Monday, August 30, 2010

Let's go to KL

Yeah, baby!!! Form 1 is over and done with. I would say that they did okay considering their level of proficiency. So after Raya holidays, InsyaAllah I shall proceed with my reading project with those kids. Speaking of Raya, I simply can’t wait for this week to be over so I can enjoy my time preparing for Raya and then enjoying the holiday with my loved ones. Yeay!!! I just took a few pictures from Hamidah from Form 6 school trip to Kuala Lumpur which is something I’ve been meaning to write about for it is something I’m quite proud of. Being in charge of school academic trip wasn’t easy. There are numerous procedures and not to mention letters that need to be sent to various people for permission and notification and requests and what have you. After that the process that I really dread is the numerous follow up calls that I have to make to ask if they have received the letter from my school. When it comes to this, I must say I’m truly grateful for the God-given flair of speaking to people and asking favours I’m gifted with. LOL! Here are the procedures should you want to organize a school trip to anywhere. First, decide on the place(s) and the date(s) of your trip. For this reason I actually went to the places, except for Parlimen Malaysia to meet with them face to face and ask if they’d have us at their place. I went to two faculties in UiTM; Arts and Design and Sports Science and Recreation. I spoke to the people there and they asked me to write to them. I also went to check out Les’Copaque because I thought it’d be interesting, however they are fully booked until Raya – pretty cool, huh? So I had to cancel that. Once I got back to school I started typing letters to UiTM and also finished the proposal to be sent to JPN. After all was done, I went to see my boss and asked for his approval and signature. He looked through everything and was pretty impressed by them. Next, they’re signed, sealed and delivered to the respective places. Then comes the wait, while waiting for replies I made several calls to those people to ask and remind them about the reply letters. At the same time, I asked Cikgu Rohaimi to help me contact the buses and Cikgu Rashid to help with the letters to parents/guardian and collect money from students. Actually all these happened at the same time and it was quite heavy for me to shoulder as I also have lessons to plan and students to teach. It was simply EXHAUSTING! So many times I typed and retyped students’ name list and tried to get confirmation from so many people, I felt I was getting thinner. LOL! Finally, after all was done including some unforeseen circumstances settled and a few problems resolved, the day arrived. I was really happy my BFF in school was invited and able to join us. First stop was Parlimen Malaysia. We got there at 9.45 and after showing the letter and going through security check – standard procedure, we were led into the building. It was my first time in there. A glimpse in such an important building in Malaysia was an eye-opener, even for a 25 year old like me. My students were excited too. We went to see Dewan Negara and later visited Dewan Rakyat. We got the opportunity to watch Shahrizat in Dewan Negara. Our next destination after Parlimen was UiTM but we had to stop for lunch first. The bus driver suggested Kraftangan Malaysia. We went there and by coincidence there was a Wedding Fair there. For those of you who are close to me, you guys would know that this brought sparkle to my eyes. Even though I’m nowhere near a wedding, or even a boyfriend for that matter but I just love weddings. Besides, who knows if my luck on love might change! Getting back on track, once our tummies were filled with good and inexpensive food we made our way to UiTM. We went separately according to which faculty we were going to. I was with A&D. Upon arrival we were greeted by the students who were in charge of entertaining us. A bit of refreshments were prepared for us. We had a bit of that and we were brought to the workshops available there. It was quite tiring as the workshops were scattered in a few blocks. It was also quite difficult to focus as we were moving in a large group to the small workshops. I thought it would have been better if we moved in smaller groups and each group was led by one person. At least students could really see and appreciate the artworks displayed in each workshop. The best part was the gallery. The walkway to the gallery which I thought was the connecting bridge, was decorated with pictures from the happenings at the faculty. UiTM's A&D faculty is something to be proud of. The faculty is renowned for its achievements in various fields of arts. Many well-known and even internationally recognized fashion designers were students from UiTM. I hope this visit was inspiring for the students, especially to those who are still quite clueless about their path in this stream. By the time we finished our tour, it's already evening, after that we went to Shah Alam Mosque for prayers and since it was already late we had to cancel our shopping activity. We were supposed to reach school before midnight, therefore any places that would delay our arrival had to be skipped. The students were a bit disappointed because we didn't visit KLCC - never mind kids, there's always next year. I'll do it again, perhaps a longer stay in KL would be more fun to them

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Form 3 - DONE! Phew!

