Monday, 20 October 2014

Positive Thought of the Day: Don't think, Just Jump

Hesitance- a reluctance to do something quickly or immediately, usually because you are uncertain, embarrassed or worried


When I was asked to join this national level debate, I was hesitant. I had had a single bad experience debating in high school, and still allowed the memory of that to dictate my thoughts and feelings. A small part of me was honoured that I was asked in the first place but my brain also furiously dug up the old mortifying memories; the loss for words, the stuttering, the nerves. I went back to my room allowing all these single tiny thoughts wash over me creating a tsunami of self-doubt; I'm hardly the person to do this; "If only they knew what a lousy debater I was", "I cannot", "I cannot", "I cannot do this."

While I felt my self drowning and looking for escape routes (couldn't someone else do it?)  I also momentarily thought of my other team mates on the trip;

One who seemed to be juggling the world on her plate, and still remained positive enough to brave yet another challenge thrown her way

One who had no prior knowledge of debates, but was keen on learning everything he could

One who was called at the last minute, two days before the debates, and immediately drove down to be part of the team

Hmmm, so, what was my excuse?

I didn't have anything else on my plate?
I HAD a bit of experience?
I was called weeks before the debates and could prepare?

Suddenly, I realised that if I changed my perspective, I was looking at all positives.
 When an opportunity floats along, don't think just jump.

Friday, 26 September 2014

GIRLS in the friendzone

You have always believed that a crush/ love blossoms from a good friendship. It's an old cliché but you like the idea. The problem is, said friendship doesn't seem to be going anywhere let alone blossom into anything.

There are two scenarios in which this can occur

1. You've been friends for a long time, and develop a crush on him.

In this situation, you can't explain the chemistry. All you know is, you have developed some very un-brotherly feelings towards this person, but chances are, he hasn't at all and now you're clutching at straws finding ways to get him to un-sister you too! Big chance you'll fail and embarrass yourself "my-best-friend's-wedding" style but you try anyway.

2. You've been friends for a long time, and think "Wait, why the hell doesn't he like me?"

In the second scenario, you don't even like this guy, but when you look at the people he IS attracted to, you are annoyed that you weren't even on the list. You are also a psychopath. Indignantly, you make it your mission to get this guy to like you.

Anyway, here are 5 telltale signs that you're headed for the (not so little) part of the world called the Friendzone.

1. Once upon a time you shared great conversation. That's it

Back in the day, when your judgement was unclouded,  there was an exchange of opinions, funny debates and yes even a little bit of teasing. T'was a great friendship. You hold on to this like it's your last piece of gum.
You seem to think this should be reason enough for him to fall for you. You end up waiting a long time for this to happen, and after ages, out of frustration, you say something weird and uncalled-for  that suddenly throws everything off balance. Slap your self

He used to really enjoy your company, but now he feels like talking to you might give you idiotic romantic is like navigating through a mine field. Any sentence might set you off. He communicates less and less..until you lose what good friendship you have. The thing you failed to realise was that you were in the friendzone from the start, and you're not headed anywhere any time soon. Tough luck.

2. All witty conversation is met with a generous double syllable HA-HA

In this day and age, a lot of conversation takes place via text message.You think you are reasonably good at it. Every time you communicate with crush, you are engaging, witty, sarcastic but friendly, the kind of girl you think every guy would dream of. After all that effort, the replies you get are as below...

1.     haha

2.     lol

3.     haha lol

He doesn't know what else to say. This conversation you're struggling with means little to him. In fact, this dialogue has dragged on long enough, and he thinks you can't possibly continue after a "haha".....

You stop and  honestly ask yourself why you're sinking this low.  But this reflection lasts only a second before you try again with another joke. Cycle repeats.

3. You over-analyse his rubbish responses.

You receive a non-committal, half-assed "lol"or "oh haha" and immediately launch into a Freud-like analysis... always coming up with the conclusion like "oh, he's really shy" "he's an introvert" "he's not good with words" “he’s busy right now”

NO. He's just not that into you...or your "hilarious" e-cards

4.  You become a toilet bowl

At first, you think you are his listening ear, the supportive shoulder, the available arm, the patting palm, but soon you realise that to be metaphorically apt, you are merely a toilet bowl. He loves talking to you and seeking out your opinions on his silly mundane problems. The toilet bowl, where people go to take a dump. Nothing more. No other purpose.

Like the practical toilet bowl, you really couldn't care less about how he "woke up late today" or "can't decide what cereal to buy" but you think the more you respond and pretend to care, he might realize you are the one.

WRONG. You and your sewage system become the perfect outlet for him to vent and release frustrations.

