On a lighter note, since I didn’t have any students today for my part-time gig, my weekend is unusually quiet and lazy. I find myself missing teaching my Korean students. Actually, I find myself missing my Korean students, period.
I’ve taught chemistry to a 16-year-old boy who looks like G-Dragon. No kidding, he really looks like GD. ^^ And now, I have students who could easily be imagined as Jang Wooyoung and Ahn Sohee in their elementary years.
And of course, I have other students who don’t look like Kpop idols but are still nonetheless adorable, pretty, or handsome.
It just occurred to me, it’s almost been two months , but I still think of my academy students. How I miss them all…
Tags: Teacher, Teacher...
This particular thought has been at the back of my mind for quite sometime, but I’m only acknowledging it now: Does the perfect job truly exist?
It has occurred to me that I’ve been working for about nine years now, and yet I don’t think I’ve found the perfect job for me. I’ve done a whole lot of things since 2004. I’ve worked as a call center agent, done quality assurance and e-mail support, landed a normal day job in a real office, and now, I’m an English teacher. No matter how much the rationalizations I give for each job description in my resume, there’s always a downside for everything.
When I first joined the call center industry, I was really excited at the idea of working in a place where the employees lovingly call “office”. The salary was good, the employee benefits were even better. The best part was the people around me. It was just like an extension of my college years. Eat out, drink after work, explore famous tourist destinations. I even fell in love with someone. Really, it was even better than college because I didn’t have to study for exams and at the same time, I was earning money. I was able to build a lifestyle I couldn’t enjoy when I was still in school. After three years, I grew sick of it all. I was learning a lot of things, but something felt missing. I couldn’t see myself doing this job until retirement.
This led me to work in a real office. Not a call center office, but a real office. I lasted five years in this field and learned even a whole lot more. I didn’t just learn office management skills — I also learned to recognize my weaknesses and how to think more critically. I consider it one of my greatest achievements as a working girl. And of course, the compensation went higher. My lifestyle became more luxurious and extravagant. My circle of friends went from huge to limited, but the limited people I chose to stay where people who were really worth letting in my life.
Sadly, all good things come to an end. By my fourth year in that company, I think I started to become stagnant. It wasn’t that I was aspiring for a promotion or a step up in the corporate ladder. I never wanted any of that. I couldn’t really see myself doing the same thing until my age of retirement as well, but I kind of wanted to do this for a long time. I had long-term plans with my stay in the company, but the company apparently didn’t feel the same. So they let me go, but not without extending a little help.
I wasn’t sure what to do with my life then, so I thought, why not go out and see what the outside world looks like? Since I received some money to help me start my life over that would last me a few months, why not try something I want this time? With my past two major work experiences, I was motivated to work for money. This time, why not try working for the fulfillment instead of the salary?
My English teaching career started as a part-time online gig in my last year as an office girl. I worked an hour every night teaching Japanese students after coming home from work. It did feel very fulfilling to share to complete strangers my mastery and knowledge of the English language. Then I got hired as an academic tutor for Koreans in BF Paranaque. This, I particularly loved, because everyone close to me knows I’m a Korean at heart, that I was born in the wrong country. The downside here was that the pay was extremely delayed and most of the time unfair. I lasted three months and three students before I decided to politely turn down the next.
In between my tutoring stints, luck came my way and I got hired in an English academy for Korean students. The pay was mediocre, but quite reasonable since the academy was two jeepneys away from where I lived. I can say that this has been my best teaching experience so far. So why didn’t I consider this the perfect job? That’s because I only got hired as a contractual teacher for the duration of winter camp. Meaning, the children would go home once winter vacation was over. Up to now, I find myself wishing to be part of the upcoming camp this summer, but I’m not hoping against hope or anything. The chances are quite slim.
