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Saturday, March 01, 2014

When I Wish I Was So Much Better..

There's something I need to get off my chest..

4 weeks ago, a student came to my class asking me something. He was mumbling and I dismissed it as a normal teenage grunt students use to seem cool. After asking him to repeat his question a few times, I felt I was embarassing the both of us so I sent him off to the Additional Maths class (also Form 4)..

..with hindsight, I guess the boy must have been terrified to be in that class for 2 hours :'(

You see, the class schedule is a bit muddled up where two Form 4 classes clash with each other, my Modern Mathematics class with Additional Mathematics class. And knowing Form 4 students, they usually only want to take Add Maths coz Modern Maths are easy peasy compared to Add Maths. Pastu bile masuk Form 5, kelam kabut la kan korang sbb rupenye tak master pun Form 4 punye syllabus!!

Anyway, the next week, the same boy came up to me mumbling about Maths class. I showed him to the class he attended the previous week but after a few more mumblings, I realized he was MY student.

That first day with him, I noticed he was very quiet but studiously tried to answer the exercises I gave them. Since all other students were also like that, I didn't actually give more attention to him. It was only after discussing the answers (with a minute till the end of the class) did I noticed he got most of his answers wrong.

So last week, I paid extra attention to him.. and that was when it hit me. He wasn't mumbling when I first met him. He actually did have a problem with speech. I was so embarrassed and ashamed with my first impression of him on that first week when I sent him to the Add Maths class.

This led me to another suspicion which has been confirmed by my roomate in uni just now, the boy was a special needs kid.

Once again I felt ashamed of myself. Why?

Because in class just now, we were revising Sets. I'd already finished with that topic a few weeks ago but most of my students were having a test on Sets in school so they asked me to bring extra questions for them to try.

I wasn't quite well today so it was a relief when they wanted to do this type of exercise as it required less teacher in front and more one-to-one correcting (where I could limit my talking.. what with my throat feeling as if it had gone through a shredder)

When I noticed the other boys avoiding him (I don't think it was intentional.. they, like me, just could not understand something different), I went up to him and noticed, though he was trying very hard to answer the questions I had handed out, he got all of them wrong.

In the end, I asked him to sit in front with me (I was feeling exhausted from the feeling-unwell thingey) so I could give him some one-on-one coaching.

Only now did it occur to me: Did I embarrass him?!

I really did not mean to. I just didn't want to keep walking to and fro in the class but now I fell so stupid for doing that.

What broke my heart was he really tried to listen. Tried to understand what I was explaining to him. In the end, the reason he couldn't answer was because he did not remember his algebra and linear equation. And I just learnt from Dayah, special need students usually cram all three years of study in their 3rd Form because they had other skills they needed to learn and master.

Now I really wanted to cry. Why?

I have normal students who'd rather play around in class without even having the decency to PRETEND they were trying to answer my questions!

My own school years, though nothing was easy (except Maths and English), nothing was hard either. I could ask whenever I didn't understand and communicate almost-perfectly with my teachers.

I never had to struggle hard to acquire the basic skills I needed in life.. and I could talk the ear off anybody if I wanted to.

And here I had a boy who was trying really hard, struggling all the way, even for the basic Maths concept (I could only talk about his Maths skills, but Dayah told me, he had to go to speech therapy his whole childhood)

Times like these, I wish I was a better teacher :'(

What I really want right now is to help boost his confidence. To help him go through his SPM much more easier (I do not kid myself by saying I could help him sail through without any problems, but I DO wish to help ease his burden)

I haven't been able to stop thinking of him and I really hope to be able to help him but I just don't know how to. I have never been patient as a teacher (the reason why I wasn't feeling well.. I shouted in my Monday and Tuesday class.. and did a bit of shouting on Thursday too.. though I also like to think that I'm quick to laugh too) and I'm so afraid if I'll scare him one day. Luckily, these Form 4 students are well behaved (maybe because there are less than 10 of them?!) so I haven't shouted to them.. yet.

I'm afraid I might do something wrong. Dayah agrees (she handles the special needs students in her school) that this boy has a very high spirit in learning, thats why he is one of the 6 special needs students taking SPM next year. I'm terrified if I might unknowingly demotivate him when at this very moment, I really want him to succeed.

Ya Allah.. Why am I not a better teacher? I really hope to be one.. and help those who really need my help.

