Top 5 Tips For New Teachers

Many new teachers who will get posted into the Malaysian national school system have asked me what advice I have to give them.
Well, I have summed all I have to say into 5 tips.
Let me put it here so that I dont have to repeat myself indefinitely.

#5 Go Wherever You are Sent
This is probably the last thing you want to hear but I realise that good teachers are in short supply everywhere in this country.
It is also my heartfelt belief that a good teacher will be a good teacher regardless of location.
Furthermore, every teacher has something unique to offer to the school they enter.

Do not be afraid of a place just because of hearsay.
Do not judge prematurely.
Go & experience the school for yourself.
Try it out for a year.
Work on it before you decide to call it quits.

#4 Brace Yourself
When you first arrive at school, you will carry a ‘donkey’ label on your head.
Chances are... You will receive the most brain-dead jobs in the school that other teachers do not want to do.
Chances are... You will get the most challenging classes.
Chances are... You may even be mistreated or face some form of discrimination.

Prepare to be detached emotionally.
Work is work.
Do your work like a faithful little donkey.
Also use your human brain la...
Figure out ways to shine in your multitude of mundane donkey tasks.
In time, someone is bound to notice & pull you out of your pen.

#3 Learn to Smile & Say Good Morning! 
Smile, greet & name everybody & anybody in the school.
A smile & greeting can make a big difference in workplace relationships.
It breaks down boundaries. It melts cold hearts.
Many teachers have forgotten how to smile so it’s up to you to inspire them!

Remember the name of every teacher, staff member, gardener, guard, toilet cleaner, your favourite students &, yes, even the bad bad bad bad bad students.
People may not be used to it at first & there will almost definitely be haters but do persevere.
Smiling, greeting & naming someone as you pass them in the school corridors will open many doors & lift the whole workplace environment.
Don’t believe me? Try it persistently for a year!

#2 Your Boss is the Boss of You
Your relationship with your Principal or Ketua Jabatan is VERY VERY VERY important!
Remember this!!
If you have a good rapport with your boss, things will go a lot easier for you.
They are entrusted with the command of the school so they can open or close doors for you.

Most bosses are old & they do not have the ideas that you possess.
But most of them are open to new ideas.
So if you have any suggestions for improvement, I'm sure your boss would be willing to sit down with you and discuss it.

Sometimes, the boss will tell you off for a mistake.
Sometimes, the boss will make you do something that you dont want to do.
Remember to be professional.
Do not be afraid or harbour any hard feelings towards your boss.
He is just doing the boss's job.
So as a subordinate, you must do yours.

If you find that your boss is incompetent...
Well, my friend, I feel sorry for you...
He is still the BOSS!

In whatever you do remember to exercise wisdom, cunning & grace.
Don't give in to frustration & anger.

#1 You Think. Therefore, You Are.
Descartes hit the nail on the head with this one.

You must have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in this profession.
Honestly, this profession is a no play-play one okay.
No teacher should be someone who does the bare minimum & sits around waiting for the salary to arrive every month.
If it was up to me, anyone who is not serious should really get out or be kicked out.

Of course, everyone can give teaching a try.
But if you think that teaching is not for you, you should go.
If you think that there are better things that you can do in your life, go.
If you hate teaching, why the **** are you even here?! GO!!!

Go. Pursue your dreams. Be a bum. Get married. Whatever.
Do anything except take up the space of someone who really wants to be a teacher.
If you are not serious about this profession, imagine the amount of damage you will do to generations of children in the classrooms you enter.
Do some soul searching. Take some time off.
Give it ample consideration before you come to a decision.

If you decide to stay...
You have just given yourself to a cause that will not bring benefit to the self but will have a magical rippling effect on the rest of society now & forevermore.

Dream big.
Dare to fight, bleed & wrestle for your students.

Be creative.
Set a new standard for others in the profession.

Be your best. Do your best. Bring up the best.
Only if people like us decide to stay & slave in this profession will there be a future for this country.


  1. I have to say that very few teachers think like you do. Keep up the positivity! :D

    Sadly, not all are so cheery-I-have-a-mission-today-ish. Don't let the system or people change you. Never.

  2. Yes, think positive. It's all a matter of attitude...and if one thinks one is too good for a place, that place and for that matter, any other place is in fact too good for him/her!

  3. and also, respect the students like how you'd like them to respect you.

  4. and I couldn't agree more! *nods head* =)

    Totally, totally right!

  5. I think we can all apply this in our individual professions :) Its age old advice but very sound. Cheers to you love!

  6. Joyce: Thanks for the encouragement! I'll do my best!

    Arthur: True. Attitude has a big effect on a teacher's performance.

    June: Well, not all students, maybe the older ones.
    Younger ones need tighter control.

    PohLin: Thanks!

    Sarah: I'm glad this post has helped someone who may become a tycoon one day & send her kid to my school! haha~~

  7. thank you so much for the tips....i shall keep those in mind...

  8. easier said than done, but yet again, that is the ideal of being a good teacher in the malaysian teaching environment.

  9. Alice: Keep in mind & practise in life.

    Jon: Easier said than done. I know this.
    But I hope that the new generation will TRY because I myself have done so & have seen the benefits.
    Unlike many in my profession, I walk the talk.

  10. like this one.. wish there will be more teachers like u at school nxt year! ive been waiting for more new english option teachers..currently at school we only have 2 teachers to cater for the 500+ students..craziness~

  11. You must be very popular la~~
    Next year is coming soon!
    Brace yourselves!

  12. clearly right on the spot ^^


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