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 successful, I wanted to teach other exemplary teachers how to do it for themselves because I want the best people to be GCs. However, I don't think that this is something I'll be able to do in the short-term because, apparently, saya guru tak cemerlang.

The story began in July when my friends at other schools were contacted by Nazirs & informed that they were getting observed. I waited & waited but I never got the phone call. I figured that the officer might have had a tough time trying to contact me since I was in the jungle & reception is so scarce here. After school on Friday, I made my way to town to make a phone call to Nazir at JPN & ask for the contact information of the officer who was supposed to observe me. It's hilarious to look back at how confident I was of getting observed for the GC award.

I called JPN & found out that my name wasn't even on the list of those who were being observed. I was flabbergasted. The lady on the other end was very kind & apologetic. I really appreciate that. I asked if there was a second round of vetting but she said that there is only one round of vetting each year. She said that Putrajaya decides who should be observed & maybe I didn't have what they were looking for. She encouraged me to try again next year.

At the end of the phone conversation, I was in shock. I didn't have what the ministry was looking for? I wondered if I was doing the right thing in my career. I wondered if I wasted my 5+ years in the jungle. I wondered if the system wanted people like me. I really didn't know. I felt really deeply disturbed. Especially since I turned down a high-paying education consultancy job only the week before. I was deeply disappointed. The private sector desired by skills but the ministry did not even consider me worthy of being observed for an obscure award.

I really didn't mind not being awarded because there are plenty of other teachers who are better than me. I think that I contributed quite a bit & could have at least earned the honour of being observed. I found it hard to swallow after all the hard work I've put in throughout the years & the hardships I've endured. I also went through a lot preparing file after file for the observation which never materialised.

Some quick details

  • I have been teaching for 5 full years. This is my 6th year. So I'm qualified to apply.
  • I have had 90+ LNPT since the beginning of my career.
  • My principal wrote a good comment of me.
  • I'm sure my application arrived at Nazir because I submitted my application to the PPD first & the PPD posted it for all of us. Other teachers in the district were observed.
  • My form is not incomplete. I filled everything. You can check it out below.

  • Possible reasons:

  • Severely limited allocations. A big chunk of the allocations for GCs was taken by the SISC+.
  • Not senior enough. Even though I have taught for 5 years, I was probably too young to be considered. The minimum years could have been pushed up because of severely limited allocations.
  • Too provocative. They probably read my essays & found me too provocative or aggressive.

  • Here is my application for your reference. You might want to apply for GC next year. I'm not sure if I want to do it again. You can judge for yourself if I am someone worthy of at least being observed.

    To all the good teachers out there, don't let what I've written here discourage you from applying for your GC. Learn from my experience & download my failed application for your reference. Perhaps you should do the exact opposite of what I have done.

    Those of you who are GCs or SISC+s & reading this, you better reflect on my application lest someone does it for you & compares you to a non-GC non-SISC+ teacher shining in the middle of the jungle. You better not disgrace the position.

    Whatever disappointments come my way, know that it will take a lot more to bring me down. I've been through a lot worse in the jungle, believe me. I am facing the world as a man. My childish ways are behind me. It does not matter if the government does not recognise me, there are plenty out there who have been blessed by my work. The biggest award I can ever receive is if a student of mine rises up to be an exemplary leader in his community. That is what I have been aiming for & will continue to do so until the end of my career.

    If you're looking for a GC application guide, check out the one by Cikgu Hailmi.


    1. Anonymous11/8/14 21:08

      i think you are a guru yang cemerlang even though not yet a GC.. maybe, there are something wrong here and there during the vetting process.. do you provide all the evidence? (not sure whether they request it).. because normally they like all those documents and documentations. anyway, i believe that you have worked hard enough more than some GC's could even do. never give up and keep loving this profession.

      1. I had a mentor in this, Cikgu Hailmi. He guided me the whole way.
        I included certificates & pictures+captions with my application so I had no doubt that my application was complete.

        What you said is true but there are GCs I know who are even more hard working than I am. I really appreciate the example they are setting.

        Thanks for your encouragement! I'll keep loving this profession!

    2. Anonymous11/8/14 22:07

      Actually you do need to feel so down that you are rejected after only applying once.... There are many others who got rejected after their first attempt..Some only got observed after the third attempt! Meanwhile you just need to continue to strive for your kids and keep on applying if you are really keen on being a GC...Can a GC really work miracles compared to other teachers?? That remains to be seen ...

      1. I guess I was still looking for acknowledgement from the ministry. So far, the private & public sector have acknowledged my work.
        I'll consider if applying for GC is for me because I do not foresee myself working in high-performing schools where an entire class can get As without me. My next school will be one of the worst performing schools in Sarawak. The best part is I can't wait!

    3. Anonymous12/8/14 19:04

      If you doubt every GC and even question their eligibility, why bother becoming one? Get over it. Stop wallowing in self-pity. The title GC doesn't define you, but your dedication does..

      1. You don't mince your words, do you? I appreciate your courage for calling me on my weaknesses. I did wallow in self-pity for some time.

        Also, I do question the eligibility of SOME GCs. NOT all of them. I know plenty of great ones & they are a shining beacon to me. But I know enough less shiny ones too.

        I applied for GC because I was already doing the work, might as well give the award a try. Since I wasn't what they were looking for, I've gotten over it & I'm moving on to bigger & better things.

