Teachers' Main Concern


What do you think of teachers today?

What do you think is their main concern in school?

After 25 years teaching, I have asked the same question over and again.

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We have many teachers in school today.

We have many students in virtually every class.

Everyone has different ideas about their teachers and students, and about their teaching and learning.

And there are many people out there in our societies who love to suggest and teach teachers and students what to do in school.

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What do you think of teachers' main concern today?

Are teachers merely deliverers of the word to produce knowledgeable, capable and employable students?

Are teachers' main concern to produce sport champions? How about capable and respected businessmen and society leaders?

What do you think is teachers' main concern?

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A fellow teacher was grumbling and complaining about his students' behavior.

I could see his frustration, despair, and anger.

I looked at him with love, concern and understanding.

And I believed his concern was well-founded and his comments entirely appropriate.

He had been teaching for more than 30 years.

He seldom gave up or broke down simply.

But what I saw in him for the past few weeks frightened me.

But I didn't think those students knew his love and passion for them.

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Imagine seeing students going against their teacher's sound advice.

Imagine seeing them retaliating and threatening their teachers.

Imagine hearing students lying to their teachers.

Imagine hearing them speaking bad about their teachers.

And imagine noticing the many obscene words and pictures about their teachers on the walls.

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It is not easy to be a teacher these days.

Young teachers give up too easily after a few years.

Older teachers get burnt out and retire early.

Seasoned teachers teach on common grounds,

Trying to stay nice and make it through the day.

They no longer teach what they know to them.

They only teach what the students want to hear.

They only teach when the students want to hear.

And they only teach those who want to hear.

Just go and teach, and then go home.

It is just another job after all.

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Oh, teachers........

What do you think is your main concern?

Grooming A Winner


We are all born a winner.

We always desire to excel in everything we do.

Our childhood years are filled with stories and incidents of how we excel over others in singing, dancing, playing, arguing, clapping, participating.......

Somehow we really don't want to lose out against our relatives and friends.

And if possible, we want to dominate over them, by hook or by crook.

Then we go to school.

We use the same culture.

We want to excel in academic studies, training and competitions.

We are also keen and active in various clubs, sports, and games.

Nothing matters more than winning.......

When we step into adulthood, the desire to win has never left us.

we want social recognitions and benefits.

We want to conquer over all and have everyone look up to us.

Many of us will never be satisfied with all that we have.

We continue to fight, to win, and to crave for more.......

Over the years, we have many trophies to bring home, many records to show, and many stories to tell.

But equally true is the fact that we cannot win everything.......

We fail miserably in certain quests, we have many sad episodes to hide, and many reasons and excuses to make.

It is depressing to hear that we have no more place in the society, when everyone calls us a loser and a loner, or when we are addressed as useless people good for nothing.

No one desires that sort of remarks.

But it is often hurled at others for personal gains and interests.

It is not good to repeatedly make that sort of remarks and comments to others.

Instead, we should help them to excel too.

No one wants to be classified as a loser anyway.

It inhibits the psychological growth and emotional maturation of the person concerned.

In fact, most of us parents won't do that sort of things to our children and loved ones.

We need to groom a winner.

It is delightful to see little children develop and grow when they are guided and encouraged to do things on their own.

They may have many heart breaking attempts before they can stand up and walk steadily.

They may stumble on their speech and talk incomprehensibly before they can pronounce the first word correctly.

We may need a lot of patience and perseverance to instill learning, but it benefits everyone.

Pushing our thoughts, feelings and actions to influence and affect others may bring benefits to us, but it may hurt others.

And it may not be desirable to some of us.

If possible, let us help others to grow and excel.

I wonder how the tortoise felt when he lost the running race to the rabbit.

He might feel sad for a while.

But he should know that he was not made for the running race.

I believe he felt happy after "he helped the rabbit to win".

It is rewarding and satisfying to see the smile on the rabbit face.

It is exciting and fulfilling to hear him speak about his success.

Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.

We may not be a winner every time.

But we can help and see others start winning.

Let's help spot and groom a winner.

Everybody Goes Home


There will come a time when we must go home.

We talk about it and then we get ready.

We carry our knapsacks and we start on our way home.

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It may be a short distance away or it may be a long journey of many days, depending on where we live, and where is our home.

But we have made up our mind and the decision is final: we must go home.

It maybe that we have planned it before or after a few days trip.

Or it maybe because we are extremely bored and dejected after wandering away from home for many years.

