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.