The Nazir Nightmare

**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.
Anyway, if they were really here to check on me, my colleagues needn't worry or prepare anything.

Here's my account of the experience which taught me valuable lessons on correcting people.

Pre-Visit: Paper Museum Bolstering
We had no idea what they were looking for so everyone made a frantic dash that weekend to complete their panel files & PBS files. Nobody had any idea what to do for those files so they did their best with what they knew & had.

We even came up with a Fail Meja each because we were told that they'd inspect it. They didn't.
A Nazir officer informed me that the Fail Meja is school policy. Not KPM policy. Therefore, it's up to the school to implement it or otherwise.
Teachers have an RPH which is supposed to contain everything about them.

Pre-Visit: The Good
Good things came out of this...
Even the teachers who couldn't be bothered about anything (every school has those) were busy at work in the office that weekend together with the rest of us. Very entertaining.

Also, on the day that the Nazir were expected to arrive, amazing things happened.
Teachers who don't wear ties, suddenly, had awkward-looking ones hanging from their necks.
All of the teachers were punctual. Even those who were usually tardy. Some were extra early.

All of the teachers were in the staff room. Even those who preferred to spend most of their time 'elsewhere' could be seen in the staff room during the entire day! The staff room was more happening in those 2 days than all the days of the past 3 years!!

The PT3 Implementation Query
A Nazir officer called for the Head of the English Panel.
At that time, I still had no idea what they wanted because I was teaching during the early periods of the day. I brought with me all my panel files because I thought that they were auditing the entire school. The files weren't even looked at because they were focused on PT3.

The officer had a check-list to fill.
He questioned me & the SU Peperiksaan about our implementation of the PT3 Oral & Listening Assessments as well as our readiness to carry out the PT3 written tests & examine the papers.
There were no problems with our implementation of the PT3. We were found to be ready to implement the PT3 written assessments as well.
I can vouch for my SUs. They are through & diligent. They do their best with limited resources & direction.
It would be better if we had that check-list forwarded to us before the visit so that we could be aware of what was required of us.

I was uneasy throughout the interview. Not because I have done anything wrong. But, because of the manner it was carried out.
The officer  maintained an air of superiority. There were no gestures of friendliness.
Even when I offered my hand for him to shake. He looked at it & thought for a second before deciding to shake it.
He seemed to revel in that power he had over me.

I was there to learn & I wanted to know what my weaknesses were so I could improve. I didn't mind the uneasiness. I was very clear about what I wanted from that experience.

The Post-Observation Feedback
The officer observed the lesson of a newly-posted non-optionist teacher in the weakest Form 1 English language class.
I wondered why he didn't insist on observing an English optionist. Perhaps they wanted to look at our weakest link which, I admit, was a smart thing to do.
Obviously, the teacher did not do very well. According to the officer's standards, he was abysmal (emphasis intended).

I wasn't there for the observation but I was there with the teacher for the post-mortem.
His biggest mistake was using BM in 90% of his lesson. He even used BM for simple terms like 'tidak', 'tiga', etc.
Also, he didn't state explicitly in his RPH which PBS item he was addressing during his lessons.

He was told that there was nothing good at all during his lesson. He was told that his use of BM was a death sentence to the students.
I could see his eyes water up as his decisions during the lesson were torn apart again & again with strong language.
I could see that he was down. I tried to reason with the officer & mentioned all the good things he has done which were not observed my the officer but the officer kept pressing down on my friend who was downcast during most of the session.

I don't think that he was given a fair assessment because the officer did not take into account the various factors which could have limited his abilities & I also felt that his treatment of this teacher was a little too heavy handed.
taken from nickandzuzu.com
Then, the officer began to start boasting about his achievements during his days in the classroom.
He claimed that he was once at an elite school. He collected millions for a new building at school. He even sold his classroom as advertising space to YBs in exchange for thousands contributed to the class fund. He only joined the Nazir because he had achieved the highest level in teaching & he wanted a new challenge.
In the end, he said that his words were spicy because he 'sayang' my friend & wants him to do better.

