Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BC0914: When I grow up

When I grow up, I want to be able to have the answers I've been searching for up to now. For example:

Why are we here?
Is true love as mystical as a unicorn?

When I grow up, I want to love myself...all of me, including (or especially) all my flaws! I want to be able to stand up high and with confidence and face the world saying, "this is me...take it or leave it, but this is me."

Each and every morning when I wake up, I am one step closer to the end. And as much as I can...I want to make these days my BEST days yet!

BC0914: My first time driving alone

I remember it so well! It was the shortest distance (possibly just a kilometre) but my first solo drive was to my Godmother, Aunty Bonz!

At the time, I don't think she knew that I had bought my first car so I wanted to surprise her by pitching up at her door with my new red baby ;) My red Hyundai i10.

Buying my first car and driving alone was liberating!

BC0914: My dream house

Like all little girls, I also have an idea of what my "dream house" would look like in the future.

I apologize in advance for the cliche, but I actually do see the overdone 'white picket fence' with a beautiful manicured lawn and potplants lining my window sills!

Inside, my kitchen would be large with an island in the center. This would be where everyone congregates. It would always be filled with the aroma of something delicious being baked in the oven.

A mandatory room would be my very own library, complete with a cottage style window and a book nook/reading area. This would be my reading sanctuary!

BC0914: My Job

Part of my life's mission, I believe, is to serve. I feel like I was led into my current profession because it allows me to do just that. Serve.

Teaching is most definitely a vocation for me. It fuels me with such love and respect from my students. On a daily basis, this is transfered to feelings of great satisfaction and worthiness.

Many people think that what I do is not a "real job". I beg to disagree. Having a "job" does not merely mean that I go to work and earn a salary. My work gives me the opportunity to help shape others futures. It is my platform to inspire and motivate. This is what I live and strive for!

BC0914: Describe the worst night

It's a time that I actually wish could be erased from my memory. On the other hand, it serves the purpose of being a reminder. A reminder to be absolutely thankful for what I have.

The night before I traveled to East London after hearing that my mum was in ICU will go down as the worst night of my life. I lay in bed in agony...without a minute of sleep. I had to be up at the crack of dawn to catch the 06:00am flight. Thinking back, I can't remember if I cried, but I do remember feeling numb. Physically and emotionally.

BC0914: Best memory with my brother

Firstly, may I say that I am so grateful for my brother. If and when I meet an only child, I think of what my life would be like if I had no sibling.

I have several good memories with my brother, but I suppose the one that sticks in my mind is from four years ago. I was living in South Korea at the time and my brother came over to visit me.

The two of us traveled to Jeju Island (the Hawaii of Korea) & there, we explored together. Two spots that still bring a smile to my face is the day we visited "Dinosaur Park" and the "Teddy Bear Museum"!

I sincerely hope that we have more trips we can take together.

BC0914: Someone new I met today

I'm writing this blog post its actual date. Since I can't remember someone exactly new, I will write about Basma, who I met briefly for coffee after work.

I remember her arrival in Cape Town last year very clearly. A few months after arrival, Basma (who was pregnant at the time) joined my High Intermediate class.

During and after being in my class, I got to know this lovely lady from Libya. I always admired her classic beauty. With flawless skin, I felt she exuded such grace and warmth whenever we were together.

She and her family have just relocated and while I didn't meet her all that often, I already feel her absence.

BC0914: Best trip & why?

I am most fortunate to be able to say that I have traveled fairly extensively. However, my most recent international trip...and one that remains etched in my mind happened just a few months ago.

India was everything and nothing like I had imagined. Words that come to mind to describe it range from colorful to mystical to charming. Not everything was always positive, but what made my trip for me, I believe, was my travel mum!

To this day, we often reminisce about it and long to be back...sipping chai at foi's (aunty) apartment in Dardar, Mumbai.

We both can't wait to go back...even uf just to the hustle and bustle that is Mumbai. Ever so grateful to my dad for making one of my dreams become a reality.

Monday, September 8, 2014

BC0914: Favourite screen character

I first caught glimpse of her when I was in Sub B (second grade). With such poise, I remember her eloquence. "My Fair Lady" was and has remained one of my all time classics, because of the charming AUDREY HEPBURN.

It's difficult to choose just one screen icon, and because I believe that both ladies are legendary, I will add her to this blog post. Whether she played "Mary Poppins" or "Maria", no one displays more grace than the stunning JULIE ANDREWS!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

BC0914: Describe the View

I have to say that the view from my apartment is nothing short of spectacular.

Each and every morning I'm greeted by the natural majestic beauty of Lion's Head. As it lazily peels the blanket of clouds around it, I marvel at its enormity and my proximity to it.

When I moved to Cape Town in 2011, I imagined walking to the top of Lion's Head. The walk uphill would be strenuous as I'd be carrying all my negative thoughts, stress, doubts and fears with me in my pockets.

