Bad Dream

I had a bad dream,
I dreamed my family’s killed
Everyone I knew and loved, gone

They came for me
Bullet hits my skin
And I was gone too.

Most nights,  I wake up sweating,
And I have to cry
Because I’m alive
But my family is not.

My inspiration for this poem: Children had to flee from Sudan into Uganda and some children escaped without their parents. I don’t know if there are still children yet to escape war-ridden Sudan but I can imagine that the children in Uganda would have nightmare. No child should ever out live their parents.

To donate to this cause or just to say hello, check out my fundraise page here.

You’ll never be a primary teacher

The new semester began last week on Wednesday. I attended my first Maths 1 class on Thursday. Today was my second lesson. Due Sunday, is a reading response on an article titled, “Maths anxiety in female teachers” (shortened title). Man, can I relate to that! Aside from this article, there are so many other articles provided by my tutor (let’s call her Gabrielle), and it’s all very interesting.

It has made me call to question what my beliefs are over my Maths skills, over what I can and can’t do and how this affects the students that are under my care and influence.

The Youtube video, “Boosting Maths” talks about a growth mindset and how anyone can learn Maths. Speed does not matter but thinking does.

This offers hope for me as it means I don’t have to graduate uni and enter the classroom with all my Maths anxiety baggage that I’ve carried since primary, ever since I started learning fractions.

The article, “Female Maths anxiety affects girls’ Maths achievement”, describes how the female teachers’ thinking and level of skill in Maths, affects and greatly influence how their female students think and perceive Maths.

The article uses statistics of an entry class in the united states, of which about 90 % of teachers were female and all had Maths anxiety. Of the girls that believed in the stereotype that boys are better at Maths than girls, because of their teachers’ influence, scored less than the girls who didn’t believe this stereotype, and boys who believed either way.

However, you know what statistics is like.

The words, “Skewed” and “biased” come to mind as well as a big dose of, “No idea what this means.”

I can hear my year 12 statistics teacher cringing and crying out, “What have I taught you?”

The article also states that one of their hypothesis was that Female teacher anxiety would only affect the girls. However, I believe that teacher anxiety can affect how much students across the genders, learn and understand, no matter what gender the teacher is. This is because teachers have an influence on all their students and I believe it will be easy to know or find out if a teacher is good or bad at Maths.

Maths anxiety in teachers affects all students because, after all, how can a teacher who is not confident in doing fractions, be able to teach fractions? Although some students may be better at Maths than the teacher, the primary source of information and learning Maths knowledge comes from the teacher.

In my practicum at Elim School, I sat with a boy who was doing two digit multiplication. He was in year four and this kind of work was too easy for him. As a way to stimulate his thinking and encourage him to do his work, I raced with him to answer the questions first. I lost each time and he realised that I was slow at Maths. But, I told him that speed doesn’t matter in Maths. What matters is the thinking and understanding behind what you are doing. This concurs with the Youtube video, “Maths boosting”. I also said this more for the girls’ benefit who were in the room but it was also to help the boy student realise that he does not know everything in Maths and he, like everyone else, including me, were still learning Maths.

Maths is not a skill that can be conquered and done, but rather, it is a continual learning process that is forever changing and molding both ourselves and our understanding of the world.

Let’s backtrack, one year ago,  while I was still in the process of enrolling in Laidlaw College. I had to go to my Aunty because she’s also my accountant. Whenever I do anything to do with money or Study Link, I go to her.

When I told her I wanted to be a primary teacher, she replied with this;

“You’ll never be a teacher because you’re not good at maths.”

I was nervous. It’s not like I knew if I could be a teacher (even now, the verdict is still out), but I was also excited because what if I could. What if, Ching Ern Yeh, who never understood fractions, remembered her Number Knowledge, or prime numbers, could teach all these things and more? What if I could be a Maths teacher?

The thought scared me but even before I read the Teachers’ anxiety article that states, “students can successfully pursue a career as an elementary school teacher even if they have a propensity to avoid math.”, I knew there was a low entry level requirement of maths for primary teachers. I wasn’t asking to teach calculus or statistics. I was asking to teach fractions, one plus one, and number lines. I wanted to teach something that I had learned long ago. I needed something to spark inside me, to refresh and renew my mind so that I could grow, I could have a growth mindset and re-learn.

Even a year ago, I wore a secret smile, a quiet confidence in learning and teaching Maths.

