Worth every little thing

sorry for the lack of updates! i keep forgetting that i have a blog. this will be a quick post about something i just wrote on facebook (first sign of a bad blogger, post on facebook first then only remember to post on blog >.<)

i have so much to talk about, but blogging seems to be so time-consuming. whatever happened to me! i keep wanting to document every little thing but have been very bad at it. anyway, i’m actually pretty sick of teaching-related posts so the next post will be about me! finally! but you’ll have to bear with this one first.

if there’s one phrase i can use to describe teaching, it’ll be “it’s worth every damned thing”. here’s why:

i’m super proud of my 34 kids who have been practising everyday for the past month for the choral speaking competition. on the very first day of our practice, i told our principal that i will make sure we win the district championship if she allowed me to take school time to practise. i went to my kids after that, worried, because i just made a really big (seemingly impossible) promise. we are a kampung school, english is not their first or even second language, 90% of the kids had no experience with choral speaking, AND even I don’t have any experience with it, how are we gonna win the more elite schools??

but we kept working hard anyway. whenever they faltered, i pushed them further, sometimes to the point that i feel was quite evil. i told them that if we don’t do our best, we might as well not join the competition at all. what’s the point of joining for the sake of joining, if we’re only mediocre? i swear i heard them muttering angry words at me with their teeth gritted when i made them repeat the same stanza a million times until they got it nailed.

anyway, guess what? all the hard work paid off cos we won the district championship! to be honest, the competition was meh, but it’s still a huge milestone for all of us! our school has never won anything english-related before, so everyone was beyond ecstatic!

they screamed when we were announced as the champion and immediately hugged me. the conductor (who also won the best conductor award) counted “1,2,3” and everyone said “thank you teacher!!!” and bowed! wanted to cry then but have to maintain dictator face lol. most memorable moment of my teacher life so far T___T

this is a picture i took of them when they were on stage. i thought they did a pretty bad job (which i berated them for later, i’m so mean). now that we’re going to the state championship, we have been working twice as hard! my motto for them is: we might be village kids, but we can win too! hahaha so lame but they love it!

thought i’ll share this simple anecdote of pure unadulterated joy with all of you. things have been a huge roller-coaster in school, but i’ll take whatever small happiness i can get right now. i know we’ll not win the state championship for sure, but to see my kids speaking a hundred times more english than they have ever spoken in their entire lives, to see them screaming in joy and feeling confident for once, is worth every second, every drop of sweat, and every sigh of fatigue for me.

camwhore teacher.

being a teacher really makes me feel like a celebrity sometimes, cos the kids love to take pictures with and of me! whenever they bring their phones, i’ll sometimes catch them sneakily taking pictures of me (eating, talking, doing work etc). and these are 13 year old girls, not even some hormone-raging prepubescent boys! and they’ll shower me with compliments everyday! “teacher you’re so pretty” “teacher your eyes are shining beautifully” “teacher your hair looks so soft” and even “teacher your nails are so nice!” (in malay of course). this is a very ego-boosting job wtf

anyway, that’s all for now. wish us luck for the state championship!



  1. pink panther says:

    Good job! Reminds me of “to sir with love” the movie….. so unbelievably dedicated and committed…..

    Btw, the specky plump boy is very adorable and cute

  2. rara says:

    great job cikgu suet! one of the many more achievements and improvements to come for your students.

    hahaha.. so cute those girls took pictures of u etc.. but really la.. u’re the prettiest teacher i know! 😀

  3. HiLo says:

    Awe-inspiring. You are a bearer of hope. This accomplishment is very heartfelt making them believe in themselves. Like the way you take ownership of your students.

  4. Felicia~ says:

    wow girl, you do have some real dedication there! without a doubt, those kids of yours were treasure and deeply appreciate you for your effort and sincerity! Reading your posts is already so motivating, meeting you in person would be legendary 😉 Your kids are lucky and blessed to have you!

  5. xuanmiin says:

    First, congratulations on your girls winning the district championship. Others might not think it’s much, but through your post, I know how much this means to you and the girls. And then I hope that you dream, the chances of winning the state championship might be slim. But nothing is impossible. I wish you all the best for the State Championship.
    Normally when I come across a random entry on a blog, I would just read it, smile and move on. Seldom do I leave a comment, but this time, I feel compelled to do so. Well, that’s because in some aspects, you remind me of my teacher. Even from one entry, I sense your dedication and sincerity. Never mind that I don’t study in a village school, she teaches me a Science subject, and I’m not really 13. And, I guess, that’s a huge compliment because I really adore this teacher of mine.
    Perhaps, I understand how your students feel when you make them repeat the same stanza a million times. Perhaps, I understand how your students feel when the task ahead seems so impossibly daunting that even embarking on it seems hopeless. Perhaps I understand when you claim that even to yourself, you seem evil.
    But if there’s one thing I know, is that I’m grateful. I’m sure your girls are too. The reason why they adore you so much is because you’ve effected positive change in their lives and they look up to you cause you’re beautiful inside.
    All the best ^^

  6. amandamun says:

    aww suet li! thanks for sharing your experiences. really enjoyed reading them and they really put a smile on my face each time. 😀 congratulations with what you’ve been doing and i hope that things continue to look bright ahead for you and the kids!

  7. esther says:

    omg congrats! i follow you on twitter and i remember you tweeting that morning about being nervous for them and they ended up winning 😀

    and hey, who knows? maybe they’ll win the state championship!

  8. 5plus2 says:

    This is the first time i drop u a comment.
    I dont know why but I know u did a great job, not many other ppl can do this, some just talking more than action, but u did what u said!
    and you and your students deserved it and for sure, it is possible to nail the state championship!

  9. ef.ae says:

    congrats on the win! must have felt really good ^^ it makes a person happier when she is successful in helping other people achieve something 😉 it is definitely harder than trying to achieve something by ownself.

  10. jie says:

    nice job! congratz to all of u! u r really a great teacher..my parents are teachers too, i know how hard it is to be a good teacher. sometimes kids just dont listen!haha..keep up ur good work!

  11. sapphire_pearl says:

    I pop in on your blog occassionally from time to time, and it’s been a while since the last time I did. In any case, I was quite surprised to see that you’re a teacher now…. and I just wanted to write and say you are nothing short of inspirational. It must take a lot of courage, faith, dedication and passion to do what you do.

    I used to want to make a difference in the world too, but in the last 5 years since graduation; my life has had quite a lot of disappointments and sadness that I feel very much apathetic and unmotivated these days. Reading your teaching entries have (if I can be completely honest) made me truly uncomfortable and ashamed at myself. Hopefully this will start me on a journey to do something about it.

    You (and your fellow teachers) are not just making a difference to the kids you’re teaching and the next generation in Malaysia. You’re also inspiring your bloggers and some of which might even be older than you. It is true that age has nothing to do with how much impact you can make in the world. But I just wanted to say… thanks.

    God Bless….

  12. Lynn Shane says:

    Its been awhile since I last read sweatlee.com and here I am on a Saturday morning catching up on ur posts which I’ve missed out on and as I scrolled down post by post, this post…made me tear. hehe :/

    I really admire this spirit of perserverance you have there and you are really making a difference in the lives of your students. Its really amazing.. Don’t ever give up! 🙂 They may not see how much of a change you are doing to their lives, but one day, they’ll grow up to see the change that you’ve made.. 🙂

    Please continue to document your journey as a teacher for the remaining of your 2 years stint as a teacher. 🙂 Your passion and spirit inspires me so much! 🙂

    Really, DON’T EVER GIVE UP! Because you’re doing such a great work out there 🙂

    Cheers, and ALL THE BEST! 🙂

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