Thursday, December 17, 2009
These fingers have not tapped on the keyboard to share her boring thoughts to the world for A LONG TIME! Firstly, I don't think anyone's following so no pressure for me to keep updating my blog. Someday InsyaAllah I hope this blog will come in handy for my students, especially because next year I'll be teaching form 6 so it's part of the purpose to get students in touch with several different ways of learning and in this new era independent learning has become a buzz. I hope the internet connection is good enough to make this happen. I'm thinking of several ideas to kick start my lessons next year. Taylor Swift's Fifteen would be a good song for these students I suppose. Basically the song is about all the lessons learnt from one's first love. All the 'I told you so' incidents, you know what I mean. Perhaps for Malaysians, introduction to the song at the age of eighteen is not too late. As for me I experienced my own share of love and hurt at that age, hopefully it wouldn't be too far out of reach for my students as well. Apart from teaching form 6, I'll also be teaching form 3 for half a year. Only half a year because lower six students will be coming in in june, so before that I still can teach form 3 students. I've kind of gelled with these students so I didn't want to let them go when I was told I will solely be teaching F6. I then settled for half a year before another teacher takes over. Just a bit about what I'm doing now which is supposed to be P&C, huhu, I'm currently marking SPM papers. Sorry, can't reveal anything much but boy, isn't it painful! I'm just seriously appalled by the students' level of English. You go to school for 6 + 5 years + perhaps 2 years of kindergarten, and you don't know anything? Not even how to string a decent simple or compound sentence? It actually dawned upon me just how left behind these kids are. What will their future be like? Some of them were struggling and that was still fine because even though they weren't any good but they tried but quite a handful simply just gave up! How can you put your future on the line like that? I kept thinking hard and long and it really upset me as to how their English had become this poor? What were their teachers doing? As a teacher myself, I had form four students who will most likely be like those cases I've mentioned too. I tried to get them interested, but everything was just too difficult for them. I brought the level down to kindergarten but in reality SPM is nothing close to that. We need to a major revamp in school. Almost everything about the schools in this country is not conducive for learning. To top it up, English acquisition, not merely learning, is about the exposure one gets to the language. That's why it's no surprise any kid from the town can speak English but my students can't even ask for my permission to go to toilet properly. How can I get it through to their minds that English is not difficult, it's so much fun!!!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Effective right after 2nd term school break, the new timetable will be used. I was very excited and really looking forward to continuing my journey in the teaching profession with something to call my own. I was given 4 classes; 1M, 2KAA, 2M and 4T. I was contemplating whether I should wear that fierce teacher persona that will usually wear off as my true self emerges. To tell you the truth I don't think I play that part really well since I'm not very good at being fierce. However, when push comes to shove I can be really serious and sometimes even nasty. I really don't want to resort to that though. Besides, how long do I have left? Approximately 3 months? Back to my preparation, I simply did the basics; asked for my own record book (which they said has finished and after I made my own they said they found one!), looked for the CS and Scheme of Work and browsed through them and fished for the textbooks. Surprisingly, literature texts next year will be different - about time they made some changes anyway. I took a closer look at the textbooks - somehow it seems a bit far fetched if I were to do all these with the students in this school. It is surprising how wide the gap is between urban and rural schools. In rural schools the textbook is too difficult for their standard while on the other hand it is far too easy for some of the urban schools. I sometimes wonder, what did these kids learn in primary school? Had they forgotten everything or they were simply not taught? It's the kind of question that goes through your mind but never get to answer, all the time! Anyways, the first class I entered was on Sept 1st and it was 2M. The size of the class was average, not that big, which is good. The moment I opened my mouth, they seemed awed by this foreign language that I uttered. Their blank stares told me they barely knew what I was saying and they were scared. I maintained my composure although I was slowly losing my train of thought. I braved myself to continue with my 'speech'. Actually they did understand, when they tried hard enough they knew what