My Interview with a 9-year-old Top Student

1.What’s your attitude towards learning?

I think learning is fun. I am curious about everything. My mom said I asked too many questions.

2.What’s your secret for achieving great results?

You said it’s a secret. I’m not telling you. *hands cupped on the mouth and laughed* Okay, I know what you mean. I read a lot of books.

3.What would you do after school?What do you do on the weekends?

Hmm…I do my homework?

4.What do you do on the weekends?

I attend drawing class, dance class, and mental arithmetic class.

 

Shame on me…

Upon the second month of working, I’m receiving more and more tasks every single day. Apart from high demands from the administration department, I have to deal with the students who crave for my attention and not to mention, the parents who are very much concerned with their children. At times, I wish to clone myself so that I can take care of every aspect of my role perfectly. As a recovering perfectionist, I must admit that I am exhausted and frustrated with myself. The constant nudge of “more can be done” is seriously nerve wracking. “I’m only human…,” I hummed.

Stealing a bit of time from my busy schedule to write this piece of blog post is a habit I thankfully can still stick to every Tuesday; however, many of my habits have sort of faded away. For instance, I stopped yoga. Ever since I hurt my back switching from dolphin pose to downward dog and vice versa, I seem to have convinced myself from stopping this intense 5-minute training. Shame on me.

I have also shamefully allowed my working life to take a toll on me in respect to pursuing my own selfish dream. I said yes to everybody and everything else and said no to my dream. I’ve said a lot of things like “not now, baby,” “I’m not in the mood, I’m tired,” “I can do it better if I were well rested.” The truth is, I don’t know if I’ll ever be well rested or I’ll ever find the “mood” to do it.” DO IT NOW, SOMETIMES LATER MEANS NEVER. I get it, but…There’s always a but.

I feel like I’m doing a lot of reflections in my head as I go about my day but I never actually wrote it down, or I never wrote it down in one place anymore. I used to have a habit of writing in my journal or to be exact, typing in my journal, I dwindled the frequency from every day in a week to once or twice in a week. And when I finally “found” the time to write, I’ve forgotten most of the things I’ve pondered or mulled over.

The following image is best used to describe my current state. Pray next year I will not be making this mistake again!

 

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Chinese idiom (虎hu头tou蛇she尾wei); Meaning: Begin with tigerish energy but peter out towards the end.

 

Lesson learned: Start small and finish strong. Don’t be overly ambitious at the beginning. Learn as you go, take in only as much as you can, the rest will take care of itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Sits Next to Who?

It is often believed that in any setting, seating arrangement plays one of the key roles in determining the “success”. For example, in the office, where you are seated often determines the productivity and efficiency of your work. If you were seated with someone who is chatty, then you probably should be someone who sets boundary clearly so that the very assertive person will not disturb your flow. If you were seated with someone who is a little cagey, then perhaps you need to be more independent.

In July, I was assigned to be the class teacher for my 26 lovely students with various personalities. In school, teachers are not only the tutors of academic knowledge but more fundamentally, teachers should cultivate social skills in the students, especially for the young learners. We as adults often find ourselves in a disagreement with one another and we will usually attribute the factors to different backgrounds and experiences. Ideally, we will analyze our differences and try to talk sense to one another but we forgot that kids, too, will face conflicts with one another. It’s not always because they are impetuous or careless, but they too, have the ability to think, and so, having different opinions is a normal phenomenon. Besides, monkeys see, monkeys do. Through various exposure we give to our kids, we influence our kids, by molding and shaping their mindset of seeing the world, and inevitably, they think and talk like us.

As a class teacher, I see different kids with different attitudes and problems will not solve themselves by simply changing their seating arrangement regularly. If somebody is not in good terms with another person, I think the opportunity of learning arises. They get to learn to see that not everybody is the same, and we shouldn’t all be the same. We have different perspectives and different ways of dealing with problems and that makes us interesting. How do we set our personal opinions towards anything aside and simply focus on the task at hand? How do we train ourselves to be responsible for our own learning before we judge others? How can we adapt ourselves to our environment or to the people around us? Those are the questions that we should ask, instead of asking, who is sitting next to who. Because that is not going to change anything. If you have the wrong attitude, whoever is sitting next to you is going to complain about the same thing. The true power of seating arrangement is not to make you like the person sitting next to you and thereby makes your life more comfortable, but to make you become more aware of your own priority and responsibility.

