Thursday, 27 October 2011

Reading Challenge - Silent Honour (7/52)

book cover of 

Silent Honor 


Danielle Steel

My Reading Challenge is back. I'm back. How are you, my dear readers and awesome friends?
I know...I know...I'm already behind time. Reaching number 52 seems far-fetched. However, this no longer matters. I read for enjoyment. I read as I'm making mental fitness part of my daily routine. Reading a book requires active concentration. Reading regularly no doubt helps to increase my powers of concentration.

Danielle Steel's Silent Honour is set against a vivid backdrop of war and change. It tells of the triumph of a young girl, Hiroko Takashimaya caught between cultures and determined to survive.

In August 1941 the eighteen-year old Hiroko, torn between her mother's belief in ancient traditions and her father's passion for modern ideas, leaves Japan for America. To Hiroko, California is totally a different world. Her cousins in California have become more American than Japanese - and Hiroko also finds a link between her old and new worlds when she befriends Peter, her uncle's university assistant.

But on December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese, and within hours, war is declared. Suddenly Hiroko has become an enemy in a foreign land. Terrified, begging to go home, she is ordered by her father to stay. But as the military is empowered to remove the Japanese from their communities, Hiroko and her Californian family end up in Tanforan and then Tule Lake, internment camps for the Japanese-Americans, where they fight to stay alive amid the drama of life and death in the camp.

This extraordinary novel creates a portrait of human tragedy and strength, divided loyalties and love. Danielle Steel portrays the human cost of that terrible time in history, as well as the remarkable courage of a people whose honour and dignity surpassed the chaos that surrounded them. 

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Friday, 21 October 2011

Today is HIS Birthday ....

Today, October 21 is my beloved husband's birthday.

Dear gorgeous husband of mine,
It's your birthday. 

Let me just say some extra special things on this extra special occasion.
Well, I'll begin with an "I LOVE YOU"  I really do.  

Darling, this journey we've been on has not always been easy
but with you by my side ...
 along with an ever-present knowledge that our love is still safe,
we've made it.  
And we're making it.  You make me laugh.   
I like that dating me is important to you even though I'm not just your girlfriend anymore. 
 I like dating you too.  I like how you appreciate my cooking (which rarely comes) and that you can, at times, talk me off my ledge of insanity.  
I like that you work real hard to make our dreams and wishes come true.
I like that you told me, long ago, love is not just a feeling but a choice.  
You've taught me a lot, you know.  
Thank you for teaching me about life and love
and thanks for marrying me.  
And thanks for being my best friend.  I really love you.

Your wife

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Good Teacher Does Not...

A small incident unfolded this morning and it prompted me to write this piece. It's all about attributes of a good teacher. 

Though OTHERS might discriminate, act like an ally in certain situations, have personal rapports and likings ... a good teacher begs to differ.

A teacher who possesses certain requisite qualities  DOES NOT ...

  •  yell at her students but keeps her temper in check and act calmly.
  • waste time but utilizes it wisely.
  • discriminate but always adopts a fair attitude when it comes to any form of evaluations.
  • take subject matters she teaches lightly but has necessary command over the subject matter.
  • kill her time in the classroom and wait for the bell to ring but takes out time and engage in after-school meetings and activities.
  • miss out any important particulars but pays meticulous attention to details.
To those teachers out there who treat their students like commodities or robots... please cease doing so. Students are living, breathing, human beings...they deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness.

To have a good and caring teacher is every child's dream...

Image credit: Michelle Ong

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Monday, 17 October 2011

Sharing and Imparting ...(2)

I have posted a similar topic here a few months ago. This is the second phase of the same course and the only differences are the venue and the course participants.

Performing the teachers version - Hockey Pockey...


The trainer...

Training is all about fun and refreshing.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Taking a Back Seat...

Source: Microsoft Office

I've been putting all my energies into marking public exam papers and training level one teachers recently so my blogging activities have had to take a back seat. I'm deeply sorry for leaving you, my dear readers in the lurch for a week.

Instead of keeping to a few posts a week, I  manage mere a post a week. But, I always believe in this ...something is always better than nothing! Don't you think so? As for this post which is also my 100th post, I'll only confide in you about the exam-marking...

There is nothing glamorous in wading through piles of scripts, particularly on a hot tropical evening, with the soap opera beckoning. But it is important work, calling for precision, professionalism and, up to a point, compassion. Marking scripts can be pretty monotonous. But you get occasional dramatic glimpses into the lives of the pupils. I can remember one paper with only a plea scrawled across the sheet...PLEASE GIVE ME SOME MARKS. I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS. THANK YOU. 

I get a curious good feeling out of marking papers. Sometimes it can be quite frustrating. Again and again, you see pupils not doing themselves justice. Their exam technique is poor and they made mostly some of the 'silliest mistakes' on earth. But from a professional point of view, it is a great opportunity to see how the work that goes on in the classroom stands up to external examination.

These are among the things that I as a teacher hate to see in the scripts I'm marking:
  • Handwritings that look like chicken's scratch.
  • Dreadful spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Direct translations from mother-tongue to English.
A question for teachers: 
What do you look for when you mark your pupils' exam scripts?

A question for parents:
If you were given a chance to whisper a word or two to your kids' examiners,
what will you say to them?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Missing You ...

I miss you guys!!
Has it really been weeks since my last post?
I can't believe it.

Rest assured that I have not forgotten about you!
I'm just pretty dang busy marking  public exam papers ...
The time is flying away from me!

I still can't show you anything I'm working on yet...
But of course my dear friends know I'm working on the KSSR stuff.
The whole of next week I'll be with Year 2 teachers,
debunking the curriculum transformation myths.

And ...
I haven't been able to snap any new photos for my bloggy.

In the meantime, let's feast on these excellent photos taken by my youngest brother recently,
on the occasion of my mom's 60th birthday ...

I promise to show you what would I be doing with my district teachers as soon as I can ...

Happy Birthday, Mom!
I love you!