0

Week 13: where do I start?

Negativity is really bad when it affects you in a workplace environment. That said, I don’t think we’re deliberately negative, just affected by the way the people above handle and deliver their comments.

Well, that said.

I got pulled to a different centre today (the one where I started at) to teach a K-level class. Primary English for the K2s, Maths for the K1s. I have to say, being over here actually made me put a pause on the post I’d been working on about children’s creativity. It’s something that I will talk about eventually, just not now, not with homework that needs to be done on the horizon (due Wednesday, goddamnit) and a long day out tomorrow as well.

Anyway!

Today’s experience was eye-opening. It’s also a point of time that marks where I’ve come, because when I started I was given the K class to handle for all of twenty minutes. I failed miserably, and the kids knew my inexperience and took advantage of that, never once listening to me. Today however, I managed to get them to listen, I told them what to do and laid down rules clearly, something that I suppose I’ve learnt over days and weeks of (sorta) teaching and observing, and standing my ground. This comes especially when the kids are used to one teacher doing things in one way and me doing it differently, but eventually I did manage, they did about four pages and understood occupations, at least to the level of what a kindergarten child can.

Maths however, I am terrible at teaching. I am legit terrible at it, and beyond explaining to subtract is to take away x number of units from an existing number I didn’t know how else to explain. I did try asking them to gather number of objects and then remove y number from it, but I don’t know how well that worked. But that said, it turned out quite well, in my opinion at least.

Now with all this said, I have to admit. I have no idea how to deal with the playgroup children. Barring letting them play (how does one play constructive and learning play?) and making sure they don’t run everywhere and disturb everyone, how does one teach them? I can teach the Ks, I can potentially teach the Ns, but I have no idea how to deal with the PG group. It’s frustrating, because I’ve been saddled with the PGs for my current area and I’m always at a loss on how to deal with them. It always ends up fueling a mild frustration that I have to keep tamped down on for the sake of the kids, and me wanting to tear my hair out when I deal with them.

Obviously, I need to figure out what it is exactly that engages the PG group, and tweak for the demographic in the area. This is not going to be easy.

What is, honestly?

Work news aside, concert on Wednesday, book collection on Thursday, and general prop work this weekend. I can do this.

0

Week 09: we have a Suarez!

So. Firstly I’d like to say, what a week. Staff issues, people resigning, lies and confrontations everywhere. I’m sick as well, hacking up phlegm and occasionally blood (and blood streaked phlegm) but luckily it’s going away with the help of plenty of water, honey lemon tea, and non-fried food. Good god, I should just eat soup everyday until I get better.

Anyway.

The World Cup may be over but apparently I’ve got a damn Suarez (if you don’t know what Suarez is famous for) in the classroom, and now it’s causing issues with the class itself. Parents are not happy about it (obviously) and I’m struggling to find a way to contain the issue. Which brings me to the second issue of figuring out just what the fuck needs to be done in the afternoon, because apparently it’s a huge-ass mess when the head isn’t around and I don’t even know what the heck is going on.

Next, I was rudely reminded of this bloody incident after another parental complaint. I’ve been telling them it’s bound to happen sooner or later, seeing how the children are being handled. I’m not really sure how to deal with this, because stubborn old woman is stubborn, but I don’t want the kids getting hurt.

I’m not entirely sure why, but the kids at this centre are really perfect for this course. The demographic here, coupled with all the interesting social backgrounds, make it really fascinating.

Hopefully, it’ll make for interesting observations.

That said, I have assignments to finish. Ugh.

Also, ETA: found out that the other centres had a very serious case of HFMD. Suddenly, I’m glad for my mildly OCD issue when it comes to preventing these things because apparently due to our ‘no everything die also have to check’ attitude and ‘nope we ain’t taking chances SANITIZE EVERYTHING’ approach we’ve only suffered three confirmed cases of HFMD in the centre. I suspect both of these cases were caught outside the centre, because there’s no way in hell they could have gotten it here. Honest.

I’m kinda glad.

0

Week 07 and somewhere into 08 (I think): oh god.

One thing about work is that I always have a subject (read: a kid) to apply my learning theories to. We have a lot of interesting cases purely because of the demographic of that area, and it does make for easier remembering of my notes and all that.

Though I can’t quite say the same about observation.

Boss has finally brought in someone to take charge thank god, and while I’m supposed to be teaching I’m not really doing that. Instead I have paperwork and work that is related to the centre but not teaching. On the bright side I get to observe at a distance because most of the kids don’t realize I’m doing it.

