Write it down…

When my dad was in hospital, I noticed that the nurses were all very busy all the time. They were standing there writing…and writing…and writing. Then, it dawned on me that teachers are not the only ones all caught up in this documentation thing – everything would have to be recorded on paper. Keeping a detailed record probably has its uses and its place and time but what good would it do to have all those thick, gaily-wrapped and decorated files when the core duty of one’s profession and vocation is neglected – which is to provide tender loving nursing care to the poor ailing patients in their ward. I am pretty sure Florence Nightingale did not have to do any documentation whatsoever in the dim light of her lamp when she went round nursing all those wounded soldiers in the Crimean War!

Well, so it is with teachers these days. I praise the Lord and give thanks that it was not like that those days before I retired. There are so many to do and to be submitted online…and it sure does not help one bit that the connection in the rural areas here sucks big time!

For one thing, perhaps someone can tell me how on earth did the Teacher’s Record Book get lost in translation and become a (very detailed) Lesson Plan, I wonder? Even during my time, I did know of people who had really beautiful record books, very impressive penmanship and very tastefully decorated…but I was wishing I could say the exact same things about what they did in the classrooms.

Then, of course, there would be the long and endless meetings – as the English proverb goes, “Every ass loves to hear itself bray!” and all the programmes to carry out even though they do not seem to be of any benefit at all, and all the extra classes which often make me ask – what it is that a teacher, the same one, can do in an hour or two that he or she cannot do in so many periods in the classroom the whole week? Never mind! The documentation is there to show. They have done this…this…and this…and if the pupils still do not do well, they are not the ones to blame. Surely the true essence of education is not supposed to be like that? Aren’t they losing sight of the wood for the trees?

With all those things to be done, at the end of the day, one would be way too exhausted to mark the pupils’ work diligently and write carefully thought-out remarks that they could read and act upon to improve. One would also be way too exhausted to try and think of interesting and inspiring lessons to teach, ones that would motivate pupils to want to learn – no, just take something from the textbook and teach it from cover to cover and of course, one must not forget the most crucial thing – to write everything down to the most minute detail in the record book.

And with all those things to be done, at the end of the day, one would be way too exhausted to eat even, much less to cook something nice for dinner. That is why we will always pack some food for my girl to take to her school in her jungle – she can eat it if she feels like it or just throw away when she is too tired and does not have an appetite. In fact, that was what triggered all the ailments that emerged as a result of her gluten intolerance. She (and many of the rest too) were having oats for breakfast, lunch and dinner…every day and oats and barley, not just wheat alone, are also bad for individuals sensitive to gluten.

Well, I did cook some chicken curry that day and it turned out really nice so the mum saved some for her to take to her school and as I was not feeling well and everything was not tasting all that great, I reckoned I needed stronger tasting dishes to whet my appetite so I bought this Bangladeshi lamb curry (RM18.00)…

Payung Cafe Bangladeshi lamb curry

…and belimbing prawns (RM16.00)…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns

…from Payung Café for our meals at home – with all the things going on in my life these past couple of months, it had been a while since I dropped by there and since I was there, I decided to pack this green curry chicken (RM17.00)…

Payung Cafe green curry chicken

…and lamb masala (RM18.00)….

Payung Cafe lamb masala

…for my girl to bring up.

This is my version of the ants up to the tree (螞蟻上樹)

Ants up to the tree

I had some leftover luncheon meat from the porridge dinner a few days earlier when I was unwell so I cut it into little cubes to use to fry a bit of tang hoon (glass noodles) that I saw lying around in the house and I added the leftover cangkuk manis that my missus fried for dinner the night before. In my house, nothing goes to waste, if I can help it!

I also made more meat balls…

Meat balls

…for my girl. Obviously she enjoyed the ones I did for her the week before and she said she did not mind some more and of course, it was no sooner said than done!

Hopefully sometime during the course of the week, she will find time to enjoy everything that I’ve prepared for her and hopefully, they will bring some welcome relief. I really loved and enjoyed teaching and being a teacher, no regrets whatsoever, but looking at the way it is now, I bless my lucky stars that I am out of all that madness.

PAYUNG  CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

11 thoughts on “Write it down…”

  1. The food looks delicious, Arthur! Take good care of yourself, my friend.

    I’m pretty much ok now, thanks.

