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Cikgu Matthew Apok: Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald's 2021

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For Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McD 2021, I want to nominate a former colleague of mine at the Sarawak State Sports School who has inspired me to become a better teacher. Cikgu Matthew Apok is the kind of teacher who would accept all responsibilities assigned to him & work hard to deliver on all of them. ahem… unlike me You will not find him taking pictures of his work & sharing it on social media ahem… unlike me   or even in the school WhatsApp group. Once he has completed a mission, he would quietly fade away onto the next task, rarely receiving recognition or praise for his numerous contributions throughout the years. This is the kind of teacher I want to see nominated for this award: The unseen ones who work hard behind the scenes while others benefit from their work. As a football coach, he had the arduous task of building the basics in the junior players who might have plenty of technical skills, but very little in terms of teamwork, tactics, & strategy. His work with th

Nominating Inspiring Teachers In Malaysia: Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2021

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  It’s that time of year again! McD is once again giving recognition to Malaysia’s teachers! Now that schools are reopening nationwide, both my students & I have a lot of readjusting to do. To be honest, I feel physically exhausted teaching face-to-face, as I am sure many students are too. However, as I was scrolling through this year’s nominations & reading their stories, I felt encouraged & motivated to do more for my students too! Be inspired too here: https://www.mcdonalds.com.my/bm/anugerahguruinspirasi/nominees Besides motivating & teaching effectively, I read of many teachers who are nominated for going the extra mile with providing food aid, study materials, and extra classes. Many have not given up on challenging students or situations, and I was also deeply moved by a school counselor who prevented a suicide attempt. Teachers do so much & without such a platform, many unsung heroes who shy away from the limelight would not have their inspiring stories shar

Explained: The Low SPM Passing Grade Table

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I bet you've seen this screen-captured table. I'm in a lot of education social media groups & every year around SPM season, this SPM baseline table will be reposted without fail in exactly the same way: some dude expressing shock at the low grades required for passing certain SPM subjects while lamenting the horrible state of our national education system. I enjoy intellectual discussions, but, if some random table is the basis for one's thesis, I roll my eyes & scroll away. However, I keep seeing this post repeating itself again & again & worse still I get tagged in some of them again & again until my eyes just can't roll any further. It's time to explain what a baseline is to those who are not teachers. What Is Baseline Data? Every school does this kind of data analysis, which is why those who cry wolf are usually not teachers. Why? A baseline is used to estimate the possible grades of our exam-taking cohort based on past SPM results. How? Base

Motivation: KFC Treat For Hardworking SPM2020 Students

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Over the past few weeks, I noticed that my SPM 2020 Form 5 students were becoming increasingly focused on their studies. Some started asking deeply relevant questions reflecting their diligence in revising for the SPM English test. A few of the weakest ones were finally able to apply the exam techniques I taught them, reflecting plenty of effort on their part. This is in stark contrast to a year ago when many of them were still very happy-go-lucky. The extreme few would refuse to do any work & answer back rudely, while a handful would sleep in my class after all night gaming sessions. Also, remember all the crickets during my MCO online lessons? After the last extra class session with them, each student received 2 pieces of KFC fried chicken during lunch: 1 original recipe + 1 hot & spicy. All of my students are boarders, so they were allowed to stay at school until the end of the SPM examinations. KFC may not mean much to most children from middle-class backgrounds, but for my

Stop Mocking Malaysian English Accents

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This morning someone shared with me a viral tweet mocking Rina Harun, Women & Family Minister in Malaysia, for her heavily accented English. Although I have no affinity for Rina, I really found the post & the subsequent jeering comments very offensive. If Rina was one of my students, I would tear into each one of those mocking turds. You should be ashamed of yourselves! English teachers have learned a long time ago not to laugh at accents. It will not only discourage the person being laughed at, but also those who sound like that person. For a fleeting moment, you get to feel so atas & so great that you sound like a penjajah, while being ignorant of the damage you are doing to the progress of English language use in Malaysia. Unbeknownst to you, you're discouraging generations of fellow Malaysians from using English! We should be celebrating such open use of English by a politician despite her struggles with the language. That's the kind of grit we want to see in al