I learned a lot from this session.
As the Head, I neglected to ensure that all my teachers were thoroughly checked on their implementation of PBS. Previously, I would tell them what I wanted, how it can be done & I got out of their way.
I need to provide better guidelines & follow up on them.

The Final Meeting
After 2 days of auditing, their findings were shared with all the administrators & teachers.
The leader of the JNJK team chaired the meeting. He was polite & made an attempt to provide a wholesome justification of every one of their findings about us. I appreciated that.

All of the officers produced lesson observation reports with both strengths (even those as trivial as 'has the attention of the entire class' & 'shows care to students') & weaknesses except, you guessed it, the officer who observed the English lesson.
There wasn't a single strength listed for my friend.

The leader attempted to be apologetic. He explained that this officer was very strict & the teacher shouldn't take it too hard. The officer offered to comment & he went off like a loose cannon.
At this point, teachers were turning towards me with naughty looks. A few were consoling ones. I shrugged & shook my head as if in dismay.

Apparently, they thought that I was the one being reported on. This was good. I was glad that the attention was on me instead of my colleague whose head was now in a very deep bow.
I admit I felt the burn of being falsely thought of as a bad teacher but I didn't mind taking the burn for my friend who was sitting with his head bowed & nodding at all his shortcomings being listed down & elaborated extensively to all.

Suddenly, the officer did something that made me lose all respect for him.
As the teachers grew weary of his lamentations, he suddenly called out the name of my colleague who was forced to lift up his head from his imaginary turtle shell.
The entire room was silent. All eyes were on him.
I can only imagine how embarrassing it was for him to have all his flaws exposed & condemned in front of all his peers.

After the officer was done, my friend returned to staring at the floor. Never lifting his head up again.
I was burning with anger & disbelief. You can rightfully condemn bad decisions but to humiliate someone so publicly is an injustice & abuse of power. The officer failed to correct & empower.
He did not do what was fair. It seemed like he was speaking from an ivory tower.

My colleague left his wife & children in Peninsula Malaysia willingly to come all the way into the jungles of Sarawak to serve.
He is a non-optionist who took up the challenge to teach a difficult language to the weakest class without complaint.
He is humble & teachable. He has done everything that is asked of him & he treats his students well.
He didn't deserved to be labelled 'nothing good' & spoken to publicly in such a condescending tone.

As the meeting went on, the mic was passed to the officer a few more times, even when the discussion was not directly related to him. The officer was very eager to speak & he spoke to us with condemnation & threats as if we were deadbeat teachers.
I bit my tongue multiple times to avoid arguments which could have delayed the long-awaited ending of the meeting.

The other teachers felt annoyed at the officer's over the top comments & ridiculous analogies.
Our defensive walls were already erected long before & we had already stopped listening to learn.
Fortunately, not all of the officers conducted themselves like him because the rest were very soft-spoken, straight to the point & balanced in their observations.

At the end, the teachers did something I have never seen them do before.
When the principal called for a photo session, all the teachers stood up, turned their backs & just walked off. I followed suit.

Initially, I wanted to learn from the officers.
But, it was pretty apparent they did not come to help. There was nothing to learn from these officers. In fact, I'm dreading another visit by the Nazir.
I'd still give other Nazir officers the benefit of the doubt. However, the next time I interact with that particular officer, I might not be as polite or cooperative.

Takeaways from the Experience
The first thing I did after the meeting was catch up with my colleague who was the only one to be publicly shamed during that meeting. He hid his eyes while apologising profusely for having embarrassed me.
I assured him that he was doing a great job & the officer's judgement was incredibly biased. I then listed down all the things that he did right. He looked at me for a quiet moment after that & said thank you before looking away again.

Then, I texted all the English teachers & told them to reach out to him immediately & reassure him of his worth.
We banded together to support him & lift him up. A good thing to come out of this was the esprit de corps from having a common bogeyman seared into our memories.