Ya Allah.. please help me to help him. I can't stop thinking about the look on his face as he tried to find the meaning behind the exercise I gave them just now. How he tries so hard to remember that an A' set means he should use his finger to hide set A and all the other elements around his finger are the ones he needs. I really, really want to help him, make him feel more confident for his SPM which will make him more confident in his life. Please Ya Allah.. help me..

But for right now, I really hope I didn't scare him off. Please make him come back next week, and please guide me to help him in the best way for him. Please Ya Allah, make it easier for him.. and thank you Ya Allah, for bringing someone into my life who has made me realize I'm not as humble as I always thought I was. I may not seem to complain much on the outside, but You know, deep inside, I'm dissatisfied with so many things. So thank you, for showing me how much better a person I could be on the inside.

And please Ya Allah.. guide me.. I really need that now..

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Penang White Curry Noodles

As a kid, I loved it when Mama let us have Maggi for lunch/dinner (re: Maggi is actually the BRAND but its a norm to hear people calling instant noodles as Maggi here.. no matter what brand it is). My favourite then was Assam Laksa which graduated into Tom Yam once the flavour was introduced around the time I entered secondary school, thus, hostel life.

As I settled in secondary school, I realized I didn't actually like instant noodles that much so I seldom ate them eventhough I always brought the big packet to the hostel everytime I went back home. My friends would happily 'help' me finish them up and I didn't mind since I don't love them as much as I once used to. The only time you could see me actually eating them was on occasions when we didn't have much to do in the hostel on weekends so we'd boil a huge kettle of water and sit in a circle with our own bowls of hot instant noodles in front of us. It was more talking and laughing than eating so before I knew it, I actually managed to finish my own bowl.

This also happened during the uni years where I'd only eat if we were doing it as a group thingey. I never even bought any combo packs of Maggi, and instead opted to buy them at the L-Shoppe (hostel co-op) whenever the occasion arises.

I gradually stopped eating it altogether.. which is a good thing.. I think!

Anyway, around 2 years ago, I had to support myself with only the money I got from teaching tuition to schoolkids. During that time, I faced quite a lot of money problems while trying to support my studies at the same time.

One day, I realized  had nothing to cook and had little money to buy anything. Browsing through the nearest grocers, I noticed the packets of instant noodles sold individually and I promptly bought one packet.

It tasted like heaven.. well, heaven for me who was really hungry at that time.

After that, I started eating those noodles again, but only once in a while, not even once a month but, yes, I don't mind eating them anymore.

It so happened, while waiting for my notes being photocopied, I crossed the street to the local grocers to buy a drink. While paying, I noticed this packet of instant noodles sold at RM2. I was curious on why it was so expensive compared to the usual maggi sold (usually around RM0.80~RM1.20) so I bought one to try.

It took me a few days to make it since I wasn't really in the mood for anything instant in those first few days. When one day, since I was getting ready to go to class and needed something quick to prepare, I decided to make the said noodles..

..and I fell in love! So much that 3 days ago I went to buy the combo pack (sold at RM6.90 for a pack of 4, instead of the usual 5)

The gravy was thick enough to make you believe it is NOT instant at all.. and the flavour was so, err, robust (?) that you could imagine yourself cooking it from scratch. There was almost no trace of 'instant noodle' in it.. well, aside from the obvious curls of the noodles themselves.  And I, who almost never finishes she soup from those instant noodles, finished every drop of the thick and delicious gravy.. slurrrppppp~~

The name is My Kuali's Penang White Curry Noodles.


The picture doesn't do justice to the dish. The gravy is as thick as a non-instant curry mee consistency. I lie to you, not! I added some crabsticks and one egg in the gravy s it simmered.


As you can see, you are given some sambal-like paste which looks exactly like something you would have made yourself (Ok, my sambal DOES NOT look like this laaa.. more buruk haha..), some seasoning powder and some non-dairy creamer (which is what makes the gravy oh-so-thick).

The cooking part is just the normal cooking style.. NOT the hostel style la, tapi! The normal masak-atas-api style.

I've really fallen in love this time, thats why I'm sharing this. So please, if you see this at your nearest grocers, TOLONG LA try.. you won't regret it, I guarantee =)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sy Mau Jadi Franky =) Pt 5

So I was going through this blog, trying to find any idea on what to write since I'm once again lagging behind from my resolution of one-entry-per-week, when I remembered something.. yeay!

I never really shared the final outcome of my personal project I did towards the end of last year, didn't I? So here goes..

Closed up view.. with the small Jolly Roger on top missing!

