Sunday, March 17

Insights from Past Winners of Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s

Has a teacher made a difference in your life or your child's life?
Recognize the efforts of the teacher by nominating them for Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s!
It’ll only take 10 minutes!
Nominate at http://www.mcdonalds.com.my/bm/anugerahguruinspirasi/nominate BEFORE 31 March.
If your nominee wins the award, you get an RM200 gift certificate!

**Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s Malaysia**

How many of you read the nomination stories for the past winners of the Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald's? Well, I’m so glad that I did. I started with the stories of the 6 winners in 2017 & ended up in tears after just reading only 3 of them. They were deeply moving testimonies written by the students of these inspiring teachers, usually many years later. Kind of like Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul. It was also very interesting to note how students remembered their teachers.

After reading about all 31 winners from 2017-2018, I found that several teachers were remembered for going above & beyond to superhuman levels. Hats off to these teachers. Intriguingly, most of the stories revealed that students actually remember us for the smallest things that we did in their lives. As a wise saying goes, “a little bit a little bit, long long become hill”.

Here are the 6 insights I gained from the past winners of Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s:

1. WHAT Teachers Say And HOW We Said It Will Be Remembered

We may think that our students are not listening, but do be wary of what we say to our students, as our words can either improve lives or ruin them.

A student who was discouraged with his low grades remembers that his class teacher, Mr Fong (SJKC Kuen Cheng, KL), would “always using nice and warmth voice to ask me "What is going on wrong? James"… Mr Fong insist to teach me the right thing and always using that voice to ask me… Mr Fong said to me"Try harder on next time, you shall know the difference in the end." … I never gave up too, I was been inspired by "Try harder on next time"”.

A student who lost his father & was acting out at school receives a wake up call from Ustaz Azmi (SMK Chini Timur, Pahang) when he said “Jika  ayah Amin melihat Amin cepat mengalah,malas dalam membanggakan keluarga,apa reaksi ayah..?? Mesti Ayah sedih..Amin tak rasa bersalah..?? Apa gunanya sedih..??  Ayah Amin tidak akan kembali..Amin hanya mampu mendoakan Ayah,Ustaz percaya ayah sayangkan Amin dan mahukan Amin berjaya dalam hidup,cuba untuk berjasa pada keluarga,agama dan negara,oleh itu rebut peluang yang ada untuk SPM akan datang,tunjukkan kepada kawan-kawan yang anak yatim bukanlah alasan untuk Amin hilang semangat dan bukan alasan untuk Amin tidak mendapat cemerlang,Jika ada apa-apa masalah boleh beritahu ustaz,ustaz bantu Amin,Insyallah”.

A special needs student integrated into a perdana class appreciates Madam Noorlihan (SK Pekan Satu, Labuan) as “Saya seorang yang pendiam dan merendah diri … Beliau tidak pernah pun membezakan saya dengan murid-murid yang lain. Kata-katanya setiap hari memberikan saya sinar dan semangat untuk terus maju dan cemerlang dalam pelajaran… Sikap kasih-sayang yang ditunjukkannya di dalam kelas, menjadikan saya dan kawan-kawan menghormati di antara satu sama lain”.


2. Teachers Use Activities To Bring The Best Out Of Their Students

We are often under pressure to finish the syllabus & prepare students for “assessments”. All great things for adding knowledge to the mind. But, it’s activities & experiences that build character & form a human being. Also, they learn even more from us by watching us outside of the classroom.

A simple classroom activity by Mrs Jayanthi (SK Muhibbah, Sabah) changed the life of one student forever. “Cikgu Jayanthi gave us a project to work on. She asked us to come up with 5 recognition ribbons… We are required to give the ribbons to people we know, stating their best strength… One of my classmate came up to her in class, tears flowing on his cheeks and his eyes were swollen. He said, he never knew he was worthy all these days… This might seem a no big deal for many. But for him, a small appreciation gave him the strength and motivation for him to strive more in his life”.

A student remembers the incredible spirit of a heat-stroked Madam Pia (KV Setapak, KL) during sports day “apabila rumah sukan Merah acara tarik tali hampir kalah   kerana pelajar-pelajarnya kurang bersemangat… Madam Pia sanggup turun ke padang biarpun kurang sihat… Dengan gelagat lawaknya , memegang singa sambil menari, dia bercakap. ' You can do it'. Semua pelajar bangkit dengan semangat dan akhirnya mereka menang tanpa disangka.Yang lawaknya , Mdm Pia yang demam , pun melompat sekali”.

While telling off a student who was being disruptive, Mr Madhavan (SMK Puteri, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan) recognized her raw talent & drafted her into “the debate , public speaking and choral speaking team… He said that i am very talented and projection of my voice is very good.  It was really unbelievable . This was an incident that really changed my life . He boost up my level confidence in myself. That was the day I know my own ability and talent”.