All in all, the ability to adapt to any environment is a skill set we must all try to attain. Don’t give away the power of control to that environment or seating arrangement set for you, but harness that power to learn in all kinds of management and become a better you.

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What’s So Wrong About Bringing Work Home?

Lately, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts sharing about achieving balance especially in the line of teaching. I feel like I have met with some challenges in the path of pursuing “balance” in my daily life ever since I started my day job. As much as I salute the idea of not bringing work home, I found myself doing exactly that every single day. I even schedule my weekends to do work which is relevant to my day job. Is this healthy? I’m not sure. But so far, I’m enjoying it.

For starter, I love my workplace at home better than my little desk at the office where I rarely able to spend much time at. Compared to staying late at the office, I rather bring home work that I can do while enjoying the cuppa or TV or frolicking with my hamsters because some of the work is basically no brainer. I can just do them while listening to my favorite songs which I can’t do at the office for the sake of work ethic.

Confucius once said and I paraphrase, “pick the job you like and you won’t feel like you’re working every single day.” I’m lucky to be able to say that I’m having the job that I like, even though it comes with a lot of “irrelevant” paper work to do, but C’mon, it’s in the package. No matter how much you like your job, there will be something or somebody you don’t feel fancy about, and learning how to deal with things you don’t like is a whole area of opportunity for growth especially in terms of character development.

So maybe I should change my perspective towards the whole idea of “balance”. Maybe bringing work home doesn’t make my life imbalance. I mean, as long as you know what comes first, what your priority is, what you want to invest your time on, and you actually do all the things you want to do according to your flexible timeline, then it’s safe to say that you are having a balanced life.

 

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Sketching out the things I wanna juggle is really helping me to see the bigger picture and be satisfied with my life in general.

 

 

Waking up at 6 AM

Since the 3rd of July, I’ve ended my jobless phase and my alarm has then been adjusted two hours earlier than my normal wake-up time. In the past few months, I’ve come across the article about the Power of When theory (Dolphin, Lion, Bear, Wolf). But the reality is, no matter what your chronotype is if you have a day job, you work according to your day job. You change your mindset and find ways to adapt to the new chronology. You can’t afford to be inefficient during the time you’re at work because it’s unprofessional and inconsiderate. So I’ve listed what I am doing to help myself adjust to my new wake-up time.

Prep up breakfast or office snacks the night before.

Plan for the next day (know what you need to do).

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Select an inspiring image to be your phone’s wallpaper (and change it regularly or according to the season).

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Get the bags ready the night before.

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Turn on the light and do yoga after drinking a glass of water.

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No :)

After working for a week, I feel so lucky for investing some time before to understand the Power of When. During the gap after college and before the commencement of my long-term job, I have learned more about time management, productivity, and the intricacies of habits, than I ever did in the last 10 years of my life. You see, during that period of intermission, I had all the free time in the world. The world was my oyster and I was able to do anything I wanted. Now, I have odd work hours to follow and I don’t get to see the sunrise from my bed. Yet, life is good because I have learned the secret to time management – setting priorities.

I don’t have time means this is not my priority. Sometimes we have “no choice” because we can’t be “selfish” so we gradually set ourselves a trap by becoming a yes man or a yes woman. If we don’t take care of ourselves, nobody else is responsible for our happiness. And taking care of yourself means that you are trying to balance, you are seeing problems with your life and you’re doing something about it. Sacrifices should be made once in a while, the give-and-take theory is sound, we should all do something we don’t like once in a while but if you have to put off with something all the time, there’s either something wrong somewhere or something is awfully wrong with you, that maybe it’s your rotten attitude that makes everything sucks. Let’s say you’d say yes to all the luncheons or dinners your colleagues invited you to, only because you have difficulties saying no, yet deep down inside you know you can’t enjoy them because you have other things you’d rather do. If you don’t like it, do something about it. People should understand that it is the demand or request that you are rejecting instead of them as a human being you are rejecting.

One tip for those who can’t reject, try this the next time, say no and smile. Or simply, if saying no is too hard, shake your head and smile. Unless you’re Indian, then nod your head maybe?

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Fresh Start

“Welcome to the family.” I like how the Headmistress was referring to her team. Immense gratitude was felt especially these few days of finding the school, attending the briefing, and actually attending the school. It was just the first day, so far it’s been a bed of roses, but I can smell the challenges approaching. Can’t wait to get started for real.

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