Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Miss With Love...

Here's a confession, I was a very, very bad student when I was in school. I passed up my homework on time and all that but like some of the smart-ass students in a so-called " good" class or "good school" for that matter, I was very teacher's nightmare who did her add-maths tuition homework during BM lessons and skipped school when there were double periods of BM and English, yes, you heard me, English.

Therefore, it is only ironic that I am choosing to take up a teaching course and perhaps this could be the karma pay-back time now that I am embarking on my teaching practice in 4 days' time. Gosh, I even thought about my poor, poor history teacher, whom we all nicknamed as 'The Rock' for his big stature and who was never listened to in any of his classes on the morning when I was preparing to meet my school's principal. Looks like I am letting the past to haunt myself here.

But then again, I have always tried to reason my poor record as a student by justifying that those teachers I did not pay enough attention to were not that good in their teaching. I am not saying that they are not good teachers and I should say that they are actually very good teachers who really have their students' interest at heart. In fact, me and a bunch of equally lousy students kept in touch with them years after we had left school. Perhaps the exam-orientated education system in our country could be blamed for producing the lot of students like me.

You see, I came from a Chinese school which fits the stereotype of most Chinese schools i.e. very kiasu students, exemplary results in maths and science and very, very, result and academic orientated only. This phenomenon is even more apparent in the first few classes. On the other hand, one may beg to question about how bad students like us could be straight- As-flyers? This is because when I said that we were very bad students, we were also excellent students on other periods. However, this only happened to lessons which were taught by the subject specialists teachers who also happened to be marking public examination slips and much-sought- after-tuition teachers at the same time. Mind you, the attendance on those periods were always full and some of my friends only came to school on the periods that those teachers were teaching. Notwithstanding, those teachers were really marvelous and very clear in their teaching but they could only remember the name of the monitor out of a class of 40 plus students.

Looking back, I am certainly not proud of myself or my friends. Indeed, our behaviour at that time could only be considered as nothing but arrogant and we really owe all those teachers that we have ignored an apology now. While I have stereotyped the situation above to that which happened in Chinese schools, I think this phenomenon is also quite apparent in other schools across the nation as well. In fact, one could also say that this is almost the norm in most urban schools. Thus, this is going to be such bad news for us English teachers.

Why am I emphasizing on English teachers alone? On the one hand, English is a subject which has no formula nor theorem ( if you do not consider grammatical rules as theorem, that is). Besides, I think that sometimes teachers could not make a huge difference to improve the proficiency of the students at the upper secondary level. I honestly believe that English teachers only play the role as facilitators in language learning. Therefore, we should not expect the students to be eager and attentive at all if our lessons are not INTERESTING. Nowadays, the students are even more smart-ass than we were and they can really tell whether we are passionate and good enough to teach.

Back when I was in school, the English periods was a chance for us to relax after the cramming of the formulae and I must admit that we had fun and paid attention on those lessons which were very well prepared and thought after. I still remember a very interesting set induction that my English teacher did when I was in Form 3 even though I did not know the technical term of set induction back then. She was teaching us a chapter on smoking and she tried to lit a money bill and we naive students (yea, still not so smart-ass yet at Form 3) were pleading her not to do that. Consequently, she explained that smoking is akin to the act of setting money on fire. Don't you think that it is a very good set induction to do in the classroom?

On the whole, I think we will be facing the most challenging 10 weeks in our somewhat idyllic 4-year-course. I can only tell myself that it is going to be fine and I am going to enjoy myself. Worrying ourselves to insomania will only add dark circles and positivity could not be more relevant at this period of time. Therefore, to all of my friends out there, we shall do our best and the rest is just up to God I guess. Just as Ying Ying has said, bon voyage and don't forget to have fun!

1 comment:

Labyrinth said...

i agree. that was a good set induction, esp if u coud still remember it..Why do you say there is no theory for English? i hope u r not saying the same about the art of teaching. A question; what happens when your lesson is well prepared and interesting but the students pay no attention to it? What then? would you re think about the term 'interesting'? What IS interesting?