Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Day as an Assistant Tutor

At 2.30p.m., I refill my water bottle and pack some biscuits or other snacks into my bag. Sometimes I bring a book along. I change into a suitable attire - usually collared blouses with jeans or pants, and I go to the living room and wait for my transport to arrive.

Around 3p.m. I leave for work in the driver's car and follow him around fetching some other kids before I reach my workplace. There's a flight of stairs leading up to the second floor. Some kids have trouble walking up properly with their heavy schoolbags and at times when I deem necessary, I help them.

We put our shoes at the bottom of the second flight of stairs leading up to the third floor, which is so far, not used. I then go into the air-conditioned room and set my bag down under a table where other assistant tutors put theirs as well and finally enter the classroom.

I put my bottle on the bookshelf and look around at the kids already present there. Most of them would be talking, some even arguing. "Take out your spelling books and read," I would tell them, otherwise prompting them about their homework.

There are rows of blue tables with white plastic chairs, each table seating two students. We assistant tutors - there are three of us so far, including me, and the other two are both a year younger than me - can sit anywhere we like if there's space for us.

I usually walk around the classroom, keeping an eye on the students' discipline. If they start making too much noise I would scold them, or give them a warning. The students have three chances  before their names are written on the whiteboard for a caning.

3.30pm, and the 7 and 8 years old students go for their tuition classes, leaving me with a few 9-year-olds. There are very few students at this point, so the assistant tutors would normally guide one student each with their homework from school. Two particular students from this batch would easily argue and they have to be seated separately.

Around 4 to 4.30 pm, the 11-year-olds would arrive along with around 5 of the 10 year-olds. They are a noisy batch, this one. They would not bring their homework sometimes and a few students wont bring their spelling book at all to start with. The 10-year-olds are usually rude and would make fun or laugh at my remarks or ignore me when I tell them to get into the class. But I get by. I'm stricter with these students.

Come 5pm, 10 and 11 year olds too enter their classes and I'm back with the 7 and 8 years olds. Sometimes the 12-year-olds would join us, but most of the time the class would be quite full so they enter a classroom at the back of the corridor. At times the 'class monitor' would bring me a stack of books or exercise papers to mark later. Between 5 to 6.30p.m., it's all about keeping the students quiet and making sure that they complete their homework before getting home.

They would ask about how to solve Maths questions, how to write a sentence, or quite simply and most of the time - they just ask for answers to questions they don't even understand. Patience, patience. The other two assistant tutors would help more on homework while I help on the discipline part, because most of their questions would be related to the Chinese subject which is something I'm very very weak at.

When 6.30pm comes, there's less students to watch for and I would normally start marking the spellings and spreadsheets. T
he 10-year-olds leave for their classes. Sometimes a parent would call to ask for a tutor, and at times they just call to ask their children to go downstairs. "Is his/her homework done? If so I would like to fetch him/her back home, can you tell him/her to come downstairs?"

A small number or 11-year-olds would stay till 7 or 8p.m, and when there's less than three students remaining, we would move out to the counter area and switch off the appliances in the classroom earlier to save energy.

By this time, the remaining people would start talking to each other and make jokes and stuff. From time to time one of us would be asked to supervise another classroom while the tutor takes a phone call. At 8pm, the 10-year-olds too are done with their lessons and I leave for home with the batch.

Then it's all back to the late-night life.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Dear Past Me,


You are about 10 or 11 now. You're still reading and collecting those Enid Blyton books, aren't you? And let me guess, mum still gives you 10 or 20 pages of homework before she allows you to go on the computer to type in stories or play Pinball.

These years will be when you start learning Japanese and memorizing those anime opening and ending songs. And one of these years you had your first crush on a boy you met in your school bus. Ken was his name, wasn't it? *nudge nudge wink*

I also know that someone from your kindergarten that you are still in contact with, a Malay boy, Muzaiffah gave you a small piece of paper with a scribbled "I <3 you" at the back of it.

You were angry and threw that paper in his face. *laughs*

But watch it, you. You are dropping from top three in class to about 5 or 6th place now. Study harder, okay? And stop playing too many games on le computer.

Oh, nice surprise to you here. You're gonna get your first long-lasting best friend. Let me give you a clue in case you are not that close with her yet. Her name's initials are CTJW. x)

Lots of Love,

Tatoru Yuki.

Nicki/ Yuki,

Hey you. Yeah, this 12 - 14 years old you. That's your current age range right? Sorry I can't pinpoint my own history. And uh. I threw away your diary because it's too embarrassing and pathetic to read through.


Oh hey, congrats on getting that Straight A's for UPSR. That was your first milestone wasn't it? =D You called your parents upon reading your name list and finding out that you have that results. You criiied, silly you. But I get it. All those months spent 'tortured' by Puan Maimunah and Miss Leong. You're finally graduating primary school! Congratulations once more ^^ So proud of you.

Well well well, look who's labelled as an anime addict now, copying words from Japanese-English dictionaries and fell for Japanese culture sooooo hard. 

Hey, even if you're 13 and is now so-called 'higher level' than primary school kids doesn't mean you can give them that fierce look to scare them away kay. You already look fierce with your default face. YOU KNOW THAT. Smile, Nicki.

Look at you and your girl crush. Stop stalking that senior, damn it you XD Well up to you really. It was fun. Might as well get rid of your fear of your senpai-senpai.

Dis is le age when you start wearing black jackets and go all emo. It REALLY is a phase, mai dear. HAHAH. 