I was saying but of course I had to speak very slowly. I suppose after years of learning English in BM, they have become spoiled. I started off with a simple introduction and after that I asked them to tell me a little bit about themselves. It was obvious, they were very nervous. Invisible beads of sweat seemed to emerge as they slowly told me about themselves. Some of them seemed to be reading from a 'text', they were really afraid of uttering phrases in English and were extremely self-conscious. I really pitied them. I didn't mean to scare them only wanted them to try. But it was also a relief to see that they were willing to try despite their existing fear of the language. My greatest concern was only that many of them aren't very ambitious; i.e. ambitions like policeman, fireman, soldier aren't what you'd say ambitious. I don't mean to undermine these occupations, they are noble indeed but surely I'd like to see them at least thinking of being professionals someday. Perhaps being only 14, thinking about the future is a bit too far for them. My disappointment was soon relieved after I entered 2KAA. I was very happy to find out one of the students in the class likes vampires - which shows she reads something other than the typical Malay reading material. Apparently, she'd really like to read Twilight series but they were too expensive. I started to get to know them and I found out many of them have dreams to become professionals someday. At last, something refreshing and promising. They on the other hand showed effort and willingness to try. They instantly became my angels. In fact I promised to play Twilight in class if they behave and show effort to do the best in class. Nonetheless I must always remember that I must give extra attention to the weaker classes and try my best to help them. Hopefully even inspire them to dream bigger and try harder. To all my students, I wish all of you the best and I always pray for your success. XOXO-Ms Aida
Thursday, September 3, 2009
On the third day I was told that I’ll be given Pn Haniza’s classes as she was away for maternity leave. I accepted the responsibilities and was ready to start doing my job. I had like a million plans and ideas on my mind. The classes that I had to teach were 5C, 3M, 6B1 and 6B2. All exam classes, as Pn Haniza is the Head of English Language Panel. It was a lot of work and honestly I dislike picking up where other people left off. So first things first, I asked my students where they stopped and looked at all their books. I must say, they haven’t been doing much. Somehow, it’s difficult because I understand a teacher’s position as the challenge of teaching weak students is unbelievable. Teachers have to be super dedicated if they were to be that Good Samaritan, the teacher who doesn’t only teach, but motivate and inspire. On the other hand, the students sit in a comfort zone. Most refuse to try, don’t even want to put in extra effort. When I discovered that the students were failing their BM I realized that it was impossible to try to get them to learn English. My first experience reading their essays was a torture. I dread the idea of reading their work because it’s so depressing. Not that I’m complaining but I feel really helpless. What was I to do to improve the situation? I was beginning to feel that it was just too late and I might as well give up on them. Many will comment and say that teachers aren’t doing much. However, many fail to see that school isn’t just about being in the classroom. School activities and inevitable circumstances; i.e. the school’s 1 week quarantine and numerous tests put all my ideas and plans to a halt. I get so frustrated when we get caught up with the system. The system wants to test the students who are obviously unprepared for exams. They haven’t even mastered the basics and they aren’t the lot who would struggle for success. It’s again the complacent kampong attitude that really gets on my nerve – NO SENSE OF URGENCY! Times really have changed. No longer do I see poor students who persevere and go through hardships with high motivation to change their lives. Honestly, I sympathize with them, I truly am learning to empathize but it takes time to improve, let alone make change.
It didn’t really sink into my mind that I’m in a small kampung away from the city with pretty much, nothing. If I need to go to the bank, I will have to go to Temerloh, looks like even to get a loaf of bread I will need a mode of transportation to take me to the nearest little grocery shop. What’s here? Well, there’s a post office, a police station, a small grocery shop, a dead library, schools, ‘pekan sehari’ is here once a week and…lots and lots of green with tropical fruits everywhere! First 2 days here, I CRIED! I cried while unpacking my stuffs into that dusty and smelly cupboard, I cried when I talked to my grandma on the phone, I also cried before I went to sleep at night. In school, I was only doing relief for other teachers. I entered a few classes; form 3, 4, 5 and 6. I did the usual thing most new teachers would do: introduced myself and tried to get them to introduce themselves to me. Out of the four classes one particular class gave me a huge reality check. I was anxious to enter this class because it’s an all boys class. 