Gratitude

So we got our salary for the month yesterday. Winter break officially starts today and we had our last day of work for 2012 celebrating the school’s successful inspection last week (hoorah!).

Before heading to the park where we were supposed to have fun, games and food (that mainly means biryani and drinks), we had to stand in a long queue for a paycheck that I calculated would be gone with the wind by tomorrow. I went along with two new staff whom I just got to know this month. One was our computer lab assistant and the other was a new teacher.

Hira, the lab assistant, started working with us in November. She did not receive any pay than month, as the management said that was still her “training” period, where, as the only person in the laboratory, she technically took charge of training herself. Nonetheless, she dealt with the inspection week gracefully smiling at 40+ teachers telling and yelling they need a projector in class pronto. And we only had 5 projectors. How she managed to sweetly say no to those who wanted her to be a genie and make projectors appear when they need one (I being one of them) is beyond me. Most teachers in school can be really mean and I often wonder if they attended a how-to-be-mean seminar or they just don’t know how to translate manners in English. Hira was just great under pressure, hands up, really.

Shakra, the new teacher just came this month. She is newly-married and still in her early 20’s. She’s taking over my Grade 4 Math class (they gave me a Grade 5 class in place of it). I had such a hard time with that section because a lot of them don’t understand English. For a while I was lost and I felt like I was not getting through but after two months of routines and truckloads of patience,  students whom other teachers said were ‘too quiet’ and ‘not exerting’ effort in their classes were actively participating in mine. Darn I’m going to miss those kids.

Because she has only served roughly two weeks in school, Shakra wasn’t sure if she would get her salary. Most teachers don’t at that stage. She hoped against hope when she stood in line with us.

I got mine first. I was happy I had money to send to my mom who’s been complaining about how expensive my younger son’s vaccine was and that my older son’s school fees were collected early. When you’re running a household with two kids and two nannies, managing the expenses can be really tough (love you, mom) especially in the holiday season when suddenly nothing is cheap. I held the precious white envelope so tightly, wishing that I had more to send.

Hira, as usual, smiled happily when she got hers. She did not say a word but the skipping she did on our way back to our building said it all.

Shakra was just ecstatic. She hopped and jumped and said “I got my salary!” like a broken record while she giggled. This was the first salary of her life.

When we finally reached the staff room, Shakra took her phone and called her husband. After that she called her mom. Then her brother…and pretty much everyone in the family. She was so happy with the white envelope she received, which, when she counted, was not even a third of mine. I know she has a husband who provides for her and she probably does not have to spend a penny on household expenses but still, I marveled at how she was so proud and happy of what she had. I felt so little. I should be happier.

Sometimes I tend to focus too much on the burdens I have. Sometimes I forget how great a place I’m in. Sometimes life gets so busy I hardly notice the droplets of blessings God sends.

I am thankful. I ought to be. 🙂

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