    Food’s good, just pray the old generators will not decide to go all cranky and all that food in the freezer will have to be thrown away if the blackout(s) is/are too long. Third World issue – school right beside the main road with power lines all the way…but they simply refuse to get connected and choose to run on diesel-powered generators for “reasons unknown”.

  2. In my house too, nothing goes to waste. Sometimes bit & pieces of leftover can whip out a very nice dish just like your ants up to the tree dish. The belimbing prawns looks good.

    One of our favourites at Payung, very nice!

  3. Back in 1990 while waiting for my STPM results I went back to my secondary school to work as a guru sementara/ganti for a teacher who has gone for her maternity leave. At that time I thought of pursuing a government school teacher career but after that stint as a guru ganti I changed my mind. One reason was due to the teacher record book. Melissa is such a dedicated teacher. Students will still benefit from her skills and dedication if she so choose to go into the private education sector and not be bogged down by all the documentation required in the public sector.

    1990? That was when the jailbird, then the top guy in Education, first introduced the KBSM syallabus, aka the Kerja Berat Sampai Mati syllabus but if you think that was bad then, you should try going in now. It certainly is a whole lot worse.

    Well, the going gets tough, the tough gets going…but I’ve told my girl that when the going is tough but a whole lot of crap and absolutely meaningless, no point pushing on. Just resign and go do something else more worthwhile one’s blood, sweat and tears. I leave it all entirely to her.

  4. I absolutely agree with you – time is lost to such documentation when the most beneficial acts of both professions (nursing and teaching) is actual interaction with patients/ students.

    Exactly! Some people really need to get their priorities right.

  5. Not easy being in these lines, i remember last time when i was in Pri Sch, i have two classmate, when the teacher punish them due to mischief, 1 of them, the parents let the teacher punish him, the other one, the parents came to complain about the teacher…

    That is the additional problem one would face when teaching in an urban or town schools – demanding, unreasonable, troublesome parents.

  6. In both my teaching and non-teaching work life, meetings are the worst! Love the meatballs.

    When I was the Head of the English Language Department in my school, I had minutes…but no meetings. They wanted meetings once a month so on record, that was what I had. I just made copies of the minutes and gave to everybody and told them to read, no excuse for not knowing anything, all in black and white. Would only call a meeting when it was absolutely necessary, no need to waste everybody’s time and spoil their weekends all the time.

  7. my aunt was a maths teacher in lower secondary school for more than three decades, and she only retired a couple of years ago, so i’ve seen her slog through many days, weeks and months too. teaching is a noble profession though, much more noble than most of the things that millennials pursue nowadays … hopefully in the long run, your daughter will achieve contentment from her profession too, just like you! 🙂

    I certainly hope so too.

  8. Wow.. so much food to bring back to school.. our girl is truly blessed with wonderful parents like both of you..
    So now your girl must be feeling the pressure of being a teacher… everything has changed from our days to today’s days…

    The least we can do as parents, we only want the best for her.

    Yes, everything is so different now – I think if they asked me to go back and be a teacher again, I would say no…not the way things are like now. They’ve taken out all the love, the joy, the passion.

  9. I hear that the quality of teaching is not too good at government schools. Parents who can afford it are now sending their kids to private schools.

    That is a broad generalisation.

    For one thing, they may not select the “right people” to become teachers – I shall not go into the details as anything I say may be taken as evidence against me…and secondly, the teachers are bogged down by all the documentation, all those crap and they will have hardly the time nor the energy to concentrate on their main task – to teach. Thirdly, the quality of the pupils in public schools is different from the “selected few” in the elite private schools – worse if you go into the jungle while studying is the LAST thing on their minds…and like at the international school here, at over RM1,000 a month in school fees alone, they would expect A LOT more in ALL considerations than what one can get at a public school, I’m sure.

    There are many other considerations – I can probably write a book about it but I will say this much – of course, there are the good ones and those not so good ones…and even some really horrible ones but it is grossly unfair to teachers or anybody in any profession, for that matter, who are at their wit’s end, trying to do their best under the circumstances they are in…when with one sweeping remark, just one blow, their heads get chopped off. Put yourselves in their shoes – see how you feel when people say things like that.

  10. While a lot of jobs are computer-based these days, there are still several jobs which require a lot of writing!

    Yes, all that talk about moving towards a paperless society came to naught. We use a whole lot more paper these days, it seems.

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