View of port side

View of starboard
As you can see, I suck at putting the stickers properly. In the first picture, the un-smoothness of the sticker drove me crazy enough to re-try.. which just resulted into me ripping the sticker before I quickly re-stuck it, realizing I'm just making it worse.

Even the long sticker around the boat is so buruk here.. as you can see *sigh*

Still, I was very excited with the outcome. My first ever project of this sort. Still need practice but I don't mind hehe..

P/S My 7-year-old brother Irfan saw the ship and asked me if I wanted to give it to him *gulp* Its supposed to be for 14 and above but I guess after some repairing (am gonna use superglue and redo the whole thing) I just might give it to him since he's usually careful with his toys. Gonna have to tell him that this is not exactly a toy, though

Monday, February 10, 2014

Resolution updates.. kunun! Hehe..

Its only the beginning of the second month (errr, 10hb boley pass as beginning ka?) of 2014 and already I'm breaking a new years resolution of mine: To write more in my blog.. at least an entry a week! So from my calculations, I owe my blog around err, 4 entries?!


Well, not that I have a lot to write about anyhow.

Ohh.. but still. I've managed to revive my other blog (http://caterpillarbuku.blogspot.com). I'm the only one writing in it now, just like in the beginning. It was fun though while my friends had time to update, but they have their own families now so I understand their time constraint. Me, on the other had, didn't actually have a valid reason to stop writing there. The best excuse (which is still quite a lame one) I could come up with was because didn't read much for quite a while. Then when I started reading again, I didn't have time to write about my reviews. This time however, with me somehow having time to review in Goodreads, I decided this old blog needed posts too.. at least for my own reference since I don't like including spoilers in Goodreads. So after 3 years,that blog is now 'breathing' again =)

Hmm.. what else?

My classes are ok. So far, my aim to be a better teacher is going well. Better in sense that I still haven't shouted at my students haha.. Am getting better at counting to 10 whenever they test my patience. I've even managed to make some hard-to-smile students give me a smile or two (instead of taking half the year to do that) and coaxed them outta their shyness. Not much to some but to me, that's progress =)

And my resolution to lessen my time on mindless FB thingeys, though quite shaky earlier in the year (I still had to log on 2-3 times each day), by today, I've managed to NOT log on for more than 2 weeks already. Well, I actually logged on 2 days ago but when I saw the number of notifications, I simply logged out.. takuuuutt! Hahah..

(Though that DOES seem like I'm putting off things huh? Still, am kinda sure most notifications are just game or like related)

Ohhh.. I'm also Farmville-free for, hmm, lemme see, 3 weeks tomorrow!


Hehe.. ok! I know, most people wonder WHO plays Farmville nowaday?! Well, I'm one of them. Not the original Farmville which is too much already. Jenuh la nak maintain 4 farm pelik² cam depe suh maintain tu. But rather Farmville 2 where the animals give a happy dance whenever you feed them.

Well, yeahh.. still lame haha..

Anyway, another resolution that is quite on track is to FINISH READING all those books I keep buying. Especially last year, I bought more than I could read so when I was arranging my books into a new book shelf I had bought, I was surprised (and ashamed) to see how many books I haven't read..

..which lead to the other resolution to NOT buy books in January.. which I had broken.. which I have postponed as 'To NOT buy books in February'. I'd have added March too.. but lets not get ahead of ourselves eh.. I don't want to feel bad if I skipped February but buy some in March. If I manage to NOT buy till March, than it'll be an accomplishment for me.

Back to the actual finish-reading-all-books resolution, I've managed to finish 10 books now. The guilt of buying too much books last year is wearing off bit by bit hehe..

One important resolution is to clear the PhD clutter from the house once and for all. Its still where I had dumped them last year, even though half is now cluttered in my once-pristine 'library'. Seems like I just can't even start on it coz even now, it still hurts. I think I've got over the feeling sorry for myself stage (I should've gotten over long ago, I know.. but walk in my shoes please..). So those two 'dumping places' I have in the house is still as it is, with added dusts and cobwebs to make me even more determined to put off clearing it.. bad Ayu!

Ooohh.. another resolution I make every year: lose weight! Not really making much of a progress there even if I don't eat that much. Am thinking of taking up walking (jogging tu macam sangat impian tinggi melangit) like I used to do a few years back but as for today, I still haven't managed to make myself get ready after Subuh for the morning walks. The walking's not for weight loss though, more for a healthier start each morning coz I'm now feeling like 30 (haha..) instead of 16, like I always tell my students I am. The morning fresh air would help too, I guess, for a more positive outlook in what lies ahead (nope, am not trying to poetic here, more like trying to trick my mind into only positive thoughts)

Anyway, enough for now. Am on to my 11th book and hoping to finish it soon since I need to rearrange my bookshelves (I now arrange them by read and unread to make sure I don't leave any book out).