Unfortunately my left shoulder is now aching as kids sometimes need to be carried and I have to do it. We have some with attachment issues, some with cognitive development delays, and to top it all of HFMD has been making it’s way around. We’ve put in place measures to stop it off course but well. Children will be children and if they’re not careful they’ll catch it.

I sometimes hate June. It’s the month where a lot of sicknesses come out of the woodwork. And July hasn’t been likeable much; it poured the past two days and everyone (except lucky me) got drenched. First HFMD, now we’ve to worry about dengue. Woop dee doo.

At the same time though, I daresay we have enough staff at last. We’re one staff down and I don’t always teach but so far we’re coping. There will always be issues but so far boss lady is slowly working the kinks out of the system.

Other than that? Assignment report assignment report. Meh.

0

Week 03: why am I doing this again?

So I’m slowly getting the hang of this thing, thing thing that I don’t really know what to name. I mean, really. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m fairly certain I’m going to bring my laptop out again tomorrow to do observations. Probably. I need the practice, anyway. And I have assignments due that I keep forgetting to load into a USB to do there. Hn.

Anyway.

Work is interesting, getting interesting. I found out today apparently I look like one of the kid’s mum, which might explain why she’s quite attached to me. Weeeeell. It’s not as if I’ll ever have a child, anyhow, but I do love taking care of them.

Slowly getting better at handling them, and it’s interesting to see how they grow more used to the centre and see the centre getting more populous day by day. Children who were frightened on their first day are now running around like they own the place, and I’m getting used to having to handle them and placate them.

It’s so interesting. I know, only starting, but still, fascinating.

Also at this moment, TV talks about (a food called) little devils. I am amused. (The description of them, kinda sounds like my kids.)

0

Week 02: the end

What a week.

I spent my Saturday doing paperwork (well, half my Saturday) and I still have things to do in the office on Monday. Oh my god. I honestly swear I will build up arm muscles within the year, carrying children around, Not much to talk about today, but given that Monday is imminent I should probably head to bed. Week 3 is looming on the horizon and I would just like to point out?

My assignment is not done yet.

 

0

Week 02 (or was it 03?): day something or another

Being at a new centre isn’t easy. There are so many new things, so many kinks to iron out, and the kids are all not used to any sort of routine. Obviously, there’s a challenge to set the routines and get everyone to follow, and I’m really tempted to suggest a communication board for the teachers.

That aside!

I’ve been having to handle crying children recently. Child A and B are both new, so I understand they’re frightened and terrified of a new environment, but dealing with constant crying can be a bit difficult. There isn’t any set ways of dealing with a crying child, since trying to calm them doesn’t really work, and neither does carrying and offering distractions. Okay, maybe bubbles are a good distraction? I’m always terrified they will try and hurt themselves when the crying starts, too.

So many things to consider.

Today in class there was also a mention of learned helplessness. Which made me think of another child who would go limp when I tell him off. Not sure if there’s a link, but the most I can do right now is to just leave the child there because there really isn’t a point to forcing him.

Second week (I think), second day, so many challenges. I’m fairly certain I will get thru them, because I’ve gotten through worse before. I also like to think what I learn (especially in class) will come in handy one day, given that I know married friends who want to have children one day.

Seriously, changing diapers.

0

Week 02: a brief intermission

Well, I think it’s week two.

Two days into week two, and I’ve been moved. Instead of the nearer-to-my-school location, I’ve been uprooted and planted down somewhere halfway across the island and also, at the same time, thrown headfirst into a situation I’ve never expected. It’s a good situation, so no matter.

First off: I’ve been suffering quite debilitating backaches for a few days. It takes a toll, and I’m quite sick of having to stretch and work through the pain.

That aside, today, since I was moved to a new centre, it got me thinking. It’s never quite easy to establish new ground especially with kids (I suppose doing it with a new batch of kids who have not really had time to get used to existing teachers is easier than doing it with kids who have been at a centre for years), but are there easier ways to do it than to be fierce at first and then slowly mellow down?

It’s a question I’ll have to ponder, alongside questions like ‘how to deal with separation anxiety in children’ and ‘handling a selective child’, but for now, it’s just there. Without any real answers yet.

Anyway!

I’m going to try making this math-teaching tool using ice cream sticks (time to make a trip to Daiso) and wooden clips. Hopefully it can be used in class, hopefully. Should probably make alphabet cards, frequent-used words cards, and number cards as well.

