Remembering Mr. Morton

Dapper guy, no?

Dapper guy and a bunny

Once all the kids have gone to school, I did what most people around the world do; open their Facebook page. And there it was, a notice from Mel about how her father has passed away in his sleep. Mel’s dad, Mr. Donald Morton has lost his battle with leukemia yesterday…

Stunned.

I knew about his illness. Mel and his sister have kindly updated us on his progress, ever since they found out that he has cancer. They said that it is going to be a difficult battle but I always hope and pray he’ll be better. You see, Mr. Morton is not just Mel’s father, he’s also one of my high school teacher. I have such regards to my teachers, especially now I am one and Mr. Morton was among the good ones.

Mr. Morton is a kind, intelligent, passionate person. He loves teaching, he loves his students and genuinely cares about them. When you pass him in the hallways, he always have a warm smile for you and if he happens to be free, he just loves to start a conversation with you. He has such a wide knowledge, particularly history and literature. You can talk for hours with him about those two things, or until the bell rings. Which is most of the time.

I got him as my Theory of Knowledge or TOK teacher. TOK as a subject is quite strange for me because well, it is about philosophy really and that’s the last thing I want to do at the end of the day. Which is when the class was scheduled for me back then. Gosh, I can sooo feel him now; looking at blank faces staring back at him. Must be my ‘karma’ for blanking on your class eh? ๐Ÿ™‚ But outside the classroom I have no problem whatsoever talking with him. Then I graduated, went to uni, while away my first year going to endless lectures when one day it just clicked. All the stuff he was talking about, I got it. About 2 years later I finally understood what he means. See, TOK is about philosophy, about how to process thoughts and sorting out information. Weighty stuff for ESL student, or maybe it is just me. Eventually, when your lecturers are asking you to do essays exploring this and that… So THIS is what THAT was about. I can be a bit slow at times so it seems. But hey, at least I got it eventually.

One thing that always remember about Mr. Morton is how he gently corrects my perception of motherhood. It was during one of our talks that I mentioned that my mom is ‘just a housewife.’ He said,”No, your mom is not just a housewife, she’s a home maker. She created a loving and safe home for you. That’s a hard and thankless job!” That was the first time I heard of the phrase ‘home-maker’. I was so taken by that. Later, Mel would tell me that although he likes spend his time reading and thinking about things, he was also down to doing house chores like doing the dishes after dinner. From stories that Mel told me, I also thinks that he’s a romantic at heart. He’s an American, yet he decided to live and set-up roots in the Netherland because he fall in love with a Dutch lady, Mel’s mom. I think that’s romantic.

So yeah, I was stunned this morning. I sorta went into a funk thinking about my teacher, and then thinking about Mel. I so want to be in NL to hug Mel, to help her in practical way and give my respect to her dad. But alas… we are so far apart. I wish we don’t have to live so far away but c’est la vie.

Dear Mr. Morton, I hope you are in a happier place now, away from pain and hurt. We love you and you are definitely missed. Rest in peace sir, and I hope we’ll see each other again someday.

Mr dan Mrs Morton with Mel. Looking gorgeous.

Mr dan Mrs Morton with Mel. Gorgeus as usual.

with lots of love,
Your former student.

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of classes, prep time, etc

I knew I’ve been lax with post-a-week thing. Just didn’t realise how severe the laziness was until I look at the number of entries. Less than 4 entries for the whole of August!!! Now that is quite serious fall from the wagon so to speak ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not sure what hit me last month. Hormones gone a bit haywire, was holding a slight grudge and couldn’t quite shake it off. Bad me. Don’t copy it people. Then again I did have, for the first time, 3 different classes in the same semester. I have held few classes in a week but it usually were the same subject so I just need to do 1 prep for them. Now I need to do 3 different set of prep because they are different with different kids. And boy, that takes a lot of time. I just wanna zonked out once work is done. Didn’t really feel like writing anything else, especially after marking papers. I do need to sort out my time better though because the director just told me that I may have the same schedule for next semester. Eek!

However, now that this semester is winding down I think I finally got the hang of it. Earlier I always feel like I’m playing catch up with the classes. No sooner than one prep is done, the next one already waiting to be done with no rest in between. I probably said it before but I really have a higher appreciation for my high school teachers now. Not only do they have to teach everyday but at different levels as well. They really need to be paid much much better than what they are now. Sad how some people think teacher’s salary don’t matter. Anyway, that’s a topic on its own which I really don’t want to get into right now.

Of my tons of readers, if any of you are teachers, care to share any time management tips? I’d love to learn from your experience and would welcome any tips to be a better, more productive teacher ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good weekend!

On Teaching

When I first start teaching, I wanted to pass down knowledge so that it doesn’t stop with me. I also want to make sure the students understand so they would do well, pass their exam, graduated and move on to better and bigger things. What I didn’t realise is that in the course of doing these things somewhere along the way these students grow on me. I teach writing and when someone writes, even if what they wrote is academic paper, they left an imprint of them in their writing.

Perhaps because I taught non-fiction, often they reveal insight about themselves. ย I’m not sure whether they realise it or not, but through their assignments, I get to know them a little better, their family, their friends and sometimes, their dreams. Some of their essays made me sad like when a student was writing about television, he was writing about how parents should spend more time with their kids so the kids would learn how to behave from them, not from tv shows. But there’s something about the way he wrote it that made me suspect that it’s based from experience. Some others made me chuckle, like when another student wrote an adoring profile about her father. She actually ends it by saying, “I love my father very much!” Aww… how can your heart not warms up?

And so, given that I’m privy to some of their thought it is no wonder they grow on me. It’s funny, after a while these kids starts to feel like my kids. I care about them, I want them to do well, I get to admonish them if they’re lazy (and they do get lazy, they’re college kids, not angels) but I don’t have to worry about them coming home late or feeding them daily. Great eh?

It really is funny considering you only meet them for what a couple semesters? You don’t raise these kids, they pass through your life briefly and yet they left an indelible mark on you. I totally didn’t expect that. Come graduation, my insides were bawling. Seeing them walking up that stage to receive their diplomas I clapped just as hard as their parents. Hugged some of them, took pictures and that’s it. You won’t see them again next semester.

Then holiday is over, you find yourself with a new class and start the whole process over again. Life eh? One thing for sure, I think I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I have much bigger appreciation for my own teachers. Thank you.

*Congrats K, the world is yours. Much love*