Saturday, April 24

Public Speaking & Debate Competitions: Are Students Really The Participants?

For the past 2 weeks, I've been preoccupied with preparing 2 speeches for the Public Speaking competition & rewriting 2 scripts for the Debate team of my school.
Unfortunately, my students are yet to possess the intellectual & linguistic competence to write a high level script on their own.
So it's up to the teachers to write the scripts for them & train them to read (no, I mean deliver) the scripts effectively.
The best part is... some of the educators are less than competent themselves... which means extra work for me: proof-reading & rephrasing.
Call me conceited but the longer I work here, the more I feel that I'm head & shoulders above the rest. Either that or I work too hard.

That's what I've been doing day, night & even through the weekends.
That's on top of my official duties of preparing for lessons, carrying lessons out, extra classes, marking exercises, co-curricular activities & setting papers for the coming exams.
Oh, let's not forget that I'm also reviving the English Language Society which until now has only existed in name.
We're meeting every week & we've run several activities already.

It's strange. Instead of feeling bogged down & worn out...
I feel energised & even more motivated to do better.
The students.
They react so well to my input & they are absorbing all that I give them like blood-thirsty sponges.
They also manage to surprise me with their creativity, obedience & considerate gestures.
I love them so much. They fuel my passion.

I'm just curious...
At your school, who is really participating in these competitions?
Do the teachers do most of the work, like in my school, or are your students left on their own?

Saturday, April 17

For The Children

Sometimes I wonder why I work so hard.
The more I slave the more apparent I work alone.
For many, this is just another job. Just another vocation. Just another way to put food on the table.
There’s no spark, no desire, no romance.

Do what is required, make sure there is documentation & recognition.
Anything extra is not necessary.
Why waste time on something outside of your job description?
Buat apa mau susah-susah? Itu bukan kerja kamu!

Why am I the only one to go ahead & plan an activity-full year for the 2 clubs that I am put in-charge of fully aware that I may have to oversee every activity myself even when others are assigned to it as well? Why not just meet the students once a month, sing a few songs, shout at them a little bit & get the compulsory meetings over & done with like the others?
Why do I complete 2 scripts to the best of my abilities for another person’s competition just to receive another 2 when I have already made it clear that I need to work on my competition which is due at the same time & was put on hold for this person?
Why do I ask for more periods or conduct extra classes when I have already 24 to work with every week?
Why do I care so much about these jungle children who are not even mine?

My endlessly toiling body is fuelled by a painfully passionate soul leaning on a bent yet unbreakable spirit.
My treasure is where my heart is.
All things are possible for me who believes.
I am the light of the world. See my works & praise my Father in heaven.

In my heart, I know I am not alone.
Around this country there are countless others who carry a similar yoke.
We are where much should have been done.
The only difference between us & those before us is we stood up & said “I will”.

We labour not in vain but with hope in our hearts & a vision in our minds.
We lead the way for those whose hearts seek purpose & truth.
It takes only one to make a difference.
Will you promote meritocracy or mediocrity?

Sunday, April 11

My PTD Exam

Last Saturday, I spent the whole day taking an entrance exam for the post of Pegawai Tadbir & Diplomatik (PTD) M41.

The 1st paper was on General Knowledge & I found it quite easy. A majority of the questions were on government policies. There are some questions on specific knowledge. For example, ‘which are movies directed by Yasmin Ahmad’ & ‘who were the founders of Google’.

The 2nd paper was a mathematics paper which was easier than my SPM exam. Most of it was situation questions that made use of multiplication, summing, percentage & algebra. I was allowed to use a calculator & I think I will get 99% on that paper. It was that easy.

Paper 3 was a simple comprehension paper on both BI & BM. If you got A1 for both subjects in SPM, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. Very simple SPM level questions. They also asked about idioms, proverbs & correct use of words.

Papers 4 & 5 were essay papers where you wrote on 1 of 3 questions. Mostly discussions of current events or how you can achieve a certain goal. The English language essay was the last paper so I couldn’t resist choosing a topic that pretty much summed up my application. I liked what I wrote so much that I’m going to share it with you at the bottom of this post.

Finally, we were given a personality test & personal interest test. The personality test was really simple with some ridiculous questions like ‘have you ever lied before’ or ‘is it true that when there are no cars, you don’t have to stop at a red traffic light’. The interest test was a series of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions asking you about what you can do or what you want to do.

I am confident in making it to the next stage of the screening process. Well, at least I’ll be a borderline case.
All the best in yours if you’re applying too!

Here’s my 700++ word essay.
Please explain how you can be a valuable member in the organisations you intend to serve

Our time is a time of strife & struggle. As our economy is suffering from a recession, the number of those being laid off & unemployed will only increase. Furthermore, every few months, thousands & thousands of new graduates enter the job market. Organisations are spoilt for choice & will only choose the cream of the crop. I firmly believe that I am one of those among the best. I think that I possess the qualities to become a valuable member of the organisation I intend to serve in. Before you write me off as a narcissistic pompous overconfident fellow, allow me to share with you how I can be a valuable member in the organisation.