Alhamdulillah, I suppose this is truly the gift of Ramadhan. I managed to finish marking PMR trial English Paper 2. The best part was, I didn't sit out on Tarawih prayers and did all 23 rakaat and after a bit of snacking I continued with Section B and finished Section C right after. For those of you who have never done this job, you're in for quite a surprise if you try your hands on using the powerful red pen to mark an abundant of scripts produced by kids. Let me just explain to you the intricacies of marking paper. Once you get the papers you usually wait for the marking scheme to arrive first before opening the bundle. Once received, you'd start by reading through the answer scheme and understanding it first before you start to mark. It's very important to roughly know what is deemed as a good piece of writing which usually merits good grades like A or B, the average lot (usually ranging from C to D) and also equally important what is considered atrocious piece of writing as well. Please bear in mind, setting a clear standard for the grades is a highly difficult task because you seriously do not want to be unfair to any candidate, then again, this is highly debatable as well - especially when it comes to subjective papers which is based on impressionistic marking. Moving along, once that's sorted out you'll start your torturous journey to marking papers. According to what I have leart, markers are not supposed to dirty the candidates' papers, but since this is just a trial exam, as in not the real deal, I did make some correction to their spelling just so they'd learn the correct ones when they review their papers later (if they do). Anyhow, what markers usually do is make some markings; i.e. underline for gross error, squiggly line for inappropriate words and another sign is called the omission sign. We also use // to indicate multiple word error which means to say the sentence needs reworking because there are just too many errors. This is definitely the most painful part of marking because it not only tests your grammar knowledge, it also makes you confused whether or not the sentence is completely wrong or still can be salvaged with only a few words changed or added. Often times, the way you understand what they say is probably different from what they are really trying to say. Once that's over comes another difficult part, which is grading the piece of writing. Grading comes in 2 levels; content and language. You also consider how well the candidate managed to fulfill the task given. Have they done what they're supposed to do? I.e. write a letter, report or just write a story? When it comes to grading, grades will be distributed according to bands and each band has its descriptors or criteria but please bear in mind that no writing will perfectly fit every criterion or descriptor in the particular band, sometimes you do just follow your gut. As for me, I usually look through the piece I've marked and see how many red underlines I've made. I also consider those parallel lines on the right hand side and see if the candidate have completed the task. Then, I put a grade I deem suitable for it with a justification of why I place that piece of writing in that particular band. After that, I move on to the next candidate. That's one part of marking for one piece of answer script. That multiplied by 3 sections and multiplied by the number of scripts you just created a maze in your own brain. Having marked last year's SPM paper, I remember sleeping almost the whole day upon completion of the first set of papers. It's extremely tiring. Maybe this isn't as tiring as working in the ER or on an oil rig but the amount of stress is more or less the same. The only advantage is I get to snack in between, play with my niece and rest for a bit while I do all this. No wonder they say this is the ideal job for wives and moms. Now I'm left with a bundle of Form 1 UKS and Form 4 Paper 1 Section B. Hopefully Form 1 will be a quickie, it is 1 Harmoni after I need to sleep. Toodles!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Short and Sweet

Due to overwhelming amount of papers to be marked...postings will be very short until I could actually sit down and narrate my thoughts like before. This is something I like very much. Very motivating, up-lifting and inspiring. Take a look, read, ponder and be inspired...ENJOY!!! Which do u like most?