 "Hey thanks for listening"
 "no probs, any time"

Till the next time nature calls then!

5. He tells you who his crush is and.... it isn't you.

This should be the ULTIMATE sign for you to stop, abandon ship, give up the fight, move on, forget the pursuit. This is the most depressing sign because of its finality and non-negotiable nature of outcome.

If he tells you about the person he does like, you have successfully fulfilled toilet bowl duties. Congratulations. Retire to Friendzone.

If you are a psychopath, you will openly and unashamedly insult his choice in women, because it wasn't you.

If not a psychopath, you smile and encourage him to pursue his interest in the lucky (undeserving) female.

If you've experienced at least one of the 5 signs mentioned above, sigh...stop now, before ruining a good friendship.

*Googling the phrase "friendzone" almost always turns up results to console men who have had some bad luck in the relationship department. "She thinks of you as a brother"has come to be universally accepted as the ultimate warning sign.

But it isn't that simple or clear cut when you are a girl. The social onus of move-making that normally falls to the guy, makes it a bit unclear if they're are not yet into you, or not at all into you. LOL

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Practicum Teachers: 7 things that you need to get used to

Congratulations, and welcome to teaching practicals. Going back to school can never be fun but let's face it, you're not prepared for the role reversal at first. Every day you keep reminding yourself to use the "staff toilet" because yes, you are now a teacher. Hopefully, you're an adult as well.

Here are 7 instances that will remind you of who you have chosen to become.

1. When students wish you good morning

You love this but it never fails to take you by surprise a little, when you hear a student calling from afar or bowing as they walk past, or smiling and greeting you.

At first you were like "are you talking to me?"
But now you have trained yourself to smile, return greeting, and look superior.

2. When you are called to break up a fight

I'm not talking about returning a ruler that some kid stole from another kid. I mean a real fist fight, or sometimes in my case, a case of possessed students running amok. You forget sometimes that students look to you to solve their problems and handle situations. If you're a new teacher, chances are you won't know what the hell to do. The only handling you can manage is the door handle as you rush out.

Emergency Exit Plan

3. When students try to open up to you

No matter how cold you try to be,  some random student will always look to you for a counselling session. They saw something in you and feel like you would understand their problems. But as a new teacher, you've got 99 problems of your own, and this ITCH ain't one. You're worried that if you take on this student as a patient, you might end up doling out horrendous advice, so you pull the "dont-get-close-to-me-I'm-not-here-to-be-your-friend"... you feel bad about this later, but, meh...

P.S But it's nice that you trust me, kid.

4. When students try to flirt

As a new teacher, the senior students in Form 5 will seem really mature compared to the form one zoo animals you handle all day, sometimes you forget that they are only seventeen years old. And there will be a few who are just so charming or pretty and remind you of your high school crushes. If you catch yourselves smiling at them, do everyone a favour and SLAP yourself. And never make eye contact again, because you don't want to step into that quicksand...If you're a male teacher, female students will know no boundaries when it comes to batting eyelashes. DO NOT ENGAGE. repeat. DO NOT ENGAGE


That's right

5. when you see a student crying

Every once in a while, you will come across some hormonal teenager (most probably a girl) who is sobbing away in a corner (during your class) or looking so sad and/or angry that the people around her look afraid. 

The annoying thing is, this depressed teenager is BENT on getting you to notice her. You have been brought up by the rule, "Cry quietly in your room so that no one sees" so you don't understand what she wants from your life. 

After every few sobs she looks up at you, or she rolls her eyes at everything you say.

Must not make eye contact

 At first you try not to notice...but soon, she sobs louder (or death stares you),  and you attempt to talk to her. You try to sound like a sister, because you think you're young and cool but you end up being as much help as a spoon. 

6. when you're supposed to give them life advice

You don't remember how you got into this, but now, you actually have to advise these kids on life. You've always known smoking was bad, drugs will kill but now you actually have to convince these students because a lot of  them aren't taught it at home. Suddenly you feel overwhelmed by this pressure society has put on your shoulders to educate the young. You end everything with death with the hope that students will be too scared to question further. But they stop taking you seriously after you say MC DONALD'S WILL KILL YOU!

7. When a student gets on your nerves and you want to curse so badly

Like any other 20 something year old, you occasionally swear when something annoys you. Jerk reaction. But in school, it is one big cardinal SIN. You are supposed to assume a role of a perpetually patient being. You told yourself you would never sink that low anyway.

You have had some minor experience fighting with your younger siblings but nothing prepares you for 20 screaming kids who have decided that they have learnt enough for the day. For a second you inhale deeply and wonder what possessed you to enter this field. 

