Sunday, December 23

PMR 2012: Record-breaking 8 As for English!

This year, many of my colleagues & I worked our socks off for our PMR students. Personally, I have pushed them as far as I could towards excellence in their PMR with my programmes & beliefs, my BI seminar, my weekly motivation sessions & rewarding students for PMR excellence.

Here is a summary of our school's 2012 PMR results:

103 candidates
Pass (You have to pass every subject to pass PMR): 74 candidates or 71.84% (1.5% less than 2011) passed PMR
Average Grade (GPS) (The lower the better) is 2.84 (0.05 more than 2011)
Top Scorers: 3 8A candidates. 2 7A candidates. 3 6A candidates. 4 5A candidates

According to Subject:
25 As
8 As
10 As
12 As
8 As
19 As
14 As
3 As
21 As

When I heard the results.
For the first time ever, 3 of our PMR students achieved 8As while 2 of them achieved 7As. That's like 5 straight As in some urban schools. It was a gargantuan task which I believe every teacher involved worked really hard to push the students towards their potential. The students themselves also worked very hard to get there.
I never doubted that they would be excellent. From the very first week in January, I looked at their track record & set high targets for them during our motivation sessions. I'm glad that most of them have reached their potential. I will probably have a post-mortem session with them during the first week of next year.

Let's talk about something that I am directly involved in. I am very proud to have taught a class which produced 8 As for English!
I wasn't easy, but my students managed to do it. If you remember from a previous post, I set a target of 10 students achieving As. Still, I am proud of them as I know that they did their best.

Let's recap on past achievements.

Prior to 2010, the school had only 1 student EVER who achieved A in PMR English.
In 2010, I taught the best Form 3 class & the class produced 4 students with an A in PMR English. The FIRST ever straight 8A student came from that class too.
In 2011, I did not teach the best class. That class produced 1 student with an A in PMR English.

This year, 2012, I was back in the best class. The class produced 8 students with an A. The 3 8A students & 2 7A students came form that class too.
I attribute this to the teacher factor. It might seem haughty or proud to claim that I made a difference but, mind you, my students do not go to tuition nor do they speak English outside of the classroom.

I did my part in pushing the students towards their goals with individual attention, consistent long-term coaching & monitoring as well as genuine concern &, often times, firm discipline. There is no special sauce. I believe that I have done nothing unique & that any teacher can do the same if not BETTER. It just takes someone with a big heart & a strong spirit.

Looking towards the future. I want to move on to a bigger challenge. If the conditions are right, I will be able to do the same for the SPM students next year. If not, it will be for my brother & a select few SPM students. That will be my elite project.

They have done their best & produced excellent results. Honourably, I will hold up my end of the bargain.
Bye bye, $$$$.
My students did exceptionally well, so I will reward all 103 of them with a simple gift regardless of their final result because even the hopeless ones tried hard. Maybe I'll give them some chocolate.
103 candidates (-8 A students) x RM3.5 = RM332.5

I got this for my students. Hershey's Milk Chocolate for RM20.80 per pack. 6 bars inside so roughly RM3.50 per bar.
Only RM332.5 to bless more than a hundred students who accepted my challenge, listened to me & worked hard.
This is proof that you don't have to bleed money to give your students good gifts. You just have to look at the right place with the right attitude.

During my motivation sessions, I promised every straight A student I'd take them to Kuching for a weekend.
3 candidates x RM500 trip = RM1500

I promised every English A, that I'd take them down to Sibu for a weekend just like I have for every PMR English A student for the past 2 years (2011 & 2012).
8 candidates (-3 straight A candidates) x RM200 trip = RM1000

I will hold a post-mortem meeting with them next year & be RM2800++ poorer.
But, it is an investment in a generation which I believe will spark a change in the local population... An intellectual & cultural revolution.
My wish is that they will become good people & contribute to the sustainable development of their lands & the well-being of the rural Iban people.

Thursday, December 13

Putting My Family First At Last

For most of my teenage life, I really hated my parents. I blamed them for everything bad in my life. Like all those stupid music/language lessons I had to take. I even blamed them for everything that they didn't do for me. Like branded stuff, being handphone-less & unable to go out with my friends. Now that I am older, I realise that they really honestly did what they thought was the best for me. Deceived by emotions & pop culture, I was blind to all the good healthy things they have given me.

Now that I am older, I choose to see them & love them for their good side. Nobody is perfect. Not even ourselves. Everybody has flaws. Especially our parents. Once upon a time, I wanted them to accept me for who I was & not what they wanted me to be. (That's the ultimate desire of every child. To know that your love is unconditional.) I guess now that I know better, instead of pointing fingers, shouldn't I take the lead? I am truly ashamed of the child that I was. Now that I am an adult, I will adopt the ways of an adult & love my parents the way they want to be loved.

One thing I do realise is that they are getting older. Raising & educating 6 children is by no means an easy task. 1 is difficult enough, talk about 6! (Personally, I'm only having 2.) They are very stable financially but they are also well over 50, their bodies are getting weaker & my father has heart issues. After so many decades of pushing so many children to do their best, I'm sure they are also very tired. Yet their job is not yet finished, they have 2 more teenage children in Form 4 & Form 3. It is a steep uphill climb to ensure that the 2 remaining children are well prepared for an uncertain future.

When I started teaching 4 years ago, I had 4 siblings (out of 5) who were still in school. (Yes, there is a big age gap between us.) Since then, 1 sibling has done average while another 1 did relatively well. They have since moved on to tertiary studies. In all that time, I have been busy pouring out my heart & soul into a forgotten people whom their own people (who are educated) couldn't be bothered about. However, every time I go home for the holidays, I feel a deep sense of guilt & shame. I can't help but think: If I took my siblings under my wing, they would have done better. In my heart, I knew this was true & it eats me inside. I carry this burden until this day & I feel like I've let my 2 siblings down.

My parents are ageing & are not as forceful or persuasive as they were with me. They've been really soft with my younger siblings & I do feel that my siblings are taking advantage of my parents. (Yup, wake up parents. Your kids are still milking you long after they've stopped nursing. This might help.) I feel that it is my responsibility as the eldest child (who happens to also be a teacher for crying out loud) to play a larger part in the lives of my siblings. I hate feeling extremely inadequate when my father comes to me with a question about our education system or a request & I am unable to do anything because I am sooooooo freaking isolated & uninformed in my jungle school.

Especially now that my youngest brother is really struggling in school even with all the support, technology, camps & tuition money can buy. Next year is his Form 5 & if he continues on his current path, it will not bid well for him. SPM is the single most important exam in a Malaysian's life. You can judge the worth of a person by looking at his/her SPM results. (Degrees are overrated. Truly.) I plan to bring him with me into the jungle school & give him the best of all that I have in my personal capacity & my network of great teachers in my jungle school. In my 4 years, I have done so much & learned even more. I shall use that for him. I will create something unprecedented for the Form 5 next year. Watch me.

At the end of the day, you can bring the horse to the water but you cannot make it drink. My brother is a human being & should be treated with respect & love. I am really happy that he has accepted this exotic adventure & is willing to follow me to my jungle school. No tantrums. No arguments. In fact, he is embracing it. I believe these are the first signs of his maturity. My hope is that he will work his arse off next year & get the best possible results. I believe that he is meant for great things. That is why I am investing in him & giving to him my best. Therefore, I expect nothing but the best from him.

After 4 years of working my arse off for other people's children, I think it's about time I put my family first.

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