As civil servants, teachers in my country will normally experience relocation once in a while; be it personal request or due to the need of the profession. The whole country has a rough total of 10,000 primary and secondary schools. Many of these schools are located in the rural areas that require extensive traveling hours, some in the heart of a tropical jungle. A posting to these locations not only separates young teachers from their family, many at times they will experience culture shock and the difficulties in adapting to a life back to basic, if they grow up in an urban city. As a result, before graduation, most trainees' major concern will be where are they going to be located after graduation.
My first posting 13 years ago was at a really rural area. It was, according to my mum an isolated, deserted and 'dangerous' place for a 23 year old. However, I was excited. It has always been my interest to leave the city and experience the nature. Also, I was extremely rebellious and wished to stay as far away from home as possible. Who knows, my wish did come true, and I was away for a good 13 years.
In fact, after a decade out there, I have began to miss home and I wish to be able to wake up at home every morning, go to work and come back to home everyday. I have served in three different schools since 1999. The last school was a school in the middle of a town, however, I was still some 400km away from home. I was relocated to the school in 2007 and had never ceased to submit my transfer application form ever since.
Each year, there are two relocation applications available; one in the middle of the year, one at the end of the year. Special relocation is normally carried out in the middle of the year, for special requests that are normally related to health. Other than that, all relocation applications are normally processed at the end of the year and teachers will start to serve the new school starting the new school year in January.
When I checked online last December, I did feel disappointed but I was not devastated. It had actually become a yearly routine to see my application rejected. Thus, I was planning and in fact, executing my new project in 2013 – a Gavel Club. Therefore, when the news came that my appeal to be transferred came through, I was really too surprised to feel anything. A lot of my friends asked me how do I feel about the news, I must have been really happy that my application finally went through, I couldn't answer them…
I have always believed that as a civil servant, I should be able to serve my country no matter where I am. I have heard a lot of 'advise' telling me that I shouldn't do too much or work too hard in the school if I plan to leave. But to me, the idea is just absurd. Also, I have heard 'reasons' that cut short some of my projects or ideas because 'what will happen if I leave the school one day? Who is going to take over my place?'. I have to admit I have been stubborn and outspoken all these while. Sometimes it is not easy. But I hold on to what I believe is right.
I do feel happy that I could finally be home after 13 years of being an 'outlander', but every time I do leave the previous school with a heavy heart. 9 years ago, I left without saying goodbye, because I did not think I could do it gracefully, especially those kids that I had spent 4.5 years with, those kids that I practically become their 'mum' from Year 1 to Year 4. Leaving a school also means I have to leave all my passion and my work in that school, leaving all that I have built during my years in that particular school, to leave behind a 'legacy', if there is one, to leave those familiar faces that greet me day in day out for at least 4 consecutive years. It's not easy at all.
Since my current relocation is finally a school 15 minutes drive from home, many think that probably this will be the school I stay till my retirement age. But, who knows what is going to happen? Based on my previous record, I am relocated on average every 4 years ~ 😛