Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ode to teachers 2

Andre and his form teacher have shared a stormy relationship over two years. To say they have no rapport is an understatement - it's like Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. There's definitely no love lost between them. I've collected at least a dozen complaint notes from his teacher over the two years and she has stopped trying to say anything complimentary about him in his report book. Andre has returned the favour by not bothering to give her anything for Teacher's Day.

But at the end of the day, Andre has done well in his examinations and he has always come home knowing his work. I have to give credit where credit is due - so here's a poem I wrote as a tribute (of sorts) to his teacher.

In p1, on the very first day of school
You walked into the classroom, looking pretty and cool
Told us your name was Miss Li
While smiling kindly at everybody

English and Maths you tried to teach us
30 hyper children in one class
Very soon, you stopped smiling a lot
Only so much patience you have got.

“Miss Li, can I drink water?”
“Miss Li, I can’t find my eraser.”
“Miss Li, can I go toilet?”
“Miss Li, he drew on my shirt.”

When you talked, I talked too
So what you said, I never knew
You made me sit behind on my own
I really didn’t like to be all alone.

When I went up to p2
I thought I’d gotten rid of you
Wah man! So sian!
You are my teacher once again.

“I’m Mrs Wong now”, you say
You got married over the holiday
But the change is only in name
You are still exactly the same.

“Andre, why are you dreaming?”
“Andre, didn’t you learn your spelling?”
“Andre, what is 71 - 43?”
“Andre, are you listening to me??”

I can’t remember what is 8 x 4
Learning times tables is such a chore
Is it “everybody likes” or “everybody like” again?
Grammar is driving me insane.

Mrs Wong, why do you keep scolding me?
Don’t you know I have homework allergy?
English and Maths are so boring, you see
I only like recess and PE.

You wrote to my mother to complain

"Andre didn’t do his work again.”
My mother got mad, she yelled at me.
“Another note I don’t want to see!”

Your next note I hid from my mother
So that a scolding I wouldn’t get from her
Alamak! I didn’t think at all
That you would give my mother a call.

Teaching is much harder than you thought
You must have thought of quitting an awful lot
But still you try and try
Even though sometimes you wonder why.

You taught us everything bit by bit
Repeated yourself until we got it
Addition, subtraction, multiplication
Grammar, tenses, punctuation.

When all is said and done
You helped me get my Band 1
So Mrs Wong, to you I say
“Thank you for everything, you are a-ok"

10 comments:

eunice said...

Monica, I love this poem! You are so talented.

I have to say that schools in Sin should consider getting Teacher's Assistants like they do here.In schools here, class size is max 25 and you have teacher and TA. TA helps with the little nitty gritty things so that teacher not so stressed and I think it helps.

Hope Andre gets a teacher next year that appreciates his unique-ness

Anonymous said...

Reading your poem brings a smile to my face :-)

BTW, do you think boys relate better to male teachers in general? I know many parents prefer this. They also prefer boys to go to an all boys' school. Same goes for girls.

What's your opinion?

LL

monlim said...

Eunice: I think the problem remains that they just don't have enough teachers. It's already a breakthrough for them that they can offer 30 in a class for p1 and p2. At one point, they tried to hire more and it just ended up that so many crappy people who are obviously not interested in teaching got hired! So it's a vicious cycle. But yes, I hope he gets a great teacher next year, thanks!!

LL: Lilian is one who definitely prefers male teachers for her sons! I think male teachers relate to boys better in general, female teachers cannot understand why boys can be so juvenile! I like my kids to be in a co-ed school at pri level cos I think they rub off each other in a good way (girls learn not to be so siao-jie and boys learn not to be so rowdy). But at sec level, when the hormones kick in, I'll definitely prefer them to be in single sex schools.

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica,

Re: Boys relating better to male teachers, I am inclined to agree with you, but at this stage no firsthand experience yet.

Perhaps Lilian can comment? What are the unique (inherent) qualities of male teachers that make them better teachers for boys? Do male teachers nag at all?

LL

Lilian said...

Love the poem Monica, really funny. You are a truly talented writer. Am currently out of internet action at home, logging in from school, aarrggghhhh. It did make me realise just how addicted I am...definitely suffering withdrawal symptoms.

LL: There are good and bad teachers, regardless of gender. I'm just basing my preference on experiences of my brothers and male friends in an all-boys school back in Malacca. The camaraderie/bonding is amazing; these boys grow up to be life-long friends. And all the stories they tell are almost always about their male teachers; such is their influence. Again, there are good and bad stories.

Female teachers are great for boys when they are very young (kindy years), but when the boys get to pre-teen years, they don't want to be treated like kids anymore. Female teachers tend to be quite patronising, nag a lot, punish for every little thing. Male teachers tend to be more calm, funny, and relate to and understand boys' natural cheekiness. Again, this is a generalisation and there are definitely female teachers who are very cool.

monlim said...

Lilian, you are the president of IAA! But I'm just as bad lah, my back is aching very badly I'm still at the computer...

Great reply re: teachers. Agree with you that male teachers (except the boring ones) tend to be funnier and relate better to boys' cheekiness.

LL: Hope Lilian's answer helps you!

bACk in GERMANY said...

What... I thought Lilian invented IAA over the Internet! :D

Can't agree more with the traits of a male teacher... i just have to look at myself with my kids and then my husband with my kids... no guess who's more fun to be with :(

But Monica, I was in all girls school for 10 yrs before JC, and it's those girls from co-ed who were truly siao-jie during my time. Aiyoh... always never true to what they said... say one thing, think one thing, and yet do another thing, whereas girls from an all-girls backgr would speak their mind, even if it meant they could invite disagreement!

Your poem is so funny...
esp like the homework allergy part and "alamak"!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your sharing, Lilian. Interesting observation regarding boys in an all boys' school.

Another similar male bonding time for Singaporean guys would be during NS.

LL

San said...

Hi! I must say I like your poem! ;) Good job!

lyx said...

Fantastic poem!

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