Am crossing fingers too, hoping that not much negativity could get past me like last year. It was tiring enough, and now I just wanna feel free..

Monday, January 06, 2014

Yea yeah.. suppose 'I love you too', then?

The first week of class is usually very relaxing when compared to the rest of the year. Students are still choosing which class (read: teacher!) they want to see for the whole 10 months before the end-of-year school holidays, therefore classes are typically still small and quiet..

..and yes, I DID have the illusion of that kind of class for these first few weeks since my previous 4 classes are filled with angels (who still haven't the confidence to show me their devil's pitchforks!)

Tonight's class started off quite shaky for me as I WAS LATE! Malu tak, cikgu datang lambat?!?! Sheeshh.. I kept hoping 'the boss' didn't notice it as I was sure to get an earful if he did. Dah la FiRST CLASS! I was not shaking with rage, more like shaking with terror.. and it lasted for a full half hour in class, making my writing get all squiggly and such.. sheesh!

In my defense, I WAS early. Its just that it was raining and so many students were registering (with their parents), thus the lack of a parking space for me. I had to go around 3 times before finally settling on a parking space that was far enough to force me to run to class, just so to not be too late (I was already 10 minutes late as it is)!

I was greeted by 19 faces, which is quite a surprise since usually my first classes only consist of less than 10 students. A quarter of them were some of my exstudents I taught 2 years ago during their PMR year, the rest were mostly new faces (some familiar too but not from my previous classes). I got 5 girls and the rest were, well, boys.. childish ones to be exact.

The first thing that made bells ring in my head was how eager they were. You know usually its the girls who come for the lesson, boys come only for entertainment? Today, suddenly most of the boys were very tentative with lots of questions.. with the occasional 'Cikgu Ayuuuuuuu' in a very gedik kinda way.

I rolled my eyes as usual, but not wanting them to lose their interest in the topic, I still answered their questions.

Then came the marking of their books. I'm the type of teacher who gives them questions, expecting them to answer within a considerable amount of time and then I'd promptly mark their books.. well, those who finish laa.. instead of just showing the answers in front, expecting them to correct their own mistakes (if any). The reason: If I don't check their books, jangan harap la they'd actually do it.

Anyway, to my surprise, more than half of them eagerly finished their exercises and quickly asked me to check their work. I was impressed.. right until I realized the reason they wanted me to see their books.

The first boy had an 'I ♥ Cikgu Ayu' neatly doodled on the first page of his book. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes till I could see my brain! Outwardly, I pretended I didn't notice it and just scolded him on how sloppy his work was.

The second boy had 'Cikgu Ayu' doodled on the cover of his book.. with small hearts flying across the phrase. I had to stifle a groan when I saw it and yes, this boy was also scolded, this time for a careless mistake.

And it went on and on for a few more of them that I finally rolled my eyes AND groaned out loud.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT talking about a student crush or something.. I KNOW these boys even if I haven't taught most of them and I realized what they were trying to do: rattle my chains! Nak tengok my reaction to their childish antics. SEBAB: most of them watched me and my face EVERYTiME I went to check their books and one boy pretended to be horrified (another major rolling eye action here) when I checked his book.. please laaa.. I wasn't born yesterday.

It didn't stop there. One boy raised his hands saying he didn't understand my lesson. When I went to him, he told me, "Cikgu, sy dah lama dah suke kat cikgu. Cikgu ingat kenapa sy amik kelas cikgu? Tapi cikgu tak penah pun perasan kan sy.." Seriously kau?!? Rase nak penyepak tak?!? And I might have, had I not finally found it hilarious.

By then, I was already convinced that these devils had actually planned this beforehand. And judging from the way they were cheekily grinning at me, I'm pretty sure I'm right.

So when one boy I taught since he was in Form 2 suddenly belted out a song to me about how his heart had been stolen as I was marking his book, I just gave him a stare that actually made him sing a bit longer to me, and decided to ignore him and just let them be. Boys will be boys, anyway.

Besides, its just the first week of class. They are still adjusting to the idea they have a HUGE exam at the end of the year and since most of them think I'm one of the 'cikgu sporting', I guess I'll let them off the hook this week. As for next week, I'm still crossing fingers hoping I'd have a 'normal' class by then =D