Thursday, April 30

No Water & No Electricity At A Remote School

Imagine this is your life.
Imagine spending so many years getting a degree, only to leave your home, take flights & ride boats to go to a remote school in the middle of nowhere to accept the challenge of educating rural children without knowing when you'll get to return. All because you want to materialise a dream of making a difference & changing lives.

Imagine going to school knowing that you'll have no electricity. No electricity = the pump will not function = no water. Imagine carrying your clothes, toiletries & dirty dishes in pails & walking 10 minutes through rough terrain to the nearby river to wash up. Furthermore, you'll have to carry one or two pails of water back to your living quarters for toilet use & general cleaning.

Imagine having to clear all the food in your fridge lest it rots. Imagine having to cook your meals with murky river water. Imagine the hot afternoons without even a fan. Imagine teaching in classrooms with full formal attire without a fan. Imagine nights of complete darkness. Living by star, moon & candle light. No TV. No laptop. No Internet.

This is the life that we live every day as teachers of a rural school when the generator breaks down. We do what we can to survive & thrive. Modelling the grit that we desire in our students. Do read on, because we need your help.

Saturday, April 25

Graphic Novels From Students For Students

Last year, I discovered that one of my students could draw anime characters really well. He showed me his folder full of amazing creations & it left me wondering how I could help him get his work appreciated instead of just doing nothing in a folder in the jungle. Then, I came up with the idea of a graphic novel for the school. I empowered him to form a team of his choosing & gave him the task of producing English language comics for the school. He made a few last year & the students at school loved having something 90% graphic to read.

This year, I improved on the programme. I realised that it was too taxing on 1 team to consistently produce graphic novels throughout the year so, this year, I scouted for 2 more talented students & again allowed them to form teams of their choosing. This year, I have 3 teams producing comics for the school.

The best part is the team members thoroughly enjoyed this English language "homework" (probably a first for some of them). Also, once their work is scanned & printed, they will be helping hundreds of their schoolmates improve their English & be more interested in the language. If you've seen your weakest students devour those graphic novels prescribed by the ministry, you know they'll devour these too.

Thursday, April 2

A Stewardess Speaks At The Jungle School

My students & the first motivational talk of the year!
I believe that everyone has a unique story to share & that story will more than motivate & inspire my students. I realised a long time ago that my students lacked role models in their community who were able to give them insights into a better & brighter future due to their unfortunate circumstance of being in the middle of the jungle without money, influence or power.

Instead of pointing my fingers at the school counsellor & saying that it's his job, I take it upon myself to personally seek out people who would enjoy & benefit from the experience of travelling to an exotic destination & making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged & forgotten children.

This year, I'm glad that I found one in Adriena Ng, a young stewardess of an airline that I've been complaining about recently. She took time off her annual leave, booked her own ticket from KL to Sibu & paid her own way to my school to give a talk to my students. Kudos to you, miss.

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