Saturday, September 24, 2005

There but for the grace of God...

Hmm, so my previous post may have been a bit sombre and heavy on the ambiguity... I apologise, but seriously, you never know who reads this blog...

Which is frustrating in a way, because there are tons of things I want to comment on, I want to tell people, I want to let those outside know, but yet....... Well, most regular bloggers will know of all the fiascos regarding certain blogs...

So regarding the 'unpleasant incident'... I shall not mention it exactly. But it didn't do much help for most of the postgrads here, I had to say.

This past week or two after the one week 'break' has been a mash of major deadlines one after another. After one educational psychology essay had been passed up, most of us took a breath and jumped right into the next deadline waiting for us in English, another killer project.

Here's one HUGE drawback about the postgrad course here: It is essentially a crash course on teaching. Everything that took the diploma people to learn in 2 years, we cram into one. So everything is just rush, rush, rush, quick! Finish this paper! Finish that lesson plan! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Needless to say, all of us have very sour grape expressions when we see others like the dip holders and the PE pple having semblances of actual student lives......

So when that incident happened, you could sense a huge morale drop in our numbers. I think all of us were secretly thinking: That could have been me......

And really, it could have been. Already we get the feeling of being pushed on too fast for us to fully absorb whatever it is we are learning. We get deadlines thrown at us one after the other, esp the poor sods taking SK modules [which deserve another rant all by itself]. And we have NO student representation in the form of faculty clubs, or unions who are willing to speak on our behalf. [most likely because we are only here for a year]

And when you think that, "Hey, if NIE is supposed to be the holiday period before I get my permanent posting............."

Hm. There but for the grace of God......

Monday, September 19, 2005

Another Unfortunate...

... incident bappened in school, which once again made me think again about the double binded knot that many of us trainees are in.

Unlike most other tertiary students, we are bound in a noose which is in danger of being tightened anytime. We do not have the freedom of skipping classes, lectures, and in the case of my coursemates, an abundance of free periods.

Making this worse is the breath of Big Brother down your neck, whispering coarsely the words, "Bond......"

And this is the deal with the devil that all of us signed. That we are bound to this institution with no earthly hope for escape, unless we 1) come into a lot of money suddenly, or 2) be involved in some accident which renders us incapable of physical activity altogether.

Is this bad? Some may say no. We are after all paid to study. This is a deal that is unavailable to a lot of students all over, and perhaps yes, we should be grateful in a sense for the chance we've been given.

But it is akin to a deal with the devil. Because at the same time, we sign ourselves into a gilded cage. Because once you sign on that dotted line, there is no hope for escape or respite. Bound you will be, till the course of your obligation is served, whether or not it really makes you want to scream.

People in the private sector have the freedom of leaving their jobs anytime they want. [let's not take job prospects and employment prospects into consideration for a while.] If the economy is good, or if their job sucks big time, there is room for them to escape. They can quit, change jobs, start afresh. They may envy us for our steady jobs, and our stable paychecks, but they don't see how we cannot escape just when we need to.

This, I feel, is the worse part about being here. Everyone here is a prisoner of their own making. Until one day someone snaps and tries to fly to better parts.

And what is the school doing about it? They opened a psychology clinic on campus, free to all students. All the tutors encourage the students to use it if they have to. But what's the use? Talking about it is NOT going to help you solve the main problem. It is not going to get the tutors to lessen your workload, it is not going to lessen your bond, and most damning of all, I do not believe it is going to lead to any positive change in policy, even if large numbers of students swamp the clinic.

So what's the point of it all, if I just talk about it to some nice lady in the clinic, but yet, when I come out, all my problems are still waiting for me? And I am still left with no solution for them?

I hope yesterday's incident serves as a signal to some people on top. That push us any further, and one day we will all break under you.

I know I'm deliberately being vague about the incident which happened on campus. I'm doing this because I don't know who reads this blog and whether I will get into trouble for violating some sedition act in NIE or whatever. :p But I believe if you read closely between the lines, you could deduce what it is that has happened.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Happy Teachers' Day!

When I came to my tuition student's house.....

"Er, this is a Teachers' Day card for you. Happy Teachers' Day."

"Oh! Thank you!"

"And, er, I forgot to do my homework because I thought today was Saturday."


Haiyah...... scold or not to scold, like that?

But at least I got something. Teachers' Day in NIE this year was..... dismal at best. In the days before yesterday, posters were put up all over the campus, advertising the "Teachers' Fiesta!" promising games! Food! Stalls selling great stuff!

I came out of class on Thursday, and saw...... maybe a 3 or 4 makeshift bazaar stalls at one far, far end of the canteen, selling some stuff? [One stall looked like it was selling secondhand stuff]

Ok, frankly, it was a dismal affair. These stalls were stuck at one far end of the school, out of sight of half the main traffic, so already there was only a trickle of people heading towards them. Not only that, but each stall was just 2 tables joined together, and stuff was just listlessly piled onto them. Plus, everyone had classes anyway, so no one paid them much attention as most people were just running from class to class.

As I said, dismal.

Funny thing, that a school full of teachers is not very keen or supportive of celebrating a day which pays tribute to the work of teachers. One tutor explained that the People Upstairs thought we were celebrating too hard, and so discouraged Teachers' Day celebrations in school, lest we, I don't know, have too much fun here, and forget that we're supposed to be here in humble servitude. God Forbid!

*Sigh* Why don't you just change the name to "Happy Underappreciation Day"?

But anyway, HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY to all. Here's hoping that your students all score full marks, your red pens never run dry, and that you all get the appreciation and thanks you deserve. :)