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Showing posts from 2014

My Transfer Is Denied So Share This With An Administrator

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The past 6 years in the jungle have been amazing & I believe that I have proven my worth.
I want to commit all my talent & skills to education in Sarawak because it is where the need for someone like me is greatest (Sarawak is usually at the bottom of national performance rankings.) but my determination is waned & my potential is limited at being confined to the jungle for a 7th year.
I am ambitious & I know that I can do much more with access to an airport, resources, people, internet & mobile connection.
Being denied not only frustrates me, it unsettles me.

Sarawak has an excess of English teachers (most of which are in Kuching & the surrounding districts teaching subjects other than English) so it's harder for me to move WITHIN Sarawak than it is to move OUT of the state.
Excess = very few new postings = not being able to move because there is no replacement for me.
Excess = very few vacancies = joining a waiting list where lots of more 'qualified&#…

5 Ways The Malaysian Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Course Can Improve

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This is an honest review from a thinking professional who has been in the profession for more than 5 years & already continuously improving himself via reading books/magazines/websites, reflecting & attending courses/training/conferences/symposiums. I have also shared my development through writing blogs/articles & giving talks/speeches/workshops to teachers/students.
   The fruits of all of that personal/professional growth is documented in this blog. I urge you to to skim/browse its archives & see for yourself if I am a credible commentator/stakeholder before you continue reading.

   I wrote this post not as a condemnation. I want to pool ideas to help make it better & I believe there can be a more effective use of tax payer funds & valuable time of education professionals. I have written down the same views & suggestions expressed in this blog post on the feedback forms I filled at the end of the course; of which I hope will be given due consideratio…

5 Tips For GRE From Someone Who Barely Has Time To Study

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For those of you here out of curiosity, Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a 4 hour exam required for admissions into graduate study programmes at universities in the United States.
I'm not an expert at GRE prep. I'm sharing lessons from my test day experience so that you may have a better idea of what to expect on your test day.

I took the GRE a few months ago at a Prometric testing centre in KL, Malaysia.
I registered online at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website & paid for it with my credit card. My test costed US$195. Bear in mind that the test in KL can only be scheduled on Wednesdays/Thursdays.

I took the TOEFL test earlier & did extremely well despite not preparing at all. If you're taking the TOEFL computer-based test as well, you might want to read the lessons from my test day experience to have a better idea of what to expect during your own test.

10 Steps To Start A School Newspaper At Your Rural School

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Besides initiating a comic book project this year to encourage students to read more in the English language, I revived a school newspaper project I initiated in 2010. (Since then, I stopped to commit myself to being a Chief Warden.)

Thinking back to my high school days, producing a school newspaper was really easy at my urban high school where the teacher could just assign the project to a group of students & they would work everything out on their own like magic.
It is a lot more challenging for a rural school with limited facilities & students with limited proficiency.

This is how I did it. You can go ahead & do the same at your school.

Ryan The Lion: A Gift From Afar

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When you make public your desire to do something good (like collecting a library of simple books for your students), help can come from unexpected places.

The students at my school have very limited English so what is prescribed at secondary school is usually too challenging for them.
While forcing the horse to drink the bitter prescribed alphabet brew, I've spent many years sourcing for colourful children's books with simple English. These books are at the level of my students & very fascinating for them to read or just flip through. I'm hoping that, for once, reading English will actually make some sense to them.

They also happen to be too expensive for my school to pay for on limited government allocations (due to allocations given based on a small student population which has to be stretched across various subjects which need books in the library as well).
Fortunately, I am always able to find kind donors. This particular one was really special.

#inspireKATIBAS: Big Hearts Taking Action In Rural Sarawak

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In August this year, a group of young professionals led by Teach For Malaysia's Sarah Lasung came to my school to run a week-long programme.
The amazing thing about them is they were volunteers who came completely at their own expense for an opportunity to make a difference deep in jungles of Borneo.

Other similar programmes are Aram Katibas! this year as well as Program Jalinan KasihmissionKatibas & Jalinan Kasih Antarabangsa from last year. All unique & powerfully moving in the lives of my rural school students.

Why this programme?
My students do not have much in terms of role models & ambitions. Most want to join the civil service as policemen or soldiers. Some want to be teachers. Very few aspire to be professionals or businessmen. Eventually, too many of them end up doing odd jobs & living in slum like conditions.

