Monday, June 10, 2013

Confession of A Teach for Malaysia Teacher

Editor's note: The following is taken from the Facebook status of Alina Amir, a Teach for Malaysia teacher with her permission. In these times of plunging education standards, it is both heartwarming and at the same time heartwrenching to see such determined, bright individuals struggle with educating our children. One must wonder however, how much real change can a few teachers make? The education system requires structural reform from the inside especially. Good things to ponder while reading this excellent 'confession'.

So here’s a public confession: After 4 months into teaching, I came back from a class this morning, put my books on my desk, coolly walked to the ladies, and broke down; with tears, sobs, frantically fanned myself with my hands thinking that could help calm me down, the whole enchilada. Something I have not done for a very long time. 
In the last four months, I could have cried when I had kids calling me a prostitute in mandarin, or that time when a kid told me I should not mess with him because his dad is part of the notorious along gangster crew (which I have never heard of and the phrase “ignorance is bliss” could not have rung truer), or that time when I was wolf whistled at for weeks wherever I went, or when a disruptive boy decided get up in the middle of my lesson, ran around the room and banged every table before he ran out of the class despite me calling after him and then having him come back and literally went on the floor, hugging my feet and begged for my forgiveness the same day, or when I was locked in the school building and then had to come out through the roof (long story) or when a big fat rat, literally, decided to chill right in front of my front door. Those were legit reasons to cry if I wanted to cry. But I didn’t. Not a single tear rolled down my cheeks. I stood up to my boys, I had sleepless nights thinking of strategies to get my kids to just sit down for a single lesson, told every kid who threatened me to bring it on, went to every boy who wolf whistled and threw inappropriate remarks at me, looked them straight in the eyes and said, “how dare you”. I have got nothing to lose and I am sure, as hell is not scared of anybody, no matter who your daddy is.

This morning however, was different. In fact, I wasn’t teaching at all this morning. I was in a form 4 class, of which I only teach PJK to the six of the girls every week. So what was I doing with the entire class? I was invigilating their mid year exam, Sejarah Kertas 3 to be exact; An open book test where students are required to write an essay on a topic given. Just as I finished handing out the exam papers to all 35 students, one boy put his hand up and asked, “ujian apa hari ni, cikgu?” and I went, “HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHAT PAPER YOU ARE SITTING FOR ON THE DAY OF THE EXAM AND EVEN AFTER I HAVE HANDED OUT THE EXAM PAPER” silently in my head. Out loud, I said, “ujian Sejarah, kertas 3. Ujian ni boleh tengok buku, so keluarkan lah buku”. Half of the classroom started to rummage through their bags and looked under their tables for books while the other half put their heads down and went to sleep. Ten minutes into the exam, they were all just staring at their books, opened to the first page. I went to a boy and asked if he knew what he was supposed to do. He shook his head and continued staring at his book. Another boy looked at me pleadingly, and asked, “cikgu, macam mana nak buat ni?” No one was writing anything. No one.

I went to one of the girls and asked her to read the question and then looked for the answer in the book. The first question she asked after I told her that was, “bab berapa tu?” and I could sense the whole class was waiting for me to tell her which chapter to open to. I knew then, that they have never read a single thing from their textbook nor have they learned anything in the past four months of school. Heck, I wouldn’t be going too far if I said they barely learned anything in the last 10 years of school. At that moment, I saw their future flashed through my eyes and I wanted to cry.

I wanted to cry because it was unfair for them to be sitting for an exam that they are clearly not ready for. I wanted to cry because someone allowed this to happen. I wanted to cry because as I was explaining to some of the students on how to do the exam and they were eagerly listening, while I was quietly panicking because I am no way near being a Sejarah Form 4 teacher. I wanted to cry because I felt incompetent, wishing I remembered what I learned back in From 4 so that I can teach them something at that moment. I wanted to cry because it is not their fault. But most of all, I wanted to cry because I have 200 students and I have classes back to back from 7.30 AM up to 10.00PM every day that it would be completely impossible to take on new students. All I could think of was how if only all the educated people in the country would spend their time teaching these kids, then maybe, maybe I’d be writing a different story.