 It takes all of your self control to stop from screaming a profanity. So you calmly walk to the staff toilet mirror and

Because lets face it, when you get together with your practicum-teacher friends, no one wants to hear about the horrible day you had at school. They've been through worse. Neither does anyone want to hear about your awesome day at school. They've got bigger problems. Save it. Deal with it yourself. If you're lucky, you have friends who aren't in the teaching field who find your tales absolutely hilarious!
OMG highlarious!

Don't worry, loads of teachers have been at it for years, so I gather it gets better over time.
Till then, these situations will remain socially awkward, the whole week...till the weekend that is ;)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dealing with the generation gap

I don't get people who are in their twenties and say "god I feel old" whenever...whatever the circumstance. How do you feel old? What do you mean you feel old? Have you seen old people? Stop making such a big deal and move on. HAHA and then I had this huge overreaction. 

So the other day...
I was trying to guess what year my Form 1s were born in...
Me: How old are you?

Student: I am 13 years old

Me: Very good, so you all were born in...hmm...nineteen ninety...

Students: ...............2001

Me: *Audibly gasps* Whattttt!? NO you're not!!!...people born in the 2000s are babies! 

Of course 2001 was 13 years ago.

This makes perfect mathematical sense.

Just not in-relation-to-self sense. 

Another over-reaction

I was handling the English Club meeting (the intake is so small, really, it's like holding a group discussion)

And after forcing a game of taboo, I tried to "get to know them". Thank goodness I invested time and brain cells in K-pop music over the years, because that's all they listen to really. 

At first I thought I would keep it real, go back to basics, and get some girl power in there

I mentioned

West life? *crickets*
okay NSync! *fan whirrss*
BLUE?! *chair creaks*
BACK STREET BOYSSSS!!!!! ...yeahhh! *someone yawns*

And all that stared up at me were these vague, empty, blank, faces, that I had never encountered at the mention of Back Street Boys...

I was so frustrated and nearly translated it in BM Lelaki Jalan Belakang. 

So then what do you like?

"K-pop" "One direction" 

Damnit, why do I keep forgetting this age gap?

Rightttt...sorry, forgot. 

P.s. But for some reason, even this generation hates Justin Beiber.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Today I have the misfortune of sitting in for 120 minutes (3 periods) in the removed class (PERALIHAN)

New teacher image

5 minutes in,  two of them start shouting "pigu" (mandarin for 'buttocks') at some girls walking past. 

In my limited knowledge of Mandarin, "pigu" had made it's way into my vocabulary. 

So I grab my handy plastic ruler and rap the offenders on their palms (which they offer up quite quickly, much to my annoyance)

As soon as I turn my back, another one yells out the window..."WOIIII PIGU!" 

I spin around and yank the offenders ears, a punishment that always brought immediate apologies growing up in my household. Sure enough...

"OWW. sorry laoshi...sorry laoshi"

"ONE MORE TIME I HEAR YOU SAY THAT WORD...." I brandish the ruler and glare at them 

I even swat the air a few times for effect of the "whoosh sound"

"okay okay, cikgu tau meh pigu itu apa!?"


"okay okay"

I take five steps towards the teacher's table and then I hear it...

A low...soft...chanting...of 6 or 7 boys,a unified harmonious, even haunting minion tune...


I sigh.... look down at my watch.....only 15 minutes have gone by...

Friday, 18 April 2014

My first "Relief" Period

I dunno what I was thinking, but I was pretty cheerful going up the staircase to 5SS2.

These kids are probably all nerds busy with chemistry or physics and addmaths. They won't bother looking up as I enter, and I won't mind one bit. I'll work on my record book, and they'll work on their piles of homework. And we'll be left alone in blissful silence. 

As I ascend the staircase, I hear wolf whistles. 

Brain: Small reminder Miss Liz, this isn't Klang...  these are not the  kiasu pimple-faced-tuition-going students that you were surrounded by in highschool. 

It's okay, let me just get to my nerd haven of silence. 

One girl peers at me through the window sill, 

"Relief ka?" she demands, as if I interrupted...her life. 


"Woi diam! Cikgu masuk, hormat skittt" 

"heh, *clears throat* Good afternoon class"

*lazy drawlllll from 5 out of the 20 seated there. "Good afternoon teacher" 

hang on, what is this class? Am I in the right place.

brain: Subtly ask them

"So, er, this is 5SS2?" (so much for subtle)


brain:. What you gonna do Miss Liz?

*clears throat
"Since I don't know you, let's introduce ourselves"

"Cikgu cakap apa ni tak paham"

*clears throat
"I.want. to. know. your. NAMES..