This needs to change. There is so much out there that they can do & many of the best jobs today never existed 5 years ago.
I want my students…

The Dream SIP+ Visit

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Just a few days after the nightmare visit by the Nazir, an SIP+ visited my school. At that time, the teachers were weiry of visitors; including myself. We wouldn't want to go through another round of scrutiny & condemnation.
When a colleague came into the staff room announcing that an SIP+ was looking for me, I admit I was pretty negative about it. I recalled how a colleague of mine was publicly humiliated only just a few days ago. I dragged my feet as I forced myself to meet with this officer. As it turned out, the officer was very peculiar & he had a peculiar reason for visiting my school.

The Nazir Nightmare

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**Everything written here is my personal opinion & observations. I am not perfect. In fact, I'm terribly flawed. I'm sharing because I have learned from this & I believe others can too.**

A few weeks ago, a team of officers came to my school to check on our implementation of the PT3 & our readiness to administer the PT3 written assessments.
My school is located deep in the jungles of Borneo so we rarely get visits from anybody. Not even the Nazir. Their last visit was in 2007, believe it or not.
Their visit on Monday was only made known to us on the Friday before & we were completely in the dark about what they were expecting. We were only informed that we had to prepare all our documentation especially those for PT3.

Our admin used this opportunity to scare us into doing all sorts of paperwork & it worked.
My colleagues thought that I was the cause for the visit because I applied for GC earlier this year. But, I told them that I didn't even qualify.
An…

Katilympics 2014

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What would you do if life at school was getting mundane? What if every week was the same hustle & bustle into the classrooms for lessons delivered while you were seated like a lovely puppet doll? What if it has been like this for months already?
I'm sure you'd get this little itch. It starts as a small one. Then, it becomes bigger & bigger & bigger until, eventually, you've just got to scratch it.
Often times, our students are Bored & we're only making things worse.

When students are bored, they will do all sorts of things to amuse themselves.
Which is why boarding schools have activities all year-round. Perhaps they do this because of PBS: Penilaian Berasaskan Sekolah Sebelah.
Whether intentional or not, having programmes all year-round occupies students & distracts them. It gives them the opportunity to expend the inexhaustible energy they tend to possess. With such an outlet, students rarely have the time nor the energy to cause discipline proble…

Job Offer: Teach Orang Asli Children in Gerik

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Do you love children? What are you thoughts about educating them?
Would you enjoy a rare opportunity to travel to a rural part of Malaysia? Would you enjoy applying yourself in meaningful work which will change lives?
Do you want to make a real difference in the lives of children who are forgotten & abandoned because they were born into a rural community?
Or, perhaps you want a break from the hustle & bustle?

I'm helping a friend seek out an individual with a deep sense of purpose to teach young Orang Asli children in Gerik, Perak.

Position: Teacher
Place: Lake BandingGerik
Duration: 3 to 6 months

Education: An education diploma or bachelor's would be good but your education background is not as important as your desire to educate. You will be given a chance to learn from a local government school & be in control of the curriculum.
Package: Negotiable within reason. Food, board & logistics to village covered. 1 month funded teacher training at a local government …

A Gift of Reading by Second Time Around Books

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In my last blog post, I wrote about a news article about me that I was displeased about. Before it was taken down, it caught the attention of a local entrepreneur. He contacted me about giving me some free English language children's books from the US.

Being very aware that my students lack quality reading material catering to their low levels of proficiency, I jumped at the opportunity.
My school library is well-managed by the teachers-in-charge but they lack the funds to splurge on quality books. They also have to cater to all the subjects taught at school.

In my 6 years of service here, I have arranged for & received book donations from only 2 parties: a female warden at UiTM Sarawak who mobilised her hostel blocks to organise a charity fund-raiser & members of the Aram Katibas! team who donated their old children's books.

However, this one from Second Time Around Books is the biggest I have ever received on behalf of my school.
When I went to collect, I only expec…

Interviewed by The Sarawak Energy Newsroom

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A few months ago, I was approached via email for an interview about my opinions of the importance of education to rural folk in Sarawak. The question pushed enough of my hot-buttons that I answered immediately & elaborately. I wanted to raise awareness about the education challenges & social issues in the part of rural Sarawak I serve in as well as call people to action.

