Monday, June 1, 2015

Decision Made

After much thought, I have finally decided that I should leave the school I'm teaching now.

This morning, I was literally breathless, and didn't have the energy to yell at the kids who were too noisy. Had to force my voice out three times before they settled down. I believe kids these days are too affected by their phones and other gadgets as they are so engrossed in their own virtual world that they don't even know that an earthquake is happening in the neighbourhood. Call them once, no response. Call them the second time, they'd grunt while their eyes remained glued to the idiot handheld screen. Raise your voice the third time, then only they'd put down the gadget and do what you tell them to. This habit is carried to the school environment. That explains why it takes at least three yells to get a 99% attention from students.

I have decided, I can't do this anymore. I'd be insane, and I'd be ruining my already-weakened body. Stop talking crap about thinking positive. When you're in my shoes, in my environment, thinking positive wouldn't help you at all. You can't just say: "Oh, it's alright. They're just kids - maybe I'll learn something from them." or just a delusional: "Well, never mind. Tomorrow will be a better day." - seriously? Then how come I end up yelling in order to get just ONE person to listen carefully to my instructions to get just ONE task done? After yelling then only she got it right while the rest remained absolutely silent for a good five minutes (only).

It's not that I've just joined this industry. I started when I was 18. I'm now 48, so you do that math. That's a whole lot of lung abuse, not that I enjoy doing it. It just gets worse as time goes on. If I had been a smoker for the same duration, my lungs would be almost charcoal by now. Years of yelling seem to have similar effect - the breathlessness, the dull physical internal pain of the throat and lungs. But my lungs won't turn black. It has probably either shrunk, or inflamed!!

I'll be writing the letter in a couple of days. I'd have to source money to pay the school for breaking the contract - that's a five-figure sum all in the name of protecting my sanity.

People have given up on me because I complain too much. Whatever. I have the right to live a good and healthy life and shouting at people is not one of them. I know that I will somehow get back into teaching again at some point after this because I don't have other skills which I could use to diversify into another industry... but at least I wouldn't be yelling as much as I have done for decades, particularly the past 2-3 years. It's not a good way to die.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time to Decide Again

The desire is getting stronger. I'm not talking about lust here.

Each day passes with lots of agony inside my troubled soul. My temperament and inability to cope with the new generation of hyperactive kids are taking a toll on my sanity. Each day I come back to my small room, lamenting that another day would come, and I'd be yelling again. Each day I dread waking up having to take a short drive to school along the badly maintained road. My 5-year-old car cries each time it hits a pothole.

Do I have a choice? Yes I do but the trouble is, I don't have the money to pack my bags and leave. I still have another 12 months to go before I can call it quits, and even when I do eventually,  I need to know what lies ahead. I can't be jobless for months. A short break abroad would be nice - hopefully with a partner, if I could find one. That's still far away.

I thought that being in Singapore was bad. Well, to be fair, it was extremely challenging mentally and physically for two years but then I had support from my girlfriend (now ex) who had to listen to my dumb complaints each day and night while I don't listen to hers. However, coming back here was (and still is) a nightmare!! Who says life is good across the causeway? Certainly not in the school where I teach or even in JB. Nothing seems to be right at all. The location, the people, the environment in my rented apartment - sucks.

How long can I hold? I doubt I could wait for that 12 months to lapse, looking at how I feel each day. Some people can turn negatives into positives easily. I see kids running around like monkeys in the computer lab, am I just gonna think "Oh they're just kids and they help pay my salary". I have the urge to pull them aside and smack them in the face for misbehaving. Westerners would sue me for abusing the kid, but this is not a western country. Asians teach kids differently, but of course we don't just spank or smack kids without a reason. We are not lunatics or anti-kids. Read "Tiger Mom".

Do I have a choice? The answer is still yes, but if I choose the road less taken (by quitting and paying for breaking the contract, which is a good five-figure), I had better prepare for what the future holds. Be prepared for wagging tongues and name-calling but who cares? They're not in my shoes. There are friends who are suffering more than I at work, yet they are not leaving. The reason - "I have no choice." - yes, they have mouths to feed, a family to care for.

No one ever reads my blog, unless they bump into this by accident. So those who happen to drop by and read till here, do pray that I make a decision soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not Moving On

Another weekend has passed by. I look forward to weekends as it means not having to empty my already-weakened lungs (I do have some kind of pneumonia-related problem from before). I try to keep myself occupied with my new PlayStation Vita which I got last week; I go to movies more often now than I did in the past 47 years of my existence. I had to do something, including school work on weekends to keep my mind from being idle. Yet, despite my efforts, past incidents keep haunting me.