 "die cakap apa ni?"Bloody girl says

brain: It's okay Miss Liz, just walk. Fold your arms! and walk. Slow steps... like you're NOT shivering inside
They will eventually stop looking at you like a piece of meat. ..

In walks three of the oddest looking boys. One is really tall, he's almost reaching the door frame, one more stocky with bloodshot eyes, and the other looks like Goyle. I immediately dislike them

I dislike them for entering...which took something out of my POWER WALK around the class.

I dislike them for being so tall which took some height out of me in my fancy heels

I dislike them for not even glancing at me as they saunter in

"Good afternoon sirs!" I announce

they look up smile and sit down against the wall meat-staring me.

Okay I'm done with this stupid walk. It hasn't achieved much

stomps back to teacher's chair.

brain: Do not look away Miss Liz. Keep your eyes on them and stare. Just stare. oh fold your arms too. looks good.

Fine. Stare....death stare

"WHAT!" he thunders suddenly as he catches me looking at him

I think I stop breathing for a few seconds. Am I still alive? So much for stupid death stare.



"WHAT YOU LOOK ME!!" he yells banging his palm on the desk.

Jesus please, let me live through this ordeal

brain: Miss Liz get a grip. you. teacher. he. student. remember. Now smirk

*clears throat
"it's WHY are you looKING at me"

A momentary expression of confusion crosses his face.

"apa la ko ni, WHY dengan WHAT pun tak tau" his friends are quick to tease realizing what just happened.

 He looks at me and then breaks out into the widest grin.

And I smile. We're good.

(mentally) SLAP YOuRSELF!

When people ask me, how teaching has been so far, I have decided that the best answer is that there are good days, where you feel like Mary Poppins and there are days when you are Snape.
During yesterday’s poetry lesson, we had an engaging discussion on things that were not fair or wrong in the country.

And everyone participated.

And I felt light and happy.

Last week, after a particularly exhausting day of trying to get the students to focus on the task, one student tells me very matter of factly “teacher kelas kamu sangat bosanla, takda syiok” “kelas 
cikgu lain lagi syiok” which translates to “teacher your class is extremely boring, and not fun at all” “all the other teachers’ classes are more fun” to which I replied “oh is that so? Thank you very much”

But inside, I felt a bit broken.

At least three times a week, I ask myself why the hell I chose to do this but then I figured, I’m sure people from other fields struggle with this question at least once in their life, and then I mentally slap myself for whining.  

Thursday, 20 February 2014

First week in the Blackboard Jungle

Hello reader, as some of you know, I've been on my practical stint in SMK Tunku Abdul Aziz, Simpang Empat, Alor Setar, Kedah, for two weeks now.Going into this, I remember I was terrified mostly of the unknown; the people I had not met, and the students that I did not know, the place that I hadn't grown accustomed to. But it turns out, after two weeks, the teachers are nice, the place isn't that confusing, and my class makes me smile. I am assigned to a Form 3 and a Form 1 class. But I've entered many other classrooms on relief duty, some with a less friendly crowd than others. 

My students in Form 3 are in the first class, but they come in one passive package. I feel like I still cannot get them to open up. I know that because when I'm having a class discussion and someone says something funny and laughs and I ask them the just shake their head and look away, as if it's "not worth" telling me. HAHA. Dramatic much. But  there have been times when this class has come alive. I witnessed this rare moment during an interesting discussion on toilet etiquette. I believe that I have to stay focused on what I want them to learn at the same time have at least one engaging activity to bring them out of their shells a bit. Names 99% memorized

My Form 1 students are the cutest bunch of passive students. I think they live by the phrase "Silence is Golden" which is bit troublesome when the objective of the English Period is to get them to talk. Currently our Form 1 batch is undergoing a program called OPS- English, which is targeted to improve their Oral Proficiency. Ops-English comes equipped with its own textbook and CD. Throughout the program which lasts till june, students are not allowed to do any writing. No essays, no paragraph writing. It's all about speaking and listening. At first it seemed like a heaven sent program, because of its simplicity. In actual fact, when you're given a very passive class who has no intention on speaking, then figuring out lesson plans can be a pain in the neck. Oh well, lets put that 4 years of uni to use. Names 70% memorized

That's all there is, 
There isn't any more. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pre-teaching (Countdown day 3)

Today, we followed our advisor to a school to observe her other practicum mentee. The three of us sat behind along with our lecturer and watched my senior handle this class. I was in awe, as she coolly handled these Form 4 students and projected a stern demeanor whilst still maintaining an approachable personality. She had already begun to remember their names, and had a good developing rapport with the students.

