Friday, 17 April 2015


As a teacher, I am constantly plagued with self-doubt and a little tingle in my heart that can only be diagnosed as anxiety. Am I doing enough? What are their parents thinking? Oh God, Jimmy, stop making farting noises! And more than often, I hate to admit, we teachers get the short end of the stick, hearing "constructive" feedback from parents, colleagues and bosses about how to better our teaching practices.

                                          When all we really want is some R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Just kidding, although Ms. Franklin was on the right track.

I have been working with a student for the past 2 months, trying to improve her overall writing and training her to use specific skills to work more independently. With her, I try to focus on equipping her with techniques she can use so that she can recognize her own mistakes and attempt to correct them. I realized from day 1,  she was a student that needed to be monitored to be kept on track. However, because I am only with her once a week for one hour, there was no way for me to ensure she stayed focus and put in the effort I knew she was capable of. So although I had a very crunched 1 hour split between 3 students, I made sure to review her book summaries with her, have her correct her own mistakes, allow her to self-reflect or "mark" herself on how she thought she did and what she could improve on and go over some ways to perform close reading and how to use context clues to help decipher correct answers. Over the next few weeks, she has asked me to take the time in class to self-edit her own work and has grown so much more independent. Her sentences are clearer and we are now working on her oral summaries. Overall, she has made such progress.

As I worked with her today, she made sure to remind me that her mother wanted her to finish all her homework in class. However, with her needing additional support, we failed to complete one worksheet. "Oh shit," I thought, "I hope her mom won't be pissed." As my day ended, she scurried to my classroom and told me very proudly that she got 100% on all 5 tests that were administered after the class. Note: These were on the worksheets we worked on together prior. I was so happy for her and not knowing the proper etiquette, high-fived her and told her to continue working hard and to be proud of herself. As I packed my bag, her mother shyly came into the room with a bright smile on her face. She greeted me and thanked me wholeheartedly for working with her daughter because she has seen all of her improvements in both her homework here and her grades at school. She continued by giving me a handshake/attempt at a hug/small bow and wishing me a nice weekend.

I am still smiling about this, because a) I've never been bowed to, but found it very common in Korean cultures and more importantly b) Yes, I am doing something right!

So despite the fact that I sometimes doubt myself as I allow my kids to show me their Yu-Gi-Oh cards in the last 5 minutes of class, I am making a difference, and that's what matters. Recognized or not, I love what I do. Hopefully these small little gestures help to affirm the profession I work so hard in and will continue to serve as reminders to better myself, xo

Sunday, 12 April 2015


"What day of the week is it? What month is it? Is Obama still the president!?" Are the common questions I ask myself as I slowly lose track of time and foremost, my sanity. (I am happy to say he is still the president, although I am in Canada and should be more concerned with my own country's affairs).

Looking back at my previous blog posts, I chuckle to myself at how much I complained at being NOT busy. "Oh naive child, just wait until January. That's when shit really hits the fan." Is what I would say to myself if I had multiple personality complex with an annoying tendency to talk in third person. But that's another story.

Starting mid January, I started my new year's resolution of saying "YES" to things that scared me. And I think I took my my advice a little too liberally, because well...everything scares me. So on top of adding more hours to my part-time tutoring job, I also added to my plate a new job as a daycare teacher, a new ESL additional qualification course, a volunteer position as an outreach coordinator, a new opportunity as a workshop leader, and becoming a birthday party team member.* Basically, my work week escalated from a mere 11 hour week to a whopping 40-50 hour week. And what I use to consider stressful, became things that I actually looked forward to. That's right, my new added stressors made my actually appreciate what I had before, like my part-time job. Who knew?

I use to pray for a greater power to bestow me with new opportunities to keep myself busy, to give myself some sort of identity. And for the past 4 months, I have both loved and struggled with this new profound lifestyle. I found myself neglecting my health, squeezing in a social life I knew was affecting my energy, and pushing away any "me" time I had (unless taking afternoon naps or binge watching anime counts). Now don't get me wrong. I am extremely proud of myself, and my bank has seen digits that have never graced my TD app screen since I started my account. But if it be any lesson to anyone else out there, the only reason why I have time to write this blog post is because I have a 3 day doctor's order note saying I need to stay in bed because of a virus infection. Yup, my body finally shut me down (literally) and told me to stop working so damn hard.

I'm currently saving up for Europe, so I'm not sure how many hours I can afford to sacrifice, but I know that sacrificing my health and happiness is not worth it. I recently read from an acquaintance, that in this day and age, we usually tend to value multi-tasking but it is single-tasking that we must learn to master. Basically, the more we spread ourselves thin the less effort we can invest into those opportunities that are important. Successful people have to say no to things that don't further their growth. There will always be new pathways for one to forge. As a result, I realize I need to take a step back from what I have been doing and reevaluate if my current schedule is making me stronger or sucking me dry. Basically, I have experienced both extremes, one being time-consumed and one being work-consumed, and now I crave and need a balance of both worlds. So thank you sucky immune system, I got your message loud and clear.

All in all, blogging was a much needed therapy to bring me back to my roots, reflect on some previous posts, and crash me back down to Earth. I can't wait to take tomorrow off and start the week off with a healthy dose of me time, xo

*If you are wondering what this means, my coworker explains sums it up pretty nicely. "You know those movies where there are kids going crazy at a birthday party with like cake all over their face? And then you have those poor employees rocking in the corner or trying to pick up teeny weeny bits of confetti everywhere? Yup, that's what I do."