The Most Heartbreaking Thing In Teaching

When I'm heartbroken, I get more like this than teary or emotional. lol
When you read the title, you're probably thinking some colleague stabbed my back. Or, maybe an administrator shut down one of my programmes. Maybe the students played a prank on me. Or, maybe a parent came at me with a parang & blew sumpits at me.
Honestly, character attacks, criticism, backstabbing comes with the territory.

I am the nail that sticks out. Some people will feel like hammering me down. Some people will support me & learn from my experiences.
Either way, I've learned not to let it bother me & instead focus on what I want to achieve.
Achieving it, in itself, is a good enough reward to me. I don't need no appreciation. I ain't no kindergarten kid.

Also, let me say that I am not perfect. I do make mistakes & I do cut corners to get the job done because honestly there is just too much to do!
I really salute the person who can be a perfect teacher & do everything the ministry prescribes, fulfil all his/her obligations & materialise all his/her ideas inside & outside the classroom.
I wish to be like that one day... and then some.

Here it is.
The most heartbreaking thing in teaching is building something great the first time around, leaving it in the hands of another, coming back to it a few years later, seeing your work undone, and having to do it all over again.
THAT is the most HEARTBREAKING & DEMOTIVATING thing about teaching.

Yeah... Pussy gets me.
How many of you have experienced the same thing?
Do you feel like doing it all over again?
Of course, I can do way better the second time around. But, it just stabs really deep to see something you put in a lot of tender loving care to build, disappear.
What's the point of doing it so great again when it might just disappear again when I go?
Sad.

It's hard not to play the blame game. I wont go into that today because I have never walked a mile in their shoes.
I guess I'm a victim of my own success. I did well the first time around which makes it hard to fill my shoes & do something similar. So, very few try. They'll have 101 very rational reasons not to. Interior school. No resources. No support. Blah blah blah. So what did they do? They allowed themselves to be defeated before the war had begun.
THAT's just how I am feeling now... I guess I'll have to go through the 4 stages of how to survive teaching I wrote about recently. Talk about putting my money where my mouth is.

THE STORY

I was head of the English Panel (with it the head of the English Language Society advisers) & head of the Police Cadet advisers back in 2010. That was my best year ever because I could do so much within that 1 year. I will briefly list down what I've done so you get to compare & contrast.

English Language Panel: Resurrecting The English Language Society. Again the next yearStarting the Katibas Global newspaperBringing the English Language Week to a whole new level. Pushing it even further the next year. Joined a video competition with ELS members. Again the next year. Staying back during the August holidays & giving a talk about PMR English paper. And again the next year + SPMRewarding excellent English Language PMR results. And again. And again + Kuching trip for straight A studentsProducing the first ever wholly English school magazine. Amongst others.

Police Cadets: Field trip to the District Police Station (career talk + safety talk + gun display + bike ride), Police Cadet Day, Police talk in school, marching training, amongst others. Unfortunately, I did not blog about those. Will do so for my activities this year.

In 2011, I quit because I wanted to focus on being a good Chief Warden. With a laid-back leader, I had to play a bigger role in school discipline & academic performance. I organised an Earth Hour blackout. And again. Organised Hostel Open Day. And again. Organised Hostel Olympics. Got involved with almost every camp organised by the school because I was part of the discipline committee & representative of admin like this one. And this one. And this oneOrganised motivation programmes for PMR students. Organised programmes for at-risk studentsOrganised birthday celebrations. Organised merdeka celebrations. Blessed the lower level staffDefended the hostel allocation from buaya darat. Amongst others.
So you see, I wasn't just hanging around the canteen drinking coffee. I can't be a great Chief Warden if I still have to take care of a club or uniformed body.

This year, 2013, I quit as a Chief Warden because I feel that all my efforts to sustain school discipline & academic achievement has taken too big a toll on my body, personal time & well-being. I was almost doing the job of a principal albeit the power of a principal.
Now that I am no longer CW, admin wants me to do what I used to do. So, They made me head of the English Panel, head of the English Language Society advisers & adviser to the Police Cadet. I'm also a form teacher & I teach 5 English language classes: 1 Form 5 class, 3 Form 2 PBS classes & 1 Form 1 PBS class.
Yay to workload.

