Tuesday, December 24, 2013

thank you for reading

I've come to this page several times over this past month tyring to get something down but it has never come to anything. When I went off facebook early this month (sorry I'm no longer there), I thought of writing a long entry on how I felt saying goodbye to it.. haha.. Then I thought of writing about how much time I feel I'm losing this holiday cuz I haven't been able to finish a single book though I've started on so many.. :D  Point is, I think I stopped myself writing them because it was just so mundane. (Even if I think blogs sometimes can actually make the most boring stories become fascinating tales)

So I was thinking.. maybe it's time I moved on to greener pastures.. In other words, I think I need to do some changes to this blog..

It has long occured to me that my musings here mean only so much to the writer. Me. Of course I aim to please others too in the sense that I always hope that whatever is shared here can touch somebody else out there. After all, aren't those what blogs are for? To express thoughts, ideas, etc. To connect to others or at least to create some sort of response or afterthought for readers?

Friends ask me why I write and what I write. I try and give a convincing answer that makes them want to come and read it. But I don't think I have been successful :p Which leads me to conclude that I write for me mostly. How selfish can that be... haha..

Anyway, I've been thinking of dedicating my new blog to someone. From now on I'll be writing for someone.  A very special person. But I know that it can benefit others too, hopefully.. :) I sometimes think that at least when I'm no longer on this earth, my words can remain alive and bring meaning, as long as someone reads it..

I'd like to leave some part of me, buried in between words.

So, the new blog will be dedicated to my beloved Khadeeja Najwa. My daughter. May she find lessons in what I share and may it be a source of comfort when I'm gone..


Before I embark on the journey of the new blog, I'd like to say thank you for reading all this while.. Till the next entry.. happy new year!

XOXO

Sunday, October 27, 2013

what you do to me

There's this joke I think you must have heard about students' excuses for not getting homework done - cuz the dog ate it :P.. Well I kinda was given a similar excuse like that because someone skipped class last week - because his cat died (and he was depressed). In a moment of anger, I quickly scoffed the excuse and said `you expect me to believe that?'.. only to regret it much much later because the student was telling the truth. In my defense, my anger had stemmed not only from that one incident but was an accumulation of frustration and anger I had felt but never quite expressed...

Moral of the story: it may have felt good to go into an anger spree moment (since at the end of the class I had taken extra time to scold the guilty ones at the expense of everyone else in the class -it wasn't just one student who had skipped class..).. but it just left a bitter taste in my mouth and in my heart after I recalled all the things I had said to them :(

And this is coming from the person who normally doesn't make angry look angry. But oh, what these kids do to me..

Yet, I believe there are always other ways to handle `sticky' situations in class and I vow to try and not get my emotions all tangled in a knot in the aftermath of such a situation.. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Dear XXX

I was once a student like you who when it came to studying, needed silence. It made me think better and also absorb more. I suppose I'm no different now than I was before - I work better when everyone else is asleep :) When do you think I have time to write here? Of course it's during these rare occasions of solitude.

Been harping about writing to my students for weeks now and rarely do I try to put myself in their shoes and think about the challenge of writing. Maybe because it has become second nature to me.. I keep telling them that in order to be good at writing you simply must write. Just write anything to start with. But later on what is needed is also a reason for writing, plus an audience, even if the audience is yourself.. ;)

So today, I'd like to write a letter. Something I haven't done in a really long time. Simply because facebook, twitter and instagram have all `taken over' in narrating the story of my life..(on some days).. In the spirit of written assignment (year 2 students should know what this is..) I will write an informal letter (such a cliche choice of students) to a long lost friend/ student/ relative who I have not seen for God knows how long. The purpose of this letter is to share things in my life right now. (so not a lame excuse because this is what people did before the invention of the internet.. )

Dear XXX,

I really cannot remember the last time we were in touch. Time seems to have edged its way into our life and forced us to go about our business without pause. Well, guess what, I'm pausing now :) How are you my dear friend? I sincerely hope that you are in the best of health and living a good life. I thank God that I'm in a good and happy place now.

