Despite seven hours of solid sleep --- as in, I passed out once my head hit the pillow, just like they say in the Famous Five books after the Five return from yet another exciting adventure, and when I came awake, yes, even before the alarm clock kicked in, it was with that bright-eyed refreshedness that usually comes after sleeping in on the weekend --- despite that, as I sit here in a well-intentioned attempt to be a diligent teacher and grade some assignments, my eyes droop, my brain fades, my hand contrives its own mechanical sequence of ticks and scribbles across the page.

I could blame it on the rainburst we enjoyed this morning, but I suspect it's my own occupational disaffection.


At 4/29/2005 10:40 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miss BALA!!!!

At 4/29/2005 11:28 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and I'm one of your current students.

Anyway, since I'm here already, I might as well say this:

You play with your fingers and your pens too much in class. You have so many dramatic gesticulations, its very distracting.

You talk to yourself a lot. And you don't talk too fast as much as you talk too softly.

Like all GP teachers, you are very judgmental of the students. (don't blame you) Ya lar, we are all students with no dreams or visions lar. But that's what you see only. We don't pour out our hearts and thoughts to teachers. At least not to teachers that don't inspire us.(don't take offence...hell, take all the offence you want)

You do a lot of government-bashing in class, which doesn't speak well of you since you are directly employed by them (but I don't care about this). But more importantly, you don't realise that many students have very little inkling about politics in our country. So as a teacher, and a GP teacher at that, you should be more responsible with your words and provide the 'entire story'. At this rate, you'll just make the classes into government-hating sheep.

Phew, got that off my chest.

See you in school :)

At 4/30/2005 1:22 am , Blogger Terz said...

Ooh. How brave of you 'Anonymous'.

1. Who hasn't been telling the whole story? Really, think (if you can) about that.

2. If students at a pre-tertiary level can't be bothered to think for themselves ("many students have very little inkling about politics in our country"...). Then hey, I think you deserve to be turned into government-hating sheep.

3. And please, we're don't aspire to inspire. You've been buying into the whole "Moulding the Future of Our Nation" bullshit.

4. And if GP teachers aren't judgmental, especially about students, then they've failed you in more ways than we care to count.

5. And "you are directly employed by them"... well, you've left out "scholar" as well. And if you're not even half as critical as she is, pray that mummy and daddy can afford to pay for your university tuition.

I'll see you at McDonald's. And I'll have fries with that.

At 4/30/2005 8:25 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...


To the courageously named Anonymous student:

If your butterfly mind gets so easily distracted by a teacher's gestures that it loses track of the point, I hardly think it's the teacher's fault. At NUS there are lecturers who climb tables. Everywhere there are teachers who make even more extravagant gestures during their lessons. Try to focus better?

And listen better, too, while you're at it. Maybe it's from listening to too much loud crap that passes itself off as music.

With the tunnel-vision you exhibit in your comments, I doubt you have any dreams or visions I'd be particularly interested in listening to.

The "entire story", hey? Your essays probably go neither here nor there, but instead consist of a lot of flimflam and politically-correct catchphrases. By your own admission, students in this country have "very little inkling about politics". Critical thinking and being aware of your social and political surroundings appears to be alien to your psyche.

In fact I suspect the "government bashing" mentioned may not in fact be such, but are simply ambivalent comments that reflect something OTHER than unthinking acceptance of what's stuffed into your mind. Maybe anything other than promoting government slogans is "government bashing" to you. Reflect on this, if you will.

At 4/30/2005 8:27 am , Blogger TaLieSin said...

Eh this blogger anonymity thing is a curse... Mr/Ms Anonymous, have the good grace to leave your name. Tym won't fault you unfairly for your comments, I promise ;).

Let's have another layer of defence from a less obviously interested ex-student.

1. Actually, I have a lot of "xiao dong zhuo" myself and I appreciate Tym for not making fun of me for them. I play with my fingers and pens alot and I talk to myself too =P - it helps stimulate creative thinking and produces good GP essays. Perhaps you need some fidgeting yourself, Anonymous. Go learn from your teachers.

2. Learn to take criticism, Anonymous. It's a vital part of growing up. Your boss is going to give you lots in the workplace. Start learning now. I learnt a lot from the D+ that Tym gave me once. If you're sore about a D+ that she gave you, let me tell you that I consider that D+ one of the best things a teacher has ever done for me in my student life.

3. If you're bothered by Govt-bashing, Anonymous, go do your research and present a coherent counter-argument in class. After all, that's what true learning at higher levels is about. Not about sniping at people on their blogs.

I'll leave my name - it's Lisheng. Cheers from the UK. Tym helped me get where I am. She might be helping you too, more than you know.

And for my ex-teacher, a quote from Roburt Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy: "We make a pattern better than we know. Keep on doing it". (ok it was quoting in a sci-fi short story about a boy going to Mars. I confess I haven't read the entire original work - yet =P)

At 4/30/2005 8:32 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, I forgot.

I'll leave my name as well - Chuan Xun. Hi, Tym :)

And I concur with Taliesin.

At 4/30/2005 2:53 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Okay, I have to stop leaving this blog unattended for more than a day. All sorts of spirited parrying tends to ensue, and then I come back and have to be a responsible blogger and catch up on everything ...

To all the non-anonymous commenters: Wah, no need to get so excited lah. I am firmly aware that not everyone responds to my idiosyncrasies with the same equanimity. If I expected myself to be the perfect teacher to every student, I wouldn't've survived the first year on the job.

Also, please don't make assumptions about Anonymous (or anyone else who posts here). The last thing I want is a massive mudslinging session that I, as blog owner, would then have to tidy up. (If you ever saw my desk or where I live, you would realise how bad I am at tidying up.)

