I miss teaching. But more than that I’m missing students who are attached to me for the whole academic year. Being involved in their learning journey, discovering new stuff together and watching them grow as a learner and an individual is one of the most heart warming experience. It’s like that proud parent moment when your child reaches his milestones. There would be tough times for sure, but it would be forgotten far too soon.

Some of my fond memories stretched back almost two decades ago during my first year of teaching. Those kids are now adults who are either working or studying in universities. Their childlike faces in my photos collection, are precious reminder of how I was a part of their childhood. Hopefully, they’ll think fondly of me sometimes.

The reality is teachers don’t need awards or recognitions to fuel their passion. As long as their memory lives on in the hearts of their students, they’ll carry on teaching until the end. One day I’d love to meet my little people and ask them, “What are you up to guys?”

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Who Do You Missed, Ms?

time stood still

In the empty house by the beach

Gentle wind’s caressing her dusty drapes

Making shadow play at the corner of the living room

Salty scents wafting through- mingling with mustiness of yesterday

A peculiar calmness that can’t be defined lends a charming air 

Rattan furniture of the 70’s lounging comfortably together from years of brotherhood 

Rolled up rugs adorning the wooden floor occasionally beg for a good stretch

Paperbacks snuggling closely on the overstuffed bookshelf have resigned peacefully to their fate

It’s been a while for life to be a part of this house 

Despite it all, she is content and grateful for what she has 

Even the stoic grandfather clock not wishing to move past 3 

This Richer Life Of Mine

A year has passed and here I am still at home wondering where the time has gone to. Some people said I wouldn’t last long, as boredom would kick in and off to work I’d go. Now, that has yet to happen! In fact there were days when I couldn’t even recall what my life was like previously. It felt like that big chunk of my adulthood was blanketed with hazy memories of my working days. Remarkably strange to think of it.

Apart from losing my memory, there is a lot more that I gained from giving up a comfortable dual income lifestyle, to being sufficient in surviving the rising cost of living. Let’s not dwell too much into the financial bit because it is expected knowing how the economic downturn is affecting the whole world. I’d love to say this too shall pass, but this time who knows what the future is like.

Right, what have I gained so far?

Peace and sanity. My whole being was in a bad state prior to the resignation, that I was proned to agitation, body aches, emotional distress, sudden bouts of crying and terrible mood swings. In public, at work and in front of family members and friends, I put on an act being the cheerful and chatty me. But my husband and kids saw what was happening to me and watched how fragile I became. Such a terrible feeling to be in a disturbed state without having much control of it. I’m actually quite a positive person (though I prefer to think of myself as a realist), thankfully, it didn’t take long to bounce back after the dark period. I’m sure God has His reasons and I’m ever so grateful for this lesson; now when something disturbs my inner peace, I know how to wiggle my way out.

A better parent. I may not be an award winning mum but this is the best of me that I’m offering to my kids. Sixty percent of the time, I’ll carry out the mindful parenting act e.g. listening before judging, reprimanding without punishing, showing consideration to immaturity while breathing calmly and purposefully. Unfortunately, humans are complex creatures, so there are times when using sarcasm instead of tact, nagging about homework or bathtime, lacking patience when they turned the house topsy turvy are definitely acceptable. That’s not all, the kids tend to share lots of interesting details about their days including some juicy secrets that no one else knows. Even my teenager thinks I’m worthy of being a part of his hard to understand world. We had a fair amount of disagreements and door slamming, but we made up quickly…and he was always the first to say sorry with a hug and a kiss!

Good breakfast and great company. During my working days I don’t do breakfast or lunch. My meal time was pretty much as and when needed until I was home for dinner. I’d rarely get the chance to catch up with friends including the ones at school. These days, whenever my obliging husband doesn’t have an early appoinment, we’ll have breakfast at our neighbourhood ‘kopitiam'(coffee shop) and usually our friends would be there, too. No shortage of adult conversation there and better still the topics are unrelated to work or stress inducing. Then there’s also the occasional breakfast with my best friend who is a SAHM, whose house is few blocks away and our kids are attending the same schools. She’s my reliable support system- the emergency pick up driver, carpool partner, school stop-over, babysitter, meal provider, an extra eye- that someone who understands this frustratingly wonderful world of a stay-at-home mum.