During the days after the meeting, nothing was discussed about how we could do better. People scrutinised the officer & questioned his credibility.
Objectively speaking, he made some good points & meant well. However, if you come to scrutinise, expect those being scrutinised to scrutinise you in return.
His desire to 'sayang' us backfired because of his means.


Did the officers achieve their objectives?
Yes, they successfully assessed our implementation of PT3.
However, because of one person, they made a bad impression, lost our respect & sowed a sense of dread. They did not inspire us to be better teachers.
They can expect to come back next year & see us do better according to their check-list which we now have. But, they can also expect a less than warm reception from the teaching staff.

Dale Carnegie once said "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." It is still true today & very apparent in this situation.
What happened here has given me deep insights into correcting behaviour & leading people.
One can learn from best practices & also worst practices.
Meanwhile, I have a lot to do to improve myself as the Head of the English Panel.

Comments

  1. well, i knew some people just dont care much about others' feelings. but i think, this is the process of learning and we need to accept something like this, being humiliated, scolded, ridiculed.. it's very hard when it is done publicly, but still.. it's a learning process as a teacher to be tougher.. one more thing, i guess we should always respect the others especially in cases like this especially with superiors. i think if we want to change, we have to be open to criticism. and you as the Panel Head should guide your subordinates/ colleagues more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a lot to improve on & learn from this experience. It is true that I need to guide my colleagues more. Also, I have to be open to criticism & respect my superiors. No doubt about that.

      I'm hoping to, with this blog post, share a unique 3rd person perspective on what I perceive as an unnecessary use of power & failure to recognise merits. Also, I'm offering a glimpse to its consequences.

      My hope is that all who reads this will gain something which will help them to improve their practices.

      Delete
  2. Well yes i guess we do need to respect our superior but to which extend?
    we need to speak out or let them know things that is really happening. If they are here to help and not find fault, they will listen.
    Things i learnt frm them is that if we have our own rational in doing something, we shall not be afraid of speaking it out.
    There is no such thing as we are not allow to question them on things that we do not agree.
    Respect doesn't mean agreeing on everythg they say.
    Teachers, we seriously need to speak up when we have sessions with our so call superiors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. Respect doesn't mean agreeing with everything that was said. We need to have the discernment to objectively accept the good & reject the bad.

      Delete
  3. duh.. this is my third time typing the comments ~ =="

    During my first posting, I was sent to serve in the interior, an SPR school with no GB and had never made it beyond the 20% mark in the UPSR exam. The only consolation was that 4 of us from the same batch were posted to the same school at the same time. The school's most senior academic staff was 5 years into teaching and a self appointed PK. In my third year of service, the Nazirs came. And they came 3 times a year.
    As green as I could be, I knew nothing about TOV, ETR, GEMs and the likes. I couldn't recall the name of the Nazir that worked with me as well (I was the Head for Maths Department), but I remembered well that he sat down, maybe took pity on us the ignorant lots, spent time to explain, plan, strategise with us to help improve the school.
    The success story was in the year I left the school, we received the Anugerah Kecemerlangan UPSR a year later.
    Due to my pleasant encounter with the Nazirs, I have no fear, no anxiety, no nothing towards a Nazir's visit. So much so that some of my senior comrades have to tell me that things have changed, Nazirs nowadays are very much different from 'those days' that it is probably easier to get a teacher to swallow a death pill than to face a Nazir. (Though I'm still doubting the truth in it).
    I've never encountered those little napoleons, even when they came and evaluated me for GC application. I hope I never will.
    I myself handed in a Nazir application once. But to tell the truth, the moment I was seated in the interview room, I knew that I don't belong there. I guess they felt the same way too.
    On the side note, Nazir normally inform what kind of visit they are performing. There are basically two types. One is a block observation, where they 'camp' in the school and investigate, perform quality check from the Principal to the clerk. Another type is the one your school experienced. When they specify the purpose, then all other preparation are irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do apologise for how the comments are behaving. I'll remove the need to verify & hope that not too much spam comes through.