But my Aunty wouldn’t let go of her rational and logical mind that told her it was impossible.

“You will never be a primary teacher,” she said, crying a little bit because she was sad to be the one to break my heart. (as if her fears weren’t obvious to me), “You were never good at Maths in primary so you can’t be a Maths primary teacher.”

Simple, right? Obvious, yes?

I thought not. And I’m glad for my 2017 self who, full of fears, anxiety and questions, also had lots of ideas, ambition and excitement. I’m excited to teach Maths because that is an indication for me that I’ve learned something, and a challenge to continue learning.

I’m not saying that, because I can empathise with students who don’t like Maths, all my students will pass fractions with flying colours. But just the fact that I can or may be able to teach Maths and do it well, is not a boast on my own strengths, but is God-given success. Through Jesus, I can do everything and nothing is impossible.

When I went for my interview, and admitted to them that I was not good at Maths, they told me what I’ve come to believe, is a message from God, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

Amen and praise the Lord, who not only gives me the strength where I lack, but made the universe and all the Maths in His creation.

Praise God, who, through the article, “Stewards of the Created Order”, gave me insight in the author and the words to use for when people ask me why I’m studying Education in a Theology college. The answer is this;

“…that pursuing mathematical study and pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ are not two mutually exclusive events. Through the Christian faith we can properly orient our understanding of mathematics so that we realize its inherent value and contribution to our worship of the Creator.”

In other words, teaching and theology, all the subjects I’m learning and God, are related to each other, not mutually exclusive. Thank you to my year 12 teacher who taught me what that meant. It means this: I can honour, worship and glorifiy God in the way I think about, do, learn and teach Maths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

alone

My dad is gone,
He went to the shops and never came back.
He’s lost among the other mums and dads who the war refused to let go.

The war is hungry and it devours humans.

I am alone. I am on my own. I have no where to go but Uganda.

From there, who knows what awaits me.
I am alone but perhaps when I get there,
I will have friends and I won’t be so alone anymore.

The world is a small place.”

Link to World Vision Fundraiser page:

Click here

Please consider to give before the end of September 2018 (the end of my fundraise).

Thank you.

My 201st Post: Quality vs Quantity

Note: Sorry, this was supposed to be the 200th post but I miscalculated. Anyways, here you go.

Before I get into this post, I have a few things to say:

  • Thank you JESUS for giving me prosperity. I smile at every single read and every single vote that I get. I know that my success comes from GOD so I’d like to acknowledge and praise Him.
  • Thank you to YOU for your reads, votes and comments. It makes me feel super popular even when I only get one vote, but it also makes me feel less lonely.
  • Thank you so far for everyone’s support and love over my fundraising. I think it’s tough work fundraising for anything, even for a good cause. BECAUSE you’re asking people to give something they hold dear which is money. I’m grateful to the people who have donated whether by cash, through the website or through my fundraising page which again, here’s the link. Just click on the Asparagus. It’s my way of making clicking on links fun instead of saying, “click here”. Did it work?
  • And now, the theme of this post is: Quality versus Quantity.

I’m a relatively new blogger and I don’t have a big following. The content of my blog itself is pretty random. It can be anything from things about my life, to poems I made to fundraise for a charity, to preaching to you the Gospel. It’s random.

But are all my 200 posts of high quality? Here’s where I admit something a bit shameful: No.

I don’t spend the same amount of time on each blog post. Some posts, I just want to share a video with you, like sharing a phase I’m going through such as the Singaporean franchise Ah boys to men

I don’t go that deeply into topics. The most deep I’ve ever gone is when I’m struggling to continue growing my blog because it feels like a garden with only thorns and weeds, but I turn that around and I write a motivational post to motivate people including myself. Example of this kind of ‘deep’ blog post is in the omelete.

Why do you think the motto of this blog is, “writing is hard”? Why do you think the title of this blog is, “No Excuses”?

BUT

I will tell you this.

I’ve never published a post that didn’t have anything that I didn’t want to share or wasn’t passionate about. Speaking of passion, I’m going to be posting a lot of Wattpad stuff because that’s the site where I’m slightly more ‘deep’.

On the other hand, that’s only a plan I just thought of and we all know how plans usually end up.

I think quantity is more important than quality because of these reasons:

  1. I’m still a relatively new member of the blogging community
  2. which means that my biggest obstacle is the writing and getting posts out there on a pretty consistent basis so that I have frequently new content.
  3. I’m not focussed on awards, recgonition, following or even likes. I’m blogging for myself.