I have never actually done this before; asking people to consider teaching. I believe that entering into the profession should come out of your own will. I have never recommended Teach for Malaysia to anyone. In fact, I’d be all-skeptical to anyone who are actually considering to join TFM. What are you in for? To have connections with top corporate partners? To meet CEOs of this and that? To be featured in newspapers, radio, magazines, online blogs? What are you in for? Is it the tagline? Is it really for the kids? I’ve been asked these questions before and I personally used to think that it was a fair concern. It needs to be out there that being a teacher, through TFM or not, is not even a tad bit glamorous. You don’t get paid on time, you’d be missing best friends’ weddings, family gatherings, birthdays etc., you have crazy deadlines and you’ll feel like crap because you don’t know how you’re doing. Nobody sends you a “good job” email on that awesome class you just had, or though you had. Are you sure you want to be a teacher? If you think it is a walk in the park, be rest assured that it’ll be the ghettoest, most messed up park you have ever walked in. I used to think that only the strong should be a teacher. Only those who know that they won’t quit should be a teacher. Today, I don’t care anymore. Today, I realized how desperate the country is and beggars, can’t be choosers. If you have gone through the education system and came out alive, teach. If you have no idea what to teach, trust me you’ll learn. You’d be surprised to meet kids who have never been told that cleanliness is a virtue, that rempit is not a legit career path, that you don’t have to give up at 16.

Listen to me, drop everything you’re doing and come back to school. Teach them to be human beings because they need to know that screaming at a lady is not the way to speak, that not knowing how to read at 13 is not cool, that cursing at your teachers is rude and to talk back to your mother in front of everybody at school would get you to every hell of every single religion in the world. Teach. If you think it’s too hard and teaching isn’t your thing, then quit. But you can’t quit teaching if you have not actually tried teaching. My point is, every one should teach. Decide later if it is something you want to do in the long run. Just teach. Join TFM, do it the normal route, stop a kid in the middle of the road and ask him/her to tell you the multiplication table, tell him/her a random fact about Egypt or aeroplanes, teach them the right intonation after seeing a question mark, teach.

If you think, all this doesn’t make sense and it’s just some really long facebook status/note by a crazy lady who just cried in a high school toilet, then darling, my dear, you have not taught in a classroom where half of them can barely read and write and the other half is just lost by this immense language barrier that no logical inspiring words can get through them. So teach. I am on my facebook knees.

