Chasing Rainbows


My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth

I have spent the last two weeks with my head bowed over my marking. Sitting at my desk in school or at home, there was no respite from the hunched-over position that caused my neck to stiffen and my shoulders to cramp. I know that many of you can identify with this, because this is the position that you were in two weeks before my toil started, studying for your exams.

Word after word, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, essay after essay and on and on for 470 scripts! Little wonder then that when I finally finished the last script and raised my head, I blinked in wonder at the world around me, much like a mole does, I imagine, when it comes up to the surface from its burrow underground. My eyes are weaker, my hair is whiter, my skin is more blemished from all the late nights and lack of fresh air. But for now, I’m done.

Here is an example of just how intense my sensory deprivation has been:

I took my kids for their tennis lesson on Saturday. While they raced around after fuzzy green balls, I sat indoors trying to make headway with my last 100 scripts. Suddenly, my son Rishi called me from his cellphone.

“You’ve got to get here quickly,” he trilled, “There’s a rainbow!”

Shoving my scripts hastily into a plastic folder, I ran to the court. And there it was in all its magical brilliance- a rainbow. To understand why this affected me so deeply you would have to know how I spend my time. When I am not marking, I am preparing lessons or studying for my course. This means that I am always reading. I even read for fun when I get a chance in between all the obligatory reading. It has been years since I have spent extended periods of time outdoors. Even when my kids are outdoors I tend to be engaged in trying to finish up more reading. My kids know how much I love rainbows, and I was really touched that it struck them to call me that day so that I would not miss the rare opportunity of seeing one.

I could barely breathe as I looked up at the rainbow that day. I kept staring at it till the rain became too heavy to be outdoors any longer. It was a reminder to me that life cannot just be found on the pages of a book. From now on, I will look for chances to get outdoors. And when I do, I will look up at the sky. I have no idea how many rainbows have come and gone since I retreated indoors. But I will not miss anymore.

So now, if you see me standing in the open and scanning the sky, you will know what I am looking for. And if you happen to see a rainbow while you are in school, look for me and let me know.


2 thoughts on “Chasing Rainbows

  1. Hello Mrs. V!

    It must be really really really hard on you during the marking process! I would like to thank you for that even though you did not mark my script. I know that you are a teacher who always put in the effort to ensure that your students get the best lessons ever because I went through that last year at 3E1. It was certainly a wonderful half-yr period with you as our EL teacher. I’m sure the class felt as well too!

    This particular post is really cool. Indeed, there’re several more things in life that we actually don’t realise. There are so much more things outside the life that we are familiar with- for your case, it’ll be the time spent with your kids & family and seeing the rainbows. Enjoy life!

    Thank you~

  2. Toh Nguan, you have no idea how much your comment touches me. Thank you for making me feel valued and appreciated. I did not mean to make it seem as though the marking was such a great chore. It was tiring, but it’s a part of my job. And it can provide some fun as well, because sometimes kids can write the darndest things!

    I miss your class a lot, and I was very happy to have been given the chance to see you all again for the oral exam. You know, in the past, I have had to fight sleep while listening to students talk during the orals. But with your class, I was wide awake and alert, because all of you were so sincere, and tried so hard to be interesting.

    You guys are warm, friendly and very hardworking. And I wish you all the very best for the gruelling months ahead. Remember that if you need my help, I am just an e-mail away.

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