It's a ('a', not 'the') busy time of the year for me.
My kiddies are sitting for their PMR and believe me, I'm more nervous about it than they are.
It's strange that the past couple of weeks have been a breeze to teach. All of them look like their finally buckling down and going at it. The once annoying and interrupting ones have all calmed down and seem to be focusing hard.
As sadistic as I may sound, I do believe I enjoy watching them squint with furrowed brows and sweat bullets more than the sanguine, buoyant and (mistakenly) confident selves. I am not sure why, but many of them have mentioned they'd adopted the "I'll-cross-the-bridge-when-I-come-to-it" or "It'll-work-out-for-the-best" attitudes prior to this.
This puzzles me, have they not heard of "Susah-susah dahulu, senang-senang kemudian"???
Lol. So, yes, I love it that they are a lot more serious and a little more anxious. Essay every period? No problem. Grammar drills for an hour straight? Bring it on! Literature quiz? *Spits on hands* Oh yeah!
However, as the year draws to a close (2 months more), I'm also reflecting on myself as a teacher. What have I been doing for the past year? Have I grown? What have I learnt?
Well, in retrospect, everything's clear and easy. I see now so many things that I could have done differently - but did not have the time nor energy to carry out. I could have included more lessons like the 1+2 choral speaking and diaroma project. More downloaded YouTube clips which were entertaining and could be made educational (e.g MJ, Hollie Steel, Boyle). More carefully planned and scaffolded writing lessons.
Some things I learnt accidentally. I was really exhausted some time ago with a variety of pies with my fingers in them. I won't go into details, but the pies gave me diabetes. As a result, I got really behind in my book-marking. And as teachers know, no books = no work can be given. Of course, I could ask them to use another book, but that'd just be more books that I won't have time to mark - vicious cycle.
Anyway, I decided to implement a temporary carrot-cookie system for my Form 2 class until I got my work back on track. I'd spend 3 periods each week doing hardcore work (writing or grammar plus Lit). Then, I'd take 2 periods for 'fun' activities - this could be poetry reading with sound effects (I love, love this!), Monopoly (IN ENGLISH ONLY), Master of Malaysia (something like Malaysianised Jeopardy) or anything at all, as long they were doing it in English. It worked great for me! And I enjoyed seeing how they gained confidence in their language use.
Obviously, it wasn't a 100% success. I had a couple of slackers who seemed even more unenthusiastic than normal...but cest la vie. I can show the horse to the water, but I can't make it drink.
This brings me to my Post Title. I was inspired today after watching an episode of Top Chef Masters. It was the last epi of the season, really. Another chef has stolen my heart; Rick Bayless. He's a boyish-looking chef, who's pretty much considered the Master of Mexican cooking in NAmerica. In the finals of this series, I watched him take on three unfamiliar chefs as sous chefs and mentored them in their cooking as he steered the ship. I have to admit, my managing style is more like Michael's (who was criticised as being too dictator-like). Hubert Keller too, was a stellar mentor in the kitchen. they were both like grandfather's I'd love to have! lol
I know I blew my top more than a few times in the past year. Nevertheless, I hope that with time, my temper mellows out. I hope to achieve a more serene outlook in life and work. Bayless was trusting of his sous chefs; confident in them...faith. I think I need a wee bit more faith in my kiddies too. That small bit of his personality- as a teacher/chef- is truly motivating.