Or it may have been a hard decision made after the stubborn heart gives way.

Yes, it's time to go home, we sigh and cry.

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Many things happen along the way, with many stops and hesitations.

There are always surprise gifts and presents to buy.

There are also those pondering and musing moments, thinking and planning about what to say and do when reaching home.

But it doesn't matter, the prodigal son is going home now, and the father will be waiting........

Yes, he will be waiting.......

Mother nature tells us so. The bird has its nest, the fox its hole, and a man his home.

Yes, everybody goes home........ and comes together.

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It doesn't matter where our home is.

Our home maybe in another town or city, with its modern comforts and conveniences.

Coming together somewhere will be nice; it strengthens our family ties and bonds.

Or our home is a hut in a remote village deep in the wood, where life is less complicated and confusing.

Here, there are the familiar smoke of burning firewood, the cheerful faces of barefooted children, and the friendly country folks carrying rattan backpack basket brimming with jungle produces.

Here we will chat, smile and laugh freely and unpretentiously.

Or our home is by the seashore.

Here we will enjoy the peace and tranquility of the calm sea during sunrise and sunset.

Here we will study the never-ending roaring, surging and tossing of the angry sea, and the determination and perseverance of the seafaring fishermen.

Here we will see real life in action, how men toils and works with two hands, under the providence and grace of God.

But it doesn't matter; we just want to go home.

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder and nothing is more joyful and fulfilling than meeting the eyes of many familiar faces.

All have grown! All have grown!

Tears well up in the eyes and stream down the face.

It is really heartbreaking and heartwarming!

Home. Finally home.

Then the rounds of handshakes, waving, hugging and kissing.

Home, finally home.

Everybody goes home.

Yes, everybody goes home.

Alone In Strange Places


Have you ever woken up one morning, not knowing what to do next?

You then go somewhere.

Sometimes you do window shopping. Sometimes you enjoy food in an eatery. Sometimes you take a stroll in a garden. Sometimes you visit a museum or gallery........

But for most of your time there, you go aimlessly with an empty mind and an emotionless heart. You are wandering around, wondering things and thinking things, and just don't know what else to do.

Strange people move around in strange places!

And I like strange places and enjoy them all.

I like loitering around during the weekend holidays or when I am really free and have all the time to myself.

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Moving and staying somewhere in a strange place can be really fun.

For a moment we can just stay still and see the world revolving around us.

Here we behold lots of funny happenings.

Here we see how people behave and interact.

Here we see many hand gestures and body movements, facial expressions and emotional reactions, and walking styles and techniques.

Here we can just enjoy ourselves looking around.

Here we don't have to put on a superficial mask and behave what we are not.

No one seems to mind if we lean against a wall or pillar of a building.

No one will take notice if we sit with folded legs or crossed legs.

No one will look at us for long even if we look around awkwardly and longingly at people around.

No one will mind if we occupy a place for a long time, reading newspaper, book or magazine, or simply talking alone.

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Everyone needs a little rest.

It doesn't matter what we do or where we go.

Too much of a busy time has tired us out and weighs us down.

Everyone tries to escape from their daily routines, boredom and frustration.

Everyone wants a change in their lives.

Everyone wants to refresh their spirit and soul.

And everyone wants some personal quality time to themselves.

Moving around in strange places will help.

It really doesn't matter where we go, locally or around the world.

We just want to do something different.

Come on, we just want to be left alone for a little while!

Simple Thoughts Of A Simple Man


It was really dark in the morning when I woke up. The rumbling peals of thunder and the bright flashes of lightning were rather noisy and scary, and they were moving nearer. Strangely, there was not much strong wind blowing. Everywhere was quiet and still, not even the barking of dogs and the moving of vehicles. Then suddenly the rain came down in fat droplets, slapping against the rooftop, making so much noise and sound.

It was a cooling and refreshing Monday morning. It was 30 minutes before my daughter and I went to school. We had to act fast before we were too late for class.

We had enjoyed our breakfast, taken our bath, changed our clothes, and got ourselves ready. Time for a little family chat and off we went.

The rain was not heavy at all except for the intermittent bursts of rain. Anyway, the sky was still too dark to make any sensible judgment. We got into the van and had the engine started after a few tries. The engine was too cold to start the day, I smiled to myself.