I guess my answer was so comprehensive that the news agency used it to publish an article on their site under my name. They also used a lot of pictures of me in it. Especially one big picture of me at the top of the article even before anyone read the text.
I didn't like what I saw. I decided not to share the article & I emailed the journalist about my desires & intentions for answering her queries & how the article is might become a disservice to everything that I am trying to achieve in the jungle.
I am no politician. I don't need journalists to over-blow my persona. This is not somethin…

The Time Is Right For A Transfer

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I'm sorry to burst your bubble, everyone. I'm not going to spend my entire life in the jungle. Some of you may have only recently come to know of my work but I've actually been serving here for 6 years already. This year, I have found something that I can leave behind which will yield long-term benefits to the rural community. Knowing that, I believe that it is time for me to move on. I am hungry for a new challenge & desiring to make a bigger impact.

Let me make something clear. When I arrived 6 years ago in 2009, I made a conscious decision to root myself here for at least 4 years & work my butt off to see if I am worthy of being a teacher. I converted my bland government apartment into a swanky jungle bachelor pad (will take photos & show it off soon) as well as implemented various programmes & activities which promote the English language & develop the character of the students at my school.

I only applied for transfer after 4 years of full service…

SPM English Literature Component

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Hey teachers!
This is something I wished existed on the internet since a long long time ago...
The SPM English literature component (2010) in plain text for easy cut & paste! I've even typed out the 2 short stories!
This will be very useful for setting exam papers... Enjoy!!
Say thank you & remember to share if you find this useful!!!
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My CPT Results

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Dear English language teachers!
If you're like me, as in you have no clue what your CPT results are, I have good news for you! You can now check if you've got C1 or C2 here (http://apps.moe.gov.my/abpg/cpt/)!!
If you've got a A1-B2, your name will not appear in the list on the site.

This website was released early this week & already on the very day itself, this jungle teacher has received more than 5 notifications about it! BEFORE 8AM!!! Talk about an affective & efficient cascading model for the dissemination of knowledge amongst education professionals!
I've even had a strange lady spam my FB page for me to reveal my results! Thankfully, I removed the unsightly posts & will satisfy her curiosity here tonight!

女人

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最基本的
要在她身边
陪着她抱着她
然她感到安全

回她的眼神
深深的吻
轻轻的抚摸
天天有幸福的笑容

她太完美太棒
长得好看利害打扮
思想成熟明白我心
在一起像梦中之由

但感情之间
有大海有梦想
一天又一天
过得不安心

付出不了
最基本的
已得不了
宇宙之甜

虽然很想她
很需要她
只好坚强
不管心里多难过

只好把笼里的鸟放弃
让她自由的飞
她开心我也开心
真心希望她会找到幸福

放弃了爱
虽然受伤害
只好擦干眼泪
抱着希望慢慢向前走

Saya Guru Tak Cemerlang

This is a story I want to share because I think there are hundreds if not thousands of teachers out there who are working very hard but getting little or no recognition for their work. My disappointment is nothing compared to theirs. I'm lucky to at least have an audience & a platform for sharing. It's good that I don't get everything because it keeps me humble & fighting for what is right.

This blog post is dedicated to the teachers out there who are slaving it out for their students & loving it while at the same time alienated from the system which is supposed to reward them. They are fabulous enough to flip their hair aside haughtily at such ignorance & remember what is important to them.

As you know from a previous blog post, I applied for GC. The purpose of this award was to recognise truly exemplary teachers. However, not all who are awarded are exemplary. I wanted to change this disappointing fact so I made my first attempt this year. If I was succes…

An English Language Comic Book From The Jungle

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A few months ago, I caught a glimpse of an impressive piece of anime art a student of mine drew in his journal. I complimented him on it & he was delighted. Pretty soon he was showing me other pieces of really impressive art he did on his own. I felt really impressed & touched that he would share this with me. I feel that he is like a little spark in the middle of nowhere. I never expected such artistic talent from my jungle school students.

This experience left me wondering how I could help students with such talents showcase it & get it out there into the world for everyone to enjoy. I want him to develop his talent, be proud of it & use it to do good for the community.

An idea came to me as I was discussing an English Language Newspaper for my school (will blog about this very soon) with my selected newspaper dream team. I thought of including a hand-drawn comic strip in the monthly newspaper. As I discussed the idea with the newspaper team, they told me that there …

Jungle Pedalling Adventures

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Close your eyes. Imagine the mist-velveted lush green rainforest in all it's glory. Imagine the air filling your lungs with its crisp, sweet & cool goodness. Imagine the golden glow of the sunrise illuminating the scenery before you as you rush downhill in a blur of speed. One small slip on your mountain bike & you'd fall & risk injuring yourself hours away from help with nothing but a cheap plastic helmet to protect your valuable noodles. But it's worth it. Working in the interiors of Sarawak does have it's moments. Esp if you've got a hot-blood for adventure & the persistence of a hamster on two wheels.