I still teach and I still love what I'm doing. With age I guess I'm becoming a more `seasoned' teacher who is now less gullible. I can smell problematic students from afar and know pretty well when there are jewels to be polished. I also still believe that there are no loss causes and I try to be optimistic about students who constantly need scolding or reminding.. (though this part still breaks my heart all the time).

Besides teaching, what I treasure most is of course being a mother. After 11 years of `honeymooning' the center of our world is now our dearest daughter.. Motherhood is such a grand experience, one I praise Allah for letting me have. And so with all duties and roles you have to play, comes a lot of challenges too and to be honest, there are days when I feel having a pair of hands (plus hubby's) is really not enough.. :(   I could really go on ranting about this but suffice to say, I'm learning everyday!

What about you? How're your children? How's studies? Are you taking in all the experiences living abroad? Don't you miss Malaysia? When are you coming back? We miss you here. 

Mama and Papa are well. Of course they are aging but I always see them as strong beings who amaze me all the time with their ability to do so many things at their age. Mama may not be so strong in her knees now but she bounces back every time after one of her painful episodes and the next thing you know she's cooking rendang and nasi minyak.. :) Papa on the other hand is still working and now has a smart phone! :)) He'll be 68 next month. We have great parents Alhamdulillah. I hope that I am as strong willed as they are when I'm their age..

I don't know what else to update here. I could talk about a million other things but you'd be bored to death.. :p  But if you must know.. I'm currently reading Life of Pi and several other books I started but haven't finished. Also hubby and I are into homeopathy and medicating ourselves that way.. Alhamdulillah so far so good and it tastes like a sweet :) Plus I wish I could exercise more. Have not been on my bike for 2 years now and it's getting dusty in the store room. 

Well.. I have to go. Hope you've been entertained by this letter.. Have a long weekend ahead and I'm looking forward to some family time and maybe me time.. huhu.. If you're back in town we should catch up with a meal or coffee. Till then, do keep in touch! Take care.

Love,
Shereen

ps/we now only have 3 cats left but also 3 fish - Wawa talks to them.. poor baby, I think she wants a sibling... :D



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

choices

So here I am, almost 3 months since I last wrote and almost half awake trying to tap away some epic post to add to the list of ramblings on this blog.

I'm probably like my daughter who has been mastering the art of staying awake just so she can play with her toys and run around happily hiding behind curtains and testing Mama's patience and strength to stay awake too.. :p

Clearly the days of being able to stay up (even till 11pm!) have left me. It is during this time that I pray for energy and maybe some form of `youthfulness' to spring from me so that I can keep up with an active 2 year old. These are really the joys of motherhood.. and I feel blessed to be able to experience it ;)

Yet I still do savour the moments when she's asleep and I try and squeeze in all the time I can manage to do what I like. But mostly it's me doing things that I have to, rather than those that I'd like to do.. haha.. And that is life. Or more like an example of the choices we always have to make in life.

If only some students of mine were able to make the right choices. It would save us teachers the trouble of scolding and lecturing. It would save them from damaging their future. It would not lead them astray.

I say this in the most general sense. And yet I am imagining current problems faced by some of my students. And when I think of it, it boils down to the choices they've made.

Still, however sad it may sound, I choose to remain optimistic in times of darkness. Mistakes need to be made in order for us to learn from them. And bad choices can sometimes be the best choice we've made for ourselves. 

At some point, you can't help yourself from wanting to be the saviour of these troubled beings. But one can only do so much since you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink...


Monday, July 1, 2013

bringing in the new

As with the beginning of a new semester, I'm all pumped up to embark on another journey of teaching.. There's nothing like the novelty of meeting students for the first time. Well at least in my case, it's technically the first time even though the students have been in college for a year.

Clearly, having to take over a class from another teacher is not much different than getting a fresh new class.

Yet as much as I accept the new faces, I'm often reminded of the old ones who have left. I try to remember the things I did in their classes and hope that I can be a better teacher, if not the same one. Teaching is kinda like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it. Once you're standing in front of those eager faces, it's non-stop talking from then on.. haha..