So now, here I am in my current full-time online teaching job. I’ve struggled a lot with the transition from offline to online teaching. As with my Japanese part-time online teaching, the standard class is only 25 minutes long, so there’s not a lot of time to try to get to know your student and what makes them tick or anything. Plus it’s quite challenging to teach a child whose only medium of communication is a webcam, a mic, and a headset, most especially if the child has poor attention span. But the challenge in teaching style isn’t really what’s bothering me. When I signed up for this, I was aware that the salary was lower than what I was being paid at the academy, but it seems that I have to bear with receiving a lower amount than what we were told for at least four months. I’m not sure how much I could hold on to my severance pay from my last office job, as it’s in real danger of going down to a four-digit figure. Like what I kept saying before in my blog posts about my academy students, I also chose to love all of my current students now. Now that some of my students have started warming up to me, the sense of fulfillment is stronger, but I’m beginning to ask myself if it’s really worth working for the sense of fulfillment over the money. Hence, like all my other past jobs, this job, too, isn’t perfect.
Has anybody out there really succeeded in finding the perfect job for them? Please share your stories. I would like to read about them and maybe learn a thing or two about the perfect job, if it really does exist.
One of my newer students and I were discussing the story “A Day At The Zoo” yesterday when we stumbled on a few pages that talked about the different kinds of food that can be bought at snack bars inside the zoo. To keep my student interested, for every snack that was mentioned, I kept asking him for his favorite. He started describing a raw ramen kinda snack. I knew what he was talking about, but I didn’t know how to make him understand that I knew. So I went all out in making gestures and the like. That’s when I saw a little messenger popup from one of the class managers. When I looked at it, she had sent me a picture of the snack in question. Okay, so she was monitoring my class!!! Hahaha. I was kind of happy she did, because it was one of the very few classes I was proud of. But what made me even happier was the feedback she gave me afterwards.
Your pronunciation has improved a lot, even if you still forget to enunciate the letters T, D, B, and P. But your class handling was very good. You asked a lot of questions to keep the student interested. You look and sound like you’ve been teaching for 2-3 years already! I want to keep on working with you for a long time.^^
Okay, that wasn’t verbatim, but that’s pretty must the gist.
I’ve been struggling since the day I started working in this company because I somehow seemed the weakest link, so I knew had to prove myself to the managers that hiring me wasn’t a mistake. There were times when I was really on the verge of giving up, especially when it really felt like I was being disregarded. Was I really that inferior?
First came the 2 comments my students gave me last week. And then this. I know they’re only three people and I still have a long way to go, but to me, it’s like a light shining at the end of a very long tunnel.
Tuloy ang laban!
via WordPress for BlackBerry~<3
Tags: Optimism · Teacher, Teacher...
For as long as I can remember, my godsister Marie has always been there for me. Whenever we hang out, I never, as in NEVER go hungry. When my blog fucks up, she always responds to my distress calls. Years ago, during one of the lowest points of my life, she was determined to keep me distracted and therefore spent the whole afternoon with me, in case I go suicidal or something.
If life was a fairy tale, she would be my fairy godsister.
And because I’m very grateful to her for a lot of things, I want to help her during the few times that she actually needs me to help out. Which is why the day after my birthday, I agreed to be a host for her baby shower.
Public speaking, as we all know, is my biggest fear. I’m not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of crowds. But because Marie, my favorite fairy godsister, has done so friggin’ much for me, I want to do this one thing for her.
Okay, I struggled a bit but luckily, as always, my fairy godsister came to my rescue even before I cried out for help. She gave me a co-host in the form of Tinay, her sister Tricia’s best friend.
Tinay was there to back me up during my mental blackouts and extreme episodes of shyness. Shyness talaga?!?
Anyways, I’m happy to say that we did it!^^ We were able to pull off this hosting thing together. I’m glad I didn’t say no to Marie when she asked me to do this. At least, for one afternoon, I got to play the role of fairy godsister to my awesome fairy godsister.<3
Congratulations, Marie and JP! I can’t wait to meet your little bundle of joy in person! <3 OMG, artista lang? Hahaha! Tinay, it was a pleasure hosting a baby shower with you!^^
Tags: Reflections · Tribute
A little over a week ago, I turned 31. Whoa. Next year, I’ll be 32 (duh) and my age won’t be a calendar number anymore. In Tagalog, mawawala na’ko sa kalendaryo. Nyahahaha.