      I'm glad that you had such an enlightening experience with the Nazir during your early years. I was kind of expecting the same until I met with this special case. There wasn't any animosity between us. Nor was there any solidarity. It was the way he hounded on my colleague that grinds my gears.
      He's probably well-intentioned but the ends do not justify the means.

      Delete
  4. Is it the bitter feeling accumulated through all the years make the superior acting like a jerk.. or is it because they are drunk with their power? .

    Many examples of this kind of superiority can be seen from the authority around us [Principle, Senior Assistants and even sometimes the so called "Guru Pembimbing" (sorry can't remember the term)] during our practical time... Even teachers are superior against their students]

    They are being mean, refuse to understand and even enjoy making fun of others..

    It is undeniable that some people should be treated in such way (for the point to get across) but it shouldn't be done publicly.. because then, the teachers might think this is an acceptable behaviour and will then publicly humiliate their students, and the student will also perform the same behavior.. because their role model also act the same way... and the circle goes on and on...

    Maybe we did not really instill the correct moral value in our generation.. Since teacher also responsible in shaping students; behaviour, this is something we need to think off.. so that these kind of "Jerk Superiors" are not going to exist anymore..

    Sorry if my opinion is kind of haywire.. (forgive also my grammatical error)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have the right ideas. People should handle their power with wisdom & humility instead of using it to oppress those under their power.
      Now that we know what it is like to be under the thumb, let's not do the same to other people once we are in a position of power.

      Delete
  5. Brother, I've recently been appointed as the head of the English Language panel at my interior school. Could you please provide me with the check-list? I feel like crying already reading your story. Hopefully with the list we can prepare in advance. I'm lost and the other teachers aren't helping much. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The check-list is for the SU Peperiksaan & with the SU Peperiksaan. Contact me directly via email if you want a copy.

      Basically, as KP, what you have to do is ensure that there are files for the PT3 oral assessment & written assessment. Put all relevant the documents you have in there.
      Also, make sure that your teachers have their own records for the PBS they've implemented & they state clearly in their RPH which criteria in PBS they are assessing during every lesson.

      Do not fear. Failure is not the end of the world. It means you can rise again better & stronger.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6/11/14 16:28

      I've been Panel Head for the past 16 years and there's nothing more I'd like than to give it up because the paperwork is tiring me out. And yet, I still am the PH because none of my juniors want the burden on dealing with other EL teachers. In a way, I think God still wants me in this position because I am fair. I might be quick tempered and particular about details (which irritate many juniors) but I am fair because it hurts me to use my "power" to make my life easier and make others suffer.

      This fairness covers class allotments, panel responsibilities, and even, comments made after lesson observation and assignment assessments. If there's one thing I've learned, no matter how arrogant a teacher is, if you have to comment on his/her work, don't be afraid to hold back praise. It would be wise to temper praise when dealing with certain obnoxious individuals, but give them their due no matter what. And be brave to give them an honest critique. One day, they might thank you for it.

      And on the subject of praise, I believe that if we truly value each teacher for who he is, there will be good to be found in him or his work. We just have to train ourselves to see it. And have the courage and humility to bring that goodness to the light for all to see.

      Maybe that's what the Nazir lacked - courage and humility. When he observed your friend, he saw a frightened deer buckling under pressure, and he decided to take aim. Maybe he gets some perverse joy out of breaking a person.

      I am only a lowly Panel Head but I don't do that to others because I know fully well that if the Lord wills it, one day, tables can be turned, and I can be at the receiving end of all I have dished out at will to others.

      Jarrod, I don't know you but I think you're a lovely person and a gifted teacher. Continue to grow. I wish you well.

      Oh, and do tell your friend who suffered so....I think he's a beautiful soul and the kids are blessed to have him as their teacher.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Cikgu.
      If I had a PH, I'd want you because you'll make my life easier instead of harder & you're more objective than most teachers I know in your position.
      All the best in the new year! I pray we find new purposes in doing what we're doing.

