Wednesday, May 2

Walking In NYC With SMPKV Indahpura


Recently, I took the students of a Malaysian secondary school on a video walk at Gantry Plaza State Park, one of my favorite parks in the city (mainly due to its inspiring view of the Manhattan city skyline). I posted the video on YouTube (for the teachers to show to their students on a big screen, as YouTube accepts more than double the video resolution of...) & Facebook (where a majority of my audience resides).

To think that it started 2 months ago with a simple Facebook message from Cikgu Zaidah, a PK at SM Pendidikan Khas Vokasional Indahpura. At first, I was very intrigued as I had never seen a school with that acronym before. I looked up the school on their website & found out that it's a secondary school providing vocational skills training to students with disabilities (deaf/blind/mute). Besides BM, BI, Math, & P. Islam/Moral, students are trained in either housekeeping, reflexology, culinary arts, cosmetology, & desktop publishing.

I found myself immediately thinking about the school also offering courses in computer engineering like what Kenzie Academy, which is co-founded & run by a Malaysian, is doing for the Rust Belt States in the USA. These students may have disabilities, but their mental faculties are just as sound as those without.


It's refreshing to find a PK who thinks of me & wants to help me save time & effort.

Check out the messages I received from Cikgu Zaidah who took the time to explain the school & the efforts of the teachers at her school to encourage their students to improve in English. Her positivity was contagious. Never once did she lament about her work/students. Students were described like any parent would gush about their children. Immediately, I got a sense that she genuinely cares about her students & wants to do something special to inspire them. As a teacher myself, how could I resist joining such a worthy cause? It must be such a joy to work at that SMPKVIP!

The teachers & students make videos to introduce their school to the world!
Check out the video & like/share it please!

I would occasionally get messages like these highlighting the achievements of the students.
It really made me feel like a part of the SMPKVIP family! I was so proud that Tabung Haji held an event at their restaurant.
Keep it up, SMPKVIP! Come back again, Tabung Haji!

Needless to say, the food looked amazing, especially, these empanadas. So proud of the students!
Also, I miss Malaysian food so so so much!

As you can see from the first message, I was given a lot of creative freedom. I could do as little as I wanted. Honestly, I got a sense that all they wanted was just my double-chin yapping away in front of a camera. Heck, I can do that anytime, anywhere. I'm in friggin' NEW YORK! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of! I had to do something with that! Thus, the idea of introducing the students to one of my favorite landmarks was born.

However, I was using an iPhone 6s which had a horrible battery life & an inadequate camera (for my standards). I actually went to the park 3 separate times for 3 different video shoots with 3 different sets of equipment. I didn't want to let the kids down, especially since the entire school will be viewing the video, so I purchased a used Pixel 2 (currently the best camera on a phone).

I have never used an Android before (as my only smartphone experience were with the iPhones 5 & 6s), but I was willing to take the plunge as I couldn't afford an iPhone, Samsung, or DSLR that rivals the Pixel 2's ability to take videos. Together with the phone, I also upgraded my audio equipment by purchasing a budget lavalier mic & wind muff. I noticed a lot of shake in the videos I took (as I was recording myself walking & talking with the camera in my hands) so I purchased a budget gimbal (ZhiYun Smooth 4) too. The gimbal has yet to arrive so I had to do without it in the video I made for the school.

All in all, I spent about $635 on equipment + countless hours researching the location/planning/shooting/reviewing/reshooting/reviewing/reshooting again/reviewing/learning how to edit/editing/publishing. It was a worthy investment as I will be using the equipment for the few years & also work on improving my vlogging skills. One day, I hope I get to be as good as my vlog idol, Cikgu Hailmi. Check out the video below...


Dear SMPKVIP, I hope you liked the video & found them useful. Please respond to the 3 questions I left for you. You can do so in writing (in the comments) or with a video response. I'd love to hear back from you! Finally, I would definitely love to visit your school one day, if you'll have me. Do give me a fabulous makeover when I visit so I can be the prettiest teacher out there. All the best & keep practicing your English!

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