fight back to school

Just completed my Enhanced School Experience of 4 weeks in attachment to a neighbourhood school near my place.

Here’s 10 things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Letting students break the little rules keeps them in line a lot better than trying to exert total control.
  2. Any residual glamour from your previous career in TV is lost when they find out that no, you do not have Fiona Xie’s phone number.
  3. If you look hard enough, it’s possible to find pretty subversive literature sitting next to Harry Potter on the school library shelves.
  4. Teachers usually get warmer and larger portions at the school canteen. Only if you’re nice to the canteen aunties though.
  5. Sec One kids – little terrors that they are – are still damn cute and given the right circumstances, will hang on every word you say.
  6. Sit near the ball courts at your own peril.
  7. So-called “notorious” kids can be your best friend if you can earn their trust.
  8. Surprisingly, smoking warrants heavier punishment than truancy. Maybe its the old smoker in me talking but these kids sometimes get their fags from their parents. How to control, like that?
  9. Don’t worry so much about naughty students, it’s unreasonable parents that are your worst enemy.
  10. There can be no real authority without respect. Authority must be earned, not conferred.

On my last day, I asked my favourite class to critique my performance as a teacher. So apparently, I’m a mumbler, I talk too fast, and I smile too much. Personally, I found myself lapsing into Singlish, Mandarin and Malay alot even though I’m an English teacher.

I’m not a fan of the whole native speaker theory, but I do think I need to keep a tighter hold on my speech. It’s a tradeoff, really. Sometimes a quick Singlish slang term explains something more elegantly than anything in perfect English.

Case in point, after 5 minutes trying to explain the meaning of contemptuous to no avail, I tried “no big, no small“, which immediately got me a satisfying chorus of “Ooorrhh….

I guess I rather enjoyed my time at school – burnt out teachers’ complaints notwithstanding – and I managed to get a pretty solid rapport with some kids in spite of the short time. Not sure if I’m really keen on returning to the same school, but at least I know I’m pretty well-equipped to handle it now. In the meantime, it’s back to NIE for me!

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6 Responses to “fight back to school”


  1. 1 farah July 23, 2006 at 0:03

    That was great insight to your new career. I bet your kids adore you.

    And, wah not bad that the students got the meaning through short and sweet singlish. I have trouble explaining contemptuous to myself.

    Enhanced School Experience. heh heh.

  2. 2 vk July 23, 2006 at 10:45

    Back to NIE, where all the real gems are. iJEALOUS

  3. 3 sandy July 23, 2006 at 19:10

    errmm…eh…NXT time mux teach in my sch !!!…did the students over climb u???means lik take over the class by being rude 2 u? my frens do…they climb over the “permanent” teachers or someting instead of the trainee teachers nice huh? mux come teach in my sch hor!!!! mux!

  4. 4 sandy July 23, 2006 at 19:23

    n hor u dun b strict wif me lehx auntie julie strict wif my n teacher strict wif me ok liao u strict towards me i MATI LIAO!!!

  5. 5 billy July 24, 2006 at 21:38

    well sandy, i’m your uncle, not your teacher. nonetheless, certain things i’ll have to be strict about if both you and i know its not something you should be doing or involved with.
    in any case, you’re big enough to be sensible about most things, yeah?

  6. 6 shea March 24, 2007 at 2:39

    okay first of all i think that it shouldnt matter what website the kids are on i mean it least they are learinging stuff in school and following direaction i mean they should it least let us have some freedom i mean ya i understand they dont wnat us going on any porn sites ya that is resabable i mean but they should let us go on myspace at least cause it isnt far beacuse i mean it is like checking are mail and i dont know well anywho i think the teachers should let us use myspace and i know that cause i know that myspace is the best site for teenagers to conncet at and i know atht cause i knwo att it is good for you


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