Just Wanna Say

There's a WHOLE LOT of marking to be done!!! Any helpers out there? TOLONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

When I look at students in school, I can’t help but recollect my memories in school. I enjoyed my schooling years however I must admit that not everything about it was beautiful. There were times I hated school and there were times I enjoyed it so much, I couldn’t wait for the next day of school. Come to think about it, the reason why school was so much fun was because of FRIENDS! What’s life without them, right? I consider myself very lucky because I still manage to stay in touch with some of them. So, for today’s entry I shall talk about each and every one of them and the story of how we became friends and what kept our friendship strong till today

Faridah Hanim bt. Ramli
She’s first on the list because we started as close friends since we were in standard 4. Faridah and I became friends because we were classmates in standard 5. Plus, since her house was near our school I always stayed back at her house to go to extra co-curricular activities, sports practice or tuition class. Although our friendship was tested with some misunderstandings, we persevered. Now Faridah is already engaged and also working – I know you hate your job but there will be a change of luck. Best wishes to you sweetheart! Faridah is a lioness hidden behind an angelic demeanour. This is not a bad thing at all as she possesses power behind her softness. She asserts firmness in subtlety but effectively. She is so good with make-up she’s officially my make-up artiste on my engagement. I really hope that everything in her life turns out terrific because she’s such a great human being inside.

Jihan Tan
In primary school we started as friends because of Computer Club. Jihan and I were partners, sharing a desktop to complete the task of the day. She’s always been this enthusiastic, cheerful and full of life person who makes your day wonderful with her laughter. We actually only started becoming very close in SMSJ because we were classmates for a year in Form 3. Hands down, 3 Adil rocks!!! Despite the noisy boys, I had a blast in this class mostly because of Jihan. She helped me a lot in Math- the subject I sucked at, BIG TIME! And she motivated me so much and made me super hardworking because she’s so smart and I felt like I have to buck up to stay at par with her. Still I was nowhere near. When she left for MRSM in Form 4, I was pretty down. But hey, that was just a test of true friendship. Now we are stronger than ever before, especially after some difficult times we both went through. Jihan is now a doctor working in Sheffield, doing what she does best – making people’s lives better!

Fadilla Karim
My successful business-woman friend. Yes, this is who she is now. Confident, strong and making lots of cash. Kudos to you Fad! I could not have been more proud, to see you soar so great after just a hiccup in your life. What happened may have seemed like a disaster but what does not kill you, really does make you stronger. We both knew each other in primary school, but only in Form 3 did we become very close friends. Fadilla or better known as Fad, was also one of my wonderful classmates in 3 Adil. She has such a bubbly personality you just can’t help but LOVE her. She makes things happen and would go to great lengths to make her friends happy. One of the memories of school was when she treated me and a few of our friends on my birthday. Even though we just went to a cake house in SS14 and had a very simple celebration there, clad with our sweaty school uniforms, we had so much fun. Thank you so much for everything. I *heart* You…

Nurul Emelda Hakimin
Emelda knew the art of applying mascara at the tender age of 14 when I had not even own one. Despite the not-so-good reputation she had in school, simply because kids can be cruel, she’s a real good friend. She’s been with me throughout the difficult periods in my life and I really am grateful for that. We started became friends at 13, because she was friends with Naelah and I sort of suddenly became their friend. Emelda was the reason why I improved my English so much as we conversed mostly in English. This was due to her childhood education which was mostly in the UK. She just got used to speaking English and since I started being friends with her I somewhat picked that up. Wouldn’t say I’m good, but I would say that it helped a lot. Our friendship was not a bed of roses all the way, however due to that very reason our friendship became stronger than ever before. Emelda has grown tremendously inside. She’s now matured and gorgeous. She just has this air of confidence about her. I hope she will overcome any problems that may come or the ones she is going through and become very successful in the future.

*Those are some of the pictures of me and my great friends. The ones in school uniforms were single-handedly handpicked by me as they are the only ones permitted for public view.

10 Things I Love About Friday!

1. It's an Islamic holy day
2. It's the last day of the week for school
3. It's the day I can go back home
4. It's the day before Saturday :)
5. It's the day I get to see Camelia Hani and Zahir Zharif
6. I only have a 2-period lesson on this day
7. School ends at 12!!!! - heavenly
8. It's the day I can look forward to seeing KL
9. I get to have dinner at home
10.I get to see my family!!!!!!