After working here for 6 years, I've finally decided to get a set of wheels for early morning rides to Song from my school.

The Education Consultancy Job

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A few weeks ago, when I was stressed-out & madly rushing the paperwork required for Guru Cemerlang, I got a call from an HR agency working for an education consultancy about a job position in the consultancy. The person saw my profile, read my information & thought that I would make a good candidate for the vacant role. I've heard of the consultancy & have a friend who works there but I didn't know much about what they did. I was provided with some basic information on the consultancy & the job description. What really surprised me was the remuneration package. It was huge. I was surprised that there was such an amount in the education sector.

The offer really caught my attention & got me thinking seriously about the direction I was taking in my life. Is this better than what I am doing at the moment? Is this the legacy that I want? Is this the only way for me to finally be able to move on to a new challenge? Do I stay as a common teacher or become a consu…

When There Is No Water At The Jungle School

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You've probably heard me lament many times on Fb/Twitter about the lack of water at school.
Well, the main water pump in our school is really old & in a poor state of repair. It breaks down or a pipe bursts every few months & immediately plunges the school into drought.

Also, the speed in which repairs take place can drive a snail mad so we can go on for weeks without water being pumped into our lodgings. The situation gets worse when the mini-pumps at our apartment blocks break-down after an extended period of disuse.
The record time for not having any water pumped into my apartment is 4 months: October 2013 - January 2014.

Imagine you're a student who is sitting for SPM & you have to endure a drought throughout your preparation & exam. You have to endure no matter what & do your best in your tests. I really respect my students who went through SPM in such conditions last year. I wouldn't want anything like this to happen to me during an important peri…

Featured in The Borneo Post - 14 June 2014

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When I received news about appearing in the newspaper again, I thought that this principal in Sibu was pulling my leg. I laughed off the early morning WhatsApp message in good humour. Soon, more messages came & then I was FB tagged in a picture of the article by a hot dentist friend.

Apparently, I have made a surprise appearance in The Borneo Post, an English daily distributed all over Sarawak. At that time, I was in KL for TFM's energising Connect_ED.

I didn't know about the article & my permission was not sought. I studied the picture of the article & found that it is an exact replica of an article written about me in Victorious, the alumni magazine of my alma mater, Victoria University of Wellington. I don't know whether to be alarmed or happy about this.
Even though I appreciate the recognition & being used as the face of New Zealand education in Sarawak, I should have at least been informed. I am going to seek an explanation.

Meanwhile, it's busin…

TFM Connect_ED 2014

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There is one time in a year when I feel a little less crazy for being the way I am.
There is one time in a year when I recharge my soul & spirit without having to do anything.
There is one time in a year when I feel hopeful for the future of my country.
There is one time in a year when I feel really old because of the fresh young new faces.

Many new teachers come up to me & express a desire to do what I am doing. No, they don't mean working in the jungle with low proficiency students for half a decade. All they see is the fluff. My travelling around to attend all sorts of ministry meetings, conferences, speaking & giving talks. That is what they want.
What they do not see is the process of getting from where I was, an obscure teacher working his butt off in the middle of nowhere where nobody cares, to a still obscure teacher known & appreciated by those who care.

Doing what I'm doing is a lonely road. Believing the best in my students. Doing my best to provide…

The Jungle Teacher Responds to Nadilla Jamil's Open Letter

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This is a long blog post in response to Nadilla Jamil's article 'An open letter to secondary school English teachers' which was published by the Malaysian Insider on 13 June 2014.

In this letter, she eloquently shares her beliefs in the teaching of the English language in Malaysian secondary schools & passionately urges English teachers to follow suit. Here are some quotes:
- stop doing word-to-word translation or even mother-tongue mirroring
- speaking English in an English language classroom provides the linguistic environment that you know they are lacking
- English is fun. Bring along your games, movies. Act out. Consider role-plays. Let our potential future leaders learn the language through music.
- I passionately believe that the trouble is that education doesn't go on in the committee rooms of our legislative buildings. It happens in classrooms and schools, and the people who do it are you and them as students. And if your discretion is removed, trust me, …

Featured in Victorious - Autumn 2014

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I never imagined that I would be interesting enough to be featured in the alumni magazine, the Victorious, of my alma mater in New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington. In this magazine, I usually read about exemplary alumni who are contributing greatly to society; i.e. researchers, scholars, business people, biologists, mathematicians, policy makers & economists.

