Thursday, June 26, 2014


So we're reaching the end of yet another school holiday period, with just days to go before it's back to the reality of work. I was tempted initially to call it a 'holiday', but in all honesty i did get a somewhat decent break, though of course as usual it was hardly long enough. Ideally, i'd have an extended period of time abroad coupled with a similarly extended period of time simply relaxing back at home. Given the limited duration of the holiday though, i'd have to be content with just one of those. And i'll never pass up an opportunity to travel, which means that i yet again missed out on spending enough quality time back here. Even though i'd made a conscious effort to arrive back here with some days to spare before having to get back to work, i ended up spending much of my free time recovering from the effects of the travel (alas, that's just me feeling my age, i suppose).

I do have Friday and the weekend left, though i do need these days to do some work, if i'm planning to meet at least some of my deadlines and not make next week a thoroughly miserable one. It's going to be a challenge though, as i can hardly get into the right frame of mind. We'll see how things will go..

Saturday, May 31, 2014

net loss

For sure they did not have this in mind when designing the structure of the school year here, but somehow it seems as though the past 21.5 weeks (two terms of ten weeks + three extra days and one week of March 'holidays') has just about done it for me, such that today i find myself at home essentially wasting time while trying to decide on what to do (there's always stuff to do, but with the marking season over, what exactly i need to do becomes less concrete), not having managed to do anything yet, while in just about every previous Saturday this year i would have found myself stationed in some cafe with a (rather) affordable drink that would hopefully warrant my presence there for hours on end, getting some form of work done (as i find myself far less inefficient - very deliberate choice of words there - than i would at home).

In keeping with the spirit of the aforementioned March 'holidays', next week i'll still find myself in school for every working day, no doubt trying to squeeze out every last ounce of energy and willpower i have to last me through before the actual June holiday. Speaking of the June holiday, i must say that i'm rather apprehensive about it because i've yet to plan anything to do with the trip yet with a week left to go, which is a first, as normally i'd at least have some accommodation and itinerary matters settled after finally finding some time to take my focus away temporarily from work to get some planning done. This time though, the amount and complexity of work up till now and continuing from here, has really been unprecedented, hence my current unintentional 'as the wind takes me' approach. I hope that i'll at least have some chance to recharge during the holiday, lest i end up in a worse state than this when i come back just in time for another hard half-year slog. Don't know how to look at this positively in terms of my ability to last beyond a couple more years..

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Productivity Pressures

With the first of May just a couple of hours away, the Labour Day messages have been coming in. I haven't bothered to read any of them, but it's safe to say that one major theme, at least from the messages from any government/government-linked body would be that of productivity, or more specifically, the need to boost it.

Whenever i encounter such calls to increased productivity, inevitably my eyes roll (though granted cynical me rolls my eyes at plenty of things). I do not doubt the validity and urgency of such calls at the national level (in any case, i'm far from qualified to be able to pass any judgement), but at least when i think of my own example, increased productivity just doesn't seem like a viable and sustainable option. I'm very aware of my own failings, which include being highly inefficient and lacking focus when it comes to vital matters such as marking and setting of papers. However, i can't help but feel that i draw upon those wasted moments for energy in order to keep myself going, especially given the sheer number of tasks that there are to complete at any one time, which really take a lot out of me. In other words, if i were, by some miracle of nature, to become extremely focused and productive in my work, i doubt i could even last beyond this year before succumbing to burnout.

Something to think about as i prepare for another day of labour this Labour Day.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

catching up

It's been busy, or more accurately, unprecedentedly busy times as of late, so much so that for more than a month i couldn't find the opportunity to go for a run (albeit due in part to the sudden but nonetheless welcome wet weather on successive Saturday mornings, but still due more to the usual suspects - lack of time / tiredness). The last time i managed to run before this break i had managed more than 13km in about 74 min. Well I can't say that i was surprised, but i was still pretty bummed when i couldn't last even for half as long (both distance and time wise) when i finally managed to sneak in a run last week. I then only managed to last mere metres and a minute longer the second time round, which was this morning. If i needed a lesson in the importance of consistency and regularity, this sure is it. The lack of exercise must have also played a part in my gain of around 3kg (though i suppose many would just roll their eyes and say that i need it) over the past few weeks. In any case, now more than ever before, i've been asking myself the question - how much longer can i last?

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness 2.0

The week of 16 March is officially the March school holiday period. The key word here is 'officially'. Unofficially, it has been pretty much business as usual, with the most noticeable (but still minor) differences being having the opportunity to dress down and sleep about one hour more than usual.

Now, this is not meant to be a complaint post. After all, in a way i have gotten myself into this situation by requesting to teach the classes i'm teaching, fully expecting that the words 'March (and for that matter, September) holidays' would not eventuate in the way that they would be expected to (by those who don't have any direct contact with the education system here, at least). And pretty much all the stuff that i've been up to this 'holiday' has been meaningful, and not a waste of time (or at least i hope that's the case). Even if it's meant that i think i've not felt so tired or, dare i say, worn out for a long time. I guess i may have felt worse before, but i think that the amount that i've to handle now is more than it was before [experience does build up resilience, or as i'd like to refer to it, staff capacity (capacity to tahan the worst that the job can throw you].

The fact of the matter, or at least in the way i see it, is that there's plenty of meaningful stuff that we do (and inevitably, a fair deal of stuff that at most helps to boost CVs but is really far more of style and substance), but some of us (or at least me) are not able to sustain doing the amount that is expected without some serious sacrifices being made (which in my case, being as utterly inefficient as i am, would be the giving up of a life outside of the holidays). And in such situations, i can't help but question if the result is really worth the effort.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

no one else to blame

On the one hand, i constantly lament (to myself) about the seemingly permanent eye bags and how i never seem to get enough sleep on school nights.

On the other hand, many is the time when, like tonight, i'm wasting perfectly good sleep time doing inconsequential stuff (including this i guess) on the computer (not that i've no work to do - there's always work to do, but there's not always the will to do it).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

no time for horseplay

It's amazing to see how we're already at the end of January, and so it's already the end of week four of term time. I haven't actually spent a lot of time in school, due to having an ICT as well as falling sick (for the first time since 2010), which probably has contributed to how fast these past few weeks have gone by. Things have been as hectic as they've ever been, though perhaps due to having a bit more experience under my belt i'm less ruffled by it all than i would have been say three years ago. In fact, no less than the big boss commented that i look happier than i did back then.

It still is early days though, and definitely there'll be many more speed bumps along the road ahead. In fact, much of this CNY break will (hopefully) be spent trying to preempt all of these, while at the same time trying to recharge a bit. (Horse) bit by bit.