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Showing posts from 2013

4th Birthday In The Jungle

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As much as I'd like to complain about not being able to celebrate the new year or my BIRTHDAY with the people I love for the fourth consecutive year, I realise that I have a lot to be thankful for.
Perhaps I have reached the 'acceptance' stage of grief. I have certainly seen myself go through all of the stages since 3 years ago when I first saw the vision of the fall of my school & started my struggle against it.
Perhaps it's time I started looking at the things I have & giving thanks for them? I do have a lot to be thankful for & I will list them down here in no order of importance.

I am thankful for...

A good God who loves to give me surprises.A wonderful family. A great dad who sets an excellent example for me. A mom who cares for me & makes sure that I have everything I need. Brothers & sisters whom I can be proud of & are willing to spend time with me.The best friends in the world. The industrious Nesa in Penang: always a great sounding boar…

At The End of 5 Years

I have been experiencing sleepless nights & I am haunted by many things. Some of which are recorded in an insomnia induced rant I posted a few days ago. Instead of being busy & ignoring my inner most concerns, I am fortunate enough to have a few days off to think about it, talk about it & read up on it. And it helps. I spent an incredible amount of time speaking to God & quietly reflecting. The world has a way of engaging you at multiple fronts & pulling your attention in all sorts of directions. An undisciplined spirit can get lost in all that noise. It's good to have ample of quiet time to myself. Esp at this pivotal point in my life.


Why did I panic about my career all of a sudden?
Sub-consciously, I knew that my time was up. You see, 5 years ago, I made a promise to myself to commit myself to any government school anywhere in the country. I would root myself & give it my all. Therefore, in my posting application form, I put in 'Dimana Saya Diperlukan…

Insomnia Induced Insecurities

I don't have anything worthy of sharing tonight. I just need to unload something off my chest so that I can finally get some sleep. I've been trying for hours & I'm not getting sleepier. I really hate sleepless nights. It's when I start to think about stuff & worry & fret & it is unnecessary & it doesn't get me anywhere. This is another side of me that doesn't get much time in the light. Most of the time, I find solutions & I get busy at being a solution to things.

But I'm also afraid inside & I'm so insecure about myself & my future. I don't show it much because I'm a guy. I don't like to show my weaknesses. I'm also practical. Revealing or sharing my insecurities doesn't really help me to overcome it. Also, I'm sort of a hippie. I chose to promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate.

I'm sleepless tonight & I can't stop thinking about next year. Sure, I've got a secure job …

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

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The MoE is seriously looking at CEFR as an internationally recognised framework for describing the ability of language learners in Malaysia. This will likely be used for foreign languages (English, Japanese, German, French, etc) & might also be applied to local languages (BM, Iban, etc).

From 29-30 October 2013, I attended the symposium at the Sama Sama Hotel, Sepang. We were given a basic understanding of the concepts & principles of the CEFR.
Here is a summary of what I have gleaned from the symposium. Do forgive me for lapses in my understanding. Any comments & insights will be gladly appreciated.

What is CEFR?
• Benchmark for a learner’s language ability
• Can be used for any language
• Assessed based on communicative tasks
• Learner autonomy & learner-centred via self-assessment

It was developed to help immigrants to assimilate and participate in a democratic society. These are adult learners in an immersion setting. It has been applied in Europe as well as other …

The Ultimate Motivation Programme

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What do you think of when someone mentions ‘motivation programme’?
Most schools conduct a motivation camp or organise a 1 week talk with invited speakers & that’s it. Actually, for some schools, that is good enough because parents take care of the rest of the motivating. That is, if the students have got attentive parents. What about those students who do not?

My students come from a poor socio-economic background. Many from broken families & their guardians are either illiterate or uneducated. They are aware that education is important but most are ill-equipped to support their children.
Also, my students stay in the hostels so they spend most of their time at school. Having so little contact with their guardians, we cannot expect the guardians to be able to make much of a difference.

Based on my personal beliefs & building upon the success of my 2012 PMR Motivation Programme, I decided to conduct an upgraded version for this year’s SPM students. (This year’s PMR Motivat…

Burying Love Like My Heart Is A Grave

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Somebody asked me whether I was hurt before because it seems like I am avoiding or trying not to remember.

Sigh... That made me recall memories long buried & left me feeling exposed, reflective & dejected.
I'm 28 & I don't have much to show, do I? I don't have a house. I don't have a car. I don't have a family. I don't have a wife. Heck, I don't even have a toy girl. Symbols of a successful man.
I have some achievements at work & great friends I can depend on, but when it comes to things that people typically look for, I have nothing to show. Nothing I can be proud of.

It's true that I have been hurt before. Who hasn't?
I guess it's true too that I am avoiding love. Since my last relationship 3 years ago, I have decided to stop dating. Instead, I poured all my energy, love & creativity into the only thing I know will never hurt me: My work. I have done so much these 3 years, I can hardly believe it.

I was numb emotionally so…

The 1st School Orientation Programme (For Teachers) @ SMK Katibas

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Remember back in September when 2 English Language Officers from the US Department of State visited my school? Well, at the same time, I had the privilege of supervising to a pair of future teachers during their 1 week ROS (school orientation programme) at my school.
Nope, they were not trainees from KPM. They're actually fellows with Teach For Malaysia!