The only times I don't love Friday is when hostel students don't go back and that means I have to stay in.

So, that's it for today's entry. Friday is FREEday for me!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1 year working anniversary, still not rich :p

Dear readers, this time I’m going to make a few changes to my postings. First thing first, sorry for the angry entry but I felt that I needed to write that to let out my frustrations on some issues and obviously someone. It goes to show just how human I am and sometimes I can’t take unfair treatments. Secondly, I will take Fadilla’s advice and insert pictures in this blog. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but I just didn’t have the time to do all the selecting and uploading and mostly it’s because all my pictures could be easily found on facebook. It’s more convenient. Moving along, this entry is actually a tribute. It’s a tribute to all the people who have been with me throughout my journey from my final semester as a practicum teacher all the way to my posting in Chenor. It’s my way of celebrating my 1 year milestone as a teacher and I have all these wonderful people to thank for making my life colourful. It’s definitely a mixture of warm and bright colours as well as dark and dull ones. Oh, well! That’s what life is, isn’t it? They are my caring and supportive family members; from my 86 year old grandma to my 5 months and a half nephew who could only drool and laugh! Thanks all, you guys have been my pillar of strength from day one until now and insyaAllah for as long as I live. Next up, my positive and great friends; whether you guys are in Subang, Pahang, Johor or even Sarawak and not to forget Sheffield, even your slightest thoughts and prayers and especially your comfy shoulders to cry on and open arms have been my saviour and the reason why I continue on this journey with my head held high. I can only pray for good things for each and every one of you in everything you do and every journey you are about to embark on (hint: to those lucky ones who’ll be married!) I would also like to extend my most heartfelt appreciation to my lecturers both in IPGMTI and UPM for all their teachings and advice. We would not have made it without all of you. I must also thank Pn. Ho Yatt Chin, my mentor in SMKSR who inspired me to be a dedicated and motivated teacher. Somehow, I was sent to the same school she was sent for her posting. Perhaps I would also be ‘Guru Cemerlang’, like her! InsyaAllah. Thank you everyone. You are amazing people!
July 13th 2010 marked my first year anniversary as a real teacher. I have learnt a lot ever since I became a teacher. It has taught me to become a better person, and it has also made me want to become a good parent to my children in the future. It makes me realise how love, attention, dedication and patience are so important in nurturing a child. It has made me realised that neglecting a child is the first step to send them into a miserable life. Besides making me better inside, being here in a rural school and a whole new surrounding have also made me so much stronger and independent. It’s like when you’re thrown into the wild you just have to survive, you don’t have a choice. Being here also has made me appreciate my family in a magnitude that I’ve never experienced. Although I have been away from home, but I was in JB then, and that kind of surrounding was no alien to me. But here, I feel that everything is different. Reminiscing the first day I stepped here, makes me smile now. How I’ve grown since that day. That was the second time or perhaps the third I saw my mother cried. Her words were, “Tengok-tengokkan lah Aida ni, dia tak pernah duduk tempat macam ni,”. My mother, she had doubts I would survive. Look! I’m okay! In addition, I wouldn’t have started driving if I wasn’t sent here, a place where I need a car or any mode of transportation to get to the nearest bank! It’s about 30 minutes drive from here. To tell you the truth, it’s really not that bad. Especially when you get an abundance of local fruits during their season, and the fresh air you inhale and the simple life you learn to adapt to. It’s totally, and 110% different from what I’m normally used to. To top it up, the people here are nice and they treat me nice and try as much as possible to make my life here comfortable and happy, knowing that I’m far from home and I may be missing my family and home. Lastly, the values in this school as in how they hold Islamic way of life and values close to them bring me back to my roots as Muslim and made me realised I have not been a very good Muslim and I should work on improving myself. This whole place and people, bring me back down to earth. It teaches me to be so grateful of everything I have. When around me I see some children who are not quite fortunate but still manage to smile and show such gratification to the slightest act of kindness from others just amaze me. There’s a reason behind everything, and I’m slowly seeing a reason behind this. For start, I now know there’s a place called Chenor in Pahang. I would like to wrap up my very long entry today with a special thanks to teachers and friends here in Chenor who have helped me in numerous ways and finally I’d like to thank my students for giving a sense of understanding of what teaching means. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m learning and trying.