The journey was rather smoothed but slow. But I had to switch on the headlights to see the way clearly. Occasionally, I had to flick the wipers to life. There were no many vehicles around. But it was better to stay alert since everyone was driving at different speeds and braking at different points.

Upon reaching the school gate, there was a huge queue of traffic in front. Most parents were trying to drop their children very near to the gate.

The rain was getting heavy, and the wind stronger when I reached my parking place. I stepped down from the van and had a good look around before I got hold of my laptop and my tea container.

I lingered for a while, waiting for the rain to slow down a little. A little patience did help; the rain did slow down and I then took a shortcut to my office.

Sometimes our life is like that. A little trouble can make us ponder. A little ponder will then make us act. A little doing will bring us success. And a little patience will save our day. But too much worry is no good; it makes us upset. Too much thinking is no good; it gives us headache. Too much doing is also no good, its makes us dead tired and lazy. Add a little spice and a little excitement to our life and you will be able to see the differences.

And those are some simple thoughts of a simple man; it is always a journey of discovery and growth and contentment.

A Misty Morning


Driving through a dark area covered with thick mist has never been my wish early in the morning. Often it gives me those eerie and uncomfortable feelings. It can be that I have read and heard too many mystery and suspense stories, or that I had seen too many horror and scary movies.

But this morning the feeling was different because it was not that dark.

It was 7.15 in the morning. My wife decided to do an early morning shopping in the wet market. My daughter had a netball training session in the school; the teachers-in-charge were trying to prepare a formidable team for the coming tournament.

I took a quick bath, dried my body and put on clean clothes. Then I took a good look at myself in the mirror. Oh! How I had aged with those wrinkles and lines. I cleaned my face, checking on every detail. Then I applied some hair cream on my head and combed my hair slowly. I took another careful look at myself in the mirror. Not that bad looking after all.

I remembered I had told my students that everyone was handsome and beautiful in his or her own way. If that was not the case, then why do we insist on looking at ourselves in the mirror. Everyone in the class was happily smiling and laughing after that. Then I told them what really mattered was that we always looked decent and presentable.I shrugged and chuckled as I remembered the many details.

I walked out of the front door and pushed the sliding gate. The wheels were still good and the gate didn't opened with a loud noise. I never liked noises and could easily be agitated by them. But I noticed that the gate did produce some minor creaking sounds. Hopefully these wouldn't affect my neighbors' deep and calm sleep.

I went into my van. There was a few pages of newspapers lying inside and there my spectacles. My dear wife knew that I never liked to waste time doing nothing. It could spoil my day!

Then came my wife and daughter. We were all ready for our morning activities.

I sent my daughter to school first. I looked at my watch, making sure that I could send her there before time.

The traffic was not heavy. Those who were working in far places had moved very early. Those who were sending children to school had done so before 7 a.m. And surely many of those who were working nearby wouldn't like to go this early, I grinned to myself, nodding my head.

The afternoon session students were having their lesson this morning. The morning session students had to come in the afternoon. The school had insufficient classrooms. Every time when there was a big function or an important activity, some major adjustment would have to be made. Maybe the sun needs to come out from the west sometimes, I sighed and smiled to myself ruefully.

Not many students were seen moving around the school compound.

As usual, the school looked clean and tidy, very conducive for teaching and learning activities.

The guards were busy at the school gate, carefully examining everyone and keeping away intruders.

I dropped my daughter outside the front gate of the school. My wife then gave her a little reminder and off we were on our way to the wet market.

I dropped my wife near the fish market and she began her shopping. It would be a good time to buy some rare jungle products. Besides, vegetables, fish and meat at this time were fresh and attractive. I looked around, there were not many people there. Early morning shopping would be smooth and enjoyable.

I parked my van and enjoyed myself seeing people moving around and parking their vehicles. Some were still in their nightgown and pajamas, looking rather sleepy with tangled and unkempt hair.

More and more people and vehicles arrived. The wet market was once again busy with business activities, though the night before was a cold night of heavy downpour.

I began to read my newspapers and enjoyed every details of the stories and happenings. Once in a while, I looked up and glanced around, greeting familiar faces.

Before 8 a.m we were home.

The road was still misty, though a little less now.

The morning sun was slowly going up and up, showing its glory and strength.

As I reached the gate of my house, I stopped and pondered.....

Yea, everything runs smoothly at its own pace and styles. And we don't rush things around unnecessarily.

The mist would soon go and disappear, only after it had shown its impact, its potential, its beauty, and its all.