The English panel & English Language Society has become really simple under the previous head who was my junior & got transferred earlier than me. It has little or no impact on the school population like it used to in 2010 & 2011 like I designed it to be.
I'm still considering whether it is worth it to add it's re-resurrection to my workload.
We only have 4 English teachers. So, I'd rather not delegate unless they volunteer because the others are having an equally hard time with their involvements. And, who in the right mind would volunteer for more work except crazy baskets like ME?!

As for the Police Cadets, I was really disappointed when the uniforms I worked so hard to source were not taken cared of.
Back in 2010, after seeing how my students (all of them could not afford uniforms) looked really dejected for not having uniforms on Police Cadet Day, I wrote a letter to the Kapit MP for allocation to purchase uniforms to lend to the students. With some pulling of strings, I was successful. Then, I bargained with a tailor for top quality uniforms at a lower price. I obtained 27 uniforms.
In 2012, the ministry allocated some money for uniforms & a few more were added.

Today, there are only 18 uniforms left & all of them have missing accessories. The accessories can only be obtained in Sibu... 1 hour sampan ride & 2 hour express boat ride away.
The Police Cadet Day is on the 29th. I am involved in a Prefect Camp from the 26-28th so I have to purchase the missing accessories this weekend. However, this weekend has a school day replacement.
After teaching this morning, I rushed to Sibu & purchased all the accessories I needed. Tomorrow afternoon, I will make my journey back to school.

Why didn't I do this earlier? Well, I was only informed last weekend. I checked the uniforms on Monday assuming they'd be there with just a few missing. It hurt to find that more than 10 sets have gone missing as well as RM300 worth of accessories.
After this, I will never lend the uniforms for any parade, skit, etc unless it is a Police Cadet activity.

As a whole, the Police Cadets were much better off than the English language panel because the previous head adviser organised a lot of activities for them, like camps deep into the interiors.
This year, I am actually more motivated to do Police Cadet activities because I have a good partner. I plan to write a letter asking for uniforms or accessories as well as organise another field trip to the Police Station.

Also, I am going to build up Form 4 students to take over leadership of the English Language Society and the Police Cadets next year. I feel that the students are too dependent on teachers to spoon-feed them with activities.
Will attempt to train students to plan & execute their own activities.

At the moment, I have very little time to mourn. I guess I'll lick my wounds & soldier on.

Comments

  1. Hmm..can't say I am fit to advise you, Jarod..but just keeping saying in your mind that you're doing it for the kids..for the kids..*i'm sure u already are* but i hope reading this can help a little bit..:) what you're doing is great! ^^ p/s the heartbroken dog pic is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Banu, thanks for making me feel better! hahaha~~
      I'm actually doing those things for myself. It's something I dreamed up & it's a reward in itself to see my imagination come to life!

      p/s: I thought the dog looked pissed off. lol

      Delete
  2. Anonymous21/4/13 07:16

    Hey koko. U did a lot. N i mean a lot. Mayb a wee bit too much. Bur u r who u r. We teachers cant choose what we have to do. We juz do what we r asked to. So i think bcoz we r already in our fifth year n for wat u did for the school u can reason wif d admin n mayb choose stufs that realy mean or motivate u to perform. U can stil do all d stufs u used to but if i was u i would chill a bit. Bcoz u did so much ur experienced enough to turn it on to d max whenever u want. Juz relax now. There will b a day when u wanna do it all again n people would expect things to be done perfectly when u do it. But gues wat u did it all once u can awez do it whenever u want. Experience dat matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true. I did ask admin what they wanted me to do by putting me in those posts. They just looked blank & confused that I asked such a question. I guess, they just tembak only. Kinda like the students that they condemn for doing so.

      I will reason with them to lift off some of my burdens once new teachers come in. Bear in mind my school has got less than 40 teachers & we are expected to conduct activities like a large Putrajaya school.
      I'm not giving up my duties to slack neither, this year I am more focused on my SPM & PMR motivation programmes that I have been working on since January. I'll probably share about them in a few months.

      Thanks for your advice buddy!

      Delete
  3. Happens all the time - eventually, we just have to move on and not look at the burning bridges behind us. Unfortunately, that's life.

    I've retired five years now - not that long but already conveniently forgotten. Do the best you can, don't expect much in return. The reward is in the doing and the satisfaction that you have done well. Pat yourself on the back for that - no one will pat it for you, I"m afraid (be happy if there isn't anyone stabbing you instead)...and once you've moved on, all that's left behind will be nothing but sawdust and some litter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be just find if it was behind me. The fact is, it's NOT. I am forced to go back & see how badly the bridges have been burnt by others & being as I am, I cant stand to be associated with such incompetence. I'm compelled to restore the bridge.