    4. To Anon 3: I don't think he doubts every GC. And I'm certain he's not wallowing in self-pity. He's merely stating that his reasons for wanting to become one is to be a guide for other teachers. Let's face it, in Malaysia, you're only recognised when you have a certain post or designation. Who'd want to listen to a lowly Mr. Jarod as opposed to a GC Jarod? I see you bask in the veil of anonymity and think that makes you the right person to judge. Dare I say that you might be a GC yourself who's feeling the heat from the truth of his words?

      1. This is totally unexpected!
        I expect criticism every time I post my opinions & experiences. However, I'm overwhelmed at the thought that someone would come to my defence!

        Thank you, Miss D. This valiant act of yours totally made my day!

    5. Keep it up Jarod..maybe the ministry think that you are too young to be considered as GC..they always have this sceptical perception about young people like us..juat want you to know that I'm to know a teacher like you

      1. Thanks, Azhar!
        Yeah... I guessed that the cut off point was 2010 because of the shortage of allocations.
        Thanks for coming out & writing a comment! It really encourages me!

    6. Anonymous6/9/14 21:44

      I have been teaching English for 20 plus years. Never cross my mind to apply for GC or anything but one thing for sure I know I am a good English teacher. I have seen youngsters becoming GC in my district and those who become SISC at PPD, What a laugh when a GC cant even speak proper English. During one course at PPD the SISC kept switching codes when doing her presentation in front of a group of English teachers. Stating that it was like teaching students in school where teachers had to use Malay when teaching English. How pathetic the excuse was.

      1. I have met teachers with good proficiency but bad attitudes. I have also met teachers with bad proficiency but good attitudes. I prefer the latter any day.

        As long as the GC or SISC+ is doing their best for their students/mentees, I have no problems with them. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt. But, if they choose to Lord it over me, that would be another matter altogether.

    7. Anonymous8/9/14 02:06

      Hi Jarod, I stumbled upon your blog while reading up on the SISC scope of duties as I have just been nominated by my ppd last week. I can relate to your feelings about the GC issue. I felt like that when I did't get my APC for 8 years. I have faced and encountered numerous roadblocks too during my 12 years if service so far. I consider myself a very dedicated teacher but I am just a human being. I have my productive and non productive periods too. Sometimes things feel unfair and we feel aggravated to the point of rebelliousness against the system or we succumb to mediocrity. But we must pull ourselves back up , dust ourselves off , start all over again , enter the class with glassy eyes and try not to break down in front of our students. Judging by some of your blog posts here I think you are a very bright, dedicated and passionate teacher. You have native like command of English too with vocabulary that match a literature scholar. Your students are very fortunate to have a teacher like you. Allow me to quote Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada who said " I see so much of myself in you" to Andrea, her new pa. And also another line from the same movie but from Nigel , big shot in the company who said to Andrea " let me know when everything at home is completely destroyed " or something to that effect when Andrea complained about how her job affect her home life.

      So, we all have dreams and goals in life but we won't get them all at the same time. And everything has a price tag. Some will make us lose things and people we love the most. Some will make us so desperate....but believe this....good things will come to those who wait...and God will make everything beautiful in His time.

      So be strong Jarod.

      1. Thanks for your encouragement!
        I hope that you're adjusting well to your new role as a coach. Be a good one. A lot of teachers need your help.

        You're right about dusting off & starting over. I'm constantly reinventing myself & listing down new things in my dream statement.
        I'll share everything on my blog soon enough.

    8. Hi Jarod, this is my 3rd year applying, and I've decided to stop. Like you, they didn't even consider that I'm worthy to be observed. :) That's alright, but I don't think I'm going to apply next year.

      I think we share the same passion. We both want to help our fellow teachers who are discouraged and demotivated due to burnouts and a lot of other reasons. I've spoken to a lot of my GC friends who share the same passions, and what I found out was that many of them think that being a GC is rather limiting. They're not able to do what they usually do to support other teachers because the title bound them to the Ministry, and as a result they're not as free to do what they want to do, or say what they want to say, or write what they want to write. I hope you get what I'm trying to say. :)

      I might be wrong, but I guess people like you and me are better of not holding title. It gives us more 'freedom', if you know what I mean. Plus, I seldom (if ever) give the Ministry any recognition anyway, so I guess we're even. :p

      1. Hey, Cindy. I have no background knowledge about you but I can sense your frustration. Also, your English is good & you want to meet real needs within the ministry which means that you are an individual of great worth.

        I guess you're right about the freedom thing. They would probably not desire free-spirits which would tarnish their image.
        I'll continue to find my own way in this field. Hopefully, it'll be something that will make a real difference in the lives of the people who matter.

      2. Ha. Thanks, but actually I'm not frustrated at all. I only applied because I was encouraged endlessly by my GB and a few other great teachers that I'm working with. I need to stop applying because I have other plans. I'm moving towards another direction, and holding the title GC could possibly cause a huge stumbling block. I just need to keep my options open.

        Jarod, I'm not in anyway discouraging you to apply. If you get your GC, that would be great because I know that you can do a lot of great things with it. Don't be demotivated yet, because this is only your first attempt. Many great teachers I know only succeeded after a few applications.

        And failing to get it does not mean that you're in any way 'not cemerlang.' It's all paperwork and politics, believe me.

        Good luck and all the best, Jarod. And keep up the good work.


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