The Sad Reality

February 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today I witnessed the sad reality of schools in our country. It is damn well-expected; everyone knows it’s the truth and yet nobody can change anything.

Hentam je lah.

We don’t have time already.

Nobody cares anyway.

Sad but very true.

Teachers are occupied with so many programmes expected out of them. We are constantly instructed to attend meetings, take up roles as chaperons, organise plenty of non-teaching events etc which often cause us having to miss classes and yet feel completely okay with that.

Being part of the system: is to accept this sad reality.

Our Favourite Famous Person

February 11, 2015 § 1 Comment

Currently I am teaching 2 classes only hehe of which one is Form 2 and the other Form 3.

Today, for my 3A3, the topic was Famous People. When I wrote the two words on the whiteboard, half of the class asked, “Teacher, apa itu famous?”.

Note: This is the fifth out of seven classes, and yes the students have a limited vocabulary. About 75% of the students are Siamese; and they had trouble understanding BM tatabahasa – which means translation/code-switching is not applicable when explaining sentence structures.

I asked if anybody knows the word and only a boy replied, “Popular!”.

After eliciting several names of popular people, we played Charades. I divided the class into 2; boys vs girls team (due to request). It took 20 freaking minutes for us to get to the 4th turn. The girls were still being extremely hesitant and dependent although there was a slight improvement compared to first week of class. I had to admit that this was the first time I felt that girls are more difficult to be encouraged than boys. Many teachers in the school agreed with me regarding this. #truecase

So I moved on to the next activity – producing a Our Favourite Famous Person poster. I showed them the end product I expected from them while giving instructions (so that I won’t have to repeat the instructions in BM and thus preventing their demands and reliance to listen to instructions in BM).

This was a product from 3AG2 - a 'better' class. I carried out the exact lesson and got a totally different response from them. We managed to guess at least 20 names and poster was produced within 30 minutes.

This was a product from 3AG2 – a ‘better’ class. I carried out the exact lesson and got a totally different response from them. We managed to guess at least 20 names and poster was produced within 30 minutes.

I reminded them that I wanted sentences and showed some examples on the board. Previously we learnt that because means ‘kerana’ – so I pointed out that they should write ‘I like … because he/she is …’.

And these are some of the end products.

This was from a boys' group believe it or not..lol. Note: quit is meant to be 'cute'

This was from a boys’ group believe it or not..lol.
Note: quit is meant to be ‘cute’

Great drawing over here.

Learnt about the existence of this dude from the students (incapable teacher haha). Some Siamese words as well! :D

Learnt about the existence of this dude from the students (incapable teacher haha).
Some Siamese words as well! 😀

As a motivation, I wrote all 5 descriptions (corrected versions) of their favourite famous people and asked them to copy into their books. Surprisingly, they told me that they were proud of their work and copied them diligently even though it was already 5 minutes into recess time.

Vocabulary of the day : national & international.

Quite a fruitful lesson I think!

Teaching Week 2

February 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Finally made a comeback after being on hiatus for so long. 2014 had been the best year to name, yet I could not even stop myself from giving plentiful of excuses whenever I thought of writing. Teaching Practicum from Jan to April – temporary tutoring at Cambridge English for Life – short escapade to Pulau Perhentian with parents and their buddies in May – graduation trip to Taiwan in July – trip to Kuching in August for the Asia TEFL Conference and lots of outings – part time job at Erican Language Centre – a whole month’s trip to Plymouth in December; good times definitely ended before you called it enough.

And without realising it, it had been 2 weeks since my career began. I am still clueless around the school; there are times I feel alienated and really lonely. Don’t get me wrong, the teachers are friendly and the students are wonderful – maybe it was just me in the process of getting the right rhythm and setting the vision straight. I am eager to help these students, and that is the very reason I feel a deep pang of disappointment when they did not try hard enough. English is definitely a foreign language here; students struggle hard enough to speak the Malay language, what more the white people’s.

So far, I was given only 2 classes after much confusion – a Form 2 and a Form 3. Maybe my presence was not really needed here as there seemed to be enough teachers around. I wonder if that is the similar case in most schools. I have entered both classes not more than 3 times; and could already sense that they have never thought of a sentence in English. In my first lessons, they literally begged me to speak in BM even though I was merely introducing myself and carrying out an ice-breaking game.

Today I asked myself a question – how am I going to teach them when some of them don’t even know what a thief and a country is?

The school system is a whole complicated thing. It was just a completely different world from what we had imagined it to be. It isn’t a cruel world, but you will find it difficult if you don’t fit it.

Will update more about what I have done in my classes, hopefully that is!

Tomorrow marks my first teacher duty – taking up the role of a chaperon (due to an immediate request). Getting an unpleasant hunch that this role would cause me having to sacrifise my teaching hours..

Where Am I?

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