So how did I spend my April 5th? I went to work, natch. I spent QT with my Berry to send replies to the sweet folks who went out of their way to greet me. It just occurred to me, from the time I turned 29, the number of birthday greetings for me had dwindled, but I don’t really care. The important thing is quality and not quantity. I would feel really sad if I got a lot of greetings from people that day who are practically strangers and not get any from the few people I value.
I’m not sure if my Korean bosses decided to give me a break that day because by far, April 5th was my busiest day ever at TS. And no, that’s not sarcastic. I truly was thankful for my hectic schedule that day. I think that was the time I experienced teaching 5 or 6 students straight. I can’t say I want to do it again anytime soon, but the adrenaline rush I had that day felt very refreshing.
They say as you age each year, you get a little wiser. Do I? Am I wiser? I’m not sure. I think I’ll be in my forties by the time I finish paying for the mistakes I’ve done in my twenties. Well, I can’t really say I’m on top of the world now, because to me, being at the top of the world means being able to sustain a very luxurious lifestyle (which I was able to do when I was still at Branders), but I am enjoying the world of teaching. It doesn’t pay much (really, it doesn’t. My past two salaries have been awfully disappointing, and knowing that I only have 30 grand to my name doesn’t help either), I’m starting to struggle with my finances again, but with every student I teach, with every lesson my students remember, I am rewarded with a sense of fulfillment.
I want my teaching career to flourish. That’s my long term goal for this year. Is prioritizing my career path over financial stability a sign of wisdom? I’m not sure. Most probably not. And that’s why I said earlier that I’m not sure I’m growing wiser with each year passing. As I often hear from my mom and my sister, tumatanda ako nang paurong.
Oh, and I want to visit Korea before I turn 35. ^^
I got these last Friday, from my first and last classes for the day.
How’s that for starting and ending the day right?^^
Thank you, my lovely ladies!<3
Tags: Teacher, Teacher... · Work
Dear T. Pancake,
Thank you Teacher! I like you! My phone number is 010-xxxx-xxxx. Please give me your phone number.
I love you, Teacher Pancake!
To T. Pam,
I like you!
I will miss you!
Don’t be sick!
Thank you for playing with me!
Hello, T. Pam! I think Teacher is very kind and fun. Thank you for the present. I will miss you. Goodbye!
Hi, T. Pam! I am your old reading student.
Thank you for teaching me. Bye-bye.
Hello, T. Pam! You are very kind and you always laugh. I think you are a very good teacher. When I’m back in Korea, I will miss you. Bye-bye! I’ll miss you!
Hello, Teacher Pam! I’m your idioms student. When I first saw you, you looked a little scary but studying with you is very funny and fun, so you are also my favorite teacher. I like you, and I will miss you when I go back to Korea.
You are a good teacher.
To T. Pam,
I will miss you. Ang ganda mo!
To Teacher Pam,
Hello! Thank you for teaching me writing. I will miss you. Keep well. Bye~
To Teacher Pam,
Thank you for your present. Don’t worry about me. Don’t cry (haha). Be happy! Let’s chat when I’m back in Korea. Thank you very much. Goodbye~~
To T. Pam,
Hello! I’m your idioms student. I miss your reading class and I want to go to your reading class. But the idioms class is very good, too. See you when I come back!
Hello! I’ll miss you in Korea. Everyday, you give me gifts. Thank you. I’m very grateful to you.
To T. Pam,
Hello, T. Pam! In the academy, you always say “hello.” It makes me feel good. For my third class, I come to your station to meet you because writing is my third class. When there’s a difficult question, you help me understand and you make it easy for me so I can answer. Everyday, you smile, so it’s a very good class. If we have time, let’s meet. Goodbye!