4A is the last class also known as the academically challenged group of students. They are doing the domestic building stream and they can only do hands-on stuffs. I wanted to test their ability a little so I did this dictation activity. I said the words and they copied accordingly. Obviously, as expected there were a lot of noise especially when they did not get what I was saying or when they weren’t sure of spelling of some words. However that was not the worst part. I noticed a boy who was smaller than an average 16 year old boy. He isolated himself at the corner near the window. He was struggling through the process of writing those words I uttered and as I went closer to him I realized he wasn’t writing what I have been saying. Instead of writing a paragraph of ‘About Myself’, he was writing in point form. I could show you the sample. I hope I still keep it. He managed to write his name with his kindergarten-like handwriting and that was it. Could it be that this boy at the age of 16 and after 9 years of schooling, do not know how to read and write? That is definitely the case. The poor little boy just gaze at the window…he comes to school everyday but for what…There’s a story behind it I’m pretty sure…Oh, pity the boy. But what can I do? There is just too many who need help, and obviously left behind.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Hi, all! First and foremost apologies to those of you who read this blog because I haven't been updating my blog since my practicum days in Sri Rahmat. I received my posting letter even before I started my ‘menanam anggur’ session. The moment I reached home from JB, my father checked the postbox and Wallah! Urusan Seri Paduka Baginda for Aida. The feeling was exactly like that nerve wreck you get while waiting for your SPM results once you’ve arrived in school. Can you imagine not knowing the fate of your career launch? There it was, the envelope in my father’s hands. Suddenly he said, “Jabatan Pendididkan Negeri Pahang!” Okay, Pahang it is. But where in Pahang? On 13 July 2009, at approximately 5a.m. we started this momentous journey to Temerloh. As we embarked on our journey that early in the morning, the road was empty and it only took us 15 minutes to be in KL! That’s amazing, right?! Anyways, my feeling at the time was a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Gosh, it was so scary. By 7.30 we were already in Temerloh and it took us awhile to figure out the way to Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Temerloh. My thoughts at the time was quite good, I was beginning to imagine myself living in this small town called Temerloh. As I looked around studying the area, I managed a little smile and said to myself, “there’s a chance I might get one of the schools around here!”. Once we were there and done waiting…(they are always late!) and listened to several speeches, one after the other impatiently and completed the feedback form, the moment we’ve been waiting for arrived! We were officially given our posting almost as if we were prize winners. After all, getting a job these days is something to be proud of! It felt like I was having my pumping heart full of blood in my own hand! That’s a scary thought, a scary imagination too! Most of friends knew somebody who knew somebody who could ask around to find out the school they will be posted to. At times like these having parents who worked in the private sector seriously wasn’t helpful. Even though my sister’s father in-law knew somebody who could ‘help’ me get a good posting, but it couldn’t be helped…it’s written in the big book by The Big Guy I suppose so, oh well, I know so! SMK Tengku Ampuan Afzan Chenor. Do you know where that is?
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
hi, all! i haven't been writing for ages. at this point i'm just lazing around watching every single tv show, eating as much as i can and lepaking to the max. what i'm doing is enjoying every bit of comfort that i can get at home before i start a whole new life in a new place. i received my posting letter the day i arrived home from jb. my plan to stay at home and hopefully get a school nearby vanished the moment my dad opened the letter and announced that i'm to report at temerloh, pahang on july 13 2009! what do i know about where i'll be posted? nil. do i know anyone there? nil. nonetheless i can hieve a sigh of relief to know that at least 7 other coursemates will be reporting at the same place on that monday morning. all my friends from pahang got pahang and since kl is full so those from kl, s'gor will be deported to other states. in fact, my friends in kelantan also got kelantan however they are sent to remote places like gua musang and jeli. they are at least told which schools they'll be placed, unlike us. so it'll be a surprise i suppose!!! hehe...let's just hope and pray that everything will run smoothly. please pray for me!!!
