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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Little kids, little gestures…

A few weeks ago, I was getting really sick and tired of traveling and giving tuition. I’m just sick of teaching. It doesn’t help when you have a mother constantly buzzing at your ears to sign up to be a teacher since “[I] have been teaching kids for so many years and have the relevant experience”. Giving tuition to a kid and teaching a class of 30 or 40 brats are two different issues, something she can’t perceive no matter how I explain to her.

And back to the topic of being sick of tuition…

Sometimes I feel really unappreciated.

Sometimes when other than plain teaching, I try to impart moral values into them, I’m told to mind my own business because I’m in no position to lecture them.

Sometimes when I try to be a role model and talk about my past experiences and achievements (Hey don’t snort, I was really a great achiever in primary school) to try to motivate them, I’m asked not to be too good because only God and angels can be good.

Sometimes when I try to explain right from wrong, I’m told to shut up.

Sometimes I’m treated very nastily and lashed with a lot of unkind words.

Sometimes I get accused for things I did not do.

Sometimes I teach them over time for far too many times that when I calculate the minutes every month, they would add up to two or more sessions. And you will feel the pinch especially if you are as poor as I am.

Actually, majority of the above feelings emanated from only one student, but it is enough to make me feel dejected at times. However, when this boy is in his well-behaved mode, he is really an angel.

Other than these, all the traveling and my state of joblessness amidst the tuition were really draining me. I have no time for my friends who are available only after office hours-- the time when I would be teaching. I’ve not kept in contact with so many friends and I even developed the penchant for going solo in public: window shopping alone, buying things alone, running errands alone and even eating alone… something which I can never come to terms with until I realized how peaceful it is to eat alone with a good book in your hands. I even contemplated watching a show alone. I know some people can easily do all the above things alone, but I’m not a solitary kind of person.

And so again I got tired of teaching.

That weariness soon died off and I became unprejudiced against it. I began to enjoy my carefree life, earning enough for my own use as well as to give my parents. At the same time, on those days without daytime tuition, I have my own free time to do those unethical assignments which pay handsomely. All these made me busy. But I love to be busier than that and even thought of signing up with MOE by the end of this year.

And yesterday being Teachers’ Day, I got pleasant little surprises.

Two days ago, I stepped into cute little C’s house with all his family members staring at me, hiding their smiles and stifling their laughter. I did not suspect a thing, as I lost all conceptions of dates and had no knowledge that Teachers’ Day was the next day. C ran around the house as if in search for something and upon entering the room, requested for me to close my eyes.

When I opened them a few seconds later, I saw a pack of Ferrero Rocher in front of me.

“Happy Teachers’ Day! Teacher, this is for you. Thank you for teaching me.”

I wondered if he bought it on his own and enquired.

“My mother asked me to empty all the money in my wallet and she will help me buy something for teacher.”

Cute cute little C. And for those of you who saw his photo in my handphone, you have to agree that he is really cute. My whole family has grown quite affectionate towards him just from my description of him and all his little “adventures”, which I would never fail to update them each time I return from his place.

Yesterday, A presented me with a purple package, wrapped simply. She was too shy to give me in the face so she left it on my side of the table so I could see it. Unfortunately I did not notice it till half the lesson was gone.

I unwrapped it when I got home. It was a bookmark in the shape of a golden paperclip with a dove at the top. Looks like those you get from Christian bookshops. She, knowing that I love to read, has chosen to give me a bookmark. I thought that was quite sweet too.

At night, I went to teach J. He asked his mum to give it to me, as he was too shy to do so. He claimed it is disgusting and only boyfriend would give his girlfriend such stuff. But at last he gave it to me with his own hands, concealing the pink rose behind his back till the very last moment. And his behaviour was excellent, almost like an angel. He completed so much work, more than what he could complete in 3 sessions combined.

Little kids, little gestures… but they mean so much to me.

I remembered all those little gifts and notes I received from some of my “tuitees” back then. Envelopes in the form of stapled foolscap paper addressing to “Tuition Teacher” (after the umpteenth time I reminded them that a tuition teacher is a tutor!!), filled with drawings, stickers, pencils, photographs of them without their parents’ knowledge, little notes with juvenile language and innocence.

This morning, I went to that little drawer to fish out those notes. It was really heart-warming to read them that I am feeling all so sentimental now.


  1. Hi Jo,

    I chanced onto your blog randomly and have been following some of your entries from time to time. Hope you don't find it intruding. =)

    I think you must have been a really great teacher. Some of the children sound really adorable and that boy when he is devil-like, sounds like he needs a good shake-down.

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    Gee... Ok.. Was surprised to have somebody i don't know reading and following up with some of my posts. Do feel free to voyeur if it pleases you. But i hope that if possible, you would let me in on how you found this blog and where you are from. I know i cant control readership, but i would at least like to know abit about my readers who aren't my friends. Thanx alot! Ü

  3. Dear Jo,
    I have no ulterior motives and I didn't mean to intrude but i got kind of hooked reading your journals and posts...

    Some insights that you have mentioned in those posts reflects on how i felt a very long time ago...

    I was a tutor during my poly days as well and it's extremely gratifying to be appreciated especially by the little students.

    Their little 'thank you' notes and gifts may not cost much but that does not matter. It's the thought that matters. ^_^

    Maybe it's all a part of growing up, maybe it's the long forgotten memories...

  4. Hi Rune,

    No problem at all! In fact.. thanx for all the nice comments u've left. Hope u've enjoyed reading my entries.. Ü

    Yes.. the innocence of kids... They are so surreal.. so u still keep those little gifts?


I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)


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