This doesn’t mean that quality isn’t important at all, it’s just that I’m at a stage where I need to write lots, focus on the quantity and then in time, I will get better with lots of pracise. I will improve my quality of writing. One day, I’ll even focus on quality.

It’s a bit of juggling, I think.

There’s a part of that doesn’t agree with what I’m saying because spending the time to write good posts (even if it means being slower), shows that you’re serious.

But I guess that’s the thing.

I’m not serious. Yet.

This year, the theme of my blog is “Comeback 2018”. The goal is to just maintain this blog with new added content. That’s what I’m been aiming for and that’s what I’ve been doing.

But next year?

Next year will be a whole other ball game. And as I write more, publish more, become more familiar with my blog, I get better, I get comfortable with being here, and I become a serious blogger.

Although, in saying all that, I don’t think blogging will ever become something I do to earn money, earn a following or become a big blogger. I write for the Sundanese children. And of course other charities too.

 

From,

Ching Ern Yeh 🙂

Thanks for reading

 

 

 

Seeking answers

God, I seek answers
What will happen to the children?
They are without you

No one can guide them
They are lost and can’t be found
What will you do, God?

People are tired
Of living without water
That is clean and fresh

How can we relax
When we are starving to eat
And longing for home?

God, I seek answers
What will happen to the children?
They are without you.

What shows your true character?

A boy tells the bus driver he’s going to kill himself today before leaving the bus. A four-year-old go unsupervised to the swimming pool and drowns. A seven-year-old boy is on a sled, on top of a grassy hill, directly aimed at the fence instead of the tires (the safe spot).

What do you do? If we were to do nothing to intervene and something bad happened, would it be your fault?

What does your inactivity show about your true character?

This is one dilemma I’ve been facing for a few weeks. Because I’ve ever experienced times when I was unaware that my character and my morals were being tested. I was unaware that I play any significant part in the lives of other people.

Sometimes, I still experience times when I’m unaware and oftentimes, it’s too late to catch myself before something bad happens.

The truth is, I feel bad, even guilty that these things happened on my watch. Let’s be a bit specific and zone into one example: The seven-year-old boy in a sled on top of a grassy hill. He clearly was not aiming for the tires where he’d be safe. As a result of his stupidity and also mine, he hit the fence, resulting in a deep gash on his eyebrow.

I know what any good-hearted adult might be thinking; You should feel guilty. You shouldn’t be anywhere near kids if you’re not going to supervise them.

But does this incident truly show my true character? I’d like to think that I’m kind, caring and actually good with kids. This incident doesn’t exactly show my ideal values and character traits.

Am I, therefore, someone who shouldn’t be anywhere near kids? Am I heartless to have not stopped the kid before he had gained momentum on the sled?

Is it my imagination, or did I really just watch what happened while rubbing my hands together in evil glee? Like I wanted to see what would happen. Like I wanted him hurt so that he’d learn the lesson. I mean, that’s worse than tough love. That’s just cruel. Right?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m moping. Maybe if I were a more experienced leader I’d had known without a doubt what to do regardless of my own life. I say that because frankly running down the steep hill means facing a whole heap of fears, heights being one of them.

Or maybe I should’ve known. Deep down, I knew and I could’ve prevented the disaster that followed.

This then makes me think of spectator bullies and why they exist.

Spectator bullies are people who know that a person is a victim of bullying but they don’t do anything about it. This is usually out of fear of becoming a victim themselves but it can also be to do with, stubbornness, laziness, and not caring about someone who’s not in their inner circle of friends.

Maybe the reason why I didn’t help the boy wasn’t that I wanted to see him hurt and get stitches. But maybe it was because of my own fears and insecurities. Even though I value kindness and helping others, when it came down to these values being tested, my doubts and fears inhibited me and stopped me from what I believed would be a futile cause. After all, it’s not like the boy would’ve listened to me, right? I guess I’ll never know.

I think for this one, even though it was a horrific experience, I need to forgive myself. But for next time, I need to be more secure in myself and my abilities to lead so that I can better supervise and in turn, keep the children that are in my care, safe and happy.

You turn:

I think I might start doing more “your turn” things. I’d like you to reflect on this post and on your own life. Have there ever been times when you were a spectator bully or even just a spectator when you should’ve taken the main role? A time when what you did or didn’t do, did not align with who you really are or at least, who you want to be?