Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bad boy gone good

I wanted to blog some time ago about an incident that happened while I was teaching Sunday School at church. I think it was last month, and I was teaching the 8 to 10 year old kids at church... which are quite a tough bunch of kids to teach as they are the largest among all the children age groups, and all of them have super short attention spans. Either they don't want to join the activities I ask them to do, OR they talk among themselves while I'm teaching, OR they run around the class (and sometimes out of the class). Not to say I don't love the kids... I mean since I joined the church ( I think about 5 years now), I got to know these kids and I've seen them grow up a bit. But good grief, their behavior in the class is so exasperating (it even made another teacher so fed up, she asked to teach the younger age group instead. How unfortunate for her replacement!), the only way I know how to keep them under control until it's time to release them back to their parents is by making them do art and crafts every time I teach them...which does a pretty good job of occupying them (but requires a lot of preparation. Bleh!).

Even though the kids in general drive me nuts, I don't quite believe in scaring children into submission, so I have never whacked a kid or scolded any kid very badly.... Not just in this class but anywhere else where I teach kids (and in my job, I deal with some pretty exasperating kids whom I feel like strangling sometimes too. :P) . The most I do is raise my voice, or tell a kid off for their behavior, or threaten to send them to the principal's office (which even that, I've never done). As such, I have come across kids who wrestle with other kids in class, kids who climb all over tables and chairs, kids who argue over who gets to play with what, kids who scream for no reason except to bug others, kids who bug me with nonsensical questions every 10 seconds and kids with all sorts of other various annoying behaviors.... and still I have managed to be patient with them.

But in this particular Sunday School class last month, one of the boys did something that finally made me snap.

In previous classes, this boy, whose name is Jonathan, was one of the more frustrating kids to deal with. He would always ask for things or ask me to do something and if I didn't do what he wanted, he would continue to ask me for it. And when I told him off for bugging me, he would sit down and sulk, and then refuse to do anything I asked him to do. Then on the Sunday of Mother's Day, when I was teaching them again, I got the kids to make a pretty cute mini flower vase thingy for their mums, using flowers made of coloured craft foam stuck inside a green cup which acted as a vase. And I also gave them little round chocolates to stick on top of the flowers, so their mums could eat the chocolates. So every kid was supposed to get 5 flowers with 5 chocolates. But before the class started, I told them that if any of them misbehaved, I would deduct from the number of chocolates I'd give them until they behaved themselves. So this particular boy, started bugging me again, and when the time came for the art and craft, I had deducted his number of flowers down to only 3.

Of course, he wasn't too happy about it, but no matter how much he pleaded with me for more chocolates, I refused to give it and told him to behave next time. But he kept bugging me for them right until the end of the class when all the kids were done and were leaving the class. One of the other boys had left his flowers in the class for a while, so Jonathan left his vase with 3 flowers behind and took the other boy's vase which had 5 flowers. So when the other boy came back, they started fighting over whose flowers it was, and when I intervened, I knew that vase belonged to the other boy. So I made Jonathan give it back to him, and I gave Jonathan his own vase back. Then he threw a tantrum, and literally threw his flowers on the floor and turned to skulk off. So that's when I snapped.

I didn't even care that the door was open and the teacher and students in the next class could hear me. I yelled at the boy to come back, and as he stood there, I gave him the biggest and loudest scolding I had ever given anybody in my life. I was just so... well, there's no better way to put it.... pissed off at him throwing the flowers, after all the time I had spent buying and preparing all the materials for it. I told him that he was very disrespectful for doing that and that if he was going to treat the things I gave him like that, I wasn't going to give him anything anymore in future classes. I threatened to tell his parents what a naughty boy he was and I told him he wasn't going to get his flowers back. AND I made him give back to me the points that I gave to the kids when the class ended (kids get points in Sunday School for good behavior, bringing their Bible, worshipping, etc... and they can redeem their points for gifts after some time). All the time, he was dead quiet (and sulky) as I scolded him, but at least he didn't try to run away (God knows what I would have done if he had tried!). Basically, he got one heckuva earful from me and would have nothing to take home from that day's class.

After that, I let him go, and began packing up my stuff. At one point, as I was kept busy with some other kids, Jonathan came back to the class and also helped me to clean up. I guess he felt bad about what he did, and so I cooled down too and felt kind of sorry for him. I then took him aside, sat down with him and explained to him gently about what he did wrong and why I didn't like it. I told him to imagine if he gave a gift to someone, and that person just threw it on the floor like he did, how would he feel? And how would he like it if someone kept pestering him for things all the time? I basically told him to imagine how he would feel if he had to deal with someone who behaved like him, and asked whether he would like it or not. Well, he was pretty quiet throughout, so I didn't know whether anything was actually getting through to that little head of his. But after I was done with my lecture, I gave him back his flowers and half of his points, for helping me out with the cleaning. And he went off after that.