I'm just an English teacher working in the middle of nowhere with children who do not come from rich or influential backgrounds. I'm not doing anything world or nation changing like many others who have been featured in the magazine. I'm just doing what is within my circle of influence to make a difference in a rural community like many thousands of teachers are currently doing & countless others have done.

I am not a hero. Nor am I a lone ranger doing everything myself. Every day, I work with top-notch colleagues without whom I will be unable to carry out 100% of my programmes. I also work with th…

I Took the TOEFL iBT Test

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A few weeks ago, I took the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). I took the TOEFL test because it is a prerequisite for a graduate study grant I'm applying for.
I'm not going to explain what TOEFL is. There are plenty of websites about it. I'm going to share my experience registering for the test & sitting for it so that you have some idea of what to expect should you choose to do the same.


Registration First, find out the location of the tests & the dates here. Tests are usually on Saturdays & Sundays. There are test centres in KL, PJ, Johore, Penang & Kedah. Different centres will have different dates. TIP #1: Make sure that you choose the right centre & date. This is especially important if, like me, you are travelling from far away.
You can change it later but it'll cost you US$60 to reschedule. If you cancel, you will only get a refund of half the fee (US$90).

Once you have decided on a place & date, sign up for TOEFL online at th…

Featured in The Star - 18 May 2014

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Today, I was featured in The Star together with Cikgu Warid who teaches at SK Balar, an Orang Asli school in Gua Musang, Kelantan. I have a lot of respect for what Warid does at his school. He is as passionate & persistent in educating rural children as I am. Congrats, buddy! You deserve it!

Furthermore, I want to say that Warid & I are NOT unique. There are plenty of teachers out there serving with all their hearts both in the pedalaman & in the concrete jungles. They deserve just as much plaudit & recognition as the both of us. Many of them are slaving away year after year without even a word of thanks from anyone because they are meek or introverted.

Also, there are plenty of teachers serving in situations far worse than mine. Shout out to those serving in rural areas which require way longer travelling hours in 4WD or on boats as well as those who depend on rainwater & eat canned food every day. They are true unsung heroes who are quietly serving without expec…

Remedial Instruction Workshop in the Kapit Division

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In memory of Cikgu Henry Nyambar. He has always been a fine example to me of humility & kindness.

Do you teach the English language to students from low socio-economic backgrounds & whose guardians are illiterate? What if English is not used in this rural community & English is a foreign language your students are forced to learn?
What if the English language has consistently performed very badly in PMR & SPM? What if more than 30% of your students can't even achieve a mere pass?

What if your students are not motivated to learn? What if it is easier to make a hole in a concrete wall with your face than to get some of them to complete their assigned work? What if some of them have already given up from years of failing & verbal abuse?
Such is the classroom situation here in Kapit. A small town which has no road access. You have to ride on an express boat for 3 hours to get here.

So, you've ventured far away from your home to be an English teacher here. You …

Aram Katibas!

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It's interesting how making a stand for something & fighting for it attracts kindred spirits.
Back in 2011, an eloquent & intelligent teenager from Penang read a series of teacher articles I wrote for Loyarburok.com. She then decided to interview this obscure teacher & write an article about me for The Star. She was the first person to recognise this crazy slaving hermit in the jungle & slingshot me into the limelight.

Never in my wildest dreams had I expected to host her & her merry band of altruistic adventurers at the very school she wrote about 3 years ago.
What were they up to at my school? What were they like? What were the outcomes? How much did I pay them for their 'services'?

Why Good Teachers Don't Apply For GC When They Should

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Raise your hands if you identify with 1 or more of the criteria mentioned below:
You give your best as a teacher.You love spending time with your students.You love being involved & working in 'the field'.You love coming up with programmes for your students.You constantly develop your skills to be a better teacher.You absolutely abhor paperwork.You think that paperwork does not benefit your practice or your students. Oh yes. I see a lot of hands.

Chances are you love teaching. You're intelligent & talented. You're probably a practising GC but you think that the GC vetting process is flawed & hopelessly biased against teachers like you. So, you chose not to go for it.

You don't like to appear haughty. So much so that you avoid praise, credit or titles like the plague. You tend to deflect praise or play down your work/success. So, you chose not to go for it.

Also, chances are you've met GCs who are clueless, unimpressive, snobbish or, plainly put, und…

The Remedial Instruction Guidebook

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Remedial instruction (RI) is a focus on teaching pedagogies/practices/activities catered towards students with low English language proficiency (the galus students). Reaching out to students who know some English but not enough to be adequately proficient. It is however different from teaching students with learning disabilities or students with complete no knowledge of English.

