Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Last few days have been more than crazy.

It all started yesterday after my tutorial lesson with 06S27. I had an hour's break before my SPA with 06S13, but before I could go for lunch, Jiaqi dashed in looking for David, who was supposed to be assessing skill B with her. Since he wasn't around, and the students were waiting(the time was 1145), I had no choice but to stand in. There, I thought, goes my lunch break.

So we started SPA at about 1148. David came in at 1155, and I took the opportunity to quickly dash down to the canteen to grab a burger. Apparently, that was when the earth shook for the first time. Probably when I was descending the stairs.

Just after I bought my burger, the staff started evacuating the canteen. I immediately thought of the people having SPA. I had two choices at the moment.

1. Not my problem. Just go to the gallery, enjoy my burger.
2. Go upstairs to inform Jiaqi and David to get the students down.

Guess which option I took?

I dashed up to the fourth floor, and I was right, the students were still in the midst of their experiments. I couldn't make the call to get them down, so I quickly went up the chain of command with my handphone(ahhh... the wonders of modern tech; imagine such a situation 15 years ago!). Thankfully, I got hold of HOD Mannan.

"Boss, we still have students in the chem labs having SPA!"
"Bring them all down. Orders from the top."

I opened the door to the lab. Some students glanced at me, wondering what I was doing and why I looked so flustered, and for a moment I didn't know if I should just call out the orders or defer to Jiaqi, since it was her class. Again, I thought, important things first. We're already slow in getting down, and giving the story to Jiaqi would have taken too long, so I just gave the students the instructions to put whatever they were doing down, and proceed in an orderly manner down to the assembly area.

At the assembly area, I did all that was expected of a civics tutor. Check attendance, blah blah. At 1220 hrs, the all clear was given, and students trooped back to wherever they were supposed to be.

I had a sinking feeling in my stomach then. My lunch break was gone! At 1230, 06S13 went into Lab 4 for their SPA.

Clamping down the feelings of unease in my stomach, I conducted the SPA as best as I could, hoping that nothing else would happen.

With less than 10 minutes left to go, it happened. I was standing, quietly observing the students as they put the finishing touches to their reports.

Then the ground swayed. I had to shift my balance a bit, and for about 5 seconds I was leaning on one foot and then the other. Lagi best... another tremor.

So natch, the response was obvious, even if I didn't want to admit it. I shouted at the excited students to clamp it down and continue with their work, while I made another quick call to Mannan. Again, orders from the top: proceed at best speed to assembly area.

Down we went, and we waited at the field for about fifteen minutes when the orders finally came: school is dismissed, and all staff and students are to leave the premises ASAP.

So... that was it for Tuesday. My lunch? Instant noodles at home. Sob.

Today was nuts for another reason: Choir appeal cases. I remember when I appealed to National Junior College via choir. Check L1R5 - close. Subject combi selection - excellent match. Science scores - no problem. Since I was there for the 1st three months, in the choir, no need even for auditions. All I needed was a phone call, and I jumped at the offer.

Today, it was different. Some of the students called hemmed and hawwed before they were even willing to come down for auditions tomorrow. I was half tempted to ask them to shove off.

Gotta sleep now. And I still haven't finished my line of thought concerning education. Got some new complaints from my dad again. Sheesh.


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