This morning however, was different. In fact, I wasn’t teaching at all this morning. I was in a form 4 class, of which I only teach PJK to the six of the girls every week. So what was I doing with the entire class? I was invigilating their mid year exam, Sejarah Kertas 3 to be exact; An open book test where students are required to write an essay on a topic given. Just as I finished handing out the exam papers to all 35 students, one boy put his hand up and asked, “ujian apa hari ni, cikgu?” and I went, “HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHAT PAPER YOU ARE SITTING FOR ON THE DAY OF THE EXAM AND EVEN AFTER I HAVE HANDED OUT THE EXAM PAPER” silently in my head. Out loud, I said, “ujian Sejarah, kertas 3. Ujian ni boleh tengok buku, so keluarkan lah buku”. Half of the classroom started to rummage through their bags and looked under their tables for books while the other half put their heads down and went to sleep. Ten minutes into the exam, they were all just staring at their books, opened to the first page. I went to a boy and asked if he knew what he was supposed to do. He shook his head and continued staring at his book. Another boy looked at me pleadingly, and asked, “cikgu, macam mana nak buat ni?” No one was writing anything. No one. 
I went to one of the girls and asked her to read the question and then looked for the answer in the book. The first question she asked after I told her that was, “bab berapa tu?” and I could sense the whole class was waiting for me to tell her which chapter to open to. I knew then, that they have never read a single thing from their textbook nor have they learned anything in the past four months of school. Heck, I wouldn’t be going too far if I said they barely learned anything in the last 10 years of school. At that moment, I saw their future flashed through my eyes and I wanted to cry. 
I wanted to cry because it was unfair for them to be sitting for an exam that they are clearly not ready for. I wanted to cry because someone allowed this to happen. I wanted to cry because as I was explaining to some of the students on how to do the exam and they were eagerly listening, while I was quietly panicking because I am no way near being a Sejarah Form 4 teacher. I wanted to cry because I felt incompetent, wishing I remembered what I learned back in From 4 so that I can teach them something at that moment. I wanted to cry because it is not their fault. But most of all, I wanted to cry because I have 200 students and I have classes back to back from 7.30 AM up to 10.00PM every day that it would be completely impossible to take on new students. All I could think of was how if only all the educated people in the country would spend their time teaching these kids, then maybe, maybe I’d be writing a different story. 
I have never actually done this before; asking people to consider teaching. I believe that entering into the profession should come out of your own will. I have never recommended Teach for Malaysia to anyone. In fact, I’d be all-skeptical to anyone who are actually considering to join TFM. What are you in for? To have connections with top corporate partners? To meet CEOs of this and that? To be featured in newspapers, radio, magazines, online blogs? What are you in for? Is it the tagline? Is it really for the kids? I’ve been asked these questions before and I personally used to think that it was a fair concern. It needs to be out there that being a teacher, through TFM or not, is not even a tad bit glamorous. You don’t get paid on time, you’d be missing best friends’ weddings, family gatherings, birthdays etc., you have crazy deadlines and you’ll feel like crap because you don’t know how you’re doing. Nobody sends you a “good job” email on that awesome class you just had, or though you had. Are you sure you want to be a teacher? If you think it is a walk in the park, be rest assured that it’ll be the ghettoest, most messed up park you have ever walked in. I used to think that only the strong should be a teacher. Only those who know that they won’t quit should be a teacher. Today, I don’t care anymore. Today, I realized how desperate the country is and beggars, can’t be choosers. If you have gone through the education system and came out alive, teach. If you have no idea what to teach, trust me you’ll learn. You’d be surprised to meet kids who have never been told that cleanliness is a virtue, that rempit is not a legit career path, that you don’t have to give up at 16. 
Listen to me, drop everything you’re doing and come back to school. Teach them to be human beings because they need to know that screaming at a lady is not the way to speak, that not knowing how to read at 13 is not cool, that cursing at your teachers is rude and to talk back to your mother in front of everybody at school would get you to every hell of every single religion in the world. Teach. If you think it’s too hard and teaching isn’t your thing, then quit. But you can’t quit teaching if you have not actually tried teaching. My point is, every one should teach. Decide later if it is something you want to do in the long run. Just teach. Join TFM, do it the normal route, stop a kid in the middle of the road and ask him/her to tell you the multiplication table, tell him/her a random fact about Egypt or aeroplanes, teach them the right intonation after seeing a question mark, teach. 
If you think, all this doesn’t make sense and it’s just some really long facebook status/note by a crazy lady who just cried in a high school toilet, then darling, my dear, you have not taught in a classroom where half of them can barely read and write and the other half is just lost by this immense language barrier that no logical inspiring words can get through them. So teach. I am on my facebook knees.


Alina Amir

23 comments:

WEIRD-ENGLISH-WRITER said...

when I was in 2ndary, a few teachers shout at us,,,''tak nak belajar lu punya pasal, gua gaji jalan...'', which is really good, for the few that want o study, go on study hard, and the useless one boot themselves out..DONT BLAME THE TEACHERS!!!BLAME YOURSELF IF U ARE LEFT BEHIND.

Concerned parents said...

These days students even from the better classes have to go for tuition to understand what they have studied in class.

Makes me think what the hell is the teachers teaching ?. It literally mean that the students have to be taught twice , one in class and once in the tuition class.

What about those parents who cannot afford tuition for their children ?.

Aren't the teachers paid to teach in class ?. Or rather what type of teachers are those ?.

Anonymous said...

Honor Education ministers would resign in shame after reading this confession..

Ganesan said...

Alina,I sympathise with you,the day politicians let (racist) politic dictate education,our standard of education went down the drain.

Like you,there are many hard working and caring teachers who are frustrated at the way education is being handled in this country by the Education Ministry.

When university graduates can't construct a sentence in English propely or lack the general knowledge to answer simple questions,what chance do primary or secondary school students have?