At the Shopping Mall

Each time I go there, my intention is to just browse around and do window shopping, or go catch a movie, or have a great dinner at a pricey western eatery. Well, I do all that, but when I see couples holding hands, or families eating together with a kid, I feel empty. I look around and see nice girls but then I can't touch them as I'm close to half a century old; I don't have that look and physique that make heads turn and tongues wag. My eyes would wonder, but I'd immediately look at the reflection on the ceramic floor, continue walking, knowing that those are the untouchables.

At the Cinema

It's a good way to keep myself entertained. I had not watched a movie alone when I was still attached. Even after the break-up, I never ventured into going solo to the cinema, but I've started doing it too keep my mind sane, for I don't want to think irrational thoughts when my mind is idle. But in the cinema, I see couples having pop-corns together; I see families with kids, while I'm sandwiched between them. I just wish I could walk out immediately but then I would stay on and enjoy whatever's left of the movie.

Behind the Wheel

I enjoy driving. I used to drive my loved one to random places at night just for a ride before bedtime. Now that I work over 220km from my hometown, I look forward to taking a 3-hr drive home. It could be very tiring, having to focus on the road. Turning on the radio would help but a little as the songs keep repeating. I end up turning it off halfway through my journey. The rest of the time, my mind would wonder about what the future lies, and why I couldn't learn from my mistakes. My car would be left on auto-cruise. When I get back to reality, I suddenly see the road in front of me again.

In School

I have lots of work to do, thanks to the students, who keep me on my toes. Sitting right in front of me is a nice young lady. Every morning, her teacher boyfriend would sit next to her and chat about work and other stuff which I don't quite understand as they speak Mandarin mostly. Then there's another couple - both expatriates. I don't know why I have to see all this so I end up confining myself to solitude in the staff room. Yes, there are singles among the teachers. There's one attractive girl, and another slightly chubby but moderate. Alas, I just stay where I am, refusing to make that move because I don't like to be rejected, and I don't want history to repeat itself. My ex-wife gave me a second chance but I blew it. My ex-girlfriend gave me a few chances, I was still as temperament as before (worse as time went on). So I'm not going to risk another relationship and hurt another woman. 

23 May 2015 (today)

It has been about months since we physically went separate ways. Our relationship however, had ended months before that without even my knowing that it was over until one fateful day I saw a message on her phone. It was a fleeting moment when I happened to turn around and saw the "I love you" message from her new man. That's when I started enquiring, and that's when she spilled out all the badness in me.

I had been advised to seek help from a psychiatrist because of my tantrums and temperament. Honestly, I was hesitant at first, but when I wanted to, I discovered that the consultation fee was ridiculous @ SGD$120 per hour excluding medication (if any). I erased that thought completely and prayed that I'd naturally change a bit. I could see that it hasn't as my mom is often the "new" victim of my sudden outburst when I get really annoyed about things. 

Yeah, one day, I'll go get that treatment that my ex-girlfriend had suggested, By then, she'd have already migrated to Canada, UK, Australia or anywhere else with her new-found love except remain in Malaysia. I know she won't forget me, as we shared a life once but she had to let me go as she just couldn't take all the verbal bashing anymore. I just feel so useless and worthless. Failed relationship. Failed career. Thankfully, I'm still strong enough to wake up each day and face whatever comes my way.

Weekends are a relief to me; they are also a nightmare. I still think of my ex-girlfriend daily, and how those nice messages suddenly stopped streaming into my handphone, giving me a hint that it was all over... a hint which I didn't notice until God saw it necessary for me to see it when I saw the "I love you" sticker on her Viber that fateful night. I was hit real hard, but I deserved it well.

I've wanted to do things to forget the past - simple things like deleting her phone numbers, unfriending her on Facebook, deactivating my account but I know that wouldn't solve anything. She'd not be happy because she has regarded me as a good friend - I think. I don't want her to be sad because she is actually a really kind-hearted and responsible person. You're one bloody lucky man, Mr New Guy.

Now, I have to find a way to get out of this shell and start all over because she already has a new life. How do I move on? I get all kinds of motivational messages but what is stopping me from following them? Yeah, it takes time...

Image result for moving on with lifeImage result for moving on with lifeImage result for moving on with life

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Not Really Unexpected

What do people say about expecting the unexpected?

21 March 2015:

This evening, I checked my phone, and there was a WhatsApp message from an ex-colleague telling me to apply for a job at my former workplace. It was indeed a tempting idea but then, I'm still tied to my present school for another 12 months. My bond ends in June 2016, after which I'd be free to go anywhere I like, or stay where I am now - the latter which I believe will not happen when the time comes.

