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the “little” part…

January 13, 2015 , , , ,


This is a total no-brainer. I’m 5 foot, or probably just a little under, but I like the well-roundedness, and the slight ego-trip, of being able to say definitively that I AM five feet tall. Yes, I do realise the irony of becoming a high school teacher, but life gives you what you need to develop your character, and yelling out, “SHORT TEACHER COMING THROUGH!” and swimming through a packing shed of teenage bodies in the (old) Brighton science corridor was the ultimate in character building. Year 8s use me as a periodic measuring stick through their first year of school, Year 12s reminisce at how, at the beginning of their high-schooling, they were once my height and now can comfortably use me as a resting post…if they lean. I was measured against a bass flute once. If the other music staff were asked if they’d seen me, a favoured response was, “Have you looked down? In the carpet weave?!”

But my quaint compactness has had its charms. I have no competition for the floor-layer of pigeon holes, I blend in during casual days, I get asked which year level I’m in or which university I’m studying at and I can recline comfortably under my desk with a novel, umm, ACARA notes, during emergency lockdown.

But “little” I am incredibly fond of, as it has shaped me in unexpected ways. Learning to understand my presence in the classroom, my gestures as a conductor and how I interact with students twice my size have a sort of double importance…I REALLY have to imbue all that I am into my role, stand my ground, use my presence + person well. It is absolutely, perfectly normal to stand (on a block) in front of an ensemble or class and direct the stream of interaction, crafting of a new piece, or learning. It’s only when the DVD of the Music Spectacular comes out that my students will very bluntly proclaim,

“Ms Kwok, you look ridiculously tiny standing in front of a 120-combined choir!”

Best present for my size? My Year 12s of Vintage 2005 made me one of those orange flags with flashing orange light to assist with my identification in large crowds. They got sick of being stuck with me as the invisible check-in point!

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