Monday, May 30

Why Upgrading Principals & PKs Is Laudable

During Teacher's Day some 2 weeks ago, our PM announced that all 1,228 secondary school principals in the country will be upgraded to Grade 52 (RM6,904.20) and all 6,585 senior assistants nationwide will be moved up to Grade 48 (RM6,325.39).
Whether you agree or disagree with this move, I think I have something unique to share so do read on.

taken from
How many of you have had principals or school administrators who were (I'm going to be really blunt) moronic & utterly incompetent? He doesn't know what he's talking about. He uses a lot of big words albeit inaccurately. He does not give you a clear direction of where he wants to bring the school. He doesn't know how to motivate the staff. He pushes people around & loses his temper for no reason at all. He talks about your teaching methods as if he knows everything but everything that comes out of his mouth is completely inapplicable or mere rhetoric. He doesn't walk the talk. His ideas are amateurish & does not make sense. He hogs the limelight & blows his own horn. He sits in his air-conditioned office all day. He is more concerned about making money than making the school achieve. He pulls down your career if he feels threatened by you. He doesn't back you up when parents/students complain to him about you. He back-stabs you. You get the picture.

The sad thing is... such principals/administrators are increasing every day.
To make things worse... good principals/administrators are either leaving or retiring every day.
Why is this happening? Where are the good people?

Well... the answer is simple.
The good people have decided to just be plain & normal teachers.
Why? Because being just a teacher is more rewarding than being an administrator!
Being a teacher, you mainly teach. Being an administrator, you have to take care of a whole load of other responsibilities & also teach.
Being a teacher, you can opt for Guru Cemerlang & upgrade yourself to a rank that supersedes even your principal or you could do tuition & instantly supplement your salary TAX-FREE! Being an administrator, you can opt for... time based (10 years) or a transfer to a bigger school (with bigger problems) or become a principal (even bigger problems).

taken from
Although I think the government is rewarding only 8k educators because they cannot afford to reward every single one of our 400k educators, it is the right move with a limited budget.
There MUST be a gap in salary between administrators & teachers mostly because they make the decisions in the school. They MIGHT be motivated to do more. Then again, a leopard cannot change its spots but men are capable of miraculous change.
Most importantly, administration posts & esp the principal post must be attractive & lucrative enough to attract the best talents to compete for it. Only with the best people on top will you be able to turn a rotten school around, develop the talents of eager new teachers & employ the fresh effective ideas. With half-baked principals, you can only be sure that the fish rots from the head.
Do they deserve it? Honestly, probably not. But it gives them extra incentive to improve & even more reason for the ministry to weed out the lazy & corrupt.

I want to see a blooming education system where ideas are free-flowing & ministry officials are working hand-in-hand with educators to best serve the new generation & prepare them for the future.
However, from what I can see currently... I don't feel particularly encouraged or motivated.
I'll just do what I can & when it is my turn to make a difference in the system, I will. Perhaps that turn will never come due to my skin colour so I'm hoping that whoever reads this will be moved to action when their time comes.
If not, Malaysia will end up in a really really deep deep hole & I will be in another country making loads of money from my experiences in the really really deep deep hole.

Monday, May 9

What It's Like To Teach In The Interiors

So You Want To Be A Teacher - Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
If you've always wondered what it's like to teach in the interiors do check out a 3 part article I wrote for
I've always wanted to write about my experiences & take photographs depicting every advantage or disadvantage but I never really got down to do it.
When an acquaintance hooked me up with one of the curators of loyarburok in Sibu & he gave me an assignment to share about teaching in the interiors, I thought that it was a brilliant idea.

At several points I wanted to delay the article because I was preoccupied with school work. More particularly Ketua Waden work. But the curator motivated me & inspired me to get it done.
So I spent 2 weeks reflecting on the article, listing down what to share, wrote it down & took the photographs.
I got teachers & students from my school to appear in the photographs so if I photographed you within the past 2 weeks, you're probably in one of the parts!

Do check my article out & leave a comment!

Monday, May 2

All Inclusive 1D1N In Sibu FREE!!!

Only if you're my student...
And you got an A for your English PMR Paper.

I'm a firm believer of rewards in teaching. I am also very fair.
If you do well, I will reward you well.
If you do extremely well, I will reward you extremely well.
If you do badly, I will reward you... accordingly.

I've got a whole arsenal of rewards. They include candy, stationary, praises, attention, affection, pinches, slaps, knocks, whacks, "candy-canes", "hair-driers", "loud-speakers" et cetera.
My ultimate of ultimate rewards last year was my promise to my PMR classes that anyone who got an A for their English Paper would be rewarded with a trip to Sibu.

You must be thinking: Is it so hard to get A for English?
This is a valid question. It is totally NOT hard to get an A for English.
A decade ago, I myself got an A without even studying. Every year, tens of thousands of Malaysians get it too.
As for SMK Katibas, there was only 1 prior to last year... EVER.

You must also be thinking: What's so great about Sibu?
Sibu is the closest city to my school. You have to take 2 boats to get to Sibu & a return trip costs around RM50 & 3+ hours.
True enough, Sibu is a pimple compared to Kuching or KL or even a trip to the beach.
But see through the eyes of a people who have lived in the jungle most of their lives & you'll understand that a trip to Sibu is somewhat of a big deal.
Also if you haven't had much in terms of material things, an all expense paid trip is a wet dream in itself.

I was pretty swamped with work this year & hardly had time to escape to Sibu myself.
My students saw this & were so kind to tell me that it was okay; but a promise is a promise &, last Saturday, I made true to my promise.
I invited my 4 A students to Sibu. One couldn't make it so that means more for everybody else!

During the day, I showed them around. We walked all over Sibu & took lots of pictures.
For breakfast, I took them to my favourite Roti place in Sibu. Exposed them to different types of roti & also tosai.
For lunch, I took them to McD. To see their faces light up at the mention of McD was priceless!
For dinner, I took them to Manna. They were so cute. They fumbled with the menu.
After dinner, we went for a movie, "Fast Five". It was AWESOME! What a great way to end our day!

By doing this, I hope to encourage them to build on their success & excel in SPM.
At the same time, I'm showing them how great it is to have a job with a good salary which cannot be obtained without an education.
When the other students hear about this trip, any future PMR students will be extra motivated.

I also hoped to build excellent character in the 3 students.
During the day, I shared life-stories of success as well as failure & asked them deep questions about life. I also invited other people to join us for meals for a different point of view.
We talked about social issues according to their demographic like teen pregnancy, vice, infidelity, small-mindedness et cetera.

My students are the future of the Katibas region.
It is run down, neglected, defeated & in need of one of their own to pick them up & lead them into the future.
I'm doing my little bit to nudge their children onto a good path & I pray earnestly that they will make a difference instead of conforming & joining the sad state their people are in.
Please, pray for Sarawak & it's people.

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