Now, one month after that incident, I go into class and find that Jonathan had become a very different boy. He no longer pesters me for things and no longer sulks at everything. He wants to be involved in the activities.... and in my class today, he surprised me by asking me if he could be my helper for the next class. So I was like, whoa! That's a pretty big change. And I'm glad for him, and relieved that my earful didn't totally demoralize him or make him even more naughty. Instead, he actually listened to me and changed his attitude. I can say he even behaves better than most of the other kids in the class now. Woohoo! That's much more than what I expected to happen.

Now I'm thinking next time I have a troublesome kid in my class, I could just scold him til his ears bleed, then give him a nice pep talk and hopefully the kid will change. :P Haha, juz kidding. I didn't enjoy scolding the poor kid, but I do think he went too far in what he did. Fortunately, he went 180 degrees and changed his behaviour, so thank God for that. Who knows, maybe years from now when he's grown up, he might still remember that day, and actually appreciate the advice I gave him. Haha. Wishful thinking! But then again, isn't that what every teacher hopes for? :)

Time to get a new alarm clock!

It was another beautiful Sunday morning today. The sun was a shining. The birds were a chirping. A perfect day to sleep in and snooze. Everything all nice and peaceful in my house, and my parents had just gotten up and were going about doing their things.... when at about 8.30am, they hear something they've heard on a few other beautiful Sunday mornings....

"OH S***!!!!!!"

And out comes yours truly from my room, running like a mad chicken being chased by a rabid dog. In less than 25 minutes, I am able to pay a visit to the loo, wash my face, throw on my clothes, have a quick drink, grab my stuff and fly out the door all the way to church.... coz' I was supposed to be there at 8.00am for worship practice!

It's not like I didn't know I had to wake up. I set my alarm for 6.45am, which would have been enough time to snooze bit, slowly drag myself out of bed, make breakfast and have a slow drive to church. But for some reason, I slept like a log and completely didn't hear my handphone alarm ringing a few times (it rings then stops for a while, and repeats for about 2 more more times before it stops ringing altogether) AND my workship leader calling me 3 times! Actually I think I did hear the 2nd time, but I was so groggy at the time that I thought it was just my phone alarm. It wasn't until the 3rd ring when I realised that someone was calling me and realised I was superbly late for church. Sigh...and it's not the first time this as happened. A few times before I also slept through my alarm ringing and woke up later than I expected. Although, on those occasions, I still had time to fly out the door and make it for the practice, albeit a little bit late. Today, I was so late I just completely missed the whole practice. So embarassing! Thank goodness my church folks are the forgiving type. :P

And I don't know why...but this problem usually happens on Sunday morning. On other days, even though I sleep late the night before and have to wake up early the next day, I still can wake up to my phone alarm. Maybe a couple of times, it happened on other days. But it seems to happen more often on Sundays. Maybe God is telling me that Sunday is the day of rest, so I should sleep more. Haha, funny one, God. :P

Anyway, me thinks I'd better get myself a new alarm clock. Maybe one of those old fashioned round table clocks that ring so loud, it can be heard from two houses away.... That oughta make sure I don't sleep through the alarm anymore! Though, I think the extra beauty sleep does do me good.... Hehe...!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The good news! (Not the biblical kind though :P)

Ok, I've passed the first round of interviews at Accenture and tomorrow I'm going for round 2, so I do hope I don't fumble this round. :P But anyhow, considering it's almost 1.00am at night (luckily the interview's in the afternoon!) and I'm kind of half dead after a super fast swim in the pool just now, I just wanted to blog about some good news I read about in the news recently, which is related to some stuff I've been blogging about recently.

Firstly, I was blissfully wishing a few weeks back that somebody out there with the resources to make a decent movie would go out and produce my top ten favourite cartoons that should be made into movies. And one of these cartoons that I think should be made into a movie is Thundercats. Well, lo and behold, some time back, I read that they actually are going to make a Thundercats movie, and a real live version too! Woohoo! I wonder how they're gonna pull THAT off. A bunch of muscle-bound guys with pointy ears and squinty eyes to look like cats. And one of them would need to bald with bluish-grey skin too. Me thinks they would need a VERY good makeup crew. But nevertheless, that's gonna be one to look forward to! Now it's time for a Biker Mice From Mars movie...please please please!

In other new, I also read recently that the government is stepping up to fine motorists who have those superbly annoying bright white headlights that blind everybody but themselves. Double woohoo! I support I support! You got my vote for next election! After this year's one, that is. In four years time, I would probably have forgotten about this and be griping about something else the government needs to work on.... Anyyyywaaaay, I sure hope they actually live up to their word and soon I will see no more cars with the annoying bright lights anymore. Now if only they could come up with a way to deal with the tailgaters....

Friday, June 08, 2007

Time to move on...

