Whee! So if I don't restrain myself, I'm going to pre-empt the multitudes of good news I have, and that would be so bad, not to mention confusing for my loyal readers, so I will exercise great restraint and proceed chronologically and (somewhat) logically.

First of all, I went to work yesterday and the vague butterflies in my stomach were immediately dispelled because I had an e-mail labelled "Angus Ross Prize" and when I opened it, ahhhhhhhh, I found that both the Angus Ross Prize winner and one of the runners-up were my ex-students! Ahhhhhhhhh! I just went ballistic in the office. My colleagues were highly amused. I was like, "Yes!" and "Yes!" and --- well, pretty much, that was it. I felt so high.

The Angus Ross Prize, by the way, is the prize given out for the best English literature script written in the entire November sitting of the A Level scripts. It's given to the best script out of, like, 10,000 scripts. And Peggy won it! And Sabina got runner-up! And I'm so happy!

That good news promptly unstressed me. One main worry of mine was that Peggy wouldn't win the prize, see, because Peggy is an amazing student and if she didn't win, that might have implied that something went awry in the teaching of literature, which brings the entire finger-pointing exercise back upon my colleague and me --- and especially me 'cause I'm the younger and less experienced of us both. Let me put it this way: Peggy should've won it even if she hadn't attended literature classes for two years. But she did, and I'm off the hook (in a manner of speaking, not that I was ever really on it, but this is exam-crazy Singapore) and she did fabulously besides, and Sabina came up from behind to sneak off with the runner-up position, which is awesome too because her flair for literature really bloomed in the last 6-8 months that I taught her, and this sentence has gone on for just too long, which tells you how high I still am, more than twenty-four hours after the fact.

So that was yesterday morning. I piddled about doing some work, then darted off at 12:30 pm before any last-minute crisis or assignment could fall upon me. I met my ex-colleague, who works in another Division in the Ministry, and we headed back together. As it turns out, the teachers already had all the grades, just that the result slips weren't ready and the teachers weren't supposed to tell the students yet, so I spent some time exulting over all my ex-students' grades and also catching up on gossip with friends from the staff room.

And then it was 2 pm and the kids found out from themselves and there were so many moments. There was the kid who topped the class who never imagined he would and he started tearing and then he called home to tell them and after that, he was tearing some more. There was the kid who needed an A for math to get into Cambridge University and got a B and was heartbroken (though she did splendidly in everything else) and required much comforting. It sounds ridiculous, but in an atmosphere where almost half the school waltzed out with three or more As, it's pretty hard psychologically to be happy with two As or less, even if it's all the usual kids who got the straight As. Good stories, bad stories, lots of exulting and some hugging and solace as well --- and numerous thank-yous, to which I mostly shrugged and say, "Yeah, well." I mean, the kids did it. I didn't take the examination for them. But I will allow that my colleague and I did well to bring home a full bag of 53 As and 4 Bs and nothing less out of all the students we taught. I mean, some of them would've gotten As very neatly on their own (see two paragaphs above), but it's nice that no one got less than a B, though I can think of a couple of idjits who deserved Cs or worse.

So, after I spent two hours in the hall talking with ex-students, I went back to the staff room and recuperated with a Coke. Then I adjourned for coffee (except that I had a Sunrise Ice Blended at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, not coffee nor tea) with three ex-colleagues. Then Mel and I went hunting for a farewell gift with two other ex-colleagues for the school's vice-principal, who's leaving after this week. That hunt took quite a while. What do you get as a farewell gift for someone when you have $100 and everything tasteful and elegant (like the vice-principal in question) costs at least fifty dollars more than that? We looked at everything: pewter, china, crystal, attache cases, and even the Metropolitan Museum of Art shop. After two hours of shopping and walking the entire stretch of Orchard Road (which takes about half an hour without stopping to browse, for those of you unacquainted with our local shopping strip), we settled on the pewter and adjourned to Mos Burger for dinner. Mos Burgers are yummy, despite being a wee bit expensive --- $6.15 for a meal (burger + fries + drink) compared to the $5.50 or so they go for at Mickey D's. But I highly recommend their Spicy burger.

So today, I went back to work, blah blah blah workcakes. The important thing and the reason I was so psyched when I started this entry, is that when I checked my e-mail just now, I got an e-mail from the aforementioned sad-at-a-B-for-math girl. Now it turns out she has an offer from Duke to be interviewed for the Angiers B. Duke Memorial Scholarship, and Duke only invites 40 of its 15,000+ applicants to be interviewed for it, and they give out 15 awards every year! A full scholarship to Duke! Admittedly, she'd still have to worry about the living expenses (US$10,000/year at least) but she got chosen! Out of 15,000+ applicants! I'm so thrilled with her. I mean, she's a strong student, but I'm glad she has this awesome opportunity coming on the heels of her B-for-math disappointment, to prove that it's not just about the grades, baby.

So perhaps I've blathered on for too long about my ex-students' glories and successes, but can you blame me? It's all vicarious for me. I told her to fly over for the interview, of course, even though she'd have to find $500-800 to pay for the air ticket on top of the US$500 that Duke would compensate her for it. It's just amazing that she got invited.

Whew. I need to breathe. And stop writing in such long sentences.

I think I'm going to stop now because I'm tired and also to talk about my own paltry life at this point would be too depressing. Much better to savor the sweetness of others' highs.


At 11/22/2005 2:58 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

impress by your thoughts....


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