Sunday, November 1, 2009

<<< 3 !!! >>>

October 31st 2009 was a special day for me. This point in time marked yet another milestone in my Online teaching career. I celebrated three years of producing and sharing my video lessons on YouTube. I suppose for many this does not seem like such a big deal, but the fact remains that doing anything over a long period of time takes a great deal of determination and motivation. Fortunately for me these two things have been around me in abundance, although I have had my moments of doubt and disillusionment.

Of course the biggest set-back for me comes from those who choose to criticise and knock what I'm trying to do. There are those in life who wish to improve their own outlook as well as those of others and there are those who only want to take, while offering nothing in return. Then there are those who achieve nothing, blame others for it, then spend the rest of their time pulling down those who are trying to do something with their lives. Fortunately this last group are not the majority, but their existence is still a disruptive one.

From my own point of view I suppose I should be one of those bitter ones. Not everything in my life was easy. I did not get everything I wanted. My early life was not an easy one and I certainly did not come from any sort of privileged background. In my younger years I was not a very confident person. I was shy, gauche, introverted--call it what you like. Everything was a challenge to me. Even walking to school was a daunting task for me, as my tallness and geeky appearance made me a target for bullies and the constant threat of name-calling and intimidation would lay heavily on my conscience, which meant every morning walk to school was accompanied by a feeling of dread and nausea. . The weird thing was that inside I was happy. A strange sort of optimism burned in my heart. I would look up at the sky and watch the clouds drifting by. In my mind, I was one of those clouds, drifting aimlessly, with no purpose or direction, yet their presence still made a difference and I would find myself wondering if mine ever would.

All these moments have long since passed, but that little flame of optimism still burns. The motivation I have now comes from this desire to add a little something to the world, to make a small difference. I will never find a cure for Cancer, or win the Nobel Prize, but at least I'm trying to add something to this increasingly over-cynical world of ours. My real life-changing time came during my stay in China. Many memories of that time still play in my head, again and again. During that time I was finally able to see the human spirit for real. Not in a religious sense, but from a sense of inner optimism. In my line of work I would travel to many small rural villages, visiting community schools, many of which were old and run-down, with battered desks, tattered text books and at the front of each classroom, fixed into the wall, was a large chunk of painted stone which acted as a blackboard. As patronising as this may sound, it is all true and for the young people living there, it was their reality.

When devoid of people, these rooms presented a feeling of gloom and despair, but that soon vanished, once the students walked in. All at once I would be standing in front of a sea of smiling happy faces, the excitement probably intensified by my own presence, as for most of them I would have been the first 'foreigner' they had ever met. (Which was true on most occasions) Now it would be too easy to assume that there would be no way in which anyone sitting in these classrooms would be able to speak English very well at all and I would not blame anyone for thinking this. But let me tell you...this could not have been further from the truth. The thing which struck me on each of these visits was how well and confidently the students spoke English. Bearing in mind that many of these classes consisted of very young children, aged around eight to twelve, living as I said, in very 'poor' and remote areas. When I look around me now, here in the UK, we are constantly being told about the neglected underclass and those who live in 'poverty'! We make excuses for all the bad behaviour, we look for reasons for our failure. We blame everyone but ourselves. Great achievements come from determination, motivation and courage. Anyone can criticise and maybe that route is the easiest... I always tell myself, 'Don't be bitter, be better!', It is so easy to attack others, and at the end of the day, all you are really doing is attacking yourself. In the end you lose.

I believe that the Chinese children in those rural schools appreciated everything around them. Their optimism was nurtured by the teachers and in the hearts of each one of them burned that small flame of hope. In China, nature is revered and the passing of each season is celebrated. It is a kind of appreciation of how all things have a purpose. The sun, the moon, The breeze....and lets not forget those clouds, apparently moving aimlessly, but in reality, doing many things to help us survive.

The phrase I use at the start of each lesson...''Are you happy?'' comes from my time in China. It was a question I was frequently asked, normally by a passing student as I walked to my next class, or as I went to collect my bicycle at lunchtime or in the classroom itself. In this increasingly materialistic world, we seem to be looking for happiness in all the wrong places. If you do not find happiness within, you will always be without.

(Misterduncan) ........................................................................................


Ernesto said...

Thank you for sharing!

buscalia7777 said...

It's a text without waste, and I'm fully agree with its meaning.

Happy is all around us. Only we must look for it in the correct place (As you said).

I've this flame of hope too since children and today still bright powerfull.

It's true that everyone have our goals and desires. But if all of this crash, we only must see around us when the wonderful Earth and Live is running constant, powerful and wonderful.

I'm happy to read your positive feelings and share most of them with you.

Please, continue give us this little pleasure of follow your channel. And, if you can, post more. Your lessons seems little feed for a big hanger of elegance and instructive media.

Congratulations and my bigger thanks for your three years of contribution.

Manuel J. & family from Spain
(I hope sooner from England)

PD: As we say; Don't waste nothing of your time with the "Crasher balls" ;-D

gr1603 said...

Your words hit me very much and I find myself wondering on how much important your role is in passing your inspiring knownledge on all of us.
Many italian english teachers could make their students more interested and glad in learning and improving their language skills if only they followed your methods and your passion.
Thanks for your help in these racy three year with you.

Anonymous said...


ayman said...

God bless you

Marley said...

hi misterduncan, i´d like to see more and more videos from you. your english skills help so many people including me of course. sometimes life is not easy with us, but i think that is exactly the reason that we feel alive. thanks for share you thoughts and hope talk and watch your videos more day by day.

look, sorry my english, i´m just a english student.


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for you lessons

zizacad said...

Hi misterduncan , thank you for teaching us, I live in Brazil and always I watch your lessons, bye bye for now

Veena Kumari said...

"If you do not find happiness within, you will always be without". Very well said.