The Fell Bat/TaLieSin --- Since you actually have seen my teacher persona, thank you for your kind words. Just remember that just as you guys have moved on and grown since the last time we sat in a classroom together, so I too have shifted, twisted, tweaked who I am and how I teach. The ball game hasn't changed much, but I think my playbook has.

Anonymous --- Identify yourself, or not, as you wish. It is generally considered polite Internet etiquette to identify oneself when commenting on another's blog, particularly since you know me in real life, but if you choose not to, I have no secret computer powers that will let me trace your IP address or anything. Your comments I have read (see, there's that inverted syntax thing we were talking about last Friday), but I don't promise to change anything. The good, and bad, thing about teaching is that it's an incredibly personal endeavour --- you can't pluck the idiosyncrasies out of it, at least, not without entirely killing the teaching itself. Them's the breaks, kid.

At 4/30/2005 5:05 pm , Blogger TaLieSin said...

I have to say, Tym, that The Fell Bat has grown to become a much better student and master of the English written word than I am. (This isn't based on a comparison of his post and mine, I hasten to add! =P)

Then again, it could just be the fact that he's majoring in English and I'm doing History. =P

We *should* meet up in summer - I believe we have some unfinished discussion on a certain Mr Chua, and loads to catch up on besides! =)

At 4/30/2005 8:37 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite my anonymity (yes, I AM a coward), you guys seem to know ALOT about me. That I listen to loud crap music, that I get a D+ for my assignments and that my essays consist of a lot of flimflam and politically-correct catchphrases.

To TYM: Points taken. I'm not expecting you to change anything. I'm not even requesting that. It's just criticism, which all your friends here say, should be taken in your stride (and I believe you have). And when I say you are judgmental, I don't mean through your grading and comments given to us in our essays. I mean through what you say to us in class.

And "you are directly employed by them"... well, you've left out "scholar" as well - Talk about being critical thinkers. So am I suppose to kiss the ground every scholar walks on? Am I suppose to "absorb" everything that a scholar says "unthinkingly"?

Yes, and I have you know that I really do pray that my parents can afford my uni education.

And I don't see how anyone who hides behind a pseudonym any braver than someone who wants to be anonymous.

At 4/30/2005 9:35 pm , Blogger Tym said...

TaLieSin --- You got it. Round up the posse (ha ha, how 1980s does that sound) and let me know.

Anonymous --- To clarify the "scholar" point, I believe the point being raised was that a person can be a member of a particular organisation and still criticise its weakness. Being on anyone's payroll does not, should not take away your powers of applying reasoned criticism where criticism is due.

At 4/30/2005 10:17 pm , Blogger Packrat said...

To quote TWW.

Sam: Have you ever tried to overthrow the government?

Charlie: No sir.

Sam: What the hell's been stopping you?

To anonymous, whoever you are. We take on monikers to ensure that whatever comments can be duly directed at a person. eg: If I want to throw a comment at Terz, even if he isn't identified by real name, I can shout out: "Terz: Agree with your point on the government hating sheep but then again, if we do turn them into government hating sheep, they'd get slaughtered quite quickly..."

As opposed to the anonymous moniker that unfortunately means that other anonymous posters will get lumped in with you...(I had a problem with a troll a year ago...it wasn't pretty)

re: the scholar point that Terz made. No, you do not worship the ground that scholars walk on. That wasn't his point, just to clarify. Scholars actually have more pressure to conform and thus become way more critical of the system that they're forced to conform into.

At 4/30/2005 10:51 pm , Blogger Terz said...

"And I don't see how anyone who hides behind a pseudonym any braver than someone who wants to be anonymous."


Pseudonym? The link points you to my Blogger profile. The Blogger profile links you to my blog(s). My blogs have had posts/comments/PHOTOGRAPHS that identify me.

Figure that one out.

PS. It's 'a lot', not 'ALOT'.

At 5/01/2005 8:17 am , Blogger TaLieSin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/01/2005 8:34 am , Blogger TaLieSin said...

A pedantic point - it's "Ms Bala" not "Miss Bala", as Terz would no doubt like to have pointed out =P

Apologies, Anonymous - I didn't mean to imply that you constantly rack up D+ses in Tym's class.

What I do feel, however, is a sort of thin-skinned behaviour on your part towards Tym's comments in class. I mean, your comments on her mannerisms are quite petty and hardly indicative that she's a "bad teacher".

As for your unhappiness with her judgmental and anti-Gahmen comments in class: initially you seem to imply that she shouldn't be critical of her employer, then you seem to switch tack at the mention of the word "scholar" and complain (in classic anti-Gahmen fashion) that Gahmen scholars expect themsleves to be above criticism.

Passing over your nasty generalization about "all GP teachers", let me just say this: the point is that Tym deserves your respect. She's capable enough to get a scholarship, she's been to the USA, taught several batches of students including Chuan and me, and worked at MOE. If nothing else, perhaps you ought to thicken your skin a bit and accept her comments with more of a positive spirit.

If your complaint is that she fails to inspire and disparages you and your fellow students' lack of dream and vision - perhaps she's just encouraging you to broaden your mental horizons and look beyond the confines of Singaporean culture. For example, with regards to the stuff that you read etc. You could take it as a challenge to show her wrong. No need to kao peh kao bu on her blog.

Same goes for her supposed Gahmen-bashing. Do what my classmates did - formulate a comprehensive and convincing counter-argument to present in class and talk it out. Don't go away fuming inside and take it out on her blog, because that sort of criticism doesn't help much. In other words, don't be a Hamlet =P.

That's how you learn, Anonymous. Respect the Other and listen to her. Engage with her on the issues you feel strongly about. Don't take the cowardly route to angst and resentment. That's all I'm saying. =)


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