Parents too are to be blamed,instead of taking a stand at the declining standard/level of education with the Education Ministry,they take the easy way out by enrolling their children in tuition centres.The reason why tuition centres are sprouting up in many towns in the hundreds.

While rich kids make it,the poor students drop off by the way side.

I wish you all the best Alina Amir.

Anonymous said...

Did you went to see the teacher or you just believe every words from your kid?

A Product of a Malaysian Public School said...

Alina Amir,

You do sound like a person who is totally committed to your profession and I dips me lid to yer. :)

I don't know where you are teaching at the moment but you should consider coming back to teach in Malaysia as our Education Minister has told us that the Malaysian education system is as good as that of the US, the UK, Germany etc.

Eeerrr... oh, you are already teaching in Malaysia..... sorry...

On a more serious note, it appears that your experiences with the Malaysian education system have not broken your spirit and for that I must commend you.

Your tenacity in wanting to make a difference in the lives of your students simply shines thru in the various posts you have made (assuming I saw the right Facebook page).

I, for one, wish you well and I sincerely hope that you will stay in the profession for a long long time - we need more educators like you.

Anonymous said...

I was a teacher by myself back in 1980's in a State Govt School for the SPM repeaters. I taught Geography, English and Modern Mathematics. I was very young then (22yro) , just graduated from university. There were 8 classes with 40 students in each of the class which totaled of 320 students. Can you imagine 320 repeaters students? Most of them were bunch of gangsters in their former school..drugs, pregnancies, cigarettes etc..I'm not good with English but I was trying to be a good teacher. First day was the interaction session whereby I tried to speak to them in a simple way of communication..Oopps..forgot to mention..this school is in Trengganu. Now you can imagine.

Frustrated with lack of basic knowledge, I decided to throw away the SPM Guided Book for English. It is kind of useless to teach these students. Not worth my effort. So, I went back n straight headed to music store and bought a nursery rhyme cassette. I went to book store and purchase a set of book for Penilaian Darjah 6 (UPSR earlier version).

The following day, when I entered the class, I asked them, who can sing well? Some of them volunteer.so I teach a few of them a simple song start with Twinkle Little Star..I drew a diagram for the meaning of each sentence..Half of the class period was used up for singing lesson. The whole class very happy. Students from other class couldnt wait to see me enter the next class for the singing session.

As for the other half of period, I taught them a basic grammar while trying to boost and widen the vocab. things like 'a', 'an', 'the', has, have, is, was, etc being reintroduced.

I gave them copies of handout from Peter and Jane.

After 3 months (now coming August- 3 months away from SPM), I started thru with the SPM syllabus. I taught them how to construct a simple sentences. Bit by bit..

SPM coming..I was sitting the staffroom.. sweating..praying for the success of my students.. English session was over..I rushed over to my students and asked..."Macamana guys...boleh buat tak?" "Insyallah, cikgu"..

However, I couldnt enjoyed the outcome of SPM result with them since I got a permanent post already..I called the school and they informed 80% of my students passed English.. 50% of the got C5 and below.. I cried alone in my room..Being a man and a tough one..I couldnt avoid the sensation and harrowing feeling.

Looking back, my house once being bombarded by firecracker from the unsatisfied students which later came to me (several yrs later) and asked for forgiven.

The motive is..the students can be educated.. The probelem is, the teacher himself should be creative to induce and attract the student to like the subject..I wasnt targetting A1 for my student because of their background..

Anonymous said...

Shared the article on Facebook
Pathma

Dom said...

A doctor kills a patient, a teacher kills a generation. Many of today's teachers when asked why they choose to be teachers, the answer will 'tak Ada kerja lain'. There is no passion in them. Alina, you felt disappointed and hopeless coz you have the passion to teach. Keep up the good deeds, Malaysia needs you and other passion filled educators

Anonymous said...