1 Harmoni

I'd never thought I'd be saying this but honestly this is the best class to teach. Although it's the last form 1 class, the commitment and enthusiasm the kids show is something to be proud of. Albeit there are quite a number with some kind of learning deficiency, they still try to learn how ever long it might take. For those of you who have heard about Soleha, well this is the class she belongs to. There are about 3 other students like her in this class. After teaching the class for about 2 months I've detected certain reading problems among the students. About 5 can't read English and a few others can't write and read well. This Ramadhan I've managed to get a bit of donation from a few family members and with that money I plan to get some books for the students to help them with their reading and writing skills. I hope this effort will go a long way in helping them learn. I pray that Allah will give me the strength and commitment to help them. This is because often times when I teach them the syllabus they fail to follow, resulting in zero objectives achieved for them. Come to think about it, there really isn't a point at all. I just wonder what will happen to them if 5 years down the road they continue on this way. Although honestly I don't know much about the pedagogical side of teaching the basics, I'll just try to go with the elementary or kindergarten books and help them work their way up. I can't expect too much but this is my plan for now.
I've had many fun moments with this class. I don't know why but I go to great lengths to make sure that my lessons are fun for them. Although many would give up and are reluctant to do much for this lot, but I think otherwise. I do know that there's nothing much that I could achieve, but I feel it's important to instill the interest first before bringing them into the exam answering skills. They can't do it. I have faith with a lot of patience and guidance these kids can thrive too, maybe at a slower pace and lower level. Nonetheless, I am a believer of competing with oneself and not others. If they could overcome their disabilities however still cannot pass exam, at least they have tried.
One of the most interesting lessons I've done is learning about Part of the Body. That was very interesting and fun. First lesson we did a warm up exercise in class and that was when I noticed many did not know some of the parts of their body. So, the next lesson I showed them a video clip and picture as you can view from this posting. After that I drilled them on the parts of the body and did a spelling test. Later, I also extended the lesson on how to keep themselves fit. I wouldn't say it was successful in making them good English users, but at least I could be satisfied with at least an extra of 3 to 5 words they learnt from these lessons. I hope to do more and heed Fadilla's advice on a method that was done by her sister in law's father to help students read. I hope I could do it even though we all know the main hindrance is TIME, but I must try first.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marital Status Matters

I write this with much annoyance and regret. (LOL). Is it because I’m single? Or is it because I’m envious of my either involved in a relationship or engaged friends? Well, maybe a little. Truth is, in this profession or maybe at least in the school I’m teaching now this issue determines how much work you’ll end up doing especially when it comes to after school activities or school activities during holidays. So far due to my marital status, I’m being listed on every single activity which robs me off my much needed weekend. To top it up, I’m currently the warden therefore on every other weekend I’ll have to be in school babysitting my girls. It hinders me from enjoying my time with friends either in my hometown or with my friends here in Pahang. The same question again and again and again would always revolve around the issue of my being free from any commitments. News flash, I’ve got a life! What pisses me off even more is the fact that a new teacher who got posted early this year, is always using the same excuses of how busy she is preparing for engagement and what have you and also keep telling the world when she’ll be married and how she can’t be available at all times because her mom isn’t well. There were many times when she simply packed her bag and left school at 12.15 first thing on Friday. This may sound like a b**c*ing session but it really isn’t. It’s all about how unfair things can be and how you can be considered lesser for being single. Anyways, since I consider myself still young and yes I do hope that my Mr. Right will appear or rather realise my existence, I still maintain my free-spirited self and graciously accept whatever task given by senior teachers here. There were times I wish I was married or engaged, at least I could have a life and rest a bit from the demands of both being a teacher and the warden. At least with the official marriage certificate I could apply for a transfer easier as I have a valid reason. For now, I am considered free from any commitments which supposedly allow me to be in school around the clock. Tick-tock-tick, sometimes I have to stay at the hospital up to 2.30 a.m. Perhaps this is Allah’s way of testing me…of granting me forgiveness for my wrongdoings…of awarding me the virtue of patience and strong-will that I always pray for. After all, you don’t simply get what you wish for but rather Allah gives you the opportunity to attain your wish. Yes, you’re going to have to work your way towards it. Hence,at the end of the day, I’ll say, ok…ok…I’ll do it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thank u for reading