Hello, T. Pam! You’re my third favorite teacher. I don’t see anything wrong with you, so I like you. Before, I always hit you playfully but you don’t get angry. You are very kind. I like you. Before, I didn’t like you because you were too kind. Now, I do, because your voice is very cute and it sounds very good. You also have a lot of good manners, so I like you. Before, I made you cry, so I’m very sorry. It made me very sad. Bye, T. Pam~
Hello, T. Pam! Thank you for teaching me. I will always be grateful to you. When you smile at me, you make me happy. Thank you for teaching me. I will miss you. Thank you!
Hello, T. Pam! Could you draw your face, please? Or please give me one of your pictures. Teacher Pam, if I can come back, please don’t go out of work. I will buy you a present and I will be good to you. Bye-bye!
Tags: Reminiscing · Teacher, Teacher...
Right this moment, I am shivering in a hotel room in the city of pines. But the cold I’m experiencing now is probably nothing compared to the snowy climate in Korea, where my students live.
It’s hard to believe that I made it through nine weeks of being an English academy teacher. It’s been taxing, really, in almost every aspect of my being: physically, mentally, even emotionally. And yet looking back, those nine weeks were among the happiest I’ve been. It wasn’t a bowl of cherries everyday, but looking back, if I were given the chance to reset those nine weeks, I would probably choose the same path.
When I signed up for this job, I knew that I was going to be teaching Koreans, but I was not prepared for the many personality types I worked with for the past two months…
I wasn’t prepared for the shy, quiet, and timid boy who loved to smile sheepishly at his mistakes. No matter how much I would try to start small talk, I got nothing. But it’s okay, I still like this boy. He makes me smile. He makes me want to help him study in the best way I can.
I wasn’t prepared for the boy who was driven to be at the top. No matter how difficult it is for him to study reading and vocabulary, he does his best to understand it in a way that works best for him. This is why I admire this boy so much.
I wasn’t prepared for the very smart boy who loved to compete as well. When he likes the chapter he’s reading, he excels at vocabulary. He can answer the exercises independently. He is the kind student who would tell me he got a low score in his reading exam. To my astonishment, I would later find out that his “low score” is 94.
I wasn’t prepared for that student who seeked approval in his work, because he’s convinced that he’s not intelligent. Actually, he is. I’ve seen an intelligent side to him. He just needs a little push, a little encouragement, and a few hints every now and then.
I wasn’t prepared for that boy who got sleepy when it’s hot or when he’s bored. To solve that problem, I lend him a fan, or I let him tell me stories. I never really got the chance to be that close to him because I was never sure where I stood with him. Does he even like me at all? Does he hate me that much? But when I’m with him, he doesn’t act that way. Even so, it didn’t stop me from liking this kid… A little. Even if there were times that I wanted to strangle him out of sheer irritation… Yeah, I still wanted to look out for him just like any other caring teacher would.
I wasn’t prepared for that student who at first didn’t seem at par with his school peers, but he was good at remembering codes and mnemonics.
I wasn’t prepared for the student who was undeniably my favorite. He’s the type who needed minimal to no supervision at all during exercises. He’s the type who does advanced readings during night class and makes sure to research on unfamiliar words in the stories he reads, even if it’s not part of the vocabulary. Tell me, how can he NOT be my favorite?
I wasn’t prepared for the student who only attended English camps to get his parents to buy him anything he wanted when he gets back home. He hated reading aloud. He pretends to sleep just to avoid it. With the help of a co-teacher, I finally got around to pressing the right buttons and had him participating in my class a tad more than his usual.
I wasn’t prepared for that kid who was so energetic that even if our class only lasted 40-45 minutes, it became my most draining class for the day. He loves to teasingly bite, lick, and headbutt. Amazingly, when I get him to concentrate, he is able to tune out the world and focus on his task 100%. He is like my son. I couldn’t give him food, but I gave him advice on anger management. As I write this, I miss him like the son I will probably never have.
I wasn’t prepared for that boy I always dreaded teaching at first, because I didn’t know how to handle him at all… But one day, we just clicked. On paper and dictionary chats we talked about Korean food. Days after, he gave me my Korean name. He was playful during classes, but on rare but tangible occasions, I would realize that somehow, he respected me. I wasn’t prepared for the way I started to care for him. He was like the little brother I never had.