I’ll post photos when that happens!

0

Week 01

This is a little belated since I’ve technically been working more than a week already. Holiday aside, it’s exhausting to be handling the kids.

I’ve been attached to N2 and bounced around to handle PG and even the occasional K1. It’s interesting since I see plenty of different classes and I’m glad for the experience. It also raises a lot of questions since they are all different levels and each level had their own problems.

With the younger ones I really wonder: how should I create distance between my class and me? They’re clingy and sometimes will really climb all over you tbh. There’s also the thing when they don’t understand them and vice versa. With the older ones I sometimes have an issue when they decide to argue with you. The class I’ve been assigned to are also a little behind on their work which makes me determined to help them.

That said, I’ve actually been busy and exhausted enough that I don’t quite feel like blogging at all. But I persevere; it’s a good way of tracking my thoughts too, even if I have to do it week by week. The toll of handling the young ones and going for afternoon classes really make me feel completely burnt out.

Officially? I’m getting skilled at feeding kids, coaxing them to stop crying, getting them to sleep, making milk, etc etc. It feels like I’m working my way up, the only thing I haven’t done is handled the infants. (Please, no, I’ll be terrified). I have a lot to learn though, especially when it comes to the older ones. I’m not entirely sure how to teach them English or Maths (not yet), and that goes down all the way to the N1 level. Smaller classes for the older ones are also easier to handle.

I’m also trying to find resources (I have a folder, I swear) to help me with my job. Will probably list everything down, but for now, here’s something that is a useful read on how to handle tantrums, especially when I’m dealing with the playgroup children.

 

0

Sidetrack: the children of today.

Now, I don’t pretend to remember the children of my generation. Hey, two decades ago, I’m entitled to forget. But I do remember that at the very least, we were a relatively polite batch who respected their teachers even if we hated them to bits. (Grudging respect, but given in deference still.) We were a generation whose parents would unfailingly punish us if we had done any wrong in school.

Of course, this is a broad statement. Certainly there are people whose forebears did not choose to do so. (I of course, remember a cane not fondly at all, something I believe many of today will have no idea of.)

This brings me to the children of today. Here in sunny Singapore where I live and breath and teach.

While I’ve only started my Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education, I’m no stranger to the education sector. I’ve been wrangling kids for about three years now, all of varying levels – from the very young to the somewhat immature but older ones. And what I see sometimes fascinates me. (Not in a good way).

This is something I’ve been seeing more recently, from the centers I’ve been in to the center I’m currently at. Words like ‘give me’ or ‘come here’ or ‘I want’ are terms that are so frequent. Less frequent are the terms like ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘may I’. Basic courtesy is completely gone down the drain, and it surprises me that teachers actually allow behavior like this to go unchecked.

Children who have no patience to listen for the teacher’s response when they state ‘Toilet’ and just disappear.

Where I am now, I see a few children who, when I’m holding something, tell me things like ‘Give me!’ very demandingly. Surprise surprise, I’m not your maid. I am not about to pander to what you want. I have kids who go ‘Come here!’ when they want to speak with me.

How is this acceptable?

I’m frankly amazed that nowadays children treat their teachers like maids, honestly. It’s kinda appalling, and I’m wondering how this kind of behavior is acceptable.

That said, I spent two months with a group at one of my old places teaching them basic Ps & Qs. Basic sentence structure, how to request things, courteous behavior. Thankfully, at the end of it, they could actually say ‘May I have some water’ rather than ‘Teacher water’ and dumping the cup in front of me. (My favorite response to this would always be, ‘I’m not water, I’m Ms. ***’. Not disclosing my surname, obviously.)

Then there are children who think themselves above rules and all. I’ve seen one too many ‘I’m going to tell my (insert parent here)’ as a threat, and I’m wondering, when exactly did we have to fear the young ones? Why have things changed so much?

While I don’t advocate physical punishments, getting to the point where teachers have to bow to their charges and pander to their whims is really unacceptable. We’re here to teach. We’re here to educate. And we won’t be able to do that if every single step of the way we have to worry about their delicate feelings which are offended when the children are reprimanded for doing wrong.

I’m not exactly new to this sector, but yet I find myself wading into this industry feeling slightly worried for the future generations.

Now with all this off my chest, I’m going to disappear for two weeks. Holiday in the States, a quick getaway before I start this new thing for sure.

Happy Labour Day, y’all!