This goes out to you, whoever you are who actually read this...thanks:) do share thoughts as long as they are constructive in nature...nothing unfriendly and mean please...thank you once again.

Teachers and camping trips

So far this blog has been the place I vent my frustration, fear and hope as well as some heart-warming stories about my life as a teacher. One of the activities that I used to like so much as a student, but not that much as a teacher is CAMPING. Camping as a student is A LOT different from camping as a teacher. Both have their pros and cons. Students have to follow all the activities and must be punctual. As a result, students stink during camping and the tents get untidy and dirty as students rush in and out to change for the following activity. Students are not allowed to miss any activities and late-comers will be punished. They (teachers or camp organisers) test you mentally and physically doing all sort of activities to test various types of fear; fear of the dark/water/height and so and so forth, until you get so tired or so scared but after all that you’ll feel so happy you’ve conquered that fear! On the other hand as teachers, the story is somewhat different. As teachers, we only have to sit through or go through certain activities which we’re in charge of i.e. I like trekking so I can choose to follow my students for that activity but if I don’t feel like getting wet after my much needed quick splash of water to cleanse myself, I can work something out to pass that activity. Another great thing is we can bathe and shower without worrying about the whistle/siren/yelling from anyone. Now this is a great advantage, especially when the last bath you took was more than 24 hours ago! Oh, boy! I must’ve stunk so badly. Anyways, getting back on track, as teachers we are supposed to take care of students and this is where the hard parts begin. This is what we don’t like – but responsibilities must be shouldered. So, there’s nothing we can do about that.
This year I’ve been to 3 camping trips. The first was in April, Girl Guide’s state level annual camp in Jerantut. Four students from our school represented our district. That was the best camping trip ever as we did all the work and we really slept in tents. As one of the teachers who ‘accidentally’ joined the camping, I was really glad I joined. We cooked for our students and I helped out and learned a lot from the senior teachers. That was also my first time meeting Tengku Puan Pahang as she also attended the camping on the last day. I was literally in awe, mesmerized by her beauty. But before she got to our campsite we went to great lengths to ensure that she will be entertained well in such a ‘natural’ surrounding. We were quite creative as we used sarongs to create a so-called blinds to shield our guest from the scorching sun. She chatted with the students for a bit and we listened to her childhood stories. Another unforgettable moment was definitely when we were awarded numerous prizes for all the categories we won. We emerged as the best troop in the end! Go, Maran!
The second camping was an event organized by the school’s Counselling Unit. It’s a motivational camp for PMR and SPM students. It is divided to two batches; first for SPM students and second for PMR students. I went for the latter and I must say what I loved most about this camping trip is cave exploration. We explored Mount Senyum, a cave with its own legend; a ‘bunian’ village and how this mythical princess wedded a man from the nearby village. I’m beginning to love cave exploration and I truly felt close to nature when I went on this activity. Will definitely do this again!- Do check out my fb album titled Mount Senyum challenge for pics from this trip

The third camping was held last week. It was held at Taman Pertanian Kuantan. I must say that for this one I sat out for most of the activities bacause I was quite drained already from all the work in school and hostel. Being a warden - not a walk in the park, but this will need another posting on its own. Anyways, I got the opportunity to frighten my students during the night walk activity. Students were to walk along a trail led by a string and they were instructed to walk one-by-one all alone. We sat in the dark and as they passed us we witnessed so many different and mostly funny responses. They shivered, made odd sounds which indicated their fear, a few cried, some were strong and we can't help ourselves from laughing at them. HAHAHAHAHA!!!! But would I do it? Not in a million years...I hate the dark!