True, I did not expect such "good news" to come at a time when I'm mentally, emotionally and physically drained to the core. I pray silently each day that the day passes quickly so that I could come home to my rented abode, and retract into my shell. If I had it my way, I'd just empty my kitty of my hard-earned savings and pay an amount equivalent to a term's salary (that's approximately four freaking months!). I could go home to my mother, eat proper healthy food and literally go back to where I come from. Alas, it was not meant to be that way. Given the current situation, I had to forget about going anywhere as long as the bond is still in force.

If I leave, I'd be wasting a good RM15,000 (approximate amount) of my blood and sweat. That's FIFTEEN THOUSAND in local Malaysian currency, not in rupiahs. Secondly, I'd be leaving my responsibilities midway for other teachers to take over from me. Well, I have my principles - I don't let others clear my mess. I'd stay on till the end of the term before bidding farewell. Others would just say that I'm stupid for making myself suffer so long. Well, I don't care. I'm just not that kind of person. I do the job, I finish it albeit the annoying and sickening hurdles unless something untoward falls on me that would result in my early employment termination.

Expect the unexpected, but also sometimes, it's just God's test for us to see how determined we are to continue or to hang on to whatever difficulties we have. There's nothing to be too excited about such unexpected news especially when you realise moments later that it feels like someone poking fun at you when they know jolly well that your hands and legs are shackled to a boulder, thus you can't move.

So when I get such unexpected "good news", I'd just be calm, and make a decision. For now, my decision is to stay on in this desolate place till next year. And then see if there's any more good news to come then.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Stress Reliever

Years ago, I saw this and I was keen to buy one. However, at that time, I didn't see a need to as I was entertained by a certain person who was part of me. Years later, to be precise, two weeks back I suddenly had the urge to get one - the PlayStation Vita Slim, an improvement from its bulkier version. Like its predecessor, the Vita Slim also has AR capability (not tested this feature yet but it looks real cool on video).

I did some research - reviews, YouTube videos of user comments and games reviews. I checked it out online every night after school to kill time, and to make sure I'd make the right choice. Then I decided to go ahead with the online purchase from a Singapore-based games shop that provides courier service to Malaysians too (seems to be popular online store among Malaysians). So there I parted with my SGD$230 for the handheld console, $29 for the game entitled "Tearaway" and another $16 for the semi-hard casing. They arrived in two packages - safely and in one piece after two days of tensed moments, wondering if Poslaju had delivered it to my home in Malacca. Their so-called tracking page was not helpful as the status of the delivery remained unchanged for 24 hours. It changed only a few hours after delivery.

The PlayStation Vita Slim with game and casing

The real reason(s) for buying this:
  • I've been severely stressed at work
  • Being alone in a rented room is depressing (am not a nightclub lover)
  • I just love gadgets.
The disadvantage(s) of buying this:
  • higher expenses (buying games and memory card)
  • my eyesight might worsen (if I don't limit my play to an hour a day)
  • it would be left idle in a year's time, just like my old Galaxy Tab 10.
Anyway, I'm happy with the purchase. It doesn't matter what happens to it 12 months from now. I might trade in for something newer. Yes, the store currently accepts trade-ins of old consoles, and even dead ones too.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nightmare in School

They're cute, but they're more than a handful.

A young expatriate teacher - in the 30's I guess - entered the staff room this afternoon, and exclaimed that the class he had just entered as a relief teacher was unbelievable and he "wanted to sit down and cry". Yes, it's a he. I sat nearby smiling to myself though he wasn't talking to me. I could relate to his story. Then he went on describing how the young hyperkids behaved in class - from running around the class to standing on the table. Well, he couldn't believe it when another teacher told him about that class - the infamous Year 1A where no one sits still (apart from the meek new Japanese girl - she'll learn the ropes soon enough). The only teacher who could "control" them is their homeroom teacher, an elderly lady who keeps having a coarse voice as a result of all the regular shouting. It worked for her, but not for that teacher. And certainly not for me too, as I teach them for 80 minutes every week in the computer lab. So if that relief teacher thought that his 40 minute experience was hellish, he should've been in my shoes. The only way to silence them is to let them watch something on YouTube, but that couldn't be done every day.

What do these kids do in the lab? Everything else but learning. The minute the door opens, they barge into the lab, running from one computer to the next, looking for the "best" one despite being assigned places to sit at. Before I could even boot up my computer, a little guy would run to me and ask me if he could go to the toilet. Then another two would rush to me and tell me that the computer is too slow or they had forgotten their password (hey, I've pasted the UserID and password in their homework diaries). Moments later that same student would beg me to let him go to the toilet. If I let him go, others would want to do the same, so sometimes, I'd just ignore and hope they'd pee in their pants, literally so that I know they were not lying.Some are just testing you.

