Today is my unofficial last day.
I posted this on Facebook,
Today is my (unofficial) last day at Riverside and it was a quietly emotional day. I’ll miss my dear friends, colleagues and students. Everybody has been wonderful and I have learnt so much from colleagues, friends and students alike. So much memories have been created and I know I will remember them for a very very long time. May we (friends, colleagues & students) all stay in touch for a very very long time.
Special mention to the Justice Leaguers (Thomas Chen, Nora Bella, Gillian Lim, Zack Hussain, Nurul Fairiz Abdellah, Yao Shuohan) for being there all the time for me – the good times and the bad times. And of course, the 3 ladies along the same aisle – Lee Peici, Xiuhui Wang – love you girls so much. And of course to the so many other good friends – many many thanks for everything.
To current/ex/graduated Riversidians – you know I <3 you, and will always wish the best for you. Do yourselves proud, and hope I’ve taught you well. :)
It was an extremely summarised version. It’s kinda hard to encapsulate everything in a simple Facebook status update when there’s so many things to say to different groups of people: the extremely close friends, the good ones, the colleagues and of course, the students.
The heart feels extremely heavy.
I could say I brought this upon myself, but this day will come – the day of closing that is.
I could’ve been lazy and quote inertia for the rest of my life. I could’ve said, look all my friends are here, I’ve got a great staffroom environment and the kids are pretty awesome. I could’ve just stayed here all my life and be comfortable, be really comfortable since I like the efficiency here and that everybody gets things done.
However, I could feel the current environment suck my passion away. I’ll think of a grand plan, then think about the school management and then give up on the grand plan without even asking or trying. It didn’t used to be like this – I used to bring ideas to the table eagerly, thinking that the school leaders would consider them. That was when I was young and naive, fresh. Soon I came to realise that my ideas were being shot down without reasons given. They were shot down because some of us felt that the kids will never be mature enough to complete/conduct our ideas with them. They were shot down because someone else always felt that their ideas were always better than ours, and he/she didn’t properly consider our ideas thoroughly. I never had the chance.
Slowly I found myself thinking like them – that horrified me. I didn’t want to turn into another educator who concentrated on efficiency and forgot about the students. I didn’t want to give up on my ideas entirely and become puppets of the administration – I want to educate my kids on everything and anything, not just my subject content. I want to educate my kids on how to manage the risks and dangers of life and little intricacies, not to overprotect them and hide them in my arms, shielded away from the dangers. I want them to be ready for what they could be in for when they grow up, not to learn the things we used to do 10 years ago.
I don’t want to be a outdated educator – I want to be able to keep up with my students, no matter how old I could be.
To achieve that slowly burning away dream, I had to do something difficult – to leave my comfort zone and find that right environment where I can do what I set out to do, so that I can do right by my students. I didn’t want to lose myself in the sea of puppets. I didn’t want to work under uninspiring restrictive heads.
Of course, I knew I could quote the “distance and travelling factor” to the school management. Underneath it all, everybody knew the actual reasons. One colleague came up to me and said quietly, “It’s never about the distance, isn’t it.” I nodded quietly. Some colleagues came up to me and lamented the loss of a good teacher (me) and I took their compliments quietly.
On my very last day today, I spoke to one of them for a very long time. She has the same dreams and she agrees completely about my view of the school management. She voiced them before I said anything about my take on them. I wish I had the chance to talk to her earlier about such issues. She made me realise that there are people like me out there, in the current environment. She made me wish that more of us would speak out like that – but I think under such leaders, it’ll be hard for us to speak up.
One colleague (who grumbles way too much about the environment) once said, “If they are all shitty environments, then I’ll rather stay in a shitty environment with my friends.”
I say to myself, as a permanent reminder to myself for the rest of my teaching career, “I will want to look for the right environment where I can grow as an educator, alongside with my students. There will be that right environment for me out there. I just need to look for it.”