Ey. Same thing ah, study more. I know mum doesn't let you go hangout with friends yet. Once in a PINK moon. But patience. PAAATIENCE. You don't know how to have fun yet anyway.

And hey, I know you're in an argument with your best friends and it's been months since you guys talked or greeted each other... But don't be sad kay? One day you will just start talking to her again and it'll be as if nothing has changed. x) Cheer up, you. 

Tatoru Yuki.

Turtle Yuki-san,

Hey, girl. Heyyyy. It's alright. I know this form 4 stuff is hard, and you miss your boyfriend that you don't get to see much and you miss your friends, but hey, it's all okay. You'll get through this, okay? You can do this. 

For starters, congratulations on that straight A for PMR too. =) You didn't disappoint me. You mixed pretty well with your new friends even if you are afraid that the guys would approach you. You're doing well. It's new to you, you didn't have much contact with boys at all, so it's alright. You'll get past this too, I assure you.

Study harder. You're having some trouble dealing with Chemistry and uh... that problem still persists a little now. Drags your grades down a bit. So help me a bit and study this subject harder? If you do, you might get that straight A+ for SPM you know? You missed this subject. You got an A instead. But it's okay. Just try your best.

You're 16. You think that it's the right age to try out a relationship for your first time, and this guy you 'met', is just so nice to you. I know, I know. You like him a lot. You're still with him now aren't you? Try not to be so shy and take a bit of initiatives instead of shying away whenever he gets close to you? He's your boyfriend, sweetheart. You can hug him and hold his hands. He would guide you through your studies, and you would guide him in his as well. It's a healthy relationship. Good job, you.

He's going to take away your first kiss, you know? *laughs* don't be shy now. You'd even attempt to take initiative to kiss him first and you actually did it. You were a nervous wreck, but you did it, even if it was awkward. It's okay. Just make sure you study well. =) Happy Sweet Sixteen, Turtle-chan. Ganbatte ne ^^

Lots of support, 
Tatoru Yuki.


Get more sleep. Get rid of those panda eyes you got from SPM - 

Actually that doesn't matter cause you're gonna get them again this year anyway. Congrats on your SPM results. It might not exactly be what you expected or hoped for but it's still good, okay? =D 

Legal 18 this year baybeh, are you excited? 8) Bet you are. This year's the best year of your life (Up to this point anyway). Enjoy college, and hey, you're gonna meet some real nice people that are truly supportive. You love this hostel lifestyle don't you?

You are going socializing a lot more than you ever did, and you're enjoying it. Hey look at you, I told you that you'd overcome your fear of guys. The ones you meet here are real friendly aren't they? They made you a part of their group. Appreciate it, Turtle. Cause by the next year most of them would have gone elsewhere. But really, make the most you got out of this year in college.

You would be motivated to study because of that group of friends as well. In the end you would be teaching them a bit. And you were really motivated by that. They accepted you for who you are, Turtle. =) 

Here you would meet a guy or two that got into your heart. You would fall head over heels in love, you silly. But not so soon yet. Have fun while it lasts, okay? And remember to be more daring this time! 

I don't even have to worry much about your studies anymore at this point.Try not to socialize too much until you neglect your studies though, because this current me writing a letter to you here knows that you can do better. Much better. 

But still, take care anyway kay? You're improving a lot at this stage of life.

Keep it up,
Tatoru Yuki.

Future Me,

I have not gone to uni yet, but hey, 20 years old me. I hope that you're doing well there. I hope you are alright with the course that you signed up for and is loving your studies. I hope you found more friends and that you are more rational and less gullible.

I hope you are now more like a normal girl, or at least more girlish and better with fashion. How's life in KL? I'm a little afraid of what I might find when I go there, you know. But I have friends there that would help me if anything happens or if I need some guidance.

Please don't get dragged into immoral activities. Be and stay a good girl. Don't rush into yet another relationship, okay? I want you to have your best chance. It might not be in university that you find it, but I hope that you will do well. 

Focus more on your studies, alright? For le full tuition fee waiving if not your future job. I have high hopes in you. 

Try not to disappoint me?

Take care of yourself,
Tatoru Yuki.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

While I Was Gone

So I'm typing a blog post again after being on quite a hiatus due to some... I don't know. Procrastination maybe.

And even while I was on that long hiatus, my blog seems to receive around 50 blog views or so a day. But it's all related to the spam comments I receive in my inbox. Does anyone know how to make that go away?

Within the time I was gone, yeah, I enrolled in a university and am still working at a tuition center as an assistant - helping kids with their homework and making sure they are well disciplined. I have about a month and two weeks left before I leave for uni, and I have to admit - I am excited.

While I was gone, I finally got my lazy ass up to finish the pencil sketches on my room's door and used a marker pen to ink it up.

I went shopping, and tried to be more girlish. I put effort into dressing up like how girls my area dress nowadays without exposing myself unnecessarily - jeans and long sleeved jackets are still my favourite combination.

I went to yet another book fair and there's only one compartment out of nine that is not filled with books for leisure reading.

While I was gone, I was living the sleep-late-wake-up-late routine, otherwise working or facing my laptop.

I passed my driving test, and I still am excited whenever dad lets me drive his car around - near home, of course. Not onto le big roads yet.

While I was gone I haven't really done much. It's kinda routine-ish, my life these few months. The only change is when I got to meet up with my friends once every few weeks. There isn't really much to talk about when you don't quite socialize, you see.

So here's a short post, I'll be updating more in late August when my classes start.

Meanwhile, Adios!