In the seventies, we have had a Good diligent Malay Teacher who was race blind. Knowing that our Bahasa was inadequate, He sacrificed his after school hours to conduct Bahasa class for us. We also have a Sikh teacher, daily going through the Strait Times news paper correcting the papers English etc. (top school in Malaysia). But I guess that the school system have been deteriorating over the 2 decades, and getting worse by the days, nothing can be done by good teachers. Parents can help somewhat, but most are busy trying much to earn a living, would not have time to do much. Those from richer family can get tuition for their kids. Now every where you find tuition centers catering for the needs. The worse is the day, Malaysia got rid of English for political purpose. India like us still maintain English and hitherto,other countries put much effort introducing learning of English. 'Sigh' our education system cant produce workable graduates and the better ones is migrating. Blame who then?

telur2 said...

God bless Malaysia. What I learned in Primary School years ago many present day Secondary students don't know. What a tragedy. And I thought I wasn't so smart because As were so hard to score back then.

Anonymous said...

Alina,
I have been a teacher for 20 years and taught in many types of school, primary and secondary. I've also taught students from different family background - low to high income - all races. I wonder why you asked questions like " what have the teacher taught them"? Have you ever tried asking the students, "did you pay attention in class? or "did you come to school everyday?" in the first place. Maybe you haven't come across students who come to school during exam only... or students who just don't bother what the teacher teach in class while the teacher is trying very hard to make them learn. Oh! i forgot.. they will still blame the teacher for not being able to attract them to learn. Sigh!!! A teacher ia always at fault.... but it never stop me from being more and more commited in my teaching....

Those are some challenging experiences that i've gone through as a seasoned teacher. You are still young, i guess.. more challeging moments are waiting for you ahead. It's good to have an enthusiastic teacher like you.. hope there will be more.

Anonymous said...

Teachers nowadays are not train to teach. They were train as secretarial jobs to fill the thousands of forms which the ministry required daily. Probably they spent only ten percent of their time teaching. The rest will be filling up forms data etc. So what do you expect!!!!Done blame the teachers. Blame the policy

Anonymous said...

Your own child's education ultimately your responsibility too.
Sending them to tuitions is just tai chi by assuming school teachers are at fault and your childs are just too smart.
School teachers can only teach so much what's in the text books. Some teachers go farther but it's not everyday nor we appreciate them.
The point is parents need to teach their childs how to be a decent human. If the childs are pariahs, obviously so do their parents.

Anonymous said...

Before you comment what is whose fault, bear in mind a lot of people have their part in educating our future generation so don't simply point fingers. A lot of factors also come into play in the success of a lesson - policies, syllabus, edu system, principals, teachers, demands from the gov and etc. Students themselves are also responsible for their own studies if not teachers would be forced to be slave drivers forcing them to participate or learn.

There are so many people, aspects and things involved in education. Which one is the best? Who has not done their part? What is lacking?

Before we start simply pointing fingers, ask yourself, have you done your part in educating your own children? Have you tried your best in teaching students? Has the system been designed to their best to allow teachers to freely teach students according to their needs, to their timing?

So many questions.

One thing I would like to highlight - what are people not trained in education who does not understand social sciences and education doing as heads in the education ministry? Why do politics have a hold in education when they shouldn't have?

Dare you make a stand? I am trying to find where I can make a change. Are you?

- Aspiring Teacher

Anonymous said...

We in the Third World will be left behind and will never be able to catch up with the First World where children are being sent to Government sponsored Day Care Centres and not only given care but also basic training in all aspects for a child 1 2/2 years old. Many of then can already speak in full sentences by the time they are 3 years and by the time they go to school at 5 years they are well equipped to take off.

And we are still having a debate to reduce the entry age to school from 6+ to 5+. Sorry we have been sleeping and the rest of the First world is already streets ahead. You do not have to take my word just travel to these countries and see for yourself and make your own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Bull shitt

TEACHER-TEACHER said...

WEIRD-ENGLISH-WRITER, I GUESS YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO WOULD HAVE HAD DONE WELL WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAD A MALAYSIAN PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER IN CLASS.

I AM SORRY TO TELL YOU STRAIGHT IN THE FACE - YOU HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED. ALL YOU HAVE ATTAINED IN PUBLIC SCHOOL IS THE ABILITY TO REGURGITATE WHAT THE TEACHERS TELL YOU, NAY, NOT EVEN THE TEXT BOOK STUFF FOR THERE IS RARELY ANY KNOWLEDGE OF VALUE IN THE GOVERNMENT ISSUED TEXT BOOKS(OR ARE THEY DATA BOOKS?)