I've finally done it. After months of bugging from my parents. After a year of offically being a Mad Scientist. I'm now ready to move on and I have applied for another job. And the place I've applied to is a far cry from what I'm doing now. I applied to Accenture, which is a superbly big and established consulting firm. They mainly do research for their clients on how to improve their businesses, work practices, etc so that their clients improve productivity and increase profits. Their office is based right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, at KLCC. And it is very, VERY corporate-like. Totally different from my job now, where I can wear t-shirts and jeans practically everyday. Over there, it would be stiffy officewear and heels everyday. And instead of a small (not to mention, usually messy) office of only 5 people, I'd be joining a company with dunno how many hundreds or staff. And instead of getting headaches from screaming, fighting or bratty kids, I'd be getting headaches from difficult or demanding clients or possibly bosses breathing down my neck to get a project done. Aiyaiyai!

I guess anyone who knows me would be wondering why on earth Carol would want to apply for such a completely different job. Especially since I do enjoy what I am doing, for the most part. Well, as mentioned before, my parents have been bugging me forever to get a new job coz' I won't be young forever and I need to get a job with more prospects...blablabla. Which in layman speak means I need to get a job where I can earn lots more moolah as I go along. Which, in my current company, I can't, coz' sadly, the business isn't all that great. Half the time, we are constantly reminded to not waste, save rescources, don't purchase unnecessary things for our classes, etcetera etcetera... Which is not too bad. But what really gets me is when we are so superbly busy having to prepare for classes, but when we want to employ part-timers to help out so we can have more time to do things, we're told that "it's not encouraged" coz' of not enough money. And so we are forced to overwork, and the benefits are.... pretty pathetic if I do say so myself. Not that I enjoy picking on my company, but it is the sad truth. I can get much more doing the same amount of work elsewhere.... so as much as I do enjoy working with kids and getting to wear casual every day.... I've finally reached the point where I know it's time to move along now. Career wise, I can't really move very high up the ladder in a company of 5 people. And I've gained some useful business and marketing skills here, after having to meet customers and all. So it's time for bigger challenges, me thinks.

So why Accenture? Well, my cousin brother suggested I applied to it a few months back. Back then, I wasn't quite ready to change jobs yet, but the job sounded quite interesting. And more importantly, the starting salary...ooohhh....the salary! I don't quite wanna mention the amount here, but let's just say that it was enough to make my jaw drop. And the salary they can achieve later on is even more jay dropping. It was enough to make me think... working at Accenture would be tough... I'd have to work long hours most days and I'd have to travel all the way to KL everyday in the monstrosity that is the morning traffic jam... but that salary would make it all worthwhile. My dreams of buying a new Sony Ericsson phone would easily become a reality! Heck, I could even afford one of those nifty PDA phones which has MMS, 3G, bluetooth, and God knows what other nonsense I'd pay a ridiculous amount of money for but never use! Bye bye, my 7 year old dinosaur-ish Nokia 3310 (it has served me well though. Survived many drops on the floor and even a fall into a toilet bowl!). Plus, of course, I'd get to travel, meet more people from around the world, and really broaden my opportunities...which all sounds pretty cool. And if one day I were to decided to emigrate somewhere, it would make it a lot easier to get a good job with such working experience. Haha, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Must refrain from seeing dollar signs....

So back to reality, I actually only applied over the weekend. I sent my resume to my cousin, who emailed it over to Accenture. And lo and behold, the very day they got it (Monday), I received a call from them asking me to go for an interview on Wednesday. Apparently the first hurdle is that applicants must have superbly good exam results... which meant I got through without a hitch (don't mean to be boastful or anything. :P). The second hurdle was the first interview. Apparently I was supposed to be interviewed by one of the managers, but when I got there, they told me the manager was suddenyl unavailable, so a lady from HR interviewed me instead. Fortunately, she was very friendly and nice, and the interview went so beautifully well, she said I had a lot of pluses and she will definitely get someone to contact me for a second interview. When I told her I had to give 2 months notice to my boss if they gave me the job, she even asked if I could start any sooner. That's a good sign!

So I was pretty elated that I got pass round one of interviews with flying colours. But my cousin kind of burst my bubble when he told me that the next round would be much tougher. Especially since this time I will definitely be meeting a manager. And they're gonna do some personality test thing on me. Fortunately, thanks to my cousin, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect coz' he conducted interviews before too (I know, I know, I feel like I'm cheating before an exam or something. :P). So hopefully the next round goes just as well or better. After which I get thrown into round 3...possibly on the same day. After which they let me know if I've got the job or not. Probably will all happen sometime next week.

The thing now is how to tell my current boss and colleagues that I will be leaving if I get this job. At the moment, they all have no idea, and they sure wouldn't want me to go. Already it's tough getting good people for the job, and there are so many things to do which takes time to train new people to do. I can imagine the senior instructor wanting to hang me upside down after I tell him I'm gonna leave, especially since we've been quite close since I came into the company. Sigh... oh well, at least I can tell them in the job I'm going into, I'll meet a lot of rich clients, and should they have kids, I can recommened Mad Science to them. Hahaha! Small consolation for them though. :P And I don't even know if I can survive the dog-eat-dog big corporate world. But that's if I get the job, which I haven't yet. So stay tuned for updates!