Round and Round the Malaysia go wheel.

Dear Joan,

I hate the question – So, are you enjoying Malaysia? Hate it. I am forced to say yes or my new stock standard answer – I like the chances it gives me for travel.

I hate it because if I had to answer with a simple yes or no, it would be a resounding no. Yep. No. Why? Well work takes up so much energy, time and being – that if that isn’t great then it has a massive impact. And yet that isn’t a simple explanation either. I like working with the other people in my immediate team. I like the kids. Management – eh. If I don’t believe in that – they are people that should hold the values of teaching at the core – then I simply struggle.

It isn’t just that. It would be unfair. The husband an I, for the entire 17 years (maybe 18) that we have been shacked up, have always struggled to find balance in term time as a couple. Now lets throw a few extra things into that mix – we now have kids, only one car, not the same network of people around us, work for a business so work many more hours on a weekend and all of a sudden there is no real us time for four blocks of ten weeks  a year. How did I fix this in Oz? UK? I created other networks to supplement that. It isn’t so easy here. I know it takes time. The networks, friends – I am trying hard on that – especially to make friends with locals. They are great and love a catch up on a weekday but not so much on a weekend. I only have a couple of mates from work and again, people are really caught up in their own lives. I don’t begrudge them that. It would be unfair and unreasonable.

We are also constricted by traffic. How crazy is that?! On a weekend, trying to get to a mall after 1pm is not worth it unless you want to sit and wait for a park for at least an hour. Going for a spontaneous coffee 20 mins away becomes an hour away – one way. It becomes not worth it. Not worth the fighting of siblings in the back of the car.

Going back to the work thing. When I am in a place that doesn’t share my ideals, and I have been there before, I question my career. Is it the right one? Which again, when faced with such a big question makes happiness in a place a little harder to grasp. We are defined so much by the job we hold – rightly or wrongly, by how we contribute to society, by how well we do said job. When this waivers for me I find it difficult.

I think the universe is trying to tell me it is the right one or at least that working with kids is the right thing. In earlier blogs I mentioned how former kids have contacted me and in the last couple of weeks I have had one previous and one current colleague say beautiful things to me – about me as a teacher. Sometimes I am not sure where their perceptions come from. My current one thanked me for bringing joy to the year last year (we are in different yr levels now). She said that I kept banging on about joy and it wasn’t till I left that she realised how much joy I brought to my class and the flow on effect it had to the team I was in. That would be a great thing to say in my eulogy – she brought joy to others – well some – to others she was just a pain in the arse. hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Though I am hoping we are old and grey before the line is needed.

I feel like this blog is a rehash of many other letters I have written to you. I guess I am just trying to sort my ideas out, what is happening in this noggin of mine.

Love you joan and any other eve’s dropper listening in (pardon the pun),

Love Eve

Post Script

On a completely different tangent but linked to the four lots of ten weeks – that is why teachers need holidays – to be human – to connect to their families. We invest so much into other families, we need the time to invest into ours. We don’t get weekends or weeknights like some other jobs. I just wanted to say that.

 

 

 

 

Leaders and No Emotions

Hey Joan,

When it rains it pours hey?!

Beauty and the Beast is playing in the background as I type this. I just want to say this: why do adults ruin beautiful innocent movies? Never have I once thought about beastiality or even Stockholm Syndrome when watching this film. Now at 38, grown ups feel compelled to reference these things.

My girls love princesses, want to be princesses. I am just fine with that. People look at it like it is a dirty thing. Why shouldn’t they want to be a princess? Because people see them as docile and weak? What a pity their thoughts are so narrow. My princess girls are strong, compassionate, strong willed, creative, dry witted. I would also be fine with them as mechanics, astronauts, check out chicks, authors, artists, scientists. But if being a mermaid or a princess is what they want to be when they grow up, good luck to them.

Ah, so glad that I got that off my chest but I was actually going to write about my emotional intelligence and how I feel it hinders me from progressing in teaching. This letters to you go all over the shop. hahahaha

Let me explain.

I find so many leaders devoid of emotion, and yet I cry if I am really over tired. Most leaders in teaching are emotionless to their staff – ruthless almost – bar one. But even he keeps his emotions completely away from school. It seems like the phrase – “That’s teaching for you,” gets thrown around for everything – parents being rude to you, working a 60 hour week but only being paid for 40, the treatment of graduate teachers. Saying that to people you know who work hard just seems so flippant and disrespectful. I don’t think I could do that.

I am also not good at arguing on the hop. I need time to reflect and think about it. Talk it through. But how can you do that if you have an irate staff member or parent in your office? I also don’t know how I could keep myself in check when I knew someone was doing a very shit job. Teaching is the one job that it is almost impossible to get sacked from. How crazy is that!

Joy. I also like joy. I have had one marvellous role model for that. But it seems like a rare thing. Joy in my current school looks like a head who tells the children how long they can cheer for, or clap for or that they cannot sing along when someone plays the piano. Controlled joy is not really joy is it Joan?

Maybe I am just a yes person, so leadership isn’t my bag? Maybe middle management. Hmmm though I have a terrible poker face. I face this crossroad every so often in my career and I step away from it. Maybe I should look at a masters. I saw this wonderful one at Harvard. International Policy. Setting up policy for refugee children, schools in Afghanistan. When I saw this course it was the first time I got excited about the prospect of future study. Reality says I need to find one in Oz that does one that I like as I can access HELP. We have up to 100,000 bucks to use for study purposes.

Ahhh. I just wish it was easy. This choice.

Love you Joan,

Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prodigal Friend Returns – No Roast Pig Though.