Mr Muhamad Rizal Bin Sadiman of SMK Alor Pongsu, Perak, who won the award in 2018

3. Every Teacher Has Their Own Unique Way Of Reaching Their Students

Teachers are often told to fit into neatly documented boxes, while also being told to cater to the different interests & intelligences in our students. Contradiction much? The truth is we need different teachers to reach different students. Teachers are individuals with different interests & skillsets. We should be encouraged to leverage them for the benefit of our students, instead of being put into a box or told to cut & paste “best practices”.

Mr Sivasamy (SMK Pantai Sepang Putra, Selangor) was a national kabaddi player who loves dancing. At his school, he has produced national kabaddi players & led the school team to win nationally. In addition, he has formed a dance club at school & had his students perform internationally.

Graduating from a “sekolah kampung” himself, Mr Rizal (SMK Alor Pongsu, Perak) shared his interest in photography and videography with his “luar bandar” students & together they went “daripada buta kamera sehingga kami mampu memenangi pertandingan video di peringkat negeri dan kebangsaan”.

Mixed Martial Arts fighter & coach, Mr Melvin (SMK Puteri Wangsa, Johor) would “send the problematic students to the Ultimate MMA Academy gym and trained them… Just like the movie ‘The Karate Kid’ he used mixed martial arts (MMA) as a platform to provide a positive way for his students to channeled their anger and motivate them”.


4. Teachers Have The Courage To Reach Out To The Most Challenging Students

The dreaded kelas belakang or the notorious student can often be a hidden opportunity to truly change lives & shape the future of a child for the better. Truth be told, these are the students who will greet you & remember you outside of school. Let them remember our efforts & sincerity. They may not accept it in the short-term, but it’ll change their lives in the long-term.

Mr Ashraf (SMK Alang Iskandar, Perak) offered free tuition classes to this student who was playing truant & giving up on school. He accepted it because “saya lihat wajahnya bersungguh-sunguh ingin membantu saya. Dengan hati yang berat, saya menerima cadangan beliau dan bermulalah perjalanan mengubah masa depan saya”.

Recognizing a leader, Mr Mazlan (SMK Sultan Omar, Terengganu) took a leap of faith & “telah merubah perangai seorang pelajar yang sangat nakal dan tidak disukai oleh guru2 lain hingga menjadi seorang ketua pengawas… Tapi sebelum jadi ketua pengawas dia basuh aku kaw2 dengan nilai agama.. Dan hantar ke beberapa program kepimpinandan asbab daripada itu aku juga sekarang telah menjadi seorang guru… Sekarang aku suka bersama dengan budak2 nakal.. aku bagi dia tanggungjawab dan titik nilai agama sama seperti guru aku mengajar aku dulu”.

Tapping the talent and creativity of his “kelas hujung”, Mr Khamidon (SMK Seksyen 16, Selangor) transformed his “sekolah yang dahulunya suram… kini berwarna warni dan menjadi "benchmark" serta menerima kunjungan lawatan dari sekolah-sekolah dalam dan luar negara melalui aktiviti keceriaan dan keseniaan yang dijalankan”.

Teaching at a school for convicted juveniles, Mr Noorazlan (Sekolah Tunas Bakti Sg Besi, KL) has “banyak memberikan inspirasi kepada saya untuk menjadi pelajar yang baik bukan sahaja dari segi perbuatan malah akhlak yang baik dan melupakan kisah silam saya… Kini saya berasa kuat untuk berhadapan dengan masyarakat walaupon saya adalah pelajar juvana, namun saya masih ada harapan untuk menjadi insan yang berguna apabila saya keluar dari sekolah juvana ini”.

At another school for convicted juveniles, Mr Othman (Sekolah Henry Gurney, Melaka) offered a student the chance to sit for SPM and “Setiap hari dia memberikan nasihat dan motivasi sehingga akhirnya aku menyahut cabarannya dan kembali belajar untuk menduduki SPM kerana aku telah menganggap dia seperti bapaku. Dia telah membantu menyediakan keperluan sokongan persekolahanku dan rakan-rakanku yang lain”.


Madam Michele Geraldine Carvalho of SMK Seri Kundang, Selangor, won the award in 2018

5. Teachers Give Their BEST To ALL Students Regardless Of Race Or Religion

Teachers have an incredible opportunity to mend a nation that is divided or reinforce the status quo. Therefore, we need to keep tabs on our own personal BIASES & do all that we can to ensure that ALL of our students get a QUALITY education.