As competition intensifies & more people are laid off, managers & employers are looking for people who are able to go the extra mile & take on the work of two, three or maybe more people. I believe that I am a dedicated & hard-working person. I am currently a teacher in a rural school short of teachers & have proven myself capable of carrying on my shoulders the workload of two or three teachers. Besides teaching 24 periods every week, I am the school photographer, magazine editor, newspaper editor, debate team trainer & public speaking trainer. Furthermore, I am the head advisor for the Police Cadets & the English Language Society. Let me assure you that I work hard to meet deadlines & ensure quality work. Just ask anyone in SMK Katibas, Song. I believe this quality of mine is transferable to any organisation; particularly the one that I intend to serve in. This is one of the ways for me to be a valuable member in the organisation.

Being hardworking is not enough. Sometimes a person has to manage several large scale projects that involve multiple persons & multiple sources. A person who is tardy & happy-go-lucky will not be able to cope. To be a valuable member of an organisation, one has to plan & be a good planner. I believe I have good foresight & intellect to be a good planner. This year, I was put in charge of 3 major posts in the school. I am the English language panel head, editor of the school magazine & head advisor of 2 clubs. I managed to plan the yearly activities according to the resources available. I was also able to pick out outstanding individuals to lead some of the activities from both students & teachers because I knew that with so many duties, I need to plan ahead & make sure that there are additional people to watch over key activities. I believe that this skill in planning & foresight is how I can be a valuable member in the organisation I intend to serve in.

Every employer will be looking for people with leadership skills. No matter what post or position, people with leadership skills will be able to inspire co-workers & take the organisation to a whole new level. I believe that I have the leadership skills & charisma to compel co-workers to work with me & for me. My positive can-do attitude & never-say-never attitude has always inspired others. I am able to work in a team & carry my fair share of weight. This can be seen in the successful publications of the school magazine & school newspaper. This can also be seen in the success of the many activities I am in charge of. I am not conceited as to say that I did all that by myself. All of my achievements are a testament of other people working for me & with me. It goes to show that it is one of the ways I can be a valuable member in the organisation I intend to serve in.

Finally, let me end by saying that I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. The day that I begin to think I am perfect will be the day of my downfall. Even though I am hardworking, dedicated & have good foresight, planning skills, leadership skills & charisma, I have flaws. However, this does not mean that I give in to my flaws. On the contrary, I am a firm believer of lifelong learning & I have not met a man who has drowned in his own sweat. I will get better & better as the years go by. At least, that is my ultimate hope & desire. Now tell me, how can such a person not become a valuable member in any organisation?

Saturday, April 3

Not In Front of the Students!

In a school, there are certain things that should never be done in full-view of the students.
Among all those, the #1 carnal sin of the teaching profession is:
Telling another off in front of the students.

taken from

Sadly, I was at the receiving end of such an encounter.
One evening last week, I decided to get the ball rolling with the school's English Language Society & have our very first meeting EVER.
My vision for this society is to form a group of students who will be moulded into leaders to facilitate English language activities in the school.
Most schools would have an open-invitation, but for our society, it's strictly invitation only (since not every student can speak & understand the English language).
10 students with the best English language proficiencies & attitudes were selected from Form 1, 2 & 4.

I was addressing the students when I noticed that several of them were staring at something behind me.
I turned around to find a person of authority in the school.
He was looking dazed & scruffy as if he just woke up. He looked grumpy too.
I greeted him & wondered if there was something wrong.
He asked what I was doing & I told him that I was conducting a meeting for the ELS.

I expected him to dismiss himself but he walked over & asked me how I chose the students. I explained that the subject teachers chose the best students from their classes.
Then, he proceeded to name & ask me why a few students who met the criteria were not in. I explained that the subject teachers chose & I honoured their judgement.
Then, he went on a rant about how that these students were already good & they didn't need my attention. They could just be left on their own. Why couldn't I get a few of the problematic students & try to reform them like the prefects were successfully doing?

By then I realised that he was not in a the right state of mind for a discussion. Furthermore, I didn't have much time left.
I told him that I would take all of his suggestions into consideration & we should discuss these issues at another time & place.
He probably realised that he had overstepped his boundaries too but, before walking away, he went on to say in a very unpleasant tone that those were just his suggestions &, since I was running the show, it was up to me whether I wanted to follow them or not.
In the end, I said a 'thank you, sir' to save him face & continued the meeting as if nothing happened.

Imagine the embarrassment of being interrupted & told off in front of students whom you are trying to inspire to help you & follow you!
I wouldn't mind if I was taken aside & quietly corrected.
I really hurt me & shook me to have someone I respect walk into my meeting & say something against me loudly right in front of my students.
I'm working hard to do something for my school.
heck~~ I'm probably carrying the load of 2 or 3 teachers & still I'm willing to do this EXTRA thing when all those before me did NOT.
This really didn't help at all.

He has since apologised to me & I have accepted the apology.
We are real men who are both working hard to achieve something & I am glad that the incident did not escalate into something bigger.

Prevention is better than cure.
If your teacher is doing something you don't like, tell correct him privately & empathetically.
If you feel that you really have to interrupt there & then, do it discreetly by calling him aside.
NEVER go on a raging rant in front of the students.
Depending on how the teacher reacts, it will either undermine the teacher's authority, your authority or even put both of you in a bad light.

Let's work together to go from strength to strength in our professional conduct.

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