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To inspire and to be inspired

April 13, 2013

the last week has been nothing short of crazy.

April is our Language Month, and last week was our English week.

Now, imagine having all sorts of major English competitions throughout the week, from public speaking to debate to School Idol and whatnot.. it was plain CRAZY.

It doesn’t help when most of the time, it was just the few of us running the show, from training the kids, doing promotion for the programmes, coordinating the programmes, and judging them. Let’s just say that I am really glad that it was over. (though i still have two rounds of Debate to conduct in this coming week)

Sometimes, i look at my kids and get overwhelmed with sadness.. As much as I want to push them to be dreamers, to aim for wonders, deep inside i know that most of them have very limited capabilities; hence, it almost feel like i’m doing it all wrong by encouraging them to be unrealistic, to feed on an ego that shouldn’t be there in the first place, to give them false hope of a ‘better’ life…

They are so under-exposed, so passive and so dependent that it really gets frustrating at times.

Possibly due to the fault of the system in which they are often being provided, my students just want to sit back and receive.

They don’t do their homework.

They don’t want to pay their PIBG fees.

They don’t want to pay for school tuition fees or even class fees.

They demand to be treated a meal or a drink just because they helped me-their teacher, to carry some chairs.

They demand for free meals during co-academic practices (even though all they do is sit around waiting for SPECIFIC instructions while we teachers slave away coming out with the scripts and conducting the training).

If I am not there to supervise, they would not clean up the class.

Even for the class t-shirt, they want to rely on me to design for them!

.

They are so sheltered from the reality of the world outside, and their refusal to man it up and take charge of their own lives are really pushing my buttons! so much so, that i was tempted at many times, to yell at them, and to call them ‘stupid’.

Thank God, i always managed to contain myself, take a moment to breathe in deep, and continue teaching.

.

Back to English Week, i struggled a lot within me, before offering to take on the challenge to produce an English production for the opening.

I could easily just whipped out a choir performance as what they BM Panel did, but i told myself, if i do not seize this opportunity to allow students to be exposed to things and styles they have yet done before, they will never realise their potential.

with only less than a week, the ambitious me decided to do a Reader’s Theatre performance, complete with a Jazz Chant choir.

I came out with my own script, went from class to class to promote the production and to announce an open audition, and the next thing I know, i had 30+ kids signing up to be part of it!

The audition was horrendous. The kids lacked in confidence, and as hard as i want to tell it to their face – they lack talent.

Most of them can’t act, nor sing, and they just stared at me blankly when i gave them specific instructions.

I knew I was in deep shit.

When things get real tough, i’m just thankful that i’m never alone and God is always there to give me wisdom and real strength… coz somehow, after a prayer or two, i always seem to know what to do.

I got the whole act together, from teaching them how to fake death, how to cry, how to portray a rocky sea to getting 20 students with pitch problems to sing my original songs for the production…

and after only 3 full practices, they stepped onto the stage, i was the conductor at the bottom, and their performance blew everyone away.

It was their best performance.

The crowd and the teachers were just roaring in laughter… so much so that the laughter from the audience was loud and unstoppable that you could hardly hear from the Jazz Chant choir. But the choir kept their cool and did their thing, with their lil songs, tribal moves, stamping of feet, and a lil bit of show choir here and there… Definitely brought a few surprises to the crowd. And special mention to Rusyalida, this kid of mine who is the saving grace of the team! She is a natural actress, and she brought life to the whole production! So happy to discover this gem since last year!

It wasn’t an easy start though.

When they first stepped onto the stage, they literally froze in fear.

For most of them, it was their first time ever on the stage.

I had to snap my fingers at them, pretended to go up and adjust their microphones, looked at them in their eyes and got them to pull themselves together…

At the end of it,

I was just super proud of them.

They knew they did well.

They were gleaming like nobody’s business 🙂

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(here’s a picture of half of them as the others missed out on our picture taking as they were changing and removing their makeup)

.

The funny thing was, after that performance, my ‘fame’ in the school probably went up a notch too lol. I received a lot of kind words from my fellow colleagues, and more students seemed to be very eager to greet me, or to leave an impressionable mark on me. I have students from other classes coming to see me just to tell me to involve them in such productions in the future, I have students randomly singing tunes or busting out moves when they see me… It was nice to see such liveliness in the school for a change.

.

And it finally made sense to me.

By creating platforms to perform, its not about encouraging students to go for their stardom dreams, but to build their confidence.

and we all know, the power of confidence.

Since young, i have always loved the stage, but never really had the guts, until my parents and my teachers signed me up for all those competitions. Each time I failed, I stood back up, inspired by my competitors, and tried again. I am what I am now, not because people told me that I am good, but because I was given the platform to test myself out.

and my students deserve such platforms too.

It will definitely mean more work on my part, but hey, let’s make my time worth it in the place I have been placed.

Why settle by being the one who prays, when you can be the answer to prayers.

So to all my fellow teaching mates,

Let’s inspire one another,

Let’s encourage one another,

Let’s make it count!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2013 11:50 pm

    It take grit to get things done.And kudos to teachers who walk the talk..inspire ..motivate students
    Hope you have many wonderful years ahead in your teaching career.

  2. April 17, 2013 10:34 am

    Love how real you are! Thank you for being the change you wish to see in the world!!

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