The projector is finally fired up and I had to yell to get their attention - nope, didn't work. I would use the Net Support software to blank their screens. Bad move - they'd slam the keyboard and mouse onto the table and yell "NOOOO!!!" so I would have to turn the computers back on. In one corner, two kids would be fighting, and when I go and attend to them, two more kids could be seen running in front of the class, or look at what's on the teacher's console.

Yeah, it's all the teacher's fault for not being strict from the beginning, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Go ahead, tell me to set the ground rules - like they care. You know what I do these days? I would just help those whom I could, including the notorious ones (who are keen to finish their work so that they could play their flash-based game), while the rest of those who don't see the need to sit still would be left in the hands of God, as I can't be running after each kid while ignoring those handful who want to learn something. So in the end, the computer lab would turn into a market, and adjacent to it is the library. Sometimes I'd yell so loud that the students in the library would pause reading, look up through the glass panel to see who that lion was.

Yes, that's Year 1A in case you don't know. All 25 of them. Hyperactive, nerve-wrecking experience for trainee teachers. They wreak havoc in class and traumatise teachers whom they could bully. So can someone tell me why kids behave this way? I get comments from my own colleagues about Year 1A. Same problem. They can't be all bad teachers. 

Blame it on technology. Because of technology, speed is everything. Because of technology, everyone talks simultaneously. Because of technology, there is no real communication because people just won't listen - they'd continue swiping on the keyboard, bashing others, trolling. I'm not anti-technology, but we cannot deny that technology is surely destroying what God had created - humans. Technology is slowly turning man into machines.

Don't let those angelic puppy-dog eyes, warm hugs fool you. They're smarter than you think. Wait a minute, aren't they too young to learn how to use computers? Actually no, but if you're tied down to a syllabus, then it becomes a really daunting task for the students and the teacher.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Need a Change

I'm back after a long absence.

Things have changed a lot. For one, I'm much, much older, and I'm growing more silver hair. Yes, I've had much more experience work-wise and in relationships, but I'm still the same old me. For those who already know me for years, you know what I mean.

I have been through a complete cycle as a teacher. Throughout my close to three decades in the teaching profession, I have taught in very rural and urban government schools, an international college, a private university, a tuition centre (in Singapore) and am currently in a private international school. Throughout these long years, I have been struggling to see if I could fit into the teaching fraternity. I tried, I failed. I tried again, and I failed again. For thirty years, I was not happy; I thought I could be a great teacher, but I wasn't. Well, to be fair, I did help a student or two. I did earn myself an Excellence Award in 1996 - my little success stories which I'm happy about. Nevertheless, I was still truly undoubtedly discontented. For years, I complained about my job every single day to online friends so much so that they kinda gave up responding, and to my girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend) till she'd just get so fed up of hearing already. 

Now... after nearly 30 years, it has come to my realization that teaching has NEVER been my forte. No matter how hard I tried, I'd end up getting really upset (with kids and the Management) and frustrated (when students don't get the results I want and I end up getting blamed). No matter how much I tried to manage my temperament, I would get riled up, flaring at the kids or physically "threatening" them when I could not tolerate their obnoxious behaviours. I can't tell the other teachers as they too yell at the kids daily, so all my pent up anger is left inside my cold soul. Consequently, now, I hide in my shell.

I have been such a recluse in this new school, in my own world 90% of the time as I'm just too numb to interact. I don't feel the joy of talking to anyone unlike before. Maybe it's because I'm an alien on Planet JB. I just have no more interest in my work, going through the daily monotony of a teacher's life. Don't get me wrong; I'm thankful to God for giving me a job when I needed one most, a high-paying one by local standards (don't compare with Singapore or KL). I'm thankful that He has opened my eyes by bringing me here to JB city to see what it is like to teach again, and to make me see that this is not what I really want. Money obviously can't buy happiness. The joy of job satisfaction would. This I have not tasted.

Every night, for the past 5 months, I'd be waiting to chat with someone, anyone on WhatsApp, or see something to comment on Facebook. Or just rant and rave on FB to let the online community know that I'm going bonkers after going through one broken relationship after another, and a messed up life. YES, there is no point lamenting, for I could never get back what (or whom) I have lost, but just strive as hard as I could to move on and on and on till the pain disintegrates gradually. "Go to church", "join the gym" were some of the suggestions. There is a mental block, and I must unblock it before it causes more harm to my overall health.

I HAVE TO get rid of old memories both good and bad. It's all over... everything past is over. I need to start new - it's easier said than done, but I need to. I have to have faith in God in order for this to work. Right now, I don't. That's the saddest part.

So ...