A Malay student describes Mr Venkateswaran (SMK St. John, KL) as “an Indian teacher yang sentiasa membuat kelas tambahan dan duit itu disumbangkan kepada masjid berdekatan atas alasan diberkati pembelajaran untuk murid2nya… Memberi duit, makanan and apa saja malah bagi biasiswa serta tution free pada yang meminta. Beliau adalah inspirasiku di mana sentiasa menjadikan belajar itu adalah indah dan seorang guru yg sangat mulia walaupun bukan berbangsa Melayu atau agama Islam”.

Similarly, a Malay student describes Madam Michele (SMK Seri Kundang, Selangor) as “tidak memilih kasih terhadap semua anak-anak muridnya, tanpa mengira warna kulit dan asal usul murid tersebut… Cikgu ini, tidak pernah jemua menasihati, yang kejayaan bukanlah datang dari keluarga yang kaya, mahupun keluarga yang mewah. Kejayaan datang dari hasil usaha kita sendiri, dan kita yang tentukan kejayaan kita sendiri. Segala yang kita telah atau bakal kecapi, adalah disebabkan hasil titik peluh kita dan bukan orang lain”.


6. Teachers Don’t Rely On Silver Bullets, They Strategize

When most people make suggestions on ways to improve or revamp the education system, they often laud something that is done in more developed countries without considering the big picture or asking about the direction of our country & what the future will bring. As teachers, we need to familiarise ourselves with our teaching environment, analyse it, & be aware of the bigger picture. Then, we carefully pick the battles which will lead us to our goals, based on our available resources. I believe Sun Tzu said it best, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”.

When faced with the problem of truancy at his school, the headmaster, Mr Azman (SK Pos Musoh LZ, Perak) “identified an exhaustive list of over 50 factors of truancy and go about solving them one by one. In the mornings, he went rounds in the villages to pick students up. He knows the children comes to school hungry. He controlled food supply and provides 3 free meals a day for all students. He realised students love eating eggs and incorporated eggs in the menu everyday. He used iced Sunquick as classroom reward strategy… Being a muslim does not deter Cikgu Azman to sit with the locals in the Orang Asli houses that are right next to pig pens… Cikgu Azman brought the children on road trips… He brought the parents along as well to increase awareness and exposure, and encourage parental involvement… Cikgu Azman have also learnt to speak Semai, an indigenous language”.

After being assigned the most challenging class, Mr Solahuddin (PPD Padang Terap, Kedah) employed a variety of methods to win them over & build their interest for learning. “My students did love songs, but not English songs. I had to go through many hurdles to get them to enjoy English songs… I used lots of songs to teach grammar. We started the session by having a karaoke session. By then, no more students played truant… Apart from making my students feel tension-free and have fun, every lesson was a motivational session. I started reading them stories for their soul and used every quotation in order to make them believe in themselves… According to them, they had never had any class party since they were in Form One… So we started planning and I taught them social etiquette… They set everything so as make it looked like a five-star hotel… We had plenty of food and most of the teachers turned up. They were really impressed… After that, they invited other students who happened to be nearby. They even invited the school gardeners. I noticed that they did not eat much and they were not gluttons. They were happy and busy entertaining the guests… For once I could see the sense of pride on their faces”.

Over the years, Madam Rozita (SK Bagan Tuan Kechil, Pulau Pinang) refined her methods of getting her students motivated to come to school & love learning. “Dia masih mengangkat perpustakaan bergeraknya sampai ke tingkat tiga untuk anak didiknya membaca, dia masih membelikan baju dan kasut sekolah baru untuk yang tidak mampu, dia tetap setia menggoreng ayam dan membeli bantal berbentuk hati supaya anak-anak kesayangannya datang ke sekolah. Dan, dia tetap cikgu yang sama, yang menempah piala-piala kemenangan dari kedai dekat sekolah untuk anak didiknya yang tidak mendapat tempat satu, dua, tiga dalam karnival bahasa”.
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Dear teachers, we are actually making a difference EVERY DAY just by SHOWING UP to school, carrying out our duties RESPONSIBLY & BEING THERE for our students. If anybody has doubts about the quality of teachers in Malaysia, all they need to do is just go to https://www.mcdonalds.com.my/en/anugerahguruinspirasi/inspiring-stories

Do you know a teacher doing amazing work like the teachers above? I’d love to learn from them too! It’ll only take 10 minutes to nominate a teacher. This award helps that teacher do even more & make a bigger impact in the lives of many more children.

All you have to do is:
(1) Touch www.mcdonalds.com.my/anugerahguruinspirasi
(2) Fill the short & simple nomination form BEFORE 31 March.
If your nominee wins the award, you get an RM200 gift certificate!

Finally, SHARE!!!
Let’s improve our education system by empowering & inspiring our teachers!

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