Discovering cheaters guide to a good life. I don’t have a live in helper (a very common Asian practice for an easier life at home) so I have to come up with the best shortcuts for cleaning, cooking and everything to do with housekeeping. After many trials and errors I managed to find simplified ways that work for me. I also go for multipurpose cleaning products that are reasonably good without having to spend too much. Housework is sweeter when you fret less and think less about it. Having lower expectation works as well because when the unexpected takes place e.g. dishes get washed by others, kids tidying up after making a mess, someone make the bed, the feeling you get is total bliss! Oh, can’t end this without mentioning cooking. Although I’m mostly a short order cook, my dishes are usually made from whatever can be found in the fridge and pantry. There are lots of fusion cuisine and made-up recipes along the way. Well, my way!

Blogging my thoughts. Words and writing are my passion for as long as I can remember. Journal writing and poems are my form of expression and therapy. When I was young I created my own dictionary filled up with all the bombastic words that I couldn’t even pronounced. My love for dictionaries and encyclopedias are undisputed, where I spent my time looking them up, as often as the youngsters these days get on the internet. I wanted to start blogging but never got to fit it in until now. Who would’ve known that by giving up a fulltime job, I finally got the chance to continue writing.

There may be less money in my savings and not much in my purse, but one thing for sure the riches that I gained are of greater value.

Walk. Park. Nature. Workout therapy. 2 in 1. Balanced lifestyle. Fun. Joy. Chats. Effortless. Unpretentious. Companion. Bond. Sharing. Moments. Heart to heart. Non-judgemental. Unconditional. Dependable. Healing. Love. True. Cheerleader. Supporter. Inspirational. Mentor. Motivator. Listener. Happiness. Moody blues. Laughter. Tears. Life journey. Better half. Good times. Bad times. Could be better times. Uplifting. Sisterhood. Soul sister. Best friend. One-of-a-kind. A valued gift for life.

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Us

Waking up from your broken sleep as the baby spent all night fretting, you realized that the alarm went off but you didn’t hear its unwelcoming sound. A quick glanced at the phone made your heart skipped, as you could see you were already an hour late from getting ready to leave for work. Walking past the baby’s cot, you cringed when you sensed some movements, so you prayed hard that she’d continue to sleep and tiptoed quickly to the bathroom.

In less than 15 minutes, you showered, got dressed and slapped on some make-up to hide the dark circles under your eyes. Thank goodness you had plenty of practice in speedy ready (getting ready quickly); a useful skill when time is your enemy. Not wanting to prematurely wake up the household, you dashed about in the dark planting kisses on your lovelies who were fast asleep-except the baby. Quietly as a mouse, you turned the doorknob, closed the door, then dashed down the staircase. Hurray! 

After madly grabbing whatever you needed (as there was no time to organize things the night before), you jumped into the car and headed out. Once you pulled into the highway, you began to breathe easily. It seemed you were only a couple of minutes behind your usual timing. The road was clear and the radio was playing your favourite song. Ah, what a great feeling. Everything would be just fine from that moment on, so you thought.

Suddenly, the cars ahead slowed down almost to a complete stop. A traffic jam. A disturbing fate. A definite reason for being late. First, you fidgeted while thinking perhaps it wouldn’t last long. Maybe a car broke down in the middle lane. Then, you became anxious as you only inched a tiny bit at a time. Should you call the school? It was still early and no one would be at the office. Should you message a colleague? Would it be better to call instead? 

You ended up frantically trying to get hold of people while manoeuvring carefully bumper to bumper. A whole lot of organizing to do. Someone had to unlock the door to be there for the kids and keep them occupied until you arrived.

Fast forward, post traffic jam and you finally secured a parking space after driving around looking for one. Phew. But you felt tired and unmotivated to do anything. All you wanted was to go home…

As you reached your classroom, you stopped at the window while observing the scene inside. The reason for being there was waiting for your arrival. Pulling yourself together, you knew you had to put in an extra effort for the day to run smoothly or ended up feeling beaten. Deep breath. Smile, think positive and let the show begin. Welcome to a teacher’s world- the one with the best class act of all time.

*Photo credit: The Teacher Next Door’s Facebook page

Class Act