      You are a great teacher & you are a wealth of knowledge & experience.
      I will always look up to you as a sifu. I have not forgotten you & I bet many of your students will not neither.
      You are & will always be great.

      Delete
  4. Press on bro! When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Fadzleen.
      Well, I guess I have got to press on more wisely since I have a lot to do & very little time to do it.
      I'm sure you can understand since you're involved with all sorts of stuff too.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous21/4/13 09:21

    Strongly agree wif suituapui. However, don't lose hope n don giv up On what u r doing for ur students, they will remember n b thankful to u. You're a great teacher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Students will remember & be thankful?
      Honestly, I once thought like that but now I realised the follies of such a thought. I should not to what I do to be remembered & appreciated. I do what I do because it's my desire to make a difference & create miracles!

      My ambition is to be a great teacher one day. I am not a great teacher yet.

      Delete
    2. Remember, a great teacher inspires. N u r already inspiring people around u. Make it the mission in life to continue being inspiring but don't take it too hard on urself :) may the students whose lives u touch rmbr the tchgs rather than the tchr. God bless.

      Delete
  6. To each his own... My argument back(in the most respective way possible); is that other people will find other things more heartbreaking and demotivating as a teacher. Some may find that paperwork is the cause of heartbreak because they realise how little time they get to spend with their kids. Others find that what kills their passion is their kids who do not understand and appreciate what is taught in class.

    As for you, I understand totally what you are going through. Have been through it myself. Investing so much of myself in something only to find when you leave, and come back, that treasure has crumbled to little cookie pieces that can't even be traced. :/ Which is why I agree with suituapui. This is life and we have to move on.

    You've done well and tomorrow's a new day. Take a deep breath and power through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahaha~~ I've been though & still am going through a lot of pending paperwork. But I usually put in on a waiting list & prioritise time with students. Priorities are important.

      Kids who do not understand & appreciate? A teacher who desires understanding & appreciation from his/her students are setting him/herself up for emotional blackmail. lol. This is not something that should be pursued directly. It can be attained from respect & a reputation for excellence.

      Thanks as usual for you 50 cents! It helps those who are looking for a second opinion in the comments!

      Delete
  7. i sent the comment thrice this morning via my phone, but they were not here. so giving it one last try.
    my two cents, just forget about the past and start anew. that's what i'll do. I'm sure there will be regret/regrets in the past, so it's time to do something different.
    i understand the frustration. but you cannot undo nor can you reverse the time. like what you've said, no one can fit in another person's shoes. and whatever it is, it will never be the same.
    it's painful to let go. but it is also in the process of letting go, that you can achieve new heights. i once was quite particular about this. however i've come to my senses that whatever happened could just be a bench mark. we cannot change others or force others to take the challenge, but we can take up the challenge ourselves. if we genuinely focus on what we wish to do, there won't arise the questions, of whether it's worth starting it all over.
    i'm glad you can pick up your spirit and move forward. that is already something precious...
    by the way, i like the husky better ~ :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do apologise for the technical issues. I experience it myself too when I try to use my blog on mobile.

      Anyway, I read your blog & I really like your enthusiasm. You are exactly the kind of personality we need to push our profession & our nation forward.

      I wish I could comment on your blog though... I don't have a wordpress account. =(

      Delete
  8. Well life sure has its ups and downs, and I believe things happened in every profession too!

    Just believe in what you do, things will eventually be better!

    ReplyDelete
  9. hey , hang in there ok :)..it will all get better..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! I'm sure it will get better. I'm going to take proactive steps.

      Delete
  10. I know that feeling ..c'est la vie! The most important thing is that you don't dwell on the negative and move on by continuing doing what you firmly believe in. I think you doing a really good job of holding up with so much stuff/ppl pulling you down. Reading this post just reminded me of this one article I came across a few days ago and I think it should help you in some way. It's really something worth sharing.
    http://www.edutopia.org/blog/cynicism-is-contagious-richard-curwin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read the article! Edutopia always has very helpful articles! Thanks! =)

      Delete
  11. pussy gets me, hahaha! nice one dude!

    ReplyDelete

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