Once at the top, I'd offload all these elements and feel a lot lighter...obviously making my descent much easier.

I needed something visual to rid myself of negativity. I chose to "leave" it all at the top of Lion's Head where vultures would be free to feast on that which I no longer had use for.

I consider myself totally blessed to wake up to such incredibly beautiful views.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

BC0914: What I'm reading

"Good Morning, Mr Mandela"
by Zelda Le Grange

This is a memoir written by the PA to the late former president of South Africa. It is a fascinating account of her career working in the presidential office, where she started off as a typist.

Getting to know Mandela through Zelda's eyes is a completely different experience as her background is white Afrikaner. Seeing her and her family's prejudice dissolve as she gets closer to the president is quite something.

There have been uncountable stories of personal accounts with "Madiba" as he was also known. However, I don't think any of them really catches the nuances that his PA picked up.

It is a fairly easy read and clearly written with depth and emotion. You'll find yourself grinning as you turn the page - trying to imagine what it would be like to accompany the President to a dinner and to sit next to a Queen!

Thanks to my dad for giving this book yo me.

Friday, September 5, 2014

BC0914: If I won the lottery

I always said that if I were to win the lottery, the first thing I'd do is buy my mum a new car. WIN the lottery, surely I should PLAY it?!

Never mind. Let's just imagine that I did win ;)

I would first give a substantial amount of money to my parents. Next, I will buy either an apartment or house with an ocean view.

Next, I will donate money to a charity for children. This must be used for two things. Food and books. Food to nourish their bodies. Books to nourish their mind and soul.

After that, my money will be spent on a great love of mine: Travel. Absolutely nothing feeds MY mind more than travel. I want to travel in style and stay at only the best hotels!

My imagination is beginning to run away with me so perhaps it's best I just stop here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

BC0914: What irritates me the most?

Learner autonomy is something we continuously strive towards. I tell students that teacher's merely teach them how to use the "cutlery" (skills) but you need to go out there and actually practise it!

On a regular basis, students sit in my office complaining. Their writing isn't improving. They can't speak to others fluently in English.

"I can't..."
"I cant..."
"I can't..."
"It's impossible," they tell me.

That's when I put a spin on things and tell them "Oh yes you can!"

...and my favourite:
"Impossible" = I am possible

Your writing isn't up to scratch?
Solution...[Take my advice] and READ! Do extra writing for me! Let me help you.

Your speaking isn't fluent enough?
Solution...[Take my advice] and please, speak only English at school and don't rely on a translator to be your brain.

What irritates me is when a student does not take responsibility for his/her own learning. It's always someone else's fault. Never their own. Owning up to ones own fault is a sign of maturity and when I see a lack of this, I become frustrated.

I see such great potential before me, yet he/she wants to sit back and be spoon fed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

BC0914: What made you smile today?

I consider myself truly blessed, because my job provides endless smiles. Today was no exception, but I will talk about just 2 incidents which happened today.

The first was when some students received good news that they will enter the much sought after Cambridge course! The pride on their face with a twinkle in their eye melted my heart. I'm proud of them...even those who didn't make it. There's always a next time.

Then I spent some time in the student lounge talking and laughing with "my guys". We were talking about someone who likes to talk a lot and one guy asked me, "Teacher, what's the adjective of that....talkery?" I loved it...and I replied, "talkative" ;)

These little moments bring such joy to my day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BC0914: Teaching Tip

Pronunciation / Intonation

Pronunciation & intonation are very important elements when learning English. Placing stress on the correct syllable or word in a sentence can drastically change its meaning.

On the right hand side of my whiteboard I have a section for Pronunciation. Here, I write the word, the phonetic spelling as well as the word itself broken up into easy-to-read-and-pronounce chunks.

Eg: "valuable" = "val-yoo-bill"

(Many students are unfamiliar with the IPA, but that's another post altogether. )

I use a different coloured marker and draw a circle over the syllable or word that needs to be emphasized.

I encourage students to do the same when they're reading, especially out loud.

Monday, September 1, 2014

BC0914: Memory Lane

A walk down memory lane...fills me with nostalgia. Tonight I'm walking all the way back to 2007 when I had just arrived in South Korea.

I remember my first night alone in my apartment. The only furniture I had was my bed. I had no phone. No computer. No radio. No TV. The only thing to keep me company was the book I traveled with.

I remember the silence being deafening.

I didn't want to unpack my bag, thinking that I'll go directly to the airport the following day. The 20+hour flight was a waste of time. I wanted to be back in South Africa.

I was completely alone in a foreign land. What was I thinking? How could I live there for a year? A whole year?!

Anyway...I remember that moment as a smile forms on lips.

I've grown in leaps and bounds from that time. Korea was one of the biggest challenges I've faced. I had to cross many barriers, mainly language and culture.

The best thing it did was push me to my limits. We only know what we're capable of when we're thrown into the deep end!