I INITIATED A REMEDIAL CLASS IN A NORMAL GOVERNMENT SCHOOL WHERE THERE ARE 10-YEAR-OLDS WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH THE BASIC 3Rs. THE SCHOOL WAS INSISTENT THAT I HAD TO STICK TO THE SCHOOL SYLLABUS. I TRIED ENGAGING THE KIDS WITH DIFFERENT LEARNING TECHNIQUES, INCLUDING STUDYING MATHS THROUGH MUSIC AND GAMES. WHAT I DISCOVERED WAS NONE OF THE KIDS WERE ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN STUDYING. DESPITE THEIR APPEARANCE OF ACADEMIC INCOMPETENCE, I SOON REALIZED THAT MANY OF THEM WERE ACTUALLY INTELLIGENT. THEY WERE REALLY TRAPPED IN THE ROJAK QUAGMIRE OF CONTINUITY AND THE SYSTEM. CONTINUITY BECAUSE THEY HAD A COMMON BACKGROUND - THE LOWER ECONOMIC STRATUM LIVING IN SIMILAR "LOW-COST-HOUSING" NEIGHBOURHOODS WHERE PARENTS ARE CONFINED TO SLOGGING THE LIGHT HOURS AND TRYING TO RECUPERATE DURING THE OFF WORK MINUTES AND CHILDREN ARE BUT INCONVENIENT BY PRODUCTS OF ACTS OF RELEASE OF FRUSTRATIONS. THE SYSTEM BECAUSE IT IS IMPERSONAL, UNFEELING, RUDIMENTARY, CONFORMITY BASED.

LIKE ALINA AMIR, I WANTED TO CRY. NOT BECAUSE I WAS UP AGAINST A BATTLE LOST FROM THE START. AND NOT EVEN GETTING PAID LIKE ALINA.

ONE DAY, I SAT MY STUDENTS IN PAIRS, AND DISHED OUT A "TEST" PAPER. THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS AFTER DISCUSSING WITH THEIR PARTNERS. MEANWHILE, I SAT IN A CORNER, NOT BOTHERING TO OBSERVE WHAT AND HOW THE STUDENTS CARRIED OUT MY INSTRUCTIONS. RATHER, I CALLED THE STUDENTS, ONE AT A TIME, TO MY CORNER AND ENGAGED THEM IN A FRIEND-TO-FRIEND CHIT CHAT, DIGGING DEEPER INTO THEIR BACKGROUNDS AND MOTIVATIONAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT STRUCTURE.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE TRUTH STUCK OUT - THEY DID NOT NEED A TEACHER. THEY NEEDED A PERSONAL COUNSELOR. THEY NEEDED AN ADULT FRIEND. THEY NEEDED A HAND TO WALK WITH THEM. THEY NEEDED EARS TO HEAR THEM. THEY DID NO NOT NEED SOMEONE IN MY POSITION TO ORDER THEM TO SHUT UP AND TURN TO THIS PAGE AND DO THAT QUESTION.

I QUIT AFTER ONE YEAR BECAUSE OF LACK OF FACILITIES AND MY PERSONAL TIME COMMITMENTS BUT I STILL VISIT THE SCHOOL FREQUENTLY. WHENEVER MY EX-STUDENTS SEE ME, THEY ARE EXUBERANT IN THEIR DISPLAY OF AFFECTION TO ME. I AM THE TEACHER TO THEM. SO INFECTIOUS IS THEIR ENTHUSIASM THAT THEIR FRIENDS WHO I HAVE NOT TAUGHT HAVE ALSO STARTED CALLING ME TEACHER. IF I SEEM THEM OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL HOURS, I JOIN THEM IN THEIR WAYS, TALKING WHEN THEY WANT TO HEAR ME, GUIDING BUT NEVER IMPOSING, TRYING HARD TO BE A SMALL KID, ALBEIT MATURED, AGAIN.

