 11 February 2008

At home today

I'm on MC today.

Down with a cold. I decided that today's the lesser of two evils for an MC. There's just a workshop till 4.30pm after school. But for tomorrow, there's the first-ever level remediation lesson AND house practice. I'll need to pass the lesson plans and worksheets and pre-test papers to the other teacher who's also doing the same subject remediation. Without me, he would have to print the worksheets himself, and the pre-test papers would be without the school name and logo, and he would have to conduct the remediation class on his own, with 42 students. I bet he would be upset with me. Not that I'm very concerned about the degree of upsetness with me. I'm more worried than upset, that everything will be topsy turvy if I'm not around. He's a retired teacher for your information. I don't want to tax him so hard for something that's done for the first time in the whole history of this school, and something that's so vital to the new vp.

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William told me this morning that he got something similar to retinal detachment. Oh, that I've heard of and I know it can lead to blindness. I didn't think it was so serious. He has the habit of exaggerating his sorrows. He kept crying and saying that he's scared that he may go blind, and he doesn't want to go for an operation. I don't know what's with me, I do sympathise with him but what came out of my mouth was,"Hey, you are a man you know? Stop crying!" "Of course everybody would be scared about an operation!"

I hate to see weakness, now that I'm considered a 'strong' person after going through a fair bit in life. I think I even despise weakness, especially in men. Now I understand why there's the Chinese saying about men shouldn't cry even when they bleed. It must have come from women who can't stand sissies. After so many years, I finally agree with this statement.

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I'm getting real fat. My arms are flabby, my thighs are like tree trunks, and my stomach and butt wobble when I walk a little faster. It's disgusting. Now I understand why it's hard to resist food for fat people. Now I understand why fat people find it impossible to slim down.

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I was on a friend's blog and read that she wants to make friends with 'life-giving' people. Wow, the idea of it all sounds so awesome. "Life-giving" people. Who doesn't want to make friends with such people? But like the law of likes attracting likes, I'm sure these people also want the other party to be life-givers as well. I suppose life-giving people are optimistic and positive people, which I'm not (but trying hard to be one). I was telling Chujuan how 'sian' it is to hear every word coming out from William's mouth to be negative and she agreed. She totally understands how it feels like to hear all the negative stuff from one person. You just don't feel like talking to that person, or asking that person to shut up. It's already a tall order to be positive in this world when everything looks bleak. It's bloody irritating to have someone pouring cold water over you whenever you try so hard to be or think positive. But I've learnt that thinking positive does help.

'I am rich. I am rich. I am rich.'

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Metamorphosis in place

Haven't I changed ever since I married William?

I think I still sounded relatively naive in my first posts.

My elder sister was telling my aunt that I wasn't like that when I first started teaching, but now I'm so heck-care about students. In my opinion, it's not true that I'm heck-care about the kids. I do care about them and it's precisely I struggle so hard for them that I've become so skeptical and upset about the education system. I have past the stage of disillusionment (hopefully) and still struggling with depression (sometimes it still hits me but I've learnt that I can't save all the kids). I am not a big shot. I can't do anything radical to change the system to suit the kids. I can only get the kids to suit the system. I'm a civil SERVANT. A servant obeys the master. The master says,"Save the bright ones. Abandon the slow ones!" Who am I to say no?

I can only teach what I know best to the kids, and imbue in them the values I want them to have, although this is against the system apparently. The master says that we have no power and no authority to impart values. Values are none of our business. But I can't resist doing that because it's me.

I've become more resistant to marriage. To my marriage specifically. The resistance is built up through these two years of tormenting.

I've become someone that's not really me, but it's a path I have to take.

More fights

Haven't been blogging lately because it's Chinese New Year. I'm doing this while waiting Coco to finish her Maths subtraction sums.

Went back to Malaysia with William and Coco. The rantings from my elder sister that stemmed from William's extreme impunctuality (he was 1 hour and 15 mins late!) took a toll on me. The best thing was: she directed the heap of scoldings on ME. The moment he arrived at my mother's place which was the pickup point, she shut her trap.

Then, on Reunion Dinner night, just as I was about to pack the red packets, William said he's 'shocked' to realise that I expected BIG red packets for my parents. It ended with us throwing a stack of Sing Dollars at each other, with none refusing to take any of it because he's so grouchy to give. And as usual, he ran out of the house when everybody was gathering for the reunion dinner. As usual, he left me in tears, with my family and relatives asking me why I was crying and where the bastard has gone to.

On the First Day of CNY, he asked me for a $10 ringgit which I refused to give him. My mother gave him a hundred ringgit instead, which he later claimed someone else took it when he left it on the floor when I asked him where the money's gone, but claimed that he gave them to me when my mother asked him. My mother was so worried that she whispered to my father that she suspected William is mentally unsound.

On the Second Day of CNY, we came back to Singapore. He confronted me, asking why I've been giving him a black face since the first day we went to Malaysia. The cheek of him!

I gave him my honest opinion that I'm angry with his uselessness, that he refused to save up for CNY when I've reminded him time and again months ago, that he actually didn't bother to go to the money changer when he knew yonce ago that he's going to Malaysia for CNY.

It ended up with him throwing one whole stack of workbooks at me, but fell at my feet due to their weight and my distance from him.

I changed, and got Coco who was awakened from her nap by all the racket out of the house.

We spent the night at my fifth sister's place.

The next day, I took Coco to Sentosa Flowers 2008.

It was a day that's supposed to end happy, with my third sister meeting us at Vivo City and treating us to Marche.

But he had to insist that we go to SGH to meet him because there's something wrong with his eye.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying pleasure is more important than my husband, no matter how bastardy he has been. But after a day of fun, Coco would have been very tired although she was still all pschyed up by the new experience at Marche and I knew we had to head home, lest she fell asleep half way anywhere.

He contacted the whole world apparently, to emotionally blackmail me to go there. So we alighted at Outram MRT and walked all the way to A&E Block, which was terribly far for Coco - thanks to the 'Oh, it's not far' claim of a middle-aged-to-old lady.

She fell asleep waiting at the hospital and we took a cab back.

He could have taken the cab back himself even if we were not there, but he had to insist that we go there to prove to him that we are still concerned about him although he has been a bastard.


I'm very tired of this marriage. I don't need a useless husband, who doesn't provide and behaves as a bastard and expects me to have sex with him at night. Coco doesn't need a bastard as a father figure. I have done most things for Coco, and will continue to do so. I could divorce the first jerk for her, marry for her, and I can divorce for the second time for her.

I don't need more stress from a marriage that is dysfunctional, or even worse, temper-throwing, stress-and-fear inducing. I don't need everyday fights which I could have continued with my elder sister when living with her. I don't need a change of partner just to fight, and worse, this time a man who is easily 7 times stronger than I. I don't need a tyrant to scare Coco out of her wits a few times a week just so that she's perverse to the idea of marriage when she grows up, or even now. I don't need her to think that this is what marriage is all about: fights, fights and more fights. I don't need public humiliation which he constantly subjects me to on the streets.

I don't need. I don't deserve to live a life like this. I don't. Perhaps a marriage is not what I am destined to enter. I really want out.