Dearest Joan,

I was talking with friends yesterday, whilst watching the highly anticipated but certainly disappointing, Gilmore Girls about how I wish I had time to write. I know the limitations of my writing. My lack of exact use of grammar – my missing oxford commas would attest to that, the rambling nature – refer to previous blogs and perhaps just the self indulgence of it all – BUT i do miss it. I often want to write book reviews, movie reviews, people reviews, life reviews – instead of writing any review, writing nothing reviews seems to be my choice. Apathy? No. Just a reluctance to share this myriad of thoughts that has consumed me this year. God’s ear has certainly been bent this last 11 months.

Knowing where to begin is impossible, so I shall just trust in these fingers and where this ramble may take me.

So here I am, still in KL. I knew I would be. I always knew it would be two, probably three years. The family relocated 8 hours by plane so that we could work in a somewhat dysfunctional workplace. That isn’t really what I want to talk about – not yet.

We make decisions all the time, don’t we Joan. And every decision has consequence, good or bad but it has one. Sometimes we don’t know the outcome till many years later. This year I have wondered why am I here. Answering that for the Borsz and husband is so simple – he needed new, a fresh take. The Borsz was never settled at her last school. It wasn’t the right place. She thrives on all the activities she does here. The Babu and I on the other hand, were loved and settled – we didn’t need the change. I think our paths were set and they were good.

Here my path is rocky, treacherous, not traveled. I have to be brave in decisions I make – in whatever capacity it is. I was naive and not prepared for this eventuality. Well why would I, when life was just peachy back in Oz? This September I was in a dirty funk. Not the first of the year. Somehow the universe sensed my struggle and it sent me this:

Mrs. R!! I believe you taught me in grade 6 I would just like to say thank you 😂 I remember you being a really good teacher and making the last year of primary school one of the best ever, I am now 17 almost a official adult in 2013. I left the MP and me and my family moved to Hampton Park. It’s a suburb near Dandenong and it’s as ruff as you think hahah but I liked it. Last year my parents decided that they didn’t like it there and we moved again but this time to another place. I went to WI high school for 6 months until I realised school wasn’t for me. I finished year 10 and didn’t start another year. I am now doing a carpenter apprenticeship and I’m loving it. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m 8 months in now and I love it so much. Through the years I’ve been doing boxing then I started training probably at a gym and I am now a ametuer boxer!! I love it aswell i just wanted to contact you to let you know you did a great job teaching us back in EB. We all loved you and was one of the best years 😂 thank you!

Where is the link? I just have to trust Joan, that I am here maybe not for me but for my family and for a kid just like the above one. Maybe there is a student like the one above, that just needed me this year.

Selfishly though, I wonder when I get to make choices just for me. When do I get to put me first? I imagine it is the eternal question that all parents ask. And maybe the answer is never. Maybe I relinquished that upon deciding to breed or when I decided to be responsible for children (even in a teaching capacity). Maybe that is ok. For when I wonder: What the fuck am I doing in KL? I think of this song:

Editors – Weight of the World

and these particular lyrics:

Every little piece in your life will add up to one
Every little piece in your life will mean something to someone
Every little piece in your life will add up to one
Every little piece of your life will mean something to someone

I trust in free will. I trust in fate. I trust in purpose.

Thanks Joan. Thanks for being patient.

Love Eve

Post Script

I have another friend that will read this, Ella. She is a good egg. You would like her. I just wanted her to know that I know she would read it too.

 

 

The Cup Runneth Over

Friday 6th November 2015

Dear Joan,

The first and foremost thing I want to address is the lack of me asking about you. I don’t want to give information about you away. Just because I’m writing to you, doesn’t give me the right to share your details with the world. Secondly, I don’t want you to feel obliged to respond, ever. Life gets busy and we as humans, already have so much on our plate. The only response I truly want is for you to take a few minutes out to read it and pop into my head.

Moving on…..I am brimming with so many emotions and being at work just feeds the overflowing cup. To sound big headed, I am thought of highly at school – a potential power player. I am regarded by management to be hard working, enthusiastic, a team player. My colleagues respect me as a peer. I get on board, give things a go and am equally happy to self-reflect on failures and successes. I have been gently guided to the path of leadership. Receiving an email today about a leadership course that I was going to be on next year just made me feel disappointed. Disappointed that I am not going to be able to do it. This isn’t the first time I have walked away from management opportunities. BUT this is the first time where I am second guessing the decision.

Some friends felt I was sacrificing a lot with the move to Malaysia and that I was doing it for my hubby. His work place isn’t forward thinking, innovative, exciting or challenging. He has been essentially unhappy at his place for a while. They questioned why I would change countries when he could just change jobs. Back then I told them they were crazy. Hmmm maybe they saw it clearer than I did. Don’t get me wrong, my seven year itch started in year three and I could not fathom the thought that this here is my forever with nothing else. I just love my school. Love my work ethic here. Love the clientele and the innovation of the school. I just don’t like walking into a school and being just another teacher. How terrible does that sound?! Imagine saying just another doctor, just another nurse, just another policeman. It is terrible but that is how I feel. I don’t just want to sit in the background. I am also worried I won’t be the best teacher working with kids of privilege. What if the husband flourishes? And I don’t? That he finds his place and I lose mine? What if the big kid finally finds her groove in a school? And I just become a sore thumb?

Trusting in the path I am on. Trusting in the choices I have made so far. That is all I can do. AND if it turns out to be the wrong choice, then we will know rather than have regrets. Regrets are far worse.

Love you Joan,

Eve