Monday, August 18, 2008

Chai Chee Sec: C'est ma réflexion

It’s raining outside now…

Today marks the 4th week in my contract teaching at Chai Chee sec.
Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to this school when I received my posting from MOE.
I never had a good impression about the students of the school and till now it still stay as it is.
Stepping into the school, the environment is very old school.
Everything here seems to stand still in time from the 1990s.
The school gives me the feeling of my primary school with the old canteen and facades.
This is a small school with small size of teaching staff in my opinion.
Small school to the extent that canteen closes early after the students finish their lunch.
Also, the school is like a mini international school which students from many countries coming into Chai Chee to pursue the Singapore education system.

I felt very lost on my first day of school.
There was no one to orientate me around the environment and the very first task I got was to relief a class right after the racial harmony celebration.
Initially life was easy as I was doing more of relief teaching.
Last week, things changed when I was told that the teacher I was tagging along had left school. In my mind, I was cursing and swearing about that irresponsible teacher as he did not inform me that he’s leaving and neither did he leave any instructions/plans behind. Basically, I started off from scratch.

Luckily I started typing teaching materials for the sec 2 class as I had the textbook with me. Typing with LaTex was much easier as compared to Word as everything is programmed into commands for the system to generate documents.
Very much thanks to my prof. who introduced LaTex to me.
The only problem with LaTex is that I have to keep checking to ensure that the commands are correct.

I’ve already started teaching. 2N2, the super duper hyperactive class where the boys can never keep quiet or still for just 1s, 3NA, no one seems to be listening to what I’m teaching and 4NA, the N-level class which 70% are working hard.
I’m trying out teaching with tablet using PDF annotator in class.
This means that I can write on my PDF document, which all students will get one copy as the handout.
At least I don’t have to write word to word on the whiteboard and I can still maintain face to face contact with the students in class to ensure that they are on the right track.
I was so used to enjoying properly planned celebrations that to me, celebrations in Chai Chee sec fell greatly below par.
Even the PA students looked like their training was on site.
Sometimes I wonder where the students will end up after they finish their secondary school education regardless how long they take and whether their discipline would ever change after that.
Or will they become the Ah Bengs and Ah Lians in the society?
I wonder if the international students are seeking the correct school.
I’ve noticed that some off them have integrated into their classroom culture and started behaving like their classmates.

There are times when I felt very discouraged and wanted to give up teaching because that I cannot handle the kind of students in this school.
My friends tell me that I looked fierce but I guess the students here find me friendly.
I just have to tell myself that it is not my teaching that is not good but the attitude of the students in class.
They come to school and treat it like an entertainment centre, not a centre of learning.
With the advance in technology now, students think more about playing than studying.

Students have changed.
We weren’t that misbehaving that badly during my time.
Well, the good thing is that at least I get a taste of a really neighborhood mix school. (I come from a girl school.)
One thing that puzzled me, what’s the use of the school tie when the students don’t even wear it during assembly time?

Let the thought of a girl be read,

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