No one also warned me of my group classes. There was a class who only wanted to play. There was a class who didn’t want to study. There was a class who kept on fighting. But there was also that class who was united and helped each other out. I loved that class. Actually, all of them — both group and individual. I wasn’t prepared for that decision I made, that choice to love them all.
Most of all, nothing prepared me for the touching farewell letters I got from students who I thought I had no emotional connection with whatsoever. I was not prepared to read “you are my 3rd favorite teacher,” or “will you give me a picture so I can remember your face?” or “when you smile at me, I can relax my mind.” I was not prepared for this big hole inside my heart, this big void inside me ever since they went back to their home country.
It might be too early to say, but I think I’ve finally decoded why I lived my life this way for the past 9 weeks. This is my niche in life. I might try other careers, but as soon as I see a road leading me back here, I would come running as fast as my feet could carry me.
via WordPress for BlackBerry~<3
Tags: Reflections · Teacher, Teacher...
Even though my job as an English tutor in a Korean Academy ends in February, I treasure it very much. It’s no secret that I really hate formal teaching — I would prefer a side-by-side mentoring environment — but ever since I started to pursue this field, I have been enjoying each day immensely. Well, each day is actually a different struggle, sometimes even more difficult than the day before, but just the same, I treasure each moment. No matter how impertinent or uncooperative my students are at times, at the end of the day, they are the kids who have been assigned under my tutelage. At the end of the day, they are my kids. Because they are my kids, I choose to love them.
Roughly a month after I started working for this school, I was given the opportunity to teach three new subjects. One of which, I think I can handle. The other two, I am not so confident of myself because it’s a speedy transition from individual to group classes. As it is at present, one of the things that’s making it difficult for me is not being able to continue the legacy of my kids’ previous teacher. And now, with my new class schedule to take effect tomorrow, it seems that I have even bigger shoes to fill. Why? Because I know how much the students loved that teacher I will be replacing. I know how much they cried when they heard that teacher had left the academy. I know how much they will miss and think of that teacher in my class.
Please don’t get me wrong. For whatever reason this opportunity has come my way, I am honored and touched. No matter what the reason they thought of me, I am thankful they thought of me just the same. But still, I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m scared. I’m petrified. I’m terrified of how this week is going to turn out. And what’s even more terrifying is that even though I am sorely tempted to take the coward’s way out, I cling on to my pride and principles too much to do so. So even if my students end up sleeping in my class, I have to persist in making each lesson as lively as possible. Even if they utter litanies of “I miss Teacher So-and-So,” I have to press on. Even if each class brings me to the verge of tears, I need to square my shoulders and act my coolest.
Tags: Teacher, Teacher... · Work
Today, I simply lacked reasonable foresight and ended up overestimating myself. It rarely happens, but when it does, it’s a disaster. Or something close to one.
This week, astonishingly, I have lost and gotten myself back a new part-time job. Jamie, my adorable six-year-old student had to be transferred to a morning schedule, so I thought I would be free in the afternoons already. I love teaching Jamie, but losing my part-time job meant more time to focus on my stint at the academy, most especially for Wednesdays (submission of weekly tests) and Fridays (submission of weekly evaluation). So just when I thought I was finally getting half of my life back, a replacement student came in, this time, in the form of a 23-year-old female university student reviewing for TOEIC.
I couldn’t say no. How do you say no to a source of extra income that you love to do? So I took the job even if it was at a lower rate than my usual. And that’s where everything started to mess up. I lost all sense of time and how to manage it wisely. So now, in the most humiliating way possible, I missed the deadline for the submission of weekly tests today. I tried to apologize to my department head and fortunately, he said he would still accept my late submissions, but just the same, it was really embarrassing.
Cramming will really ruin everything. Oh, I swear, I will start on my weekly tests this weekend.
On a lighter note, I am still thankful for the missed deadline and my exhaustion since last night, because it only means I have a job. Not just one, but two. )
via WordPress for BlackBerry~<3
Tags: Lessons Learned The Hard Way