I can’t believe this is already the last reflection before midyear! I’m already halfway through my grant?! Time does fly. Life in Kemaman has been pretty slow. With exams during the whole month, classes and extracurricular activities have been cancelled. So My interaction with the kids have been low key, hanging out and helping them with exam prep if needed. On the flip side, I’ve had more opportunities to bond with my fellow teachers. One day a teacher I’ve never spoken with tells me I will be playing petanque on Sunday for the school team. I told her I had no idea what that was. She promptly told me not to worry and that I’d be fine. Come next week, one of the English teachers met with me everyday after school to teach me how to play this french game. It was a fun way to interact with teachers and students, especially since the school atmosphere is tense during the day because of exams. I just thought this was for fun, but they were actually training me for the district petanque competition that Saturday. The 3 of us had low expectations regarding how well we would perform in the tournament and decided we’d go for the fun. We surprisingly did very well, coming in 2nd place. We lost to a team with a state player. No way we were beating her team. But everyone was surprised by our performance. One of the teachers came up to me after we finished and said you’ve earn the teachers’ respect for playing so well for a first time. Hearing this, it was definitely worth sweating a bucket. I don’t think I’ve sweated that much! I realized even though I’m here for the students it’s just as important if not fun to befriend teachers too! Although I have a good working relationship with my colleagues, we don’t interact with each other at all. All of us keep to ourselves and with the language barrier most are shy to come up to me. So this was a great opportunity to have fun with the teachers.
Another highlight of the month was Teacher’s Day that happened last week. It was a day for teachers to be pampered. Our theme was “Red Carpet” so everyone dressed up in their best baju kurungs and we were escorted to the assembly hall and had to sit through 5 speeches in the stifling heat. On a happier note, there was so much food and cake I thought I was going to become diabetic. The students organized a relay game with different stations. I was volunteered for the mummy station, which I didn’t realize was teachers wrapping me from head to toe in toilet paper. Let’s just say it was worth seeing the smiles and laughter I got from my teachers and students.
All in all, it’s been a relaxing month.