I CRIED INSIDE OF ME WHEN ONE OF MY MOST TROUBLESOME STUDENT CAME UP TO ME ONE DAY AND SAID, "TEACHER, YES I WANT TO DO WELL BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE MY PARENTS HAPPY AND MY FAMILY HAPPY". AND THE WORDS WERE TRANSFORMED INTO RESULTS.

THERE WAS ALSO A NOT SO HAPPY SITUATION. ONE STUDENT JOINED THIS SCHOOL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR. THIS STUDENT DISPLAYED EVIDENT OF BEING HARDWORKING, AND INTELLIGENT DESPITE BEING QUIET. QUIET MAYBE BECAUSE OF THE NEW ENVIRONMENT. AS TIME WENT BY THIS "BETTER" STUDENT EMBRACED THE WAYS OF THIS NEW PLAY-FIRST ENVIRONMENT.

I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE SCHOOL, TO RUN THE REMEDIAL CLASSES AGAIN. BUT I WANT THE SCHOOL TO ACCEPT MY PROPOSAL TO STAY OFF THE OFFICIAL SYLLABUS. I WANT TO TEACH PEOPLE TO KNOW THEMSELVES, TO LOVE THEMSELVES, TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES. AND IN THE END, TO PROOF THEMSELVES WHEN NOBODY EXPECTS ANYTHING OF THEM.

WEIRD-ENGLISH-WRITER, THIS IS WHAT A TEACHER SHOULD BE. LIKE A DOCTOR FOR THE SICK. LIKE LIGHT FOR THE DARK. STANDING UP FOR THE LAST, THE LEAST AND THE LOST.

Everyone said...

"Concerned Parents" (groan), even if your child has the best teachers on the planet, they will fail if they're more interested in being a little brat during class. How about teaching them discipline and focus? How about spending that tuition money on books, and spending your time facilitating your children's learning? Do you check their homework? Ask them what they learned in school? Do you encourage them? Show your children that education matters?

Education begins in the home. If you can't take responsibility for your children, which includes teaching them to be respectful and to value education, then they will be terrible students and turn into terrible people.

Blame schools all you want. Throw away money all you want. But your kid's education is ultimately YOUR responsibility. Parents are a child's first teacher, so you better be prepared for the job.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Kajang, trying my very best to give my sons the best out of public Chinese vernacular school. it does take a whole village to raise a kid. alina is trying to give her best to the students. You, are you willing to do it by letting behind your own interst, ego, time etc for other children?

Anonymous said...

I graduated from Form 5 (Cambridge O Level)in 1975 from a Catholic school in Sabah. We had 45 students then. 30+ of us including me went on to Universities overseas (England, NZ, US, Canada etc.)
Our standard was so high back then that while in University, Yr 1 and 2 was a breeze (they were materials taught in Form 4 and 5 in Sabah). Essentially I went to university for 4 yrs but first 2 yrs were re-learn what we were taught in high school.

I am in my fifties now and living overseas. It is sad to read about the state of education in Malaysia. Sigh......

mayfoo02 said...

I absolutely agree with Teacher-Teacher. I've been teaching for the past 27 years, out of which 14 were spent teacher 6th formers in a large mission school. I've been through everything Alina and some of you shared here and perhaps even more. The one thing that helped me through these situations has always been the personal touch - the willingness on my part to speak their lingo, be their friend and be there to share in their stories and to laugh with them or cry with them. In other words, when a teacher is able to show these young people that they are human and not emotionless tyrants as most teachers would like to portray themselves then, you'll be on your way to real teaching. In short, teaching is about connecting and touching lives and that needs real personality. Very unfortunately, many teachers today employ a very clinical approach towards teaching. Most times, when I walk through the corridors, what I see are teachers merely spewing out the contents of their textbooks without even looking at the students' faces or teachers who are merely teaching the walls as almost everyone in their classes were snoring away. I have also overheard teachers making disparaging and insensitive remarks about their students or teachers who tyrannically insist on being right even when they are clearly wrong. You can't win them over when you assume automatic lordship over these young minds who are eager to explore and experience.

Inniminie-mainimore said...

Akhlak should come from the parents and teachers just make sure its carried out in the school society.