It’s been 25 days since I wrote my last blog on teaching.
Breakfast: One banana, one cup of milk, one cup of oats
It was just another morning at school.
When I saw a couple of Grade 2 students playing at the court, I reminded them not to play there. Of course, I did it in a way that would make them never do that same thing again.
Then, one of my students, whom I will call Y, said, “Teacher, how come you are both angry and smiling at the same time?”
I had no answer to that comment.
When I came into the faculty room and talked about the event to my students, some of my co-teachers revealed that many “are afraid of my iron hand” when it comes to “matters of classroom discipline and academics.”
I actually thought of myself as one of the more patient ones out there, as one who has a “velvet glove and an iron fist”, instead of the full “Space Marine power fist” treatment.
It turns out that I was horribly wrong.
One of my students from the previous graduating batch has mentioned that “We all like Sir Earl and his activities, but we are afraid of the way that he instills discipline inside the class.”
Holy crap. Good if that was just a single comment.
But then, Z, a current Grade 2 student and a classmate of Y, asked one of my co-teachers this question:
“Miss, how old is Sir Earl?”
“He’s young. Why?”
“He’s young, yes, but why is he so strict?”
Then, even some of the students from the current (prospective) graduating class have commented, “We are afraid of Sir Earl, especially when we get a topic wrong.” Hahahahaha!
I was laughing at myself when I heard all of these comments from my co-teachers on that morning.
It’s quite revealing, to be honest. After all, I always thought that I was a chill and laid-back person when it comes to matters that involved education!
As a teacher, when it comes to behavior, it took me three years before I finally learned the basics of classroom management as well as instilling discipline inside the classroom.
However, when it comes to academics, I tend to push them hard. As in Chinese-standard hard, more like how the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” does it to her children.
This is not because I want them to fail or something. It’s because I believe that they can do it and yes, sometimes, it’s quite harsh for them, but I like to believe that many of my former students (particularly from last year, appreciated the way that I pushed them to do different activities and stuff).
I never settle for half-baked results from my students. I expect them to give 100% effort, to do their best, to push hard and complete their tasks in the best way that they can.
I want to see them try and not give up when they see a challenge or an obstacle to their learning.
As a teacher, I try to do my best when I teach, answer my students’ questions to the best of my ability, explain topics in the clearest and most understandable way possible – and when I screw up, admit mistakes wholeheartedly and sincerely.
In return, I think that I have the right to mold them into people who can go toe-to-toe with their peers in a fast-paced, rapidly-changing era – an age that requires not just creativity, skill and talent, but also an abundance of resilience, grit and empathy.
But to be honest, I found those comments funny.
Seriously, though, these moments are among the reasons why we teach, for we are reminded that we are not infallible and that there’s just so much to learn!!!
Dinner: A can of tuna, rice, two boxes of juice
I’m now clocking at 72 kilos. That’s it. Now time to actually run, walk or sweat it out in order to keep it that way!