Showing posts from May, 2020

Using Instagram For English Immersion At School

Since I was placed here in late 2018, I have been fighting an uphill battle to get my students interested in learning English. Majority don't come from privileged backgrounds with English being spoken at home or in their communities. Students have turned around & taken detours to avoid meeting me in corridors because they have to say "selamat pagi" to me in English. (FYI, I stop them & make them greet me properly in English.) Students have run away from me because they know that I want to involve them in English programs/activities. (FYI, I am demanding. I make it a rule for only English to be spoken & I'm not shy about enforcing it.)

During the MCO, things have gotten worse. I've been struggling to get my students to participate in my online lessons on WhatsApp & I've failed on Google Classrooms. I've tried all sorts of things like making attractive posters/infographics, writing detailed step-by-step instructions, making voice recordings o…

Kelly Tan: Malaysia's #1 Female Golfer - Atheletes Inspire!

Dear students, let's hang out with... Kelly Tan, Malaysia's #1 Female Golfer!
10AM | FRI | May 29, 2020 | YouTube:

When I spoke to her earlier, she was very candid & open about the challenges she experienced while growing up. She revealed, "I was an SJK kid who couldn't speak a word of English. Like your students, I'd avoid English everywhere I could. I turned down press interviews in English & demanded to be interviewed in BM." Coming from an athlete who's at the top of her game, it's a sign that this Friday's interview will be authentic & straight from the heart.

The best part is Kelly wants to answer your questions during the interview! We've also got souvenirs from the Olympics to give away to the best questions! To ask questions, follow the link to the YouTube page & enter your questions in the comment section.

I'm so excited! See you on Friday!

==Who is Kelly Tan?==
Kelly Tan is Malaysia’s #1 female golfer…

Athletes Inspire: Seeking Role Models For Our Students

I teach at the Sarawak State Sports School & my students are all state-level athletes from all over Sarawak. It has been a real struggle for me to get my students to learn English, even before the MCO & the serious obstacles in online learning.
Readers of my blog will be familiar with stories of students who avoid me, just because they have to say "good morning" to me in English, & those who literally run away from me because they know I want to involve them in an English program/competition. The sad part is I'm not alone. The teachers of other academic subjects at my school are facing similar struggles & working very hard to address them.

Why is this so? Mainly, because the proper foundations for learning were not put in place in their formative years. When learning is such a struggle, they go all in with sports, which may not be an effective long-term strategy for a majority of my students. Also, many of my students are from rural B40 communities & do…

REDfm Interview on Teacher's Day (2020)

On Teacher's Day, I was interviewed by REDfm for a Teachers Day special &, unfortunately, I was an emotional wreck on LIVE radio. In the interview, I shared what I did teaching English in challenging situations in Sarawak, my greatest achievement (that's when I broke down emotionally), as well as my current projects & ideas moving forward.
At a random moment on the next day, my mother suddenly came up to me, dropped a bombshell and then quickly left me like a deer blinking in the headlights. She told me with a finger in my face that she disagreed with what I said in the interview, but only the ending part. Haha... She has always been a straight shooter & she didn't mean anything nasty about it. She was probably being a little naughty too.
You'll have to watch the interview to find out what I said that was so controversial. Bear in mind, the interview was 24 mins long. However, I've included a slideshow of my different experiences as a teacher in Malaysia …

Dearest Teachers, A Video For You By SMK Tabuan Jaya

If you're a teacher, "Dearest Teachers" by SMK Tabuan Jaya is made especially for you, with words that your students want to say to you. It's guaranteed to make you laugh &, if you'll let it, tear, just like I am tearing right now while watching the final product play. You'll see several students who have spoken English on video for the first time.

Here's why I'm shedding tears of joy after publishing this video:

What It's Like To Be A Student In My Online Class

Inspired by CikgooTUBE webinars & sharing by Cikgu Hailmi during the MCO, I've decided to take video production more seriously as a learning resource for my students, as well as other students out there who might find it useful. My short-term plans include a video series exploiting my immediate expertise, SPM preparation for Form 5 students.
Please support my YouTube channel by subscribing & clicking the "Bell" button to get notified about new videos: Sorry about the ugly url. You can clearly tell that I'm just starting out. No unique url... yet.

As a treat, please check out the following video which gives you a glimpse of what it's like to be a student in my online lessons. I guarantee you'll enjoy it!

If you're interested in my online lessons, book a spot on, when it launches in June. I'll be conducting free basic and advanced writing lessons 2-days a week for the entire fir…

I Am A Failed Distance Learning Teacher

Prior to the MCO, I had already formed groups in WhatsApp with students with access to mobile phones for my English language classes at school. However, after two weeks of using WhatsApp groups to manage learning, I quickly realized that it was a terrible place to manage any kind of work (which makes me wonder why school admins use WhatsApp/Telegram to manage their schools, but that's another story for another day. For those who are interested in alternatives, try Teams / Slack. You & your entire staff will thank me.). I needed a more specialized piece of software.
Since the MOE has provided each teacher with a Google suite account, I was one of the few teachers at my school who decided to make use of it. After spending an entire day setting up & loading up all the past assignments onto it for each of my 4 classes, I found out to great chagrin that only students with MOE accounts could join those classrooms. My students had not been assigned their accounts yet, so I had to …

WhatsApp Chain Story - MCO Activity

If you're looking for an interesting activity to get your students reading & writing online in English during the MCO, try doing a WhatsApp Chain Story. It doesn't require a speedy internet connection, but students will have to read & write to participate. Here's how I did mine.