She used quite a few words in Malay after seeing that they didn't understand it in English. One boy when praised, would say "Awesome" obviously having picked it up from her previous class. Our lecturer mentioned that positive feedback and  encouraging words were always a good thing. Because students need to feel that their answers are valued.

Another incident I recall was when a girl gave a suggestion, and her answer was dismissed with a "no, that's not a good answer"..
I was surprised when she said. "Okay okay teacher, I just try"
She was one of the better ones, who had more confidence than the rest.

I learnt that teacher movement around the classroom was very important and that some students at the back were interested in the lesson but didn't get enough of the teacher's attention to bother about performing in class.

I guess I'm most nervous about classroom management and this was indeed a very useful experience of going and observing another teacher in her classroom. Our lecturer advised us to ask our school mentoring-teacher if we could sit in for the lessons to watch the teacher before taking over the following week.

Our school is reportedly still preparing our timetables and we most probably will be getting the lower form classes.

That's all there is,
There isn't any more.  

Pre-teaching (Countdown day 4)

Okay, it's crunch time. I've been dreading this moment for ages now. It reminds me of how I dreaded diving lessons at the pool, or driving lessons and driving school, or public speaking competitions, or debate rounds, or the literature exams, and then the moment came and passed, and I emerged all the better for it.

The hardest thing right now is finding the motivation to keep myself confident. What is it about those unknown faces? or is it because I am facing the unknown? Sometimes I find myself terrified of failure, sometimes worried sick with the challenges, and very occasionally  fleeting excitement at the prospect of stepping into the beginning of this new chapter.

For my practicals, I was placed with two of my classmates and good friends Lea and Zaini. This evening, Zaini and I took a test drive to the school to familiarize ourselves with the route. I still don't know the way though so Zaini will be the GPS I guess. The school is situated a good 30km from our hostels and this means a 40 minute drive with traffic and traffic lights. Which means that we'll be getting up at the crack of dawn to beat traffic and get to school for a decent clock-in.

We met our supervisors today and mine is one of the nicest lecturers ever but she had some not-so-nice news. She gravely told us that the school we were attached to for this 4 month teaching practical was notorious for major discipline problems and in many cases the police had to be called to intervene. Anyhow, my advisor has given us the green light to call her to observe us any time to get some feedback and improvement tips.

I have not signed in at my school yet. A lot of us haven't. We'll probably do so on Sunday. In case you didn't know, in Kedah, the weekend is from Friday to Saturday, and we work on Sunday.

That's all there is,
there isn't any more.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Lau Puts her Foot Down

Now and again, Lau (not real name) coins a new nickname symbolizing my relationship status and at the moment it was single-since-birth- Liza. On dating, she said she wouldn't allow me to date just anyone. He would have to be smart, speak good English (whatever that was) and come from Subang (eye roll).

Now, normally Lau's shallow ideals would have me snorting with laughter, but suddenly I began to wonder where my list was. By "LIST" I meant where on earth had I chucked the MY-FUTURE-HUSBAND section in the notebook? Lau was right in a sense; I couldn't welcome just any Tom Dick or Harry who showed interest with no walls up at all, not even a baggage check. I had to have something in mind.

And so I began the process of  listing down the things that I prioritize in the opposite sex.

I used to think that "making me laugh" was enough for someone to qualify. I mean what else could you want?

But I quickly realized that if people asked me "Oh how did you know he was the one?"
 my answer would seem really silly.

Instead I'm going to edit that and say he has to have a sense of humour.

Having a good sense of humour is more than just being able to crack jokes. It is being able to see the light side of things, it's being able to smile, not frown, at silliness. It's being able to tolerate when your other half is being intolerable.

And one other thing, I think I needed someone who didn't think women were second to men in the sense that it would be a huge blow to their ego if a woman wanted to drive instead, or god forbid  a woman gave a suggestion on why something was wrong with the car. Or a person who expected (without discussion) that a woman play certain roles that society has deemed acceptable for our gender. I'd go crazy...and beat him with a rolling pin or pull his hair out. *cough* right...anyway. I swear I'm nice in general.  

Apart from these two things, it depends on who I meet I guess. I mean I can't be setting up 101 road blocks in the form of height, weight and hip width can I. That's weird, plus, I'm too flawed to expect perfection. Haw haw

The see-saw is the least fun playground toy to play on alone
You always need someone on the other end to send you up when you're down, and bring down to earth, when you're too high up.  *quotable quotes much*

Everyone needs some ideals or principles that are important. NOT a cut out mold that someone should magically fit into. Have you thought of yours yet?