Friday, May 22, 2009
mimpi adalah kunci
untuk kita menaklukkan dunia
berlarilah tanpa lelah
sampai engkau meraihnya
laskar pelangi takkan terikat waktu
bebaskan mimpimu di angkasa
warna bintang di jiwa
menarilah dan terus tertawa
walau dunia tak seindah surga
bersyukurlah pada Yang Kuasa
cinta kita di dunia selamanya
cinta kepada hidup
memberikan senyuman abadi
walau hidup kadang tak adil
tapi cinta lengkapi kita
laskar pelangi takkan terikat waktu
jangan berhenti mewarnai
jutaan mimpi di bumi
repeat reff [2x]
laskar pelangi takkan terikat waktu
I watched this Indonesian movie yesterday and was deeply moved by it. The reason why I include this piece in my teaching blog is because of the theme of the story which it was based on. Laskar Pelangi is a story about how two teachers struggled to keep a school running with only 10 students in the school. The narrator tells his story and experience with 9 other friends on his visit back to his hometown after years leaving the place to further his studies. Apparently he is the writer of this novel turned movie. Back to the story, it really touched my heart to see how these under privilege kids strive for their education despite the hardships they endure. The teachers too, never give up on them or the condition of the school. Fyi, the school was in such an appalling state it looks like it can collapse anytime. I will always remember what the headmaster always says, "Give as much as you can, not take as much as you can". It shows how genuine his heart is in dedicating his life for his school and the kids. Sometimes I think about what I have gone through in life and how disappointed I've been but then again looking at those kids make me realise that there are so many things I should be grateful for and happy about. "Menarilah dan terus tertawa walau hidup tak seindah syurga, bersyukurlah pada Yang Kuasa". It was an eye-opener and it's kind of movie you want to watch so that you will be reminded of how carefree kids are and how we have lost that innocence while we're busy growing up. We always get caught up in a rut and we forget to live and give and even smile for what we have. My credits to the author and I really salute him for what he has survived, not many people can achieve that.
Friday, May 15, 2009
this blog was supposed to be filled with my experience as a beginner teacher. however, due to exhaustion and endless amount of work, i have been neglecting this blog. so sorry...anyways, here i am after 12 weeks of school filled with excitement, disappointments, torture all the elements of bitter-sweet memories. I've survived 9 evaluations with my mentor and seven with my lecturers. I've yelled at a student who refused to do my activity which resulted in him leaving the class right after, I've blown up quite a temper at the class for their lackadaisical attitude with my homework, I've also given a silent treatment to them for the very same reason (teenagers - they never seem to learn), I've had some personal issues with my ex (ok, i'll stop here because this is all about teaching) and I've learnt to truly understand what a love-hate relationship with students meant. Kindda like faizal tahir's song 'bencinta' - hope I got the spelling right. Today, as a final gift i relieved a teacher for the last class of form five. The GSTT teacher (Kak Liza), wished me luck before I entered the class. Apparently, 4 students didn't want to sit for the exam at all, not even take the exam paper and writing their own names. After that one of them decided to take one and only answered the objective part which he did without even reading the questions as he blindly blacken the answer sheet. That's how sad it is. Oh, before I forget a student actually didn't know what his IC number was. Hmm, the exam paper was filled with irrelevant answers or not answered at all. How's that for our future generation? This my friend, is the reality...
Friday, March 13, 2009
The day I've been waiting for has arrived. Thank God, it's FRIDAY!!! tomorrow I'll be heading home and this time I'll be carrying with me the test papers from the recent Monthly Test. I marked it already but looks like I have to go through it again because to be honest my marking was quite strict. I really thought they will do well since the paper was quite easy. Now I've identified a few students who are really weak in English and looks like I have to do a "postmortem" whether or not they actually understood what I've said - when I say this I mean if they can understand English at all. The paper only consists of 3 sections; section 1 & 2 information transfer and section 3 literature component (with choice of answers provided). However, sad to say many of them still did not do as well as I expected. It really revealed how severe their case were. However, I'm glad to say that at least I don't get extremely funny answers like "Why....?" and instead of "because...", the student answer the question with a name! It's basic English to know that when a question starts with "Why" the answer should be "because..." of something. And if you answer a person's name the question will start with "who". This test has proven many things. I still hope to improve as a teacher and do better to cater to my clients' needs - my students. At the same time, it's really frustrating because teenagers can really be a pain in the ***!!! It drives me nuts to deal with the ones who simply ignore my orders and disrespects me. Although they don't do it verbally, they tend to get on my bad side because of their lackadaisical attitude. I am pretty sure some of them are in fact clueless about their own future. Slowly I'm showing my temper and ugly side because of the way they upset me. Seriously, sometimes I want to physically just hurt them! bad! But I've never touched a kid. NEVER. Jangan sampai cikgu cubit awak nanti! I am a teacher. Yes, I am.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