I think that there is not much difference between KPM & TFM’s ROS programmes. Both had information seeking, school observing & reflection writing at the end. The only difference was the mindset of these TFM fellows. Very different from a majority of KPM trainees.
They had enthusiasm &, most importantly, PURPOSE. Instead of treating teaching as a mere job, these two had a mission: to bring about education equality at the level where it makes the most difference... teaching.

This kind of thinking actually sets them up for either great success or great disappointment.
The bad news is: the latter will almost always come be…

The Romance of Exam Talks

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As much as we, teachers, want our students to fall in love with the subjects we teach by getting them to relate to it via performance arts, experiments & projects. In reality, our students have to match up to only one criteria at the end of Form 5: paper excellence (aka Writing).
I feel that the mere pursuit of this turns them into soulless regurgitators &, at the end of their exams, they will have no desire to hang on to what they have learned because it is meaningless to them.

When teachers plan their lessons, they have to strike a balance between the robotic reality described above & the romance which makes us human & gives these robotic functions purpose.
At the end of the day, no matter what teachers believe, if they really care for their students, they will be compelled to put their students in the best position to perform in the exams.

A key part of this preparation is an Exam Talk.
It should never be the one & only programme to prepare students for the exa…

Remedial Instructions Workshop for Secondary School Teachers @ PPD Song

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I believe that if I have something good, it is not meant for me to hoard for myself alone; but meant to be shared &, in the end, cause a bigger ripple in the world. That is what courses are meant to do: share best practices which teachers can apply & invigorate their weary souls.

This year, I benefited greatly from 2 Remedial Instructions Workshops I attended in June & September. I was really excited about what I learned during the 2 courses because they were simple yet significant & did not require insane amounts of preparation. The approach/pedagogy/activities we learned were also at the level of our weakest remedial students. A perfect match with my teaching situation.

When I got this new knowledge, I was really excited. I knew that I had to share it because the need was too great. I estimate that 90% of students in Song are remedial students of the English language. ALL of the teachers in Song & also all of Malaysia need what I have learned.

Therefore, I have d…

Sistem Analisis Kompetensi ICT: My Tips

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For your information (esp those of you who are not working for MoE), everybody in the ministry has to take an ICT Competency test. The officers & teachers in Perlis, Perak, Melaka, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Penang, Kedah, Labuan, Negeri Sembilan, KL & Johore have already taken the test.

So from 23-31 Oct, its our turn in Sabah, Sarawak & Selangor. Here's the link to the website.
Here are my thoughts...

#1 FAST & SMOOTH!!! OMG!!! How many of you dread using MoE websites? Esp if it has to do with clerical data entry? It's not the data entry that we dread but the servers which tend to get crowded too often & log us out all of a sudden. Because of this, many teachers wake up in the middle of the night to key in data. Oh, this reminds me, I have to update SPPBS. Dank. No sleep tonight.

When navigating & using this website, I cant help but notice how smooth things are running & how fast the website responds. Everything looks good & in its place. …

Jalinan Kasih Antarabangsa: A Milestone For My Jungle School

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Many Sarawakians have never heard of my school & while many express a desire to visit my school, very few actually put in the effort to travel to my school except these people & these people. For walking the talk, I salute them. So it is even harder to find foreigners who would be interested in visiting my obscure (but awesome) school in the middle of (a very romantic) nowhere.

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, God has a good plan for my school & I am only tapping into God's plan & His will for the people in this region. He set in motion the events that would lead to this: Program Jalinan Kasih Antarabangsa. The first ever visit to my school by foreign education officers.

It started with a chance opportunity to be part of a Remedial Instructions Workshop during the June holidays co-organised by the School Management Division of MOE & the US Embassy KL. All of the other more 'qualified' teachers just happened to be occupied & I just happen…

Remedial Instruction For English Language Teaching Workshop (Phase 2)

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I remember, not too long ago, I said that when an individual stands up for a cause that is bigger than he/she is, good things start to happen, people want to help, resources find their way & all with little perceived effort. This was one such occurrence.

By the stoke of luck (or was it?), I was called up at the last minute to attend Phase 1 of the Remedial Instruction Workshop during the Gawai Holidays. I happened to be in Kuching at that time & I happened to have no plans (which, come to think of it, is really rare). And other teachers who were more senior or 'deserving' happened to have plans & could not attend the week long course.

It was a great opportunity for me because teachers from obscure or out of reach schools rarely get called up for courses. Needless to say, we rarely hear a whisper about top-tier courses like these. It's like we do not exist. Either that or the person from Song/Kapit who went to such courses did not do his/her part in sharing/pas…

The PMR Mentor Programme: Leadership & Motivation With One Stone

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Last year, I conducted the PMR Motivation Programme personally & let another teacher handle the SPM Motivation Programme.

This year, I wanted to personally handle the SPM group because I felt that it was more challenging to influence older kids & I didn't want to burden other teachers like I did last year. However, this left a big question mark as to who will handle the PMR group. I got my answer at the end of last year in a discussion with Sarah Lasung (a Leadership Development Officer with Teach For Malaysia): Get the PMR students who went through the motivation programme under me to do it for their juniors.

Pure genius. And that was exactly what I did. I'd like to thank my principal, Mr Patrick Nojey for approving the funds to pay for the shirts my students used.

This was how I went about the PMR Mentor Programme:
I chose NON-prefects because I wanted students who could commit to the programme. I could not have the best students (I believe Prefects should have the fi…