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Showing posts from 2021

Cikgu Matthew Apok: Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald's 2021

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For Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McD 2021, I want to nominate a former colleague of mine at the Sarawak State Sports School who has inspired me to become a better teacher. Cikgu Matthew Apok is the kind of teacher who would accept all responsibilities assigned to him & work hard to deliver on all of them. ahem… unlike me You will not find him taking pictures of his work & sharing it on social media ahem… unlike me   or even in the school WhatsApp group. Once he has completed a mission, he would quietly fade away onto the next task, rarely receiving recognition or praise for his numerous contributions throughout the years. This is the kind of teacher I want to see nominated for this award: The unseen ones who work hard behind the scenes while others benefit from their work. As a football coach, he had the arduous task of building the basics in the junior players who might have plenty of technical skills, but very little in terms of teamwork, tactics, & strategy. His work with th

Nominating Inspiring Teachers In Malaysia: Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2021

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  It’s that time of year again! McD is once again giving recognition to Malaysia’s teachers! Now that schools are reopening nationwide, both my students & I have a lot of readjusting to do. To be honest, I feel physically exhausted teaching face-to-face, as I am sure many students are too. However, as I was scrolling through this year’s nominations & reading their stories, I felt encouraged & motivated to do more for my students too! Be inspired too here: https://www.mcdonalds.com.my/bm/anugerahguruinspirasi/nominees Besides motivating & teaching effectively, I read of many teachers who are nominated for going the extra mile with providing food aid, study materials, and extra classes. Many have not given up on challenging students or situations, and I was also deeply moved by a school counselor who prevented a suicide attempt. Teachers do so much & without such a platform, many unsung heroes who shy away from the limelight would not have their inspiring stories shar

Explained: The Low SPM Passing Grade Table

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I bet you've seen this screen-captured table. I'm in a lot of education social media groups & every year around SPM season, this SPM baseline table will be reposted without fail in exactly the same way: some dude expressing shock at the low grades required for passing certain SPM subjects while lamenting the horrible state of our national education system. I enjoy intellectual discussions, but, if some random table is the basis for one's thesis, I roll my eyes & scroll away. However, I keep seeing this post repeating itself again & again & worse still I get tagged in some of them again & again until my eyes just can't roll any further. It's time to explain what a baseline is to those who are not teachers. What Is Baseline Data? Every school does this kind of data analysis, which is why those who cry wolf are usually not teachers. Why? A baseline is used to estimate the possible grades of our exam-taking cohort based on past SPM results. How? Base

Motivation: KFC Treat For Hardworking SPM2020 Students

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Over the past few weeks, I noticed that my SPM 2020 Form 5 students were becoming increasingly focused on their studies. Some started asking deeply relevant questions reflecting their diligence in revising for the SPM English test. A few of the weakest ones were finally able to apply the exam techniques I taught them, reflecting plenty of effort on their part. This is in stark contrast to a year ago when many of them were still very happy-go-lucky. The extreme few would refuse to do any work & answer back rudely, while a handful would sleep in my class after all night gaming sessions. Also, remember all the crickets during my MCO online lessons? After the last extra class session with them, each student received 2 pieces of KFC fried chicken during lunch: 1 original recipe + 1 hot & spicy. All of my students are boarders, so they were allowed to stay at school until the end of the SPM examinations. KFC may not mean much to most children from middle-class backgrounds, but for my

Stop Mocking Malaysian English Accents

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This morning someone shared with me a viral tweet mocking Rina Harun, Women & Family Minister in Malaysia, for her heavily accented English. Although I have no affinity for Rina, I really found the post & the subsequent jeering comments very offensive. If Rina was one of my students, I would tear into each one of those mocking turds. You should be ashamed of yourselves! English teachers have learned a long time ago not to laugh at accents. It will not only discourage the person being laughed at, but also those who sound like that person. For a fleeting moment, you get to feel so atas & so great that you sound like a penjajah, while being ignorant of the damage you are doing to the progress of English language use in Malaysia. Unbeknownst to you, you're discouraging generations of fellow Malaysians from using English! We should be celebrating such open use of English by a politician despite her struggles with the language. That's the kind of grit we want to see in al

Why Students Don't Attend PDPR 2.0

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Out of the 62 Form 5 students under my care, only 9 attended the first live Form 5 #PDPR2 .0 online lesson conducted earlier today. Additionally, 5 others who couldn’t attend the live session just did the assignments. For the rest, I have shared the lesson recording + notes in our respective class Telegram groups. While all my students have access to a mobile device, there are many legitimate reasons for them to miss my online lessons: (1) there is no mobile coverage in their area; (2) their connection is slow; (3) they have started working out of necessity to help support their families; & (4) they must help at home during the hours PDPR 2.0 is conducted. There are also students who don’t attend online lessons because (1) they aren’t interested in the subject, (2) they don't like the teacher, & (3) they play games until the wee hours of the morning so they can't get up for their education. Previously, there was flexibility for the teacher to negotiate lesson duration &

Help With An RM20 Gift Of Learning For My Students - PDPR2.0

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I guess you've heard about PDPR2.0 where students have to stay online daily from 7am-1pm & attend classes similar to that of their regular school timetable. This presents a significant barrier for my current students as they are mostly from rural low-income backgrounds. For English alone, they need enough data for 2.5 hours of online video meetings + another 2.5 hours of self-access. It's sad that what stands between my students & their teachers is $$$. I'm hoping to collect enough RM20 contributions so that I can support those who are committed to attending online classes with enough data for their English lessons. I'm promising the students who attend every online meeting for the month of February with RM20 at the beginning of March. Sorry, if I have to bother you again in March for help. As usual, a recording & notes will be made available for those who are not able to attend. I know teachers who are utilizing funds out of their own pockets. Unfortunatel

#SPM2020: Cancel? Postpone? -- Teachers' Perspectives

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Honored to be amongst some of the most recognized teachers in Malaysia in a private session with YB Syed Saddiq of MUDA . This is the first time I have ever been consulted by a minister. I'm impressed that we had representation from all over Malaysia. We even had someone from a P3 school. Kudos to the person who set this up. During the session, YB wanted to hear from us about the situation on the ground. What the students & teachers are going through preparing for SPM 2020. Also, what were our recommendations. ==Personal Thoughts/Notes From The Session== 1. YB was punctual & stayed beyond the 1-hour session. I'm so impressed with this because this demonstrates his respect for our time. I've lost many hours of my life just waiting for VVIPs to arrive. 2. YB didn't talk much. He was mostly listening & asking questions. 3. Teachers were very much echoing each other, on our experiences and thoughts from our students. 4. TLDR: There is no win-win situation when

How UiTM Puncak Alam Ran The Best Webinar Ever

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In October last year, my former student from SMK Katibas asked if I could conduct a talk for her class at UiTM Puncak Alam. Although I was rushing to finish two books before the start of the new academic year, I always make an effort to say yes to former students, teachers, or lecturers. Little did I know, I would have the pleasure of presenting at a masterclass in webinar organization. Here's what they did right... ~~~PRE-WEBINAR~~~ 1. I was contacted months in advance and was able to comfortably make time. 2. The webinar was postponed to a later date selected at my convenience. 3. The UiTM Puncak Alam students were resourceful & got all the necessary photos and an up to date bio from the internet for their promotional materials. 4. Respectfully worded reminders were sent on WhatsApp prior to the webinar. 5. My refusal to give them a copy of my slides was accepted. 6. Links to the webinar were provided the day before. ~~~DURING~~~ 1. After the welcoming speeches, a comedy vide