I Actually Like Teaching In An Interior School

Very few teachers can say that they like teaching in their school.
I don't think a majority of my colleagues will say that.
Even in the urban areas, I don't think many teachers will say that too.

You may think that I have it easy. Mind you... I don't.
I hold many posts in my school that involve a heavy dosage of work.
I am head of the English Panel & the editor of the school magazine. I take charge of the English Language Society as well as the Police Cadets. I also attend & photograph all of the school's activities. I am invigilator for PMR & penyelia kawasan for SPM.
Furthermore, I teach 4 classes of which 2 are PMR classes & I constantly give them essays & drills which I have to mark even during my scarce & valuable free time.

Come to think of it... there's actually very little to like about teaching where I am at.
There's only 14hrs of electricity. That means no water in the pipes, no TV & no ceiling fan outside working hours. Imagine the discomfort.
There's no cellphone coverage or landline. Almost no communication with the outside world. Peace & quiet? Not quite. Imagine when you are waiting for an important call or when you want to liaison with people outside of your school.
The school is isolated. The only way in & out is a 45min - 1hr boat ride. Imagine transporting goods, groceries & equipment.
Also, floods can happen anytime.
Lastly, you'll miss home, your buddies & your favourite hangouts.

Besides the extra monthly allowance... I actually have other reasons to like teaching in an interior school.
In my profession, two things matter most: the client & the support group.
My school thankfully happens to excel in both.

The Support Group aka. The School Administration
I was very pleasantly surprised to find such an efficient administration in such an interior locality. I expected most of the school & even the principal to be laid back & the school facilities to be in horrible condition.
Lo & behold, I arrived to find that it was the total opposite.

The Principal is determined, disciplined & blunt. The assistants are friendly & they carry out their responsibilities. The office staff are warm, quick & very helpful.
Everyone is doing their bit & some are even venturing into the additional (including myself).

Everyone is young. Everyone is approachable. Everyone is willing to help everyone in this school.
It's no surprise that this interior school has been achieving a 90++% pass rate for SPM & even a 100% SPM passing rate in 2008.
Wouldn't you like to work here?

The Client aka. The Students
Just like most students from rural/interior backgrounds, my students lack exposure.
This lack of exposure reflects in their poor attitude towards education & their poor academic excellence.
However, they are very teachable.

Give them an order & they will follow.
Reason with them & they will accept punishment.
Raise your voice & they will lower theirs.
They rarely answer back at teachers.

There's no surprise such students though ignorant are mouldable into credit achievers in public examniations.
Wouldn't you like to teach students like these?
They may not be very smart but they will do what you tell them to do.

Seriously speaking... if you cannot handle/control a classroom of these interior area students, don't even dream about teaching in urban schools.
Rural students are hamsters in comparison to the cunning & daring of the lions in the urban schools waiting for their prey (yes, you) to enter their classroom!

My working situation is excellent but my living conditions are harsh.
However, I've decided to accept it & work with it. I want to adapt & conquer this mountain instead of have it conquer me & have me running back home to mommy every weekend.

Whether your situation in the interiors are similar or much worse. Be encouraged. You are doing something great for the people in your locality.
If you are anything like me, you're going to give this school everything you've got in your head & in your heart.
And one fine day when you do leave, you're going to leave behind a shoe so big it'll take 5 people to fill.

Selamat Berkhidmat (& Berkorban)
Demi Negara & Bangsa 1Malaysia!


  1. Anonymous25/7/10 16:20

    Positive thinking brings positive results. Thumbs up!

  2. very inspirational jarod!

    this morning, a bunch of us IPBArians went to yao's wedding.

    we met for breakfast first. naturally our conversation centred on schools.

    we exchange stories about our respective experiences. you're right; not many teachers can say that they like teaching in their school.

    it doesn't matter if u teach in a rural or urban area. each school has a unique set of problems that u have to face...

    though my school is relatively well-equipped, the students there are daring & cunning...

    but i'm surviving thus far :)

  3. very different from my experiences. my boys here are certainly cats, if not lions by the time they hit form 4/5. hamsters are non-existent in this urban,cluster school.

  4. STP: Thanks!

    Rosyada: Yup, glad you're surviving yours! It's strange.
    Are we teaching or are we fighting for our sanity? =)

    Nigel: I said that rural students were hamsters compared to urban students. hahaha~~

  5. Anonymous6/8/10 22:23

    yo jarod, i found my school is enjoyable like yours despite of its status as orang asli school. i think i learn a lot here than out there. many things to do before this temiar can be fully developed.

  6. i enjoy teaching in my school! first, it's because of the colleague..thank God i work with a very intelligent colleague who always tells me not to fall in love with the company but the profession! second, the client! they are like yours as well!

    i hv no more words to describe how i love teaching but i always believe i won't suit for other profession as i prefer my clients to be younger than me! and teaching gives u such an oppurtunity! i'm horrible at handling and treating adults!

  7. i agree with u..njoyment 4 teaching can be achieved when the student respect us..and wat u said r totally opposite,wat im facing in my school..the Principal and Co..our client..they r not teachable..only collegues ere make me njoy coming to work daily..

  8. Warid: Yes, there is much to do here about the mindset of the locals before they can progress beyond the agrarian lifestyle they practise now.

    Far: Good to see another enthusiastic teacher!

    Nizam: Well, we take what we can get. Do your best for the time being & move on when the opportunity comes.

  9. haha one man's meat is indeed another's poison. I teach in a rural area and i really can't stand the students who are so obedient sometimes I think they are like zombies. XD

    Maybe I was a urban student with her own rebellion streak, I want students to answer back, to be rebellious. to fight back, so that teaching can be interesting, and also so that students would not rely on me to so all the thinking for them.

    All these months while teaching them, I miss my urban students, the ones that start their sentence with "but teacher..." :P

  10. Yeah... The students are like chicks in a nest with their mouths open wide & waiting to be fed with a rattan spoon.
    Savour the moment with subservient students. When you get to the city, it'll be so much harder to get attention.

  11. very inspirational, keep up the good work!


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