greetings to all! today i write in a different tone, full of joy and happiness as i do not, i repeat DO NOT have to do my lesson plans for the week!!! hooreyy!! only today do i see teachers in the staffroom rejoicing and treating themselves to some time of gossiping and chit chatting. only today do i see students in my school sweat and struggle as they answered the questions in their first test while i was watching them like a hawk....hiding my evil laughter inside, "HAHAHA!!!!Jawab la korang soalan kimia yg susah tu.....my days of answering test papers are OVER!!!! PADAN MUKE!!!" Finally, i got the rest i needed. I get to sleep without cracking my head on what to teach tomorrow. At times like these, I thank God so much for the existence of examination. I now can at least rest from the nights when I sleep so late due to printing work sheets and stapling them and making sure their in the right order, the exact amount I needed...only to be disappointed by sleepy students, stubborn students and lazy students. Oh, I sound so much like a teacher...get a grip Aida, you are one! I'm really looking forward to the 1 week break that's coming soon....yeay!!!! I get to see the cute little camelia hani! bye2 school....for now!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
who ever said that life as a teacher is easy is definitely wrong. this week i've been evaluated 3 times. the first day i was down because of the feedback i got from my lecturer. the second day i improved tremendously and i enjoyed my time with my students. it's got to be that magic of song. i was really satisfied and I could see that my lecturer is happy - she's great, keep on supporting me. today, maybe because i'm burning out already and i haven't had much rest for 3 nights in a row, i could feel that i was off my game. i didn't do well. and due to that vibe i gave, no wonder my students were quiet too. i tried to no avail to get them to speak. what should i do??? i must admit, in terms of preparation the third round was not so thorough. i was just too tired. i couldn't take it. Ya Allah, please give me the strength to do this. make me strong. i want to be a good teacher.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect when I first got this school for my practicum. First glance at the surrounding area, basically gave me quite a negative impression of the school. No offense, but flat areas give me the creeps. SMK Sri Rahmat is nestled in the middle of low cost housing area and flat quarters for police, army and immigration. More or less I get an idea of the students there - low SES, lack drive and motivation to excel in academic and lack guidance from parents about future endeavours. What can I say, these students barely utter a sentence in full english and the population there is 90% Malays. I'm glad I was given good classes - good in the sense that they are well behaved and they bring their books except for some isolated cases. Anyways, my first interaction with students happened on Wednesday with class 4B1. It is a science streamed class with 42 students. Honestly, I'm not sure what they scored in PMR but considering the fact that only 3 people were the 'cemerlang' students in PMR, I'm guessing the majority in 4B1 scored 4 - 5 As. The first class I entered were excited with my presence - maybe because I'm new! They even go to the extent of flirting with me. haha. But I remained professional.It was fun getting to know them. In this class the students were enthusiastic and participative. A little bit too active at times, but still manageable. Somehow, I think being fierce in the class cannot work. As long as they listen to me and do my work, I'm happy. On Thursday I entered 4B3 with the impression that they would be similar to the students in 4B1, after all they are in science stream. This time I tried a different approach as I asked the students to write about themselves as the class was rather passive. Some of them revealed details that I didn't request for like their PMR exam results. I was astonished to find out that the students only managed to score 1 or 2 As for PMR, with a few Bs and strings of Cs and Ds. Can you imagine getting Ds for mathematics and science at lower secondary level and furthering in science stream??? How will they ever cope? It's ridiculous!!! They cannot make it. It's just impossible! Poor, those kids...they were never guided about the paths for their future. The best they can think of is working in Singapore that doesn't secure them with anything. Just because when you convert the currency you will get a decent amount in ringgit that seems like the jackpot for them already. Almost everyday teachers here would have to deal with disciplinary problems. So back to my 4B3 class, I wonder...did I scare them when I spoke to them in English? Was my proficiency the reason why they were quiet??? But I can't go down to their level and speak Malay to teach English. After I realised the silence, I tried to suit to them and threw in a little bit of Malay in order to know whether they understood what I said. However, I can't be doing that too often can I? No, I'm not teaching English in Malay. They need someone to call a role model, and since they don't speak English among themselves, and of course they don't to their family and they also don't watch English movies or listen to English songs I suppose the English teacher is the closest to the native speaker to them. My English is not immaculate, and definitely far from perfect. I know for a fact that I'm not a native speaker, nonetheless I will try my level best to motivate them and be a good English (speaker) role model for them. Hopefully, in the course of my time with them I can make some difference. InsyaAllah...