You Can Help Me Choose!

I am very ambitious & my eyes are often bigger than my belly.
At this moment, I have too much on my plate & I need to downsize.
Initially, I set a goal to complete all 3 personal projects within this year alone.
On top of my daily huff & puff, I wanted to produce a School Magazine, a School Documentary & an Action Research.

However, after 1 month of teaching, I realised that this goal is a little too far fetched due the limited amount of resources I have to spare after taking into consideration the 'responsibilities' I have been given this year.
Doing only 1 fits comfortably into my schedule but I want to stretch my abilities.
Therefore, I have decided to choose 2 out of the 3.

The problem is they are all equally important & exciting to undertake so I just cannot decide which one to scrap.
This is where you come in.
Read about all 3 projects & help me choose which one to do.
The polls will run for 4 weeks from today.

School Magazine

Last year, I produced the Empurau 2009 school magazine. You can read about it by clicking here.
Even though I was a mere assistant, I was a one man show last year & had a terribly tough time.
Despite the obstacles, the magazine was completed & it was good.
God provided for me good friends who helped out & energy to slave long hours.
Without this assistance, I'd fall off the cliff of insanity & burn out.

This year is better. This year I'm the boss. This year I get to choose my team members.
So I chose the best teachers with complementing skills for the team.
We have divided the work accordingly & I have complete faith in our ability to produce an even better magazine this year.
God is good!

**Producing the 2010 Empurau magazine is compulsory so I will have to choose between the next 2.

Action Research

If you dont know what Action Research in Education is, please click here.
Early this year, I read about a Proactive Approach to Classroom Management, adapted it & started to put it into practice in my classrooms.
I have had some interesting observations which I have briefly noted down.
Last year, I was a very loud, aggressive & fierce teacher.
Misbehave & you'll be deaf for the next 5 minutes.
It was tiring & although students behaved, I was unsure if they were learning.

This year, I wanted to try a gentler approach.
Still assertive & teacher-centred but rarely loud & aggressive.
I want to help students choose between the desired action or a consequence.
This is also about keeping parents informed as well as setting up & enforcing a set of rules + consequences in the classroom.
It's all about preparing for all possible incidents in the classroom beforehand & then following through on a prearranged set of positive or negative consequences.

I will make personal observations, get other teachers to observe & note down their observations & thoughts as well as interview students on their preferences & thoughts.
I want to make it a respectable Action Research article with references & have it published.


taken from

My school is a unique specimen.
It is located deep within the interiors of the least developed part of Sarawak.
There is no road access to the school or to the nearest town. You need to take an express boat to the nearest town & then ride a sampan for 1 hour to get to the school.
The students come from actual longhouses in the forests & most of them have illiterate parents who couldn't care less about their academic achievements.

Despite the undesirable locality, lack of exposure, low expectations & little parental support, the school was able to achieve 100% pass rate (over 120 students) in the 2008 SPM examinations, be the #1 school in the division & rank within the top 50 schools in Sarawak.
The school has also got several state representatives in sports & continue to win an increasing amount of medals each year in intra-division competitions.

Not bad for a pendalaman school, eh?
How horrible are the living conditions actually?
How did the school achieve so much?
What are their secrets?
What can other schools learn from this school?

I want to answer all these questions and more in my documentary.
The documentary will be completely in English & will be kept to a maximum of 30-45mins.
I'm looking to complete it by the end of this year.
I want to make this an activity with students in the English Language Society.
It will be mailed to friendly schools & relevant government agencies.
It will also be available for public viewing on YouTube.


  1. school magazine is better. Coz u get the most credits out of it.

    Title, written by __________.
    see. :)

  2. Totally agreeing on the documentary!!

    Wish everything this year would go on smoothly for you :D

  3. Documentary and school magazine.
    Both would make you stand out. Yor district education office will definitely notice.

  4. Definitely the documentary! It would provide a much-needed insight into how rural schools work. Something the public (and politicians, and other teachers) think they know about but don't, not really. The doc would be so much more meaningful with a teacher doing it, as opposed to someone from some travel channel. You'd know all the right questions to ask, the angles to start from and you can involve the students too. It'd be brilliant.

    P.S. You must get this a lot, but really, have you ever thought of writing a book? Like the Asian version of 'Teacher Man' or something like that. You have a great writing style and you're one of the few teachers/seniors I know who is consistent in writing. It'd be a bestseller for sure. =)

    (I am a long-time reader/stalker/fan junior who is usually too struck with awe to type out a coherent response, but finds this documentary idea too exciting to just vote about.)

  5. Anonymous21/2/10 07:20

    I've voted... I would think the action research would benefit you more professionally. Anyway, it all depends on where your priorities lie...

  6. I like reaching for greater heights too. With a planned and scheduled framework.. everything's possible. Do all 3, I say.. Carpe diem!

  7. Documentary.

    In this modern day and age, simple texts catches lesser attention. It's ICT that has been rocking the schools now. So, taking the documentary route.

    It's not that much of a common thing. But the concept is rather awesome!

    Document the ulu place la. Even if i am 25, my mom won't let me visit the pendalamans. Too rural!

  8. Victor: The magazine is a must so I'm doing it including one of the others.

    Connie: Thanks, Connie!

    Trish: My district education office has already noticed me... well... at least the mak ciks do.

    Loving: Thanks for the compliment, I will take writing a memoir into consideration.
    Maybe after 5 years? hahaha~~

    Arthur: Thanks for your vote. Action Research is probably more academic.

    Aurora: Carpe diem? I have a feeling you're a student with very little work experience.

    Vio: Wouldn't you like to be part of the team?
    hahaha~~ Let me know when you're 27, I'll take you to an ulu place.

  9. :) I was posted in SMK Katibas in 2003 and left that beautiful school in 2006. I still have a few friends there, ask around.

    Some might still hate / love me (depending on whom you are asking).

    Do the documentary. It's a really beautiful school and the world needs to witness it.

  10. Thanks for the vote. Will certainly ask about you.

  11. Would be cool if you would like to publish it under the schoolmatterstome. :D

  12. Thank you for your offer.
    I would love to publish with SchoolMattersToMe but I would prefer to publish on my blog first.

    I think it would be better if someone from SchoolMattersToMe could write a review or his thoughts on what I have done.
    I think that would be a more wholesome post for your site, don't you agree?


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