Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sigh, it's that time of the year again. The most aggravating time for a teacher. And the worst part is that these papers aren't going back to the kids, just their marks, so it doesn't help leaving exasperated red-inked comments like "Do you even know what's in your syllabus?!" Or "I shall hold you personally responsible in the event of my mental breakdown!"

In particular, being an English teacher has to be the stressful job ever at evaluation time. When I first started out, I was tickled to death by the absurd things I read. I thought they were the absolute height of hilarity and would note down and quote the unbelievably whackier ones. Then came stage ii: I was no longer amused but outraged by the indifferent mangling of tenses and verbs and prepositions. I'd slash through the offending lines and mark them "MEANINGLESS!" Or sometimes "ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!!" Then came stage iii: I'm now completely inured to it all and resigned to the fact that these kids are just incapable of constructing proper sentences in English. I don't open the papers anymore with any sense of anticipation at being entertained or having my ulcer act up. I just sigh and get on with it.


10 Things Teachers Would Love to Write on a Student's Paper

1. I would not allow this student to breed.
2. This student has delusions of adequacy.
3. This student is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.
4. This student is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
5. Student has been working with glue too much.
6. If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.
7. Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.
8. It’s hard to believe the sperm that created this student beat out 1,000,000 others.
9. If this student had two brain cells, they'd kill each other.
10. This student has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.


Saturday, March 24, 2007


The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, then circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.

- Charles Swindoll

I like this. I've loved Swindoll's writings ever since I read his book Come Before Winter (which introduced me to the term "sweating the small stuff". And this attitude thing is something that I need to remind myself every day, every hour. I try not to be but I'm a reactionary kind of person. If someone's nice, I'm nice. If someone snubs me, I snub them right back. But it's immature and doesn't do anything for me in terms of personal growth so I need to keep reminding myself that I'm in charge. I call the shots. I decide how I'm going to act and feel. Easier said than done but at least I have Swindoll's wise reminder to prop my spine back into place when it sags under the onslaught of unpleasant encounters.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who tells the crocuses it's spring?
What calendar informs the daffodils
To bloom, or notifies the birds to sing,
Or bids the grass to blow across the hills?
What almanac has urged the leaves to wake,
Or stirred the tulips in their narrow beds?
What messenger instructs the buds to break,
Or violets to lift their purple heads?
And yet they know.
They know.
This is the hour when spring takes over.
Let the winter pass...
You cannot keep it from the wistful flower,
You cannot hide it from the eager grass.
It's spring. It's spring! The news has got around,
Spreading like fire across the quickened ground.

May Winkler Goodman
I'd meant to post this pretty Spring poem earlier but never got around to it until now when it's more Summer than Spring. Not that we actually have Spring in these parts. It's either winter where you need to sun yourself outside (January came and went with everyone doing basically that, just trying to catch some sun all day). Or it's Summer where we all wilt even up here in the cooler climes of the mountains. Or it's the third and my least favourite season, the monsoon where everything's wet, muddy and mildewed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The moon was so beautiful last night I just had to post this. Maybe I have a lunar fetish. Maybe I just like night scenes when it comes to photographs. Not that I'm a night person by any means though. I'm one of those increasingly rare, outdated breed that start yawning by 8.30 pm, unless I'm trawling the Net or being thoroughly entertained by something or the other. I need 8 hours sleep at the very least or I start wilting at noon. I truly envy those people who can survive on 4 to 5 hours sleep. Maybe it's a genetics thing, maybe it's just force of habit. And I did grow up at a time when power wasn't around 24/7 and we'd sometimes do our homework by the light of kerosene lanterns. It's such a relief being able to just flick a little switch and call it a day...