|Last weekend, I conducted a workshop titled "Lessons from the ♥ of Borneo" at Curtin University Sarawak|
for Teach For Malaysia fellows placed in Miri & Subis.
Despite preparing the slides the night before, I planned for the workshop earlier & we had lots of fun. I shared about the teaching conditions at my school, my experiences teaching at a remote school, as well as techniques, activities & pedagogies which worked in my situation.
You can download the PowerPoint slides & view pictures of the workshop below.
It is always a privilege to share with the fellows of Teach For Malaysia. I always leave with a sense of confidence that they will actually make use of what I have shared instead of treating my session as just another in-house training. I conducted a workshop for them last year & I was a keynote for their first conference in 2013.
I have a lot to gain from them as well. When I'm amongst them, I feel refreshed & energised because I'm with such a large group of like-minded people who are teaching for more than just a pension or stable income. They want to make a difference in the lives of their students & are more than willing to go the extra mile. Furthermore, I have often found myself inspired by what they have done in their schools to meet the needs of their students.
~~~~~Let me add that I have come across a large number of teachers in our government schools who share the same drive & heart. I know that it is hard for them so I support them however I can. But, that's a story for another blog post. One that I fear might never materialise.
Critics will say that they are only in schools for 2 years so it's possible for them to put in all the effort to do something amazing & then disappear. In contrast, government teachers cannot do the same because they have to stay for their entire careers.
My question is:
1) What has been done to encourage them to stay in teaching after their 2 years?
2) What has been done to make it sustainable for government teachers to do the same throughout their careers?
3) Honestly, if these fellows, who are deemed the best & brightest of their generation, are unwilling to stay in the system, perhaps we should ask how our system can retain its "best & brightest".
No education system is perfect. Not even those in the West. I think that Teach For Malaysia is a necessary compromise & an injection of innovation & drive into our system. Also, it is good that members of the public have some experience of working within the education system. I've spoken to the alumni & they have nothing but respect for teachers. They are also finding ways to support the work of teachers in their new positions or coming up with ways to support the education system.
I welcome Teach For Malaysia to Sarawak & I hope that they can continue to work together with existing teachers do good wherever they are needed.