Well.. anyway.. this is me, probably, trying to express my resolutions in so many words. Trying to envision lessons that will be inspiring, uplifting and most importantly of benefit to the students. Trying to assure myself that I should know what I'm doing, having been teaching for this long. Because even though it's like getting on a bicycle once more, it is still a pretty daunting process, one that many teachers repeat and in spite of carrying a heavy baggage of experience and knowledge, amazingly we always get something new for the taking - experience, knowledge and such.. plus potential broken hearts along the way.. :P

A student came up to me knowing I was the teacher who will take over and said `be kind to us, teacher'.. Well, I think it works both ways :)


Friday, June 7, 2013

guilty pleasure

A friend asked on facebook recently what was your guilty pleasure. She openly admitted that hers was going away on work trips (lucky her to get to travel a lot) and being away from her family (husband and 2 kids). Which is why it is called a guilty pleasure because first, you should feel bad (guilty) about admitting it but at the same time you should enjoy it all the same.

Being an oxymoron, the moment you admit to having it (a guilty pleasure), it kinda makes you feel that you're saying something you're not really entitled to. But yet you are.. 

I suppose the dilemma most mothers have is that. The part where you love spending time with your children, but deep down you're also dying to just have a moment to chill with friends, go shopping, finish that book you've started and maybe just finish a meal in one go..

Sounds like me :D

Well I didn't comment on the facebook status of my friend for fear of revealing a part of myself to people who don't even know me.. But it made me thinking that the thing she wrote shouldn't really be something she should be guilty of doing. It's something needed, once in a while.. At least as far as mothers are concerned :)

The only difference is of course how you want to go about `claiming' that time.. I for one have only just let myself be buried in books and work when away from family. Thank God for chick lit, I have been able to go about this holiday indulging in some kind of guilty pleasure. But seriously, those books sometimes make me mad about how people write about women.... But that's another story..

So, what's your guilty pleasure? ;)


Friday, May 31, 2013

my me time

I have just finished watching this scary movie which I refuse to let haunt my sleep so that's why I'm writing at 1.30 am and listening to love songs.. (so they can drown these scary thoughts that something is standing behind me right now..)

It was a stupid ending anyway so I shouldn't really feel scared..

After about a week since my holidays I have to say I am much rested (from thinking of work). But as a mother to an active 20 month old baby girl I wouldn't say I am that rested :p

So here I am yet again grabbing this me time where I can type away on this laptop and listen to some sappy music. Mind you, on most days I would be asleep just as soon as my baby sleeps. The perks of putting your baby to sleep- you get to fall asleep too and not feel guilty about it :D

Clearly I'm rambling. 

Will come back and write with more gusto and something much better.

good night.............


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

the last leg

When things come to an end it can either be a much-awaited or dreaded time in your life. Ending the IRP session last week was somehow a mix between the two.
 
As I write this, my dear students are struggling to finish the last leg of the race to the IB exam. A scenario I have been able to witness these past 6 years. In my attempt to be a little melodramatic, I told them over a round of cupcakes on the last day that it was time for me to let go of their hands. That they are now going to go to battle without me. It's funny that as teachers, all you want to do is give them all the help that they need. But of course most of the time, what you can do is only give them a little push and shove and the rest is up to them.
 
In the past I've always had trouble saying goodbye to my students. But I'd like to think I've evolved from the clingy teacher to the one who can now let go. I have to believe that all has been done and pray that God will enlighten their hearts and minds to understand the knowledge they have received and to be able to weave it into the answers in the exam.
 
 
I pray they understand to answer all things right,
I pray they all work hard and work with all their might
I pray they leave the college taking all the good and bad
I pray they remember and maybe write, if not I'd certainly be sad.. ;)
 
 
Good luck my dears.
 
XOXO
 
 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

erasing a memory..