      Delete
  6. That person is a Nazi, not Nazir.lol

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sad to read some comments.. teachers nowadays are very pampered and spoilt.. im afraid you are destroying the nation. I need guy teachers who are tougher and bold enough.. not some kind of a willow... being so gullible and melting with tears... we talk harsh at times.. but you already couldnt handle that? What a bunch of scholarship wasters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First of all, I want to commend you for your courage in voicing out what you think is right. This is exactly what I want for this article: an intellectual debate from all angles.

      From your short comment, I can deduce that you're a Nazir officer & your English is proficient. Let me proceed now to respectfully & intellectually respond to your comment.

      I don't think that my colleague is in any way "pampered and spoilt". He did not deserve to be assumed as pampered or spoilt & treated as such. People should be innocent until proven guilty.
      My testimony is he has been doing his work & he accepted the officers sharp comments respectfully. He is now taking action to redeem himself. I have no complaints about him. In fact, his contributions to the school are praiseworthy.

      I don't think I'm "destroying the nation".
      I'm voicing out my opinion & opening it up to the public for debate. I think I'm helping people to dig deeper & rethink their actions.
      Honestly, I think that this officer could have done a better job at correcting my colleague.

      I believe ALL the teachers at my school are "tougher and bold enough". We left our lives behind to serve our country far away in the middle of the jungle. The infrastructure is far from perfect. We have spent scorching hot afternoons without fans & nights in complete darkness. We have spent weeks living on river water. We teach some of the weakest & marginalised students in the country.
      Weak teachers would have left this school long ago or never reported for duty at all.

      We trusted this officer to know what he is talking about & to mean what he says. If we are accused of being "gullible" for doing so by another Nazir officer, I really do not know what to think the next time one of your colleagues talks to me.

      Also, I don't blame my colleague for "melting with tears". The words hurled at him were purposefully harsh.
      Honestly, I don't mind "harsh talk". I dish it out occasionally. However, I have a strong sense of justice so I really "couldn't handle" how my colleague was humiliated in public. It was unjustified & unnecessary.

      I believe you are referring to me when you mention "scholarship waster". Perhaps this is the first time you're reading my blog & you have no idea what I have been doing here. I have given my best throughout the 6 years I've been here. I leave it up to you to form your own judgements of me but I think that I've more than earned my scholarship.

      I wish you well. And I wonder if you feel a sense of satisfaction when you hurl abuse at teachers like you probably once received early in your career. Let's not repeat the mistakes of our seniors. We need to find a better way to do what we love: nurturing other human beings & seeing them become better than we once were.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6/11/14 16:34

      All too often, the "willows", as you condescend to call them, make the best teachers. They know that their presence in school is not just to teach but to educate, to inspire. And some do this beautifully through their gentle earnestness.....which would be "willow" to you. I want more of these in the teaching profession. Not the cement-hearted thugs you seek.

      Delete
  8. Love this....totally agree....

    ReplyDelete
  9. pampered
    spoilt
    destroying the nation
    willow
    gullible
    scholarship wasters

    Really Anonymous? I really hope this is not how you provide feedback.
    That guy was probably feeling mistreated. He was. What do you expect from a newly-posted non-optionist teacher?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anon 00:25 Bitch. I hope you'll suffer. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon 06:18. I considered deleting this comment because I do not condone expletives on my blog. (I wonder if I wrote any in my earlier blog posts... hmm... The pot is calling the kettle black.)
      Let's not sink down to the level of verbal abusers.

      Delete
  11. A very nice response at the end. I can definitely feel the rage that swelled in u during the meeting. Send my regards to ur colleague who has sacrificed his time with his family for the good of Malaysia! He is a true blue Malaysian who loves his country. Don't let the comments of one undermined a noble act.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll make sure he reads this. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Delete

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