Let's face the facts, the ministry sets goals & requirements like all students are Putrajaya students & all schools are Putrajaya schools. They are under pressure due to poor performances in international assessments so they react with a sudden slew of 'transformations' & amazing 'goals'. But, those of us working in non-boarding/elite schools know very well that our students & schools are not able to achieve some of those goals because more than 50% of our students are remedial students.

As for me, a teacher in the interior of Sarawak, 80% of my students are remedial studen…

Meaningful Rewards In Sibu

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What motivates children to strive for academic excellence? Just as you & I are different, what motivates our students will be different things. Some students are motivated by inspired oratory. Some require bribes of sorts. Some require a push or a slap. Some require social intervention. Some require a combination of the above. The thing is… if we don’t try, we’ll never know & our students may never feel the need to strive for academic excellence.

My students come from a poor socio-economic background. A majority of them live in longhouses. Most of their parents are subsistence farmers, subsistence fishermen, or blue-collar workers doing menial work for meagre sums of money. Furthermore, their level of English is atrocious. A majority have difficulty forming accurate sentences; even those in the first classes. Their environment & background do not help them progress further in life. They are poor so they do not study. They do not study so they become poor. A viscous cycle.

The Girl At The Cinema

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Who doesn't love the cinema? It's a wonderful sanctuary where you can sit in complete anonymity & enjoy a good movie in silence together with hundreds of other people. There is beauty in how random it is. You have no idea who is sitting next to you. The person could be a serial killer. The person could save your life in the future. The person could even be your one true love. Sometimes. Just sometimes. In complete darkness. Without saying a word. Without even looking at each other. You make a connection that transcends metaphysical understanding. I don't know which is more heartbreaking. Not being brave enough to risk rejection or watching the person disappear like a wisp of smoke never to be found again.

I woke up at 8am today & I had a strange inkling to load the GSC app on my phone. This I did & I found out that Captain America was released today. "Wonderful!" I thought. I'd always make it a point to take my siblings to the movies every time I…

#TeacherStories

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I'm here to tell you about #TeacherStories. Something I started a few weeks ago in a bid to flood the internet with more meaningful media about teachers & school. Why? Simple. Ask yourself which stories usually get attention from the mass media: teachers complaining about workload, ministers telling teachers off, students getting beaten up, teachers getting beaten up, vandalism/gangsterism/drugs/scandals in schools, & all the other attention grabbing headlines.

Those stories will definitely generate clicks or sell newspapers but they are not necessarily stories which would make our society better or encourage teachers to keep working hard for society. Often times, it demoralises or demonises teachers.

Nobody will deny that education is an important part of civilisation. But why does everybody constantly find pleasure in beating down the key people sweating & bleeding to keep it going?

I am making a stand against that. I am declaring that there are better stories from s…

Why I Chose NOT To Be An SISC+

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What in the world is an SISC+? I've been trying to find an official definition for SISC+ from 'official' sites but have failed to find any with both 'School Improvement Specialist Coaches' & 'Jurulatih Pakar Pembangunan Sekolah' on Google. If you want a good laugh, try to Google 'SISC+' & click the first link. Anyway, I will try my best to explain it in my own words.

SISC+ is a new post at District Education Offices nationwide for experienced teachers. At this stage, SISC+ have been recruited for BM, BI & Math. Very soon, they will begin recruiting teachers for Science. SISC+ do not teach. They will spend 70% of their time visiting classrooms & coaching teachers of the lowest performing schools in their district. They will observe teachers & help teachers develop on the job. By providing direct mentoring to teachers, it is the aspiration of the ministry that the quality of education in Malaysia will improve.

In theory, this sound…

Broadening Horizons in Kuching

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My students have spent most of their lives in the middle of nowhere. A majority have never been to a beach so you can imagine how much they lack exposure to the outside world. One reason for this is their low socio-economic background & rampant illiteracy in their community. They also lack role models of whom they can emulate & imitate.

It is sad that most of the brightest students end up getting nowhere near achieving their greatest potential. Some of the bright girls hook up with the not-so-smart boys & end up with a bulging belly. Some of them experience culture shock when they leave for their studies & drop out of matriculation/university. Some of them get caught up in social ills. At the very end, those who do make it are very very few.

To address these issues, in 2012, I decided to personally mentor the PMR students. I would meet with them every week to exercise & also talk to them about life & how important education was. I also promised them all sorts …