As far as I can remember, whenever I was asked to write down my hobby, `reading' always appeared on my list. I probably have to thank my mother for inspiring the interest in me and my siblings.. We were surrounded by them while growing up and I remember sometimes taking the pleasure in just holding a book and smelling it. Ok, that sounds creepy, but it's not what you think..;)

My eldest sister is now the one who pushes us to continue reading.. She's probably the most avid reader among us and everytime she buys a book and finishes reading she'll leave it at my mum's house and we all take turns reading it. Recently, another sister of mine left a stack of her books at my mum's and I delightfully took one home as my latest read.. When I opened the cover to the first page I was surprised to see that it was a book I had given her as a birthday gift 7 years ago! I had no recollection of ever seeing or buying it. If not for my note and signature inside, I wouldn't have known at all.. Talk about memory loss..:p

And you see that's the thing, the mind is a powerful storage area where you can keep almost any memory you wish to keep and come back and reminisce it. Or in some cases, like mine above, some can even be erased - intentionally or not. I think I've written about memories a couple of years back and today I'm coming back to it. In two separate incidents recently I discovered how much some memories just can't be erased. And we're talking about the most painful ones.

Everyone must have had a bad past. And as much as you move on in life some memories remain intact and the damage done to yourself never really goes away. I find that sad actually. The fact that the memory is still clinging to you.

Maybe it's a good thing, I don't know. So that you're going to be constantly reminded to be more wary of people in the future. So that you don't fall into a trap and become a victim, etc.. But the fact of the matter is, it seems that you don't really have peace in your heart. Because what hurt you before, actually still does hurt.

To my two friends who I'm kinda writing about here, I pray that you will find peace in your heart and forgive and forget...

Friday, April 5, 2013

"I need space"

If you ask me what's one of the most common excuses of why people ask for a break up (in a relationship) it would be because "I need space". Not that anybody ever used it on me, but since I've lived some number of years.. I think I can surely say that this is true.

As cliche as it may sound, `I need space' is used for the obvious reason that the person who said it is probably reconsidering why he/she suddenly doesn't feel like continuing the relationship and therefore needs time(space) to think.. or maybe because they just feel that they indeed have no space - to think, feel, breathe or move about, due to the nature of the relationship..

And as much as it hurts to be told so, I suppose those words may actually ring true.

I recently attended a conference on education and teaching and learned something new about space.

In one of the sessions I attended, the speaker was talking about creativity and how we can be creative. One of the ways of how we can be is, guess what.. to do with space! To be more specific, the design of space. Basically in his example, in order for us to generate creativity in a classroom, a school needs to rethink how the classroom or even better, the whole school, is designed. 

He showed an example of a school (I don't remember where) that had a classroom with 3 different kinds of seating arrangements: one that allowed for groups to discuss, one space for those who needed alone time, and another where students were able to focus on the teacher. They were 'design conditions for mastery, autonomy, purpose,play and passion'. How cool is that?

Anyway.. it wouldn't be wrong to dream that one day I'll see a classroom like that in the school that I teach.. haha... An unconventional idea.. but who knows, it may allow for creativity and better opportunities for learning.

So, you may see now how meaningful the phrase "I need space" is since it may just allow you to have more time to think. Something that we don't have time to do sometimes... :p

But then again, I believe that despite the limited space that we have in our life, there is always room for creativity if you just allow yourself time to reflect, imagine and experiment.  Even if you fail in your efforts, at least it's a `praiseworthy failure'.. :)





Monday, February 4, 2013

a stolen moment

Considering this is my first post in the year 2013, it really should be something grand.
Yet here I am, stealing a moment of "free-ness" and paying a visit to this dusty blog of mine with nothing much to say except that I may have just baked my 300th cupcake!

This is what I've been up to since my absence.. haha.. Baking after 10pm seems to have been the trend. Always after the little one has gone to bed. Then often finishing at 2.. 

I'm amazed at the strength I've had to endure with such little amount of sleep and going into class looking all `fresh' and important.. :p I suppose that's what happens when you do something with passion. Allah has been by my side to help me get through this, thank you Allah.

It's kinda funny since almost all of my orders have been from colleagues at school.. :D

There's still a lot more to improve on. I go into many websites and feel my cupcakes pale in comparison. But I'll keep on trying..

Well anyway.. I've actually been thinking about a lot of things to write about but it will need me taking a lot more time to compose those thoughts..

So till another post.. I need to get myself to bed!



Aging?

Something I've been discussing in class with my kids lately has led me to think of the many possibilities that all of us have in life. ...