Sunday, 31 July 2011

Ramadhan Al Mubarak

To all friends, students and visitors, 
May the spirit of Ramadan
illuminate the world and show us
the way to peace and harmony.

The Curse: A sterling performance!

Date: 23 July 2011
Venue: SJKC Chong Hwa 2, Kluang

SMK Permas Jaya 3, Pasir Gudang came to town in style to perform The Curse in front of the 800-strong students and teachers from Kluang, Batu Pahat and Pontian today. I was pleased to be a part of the audience. I brought along thirty students from 5S2.

As one of the novels studied in Form 5, The Curse is part of the literature component in the English Language syllabus in Form 5. Since it's a new novel, the appearance of the play is timely for students and teachers alike. Let's face it, we are all still grappling with this new novel because we taught The Pearl for ten years! Too long a time for one literary piece you'll agree. The arrival of the new novel then is a breath of fresh air. And to have a play to watch based on the novel is an opportunity not to be missed.

the director and I...
Directed by Miss Hafeezah Sulong, an English teacher from SMK Permas Jaya, Pasir Gudang, Johor Bharu and her talented production team, the musical theatre tells the story of Azreen, a student who returns from her studies in England after the mysterious death of her sister, Madhuri. Rumours abound that Madhuri was murdered but it took a while before everything unfolded and fell into place. Ahsraf refuses to reveal what he knows and a strange figure keeps an eye on Azreen. The old lady is killed in a fire set by Ashraf and the truth unveils itself in steps.

The two-hour play was entertaining and professionally performed by a multi-talented cast. Hafeezah played a dual role: as the director and the character Pn Normala, the village gossip. As Pn Normala, she was unmistakably brilliant! There were many strengths in the musical theatre.

For one, there was the excellent prop- trees, attap kampung houses, draped curtains that functioned as entry and exit points for characters gave the setting its sense of reality.

Next, it was a well-balanced musical theatre that had all the necessary ingredients that befit a musical theatre: dance, music, songs and spoken dialogue. The emotional content was well-treated with elements of humour, phatos, love and anger. Equal emphasis was given to music as compared to dialogue. Hafeezah had carefully selected the significant parts of the novel to highlight in her play and anyone who had not read the novel would be able to comprehend the story because of this.

The main character who acted as Azreen was superb. She not only remembered her lines but she expressed her emotions so effectively and was definitely in her element, making her the right choice for the role. How Hafeezah found this gem is a wonder indeed! The other character is Ashraf,  also acted wonderfully except for the problems with the mike in some parts. The only weakness was he sometimes muffled his words with the longer dialogues.

Credit should also be given to Awang, Mahdhuri, the old lady and the dancers. I particularly like the 'Umbrella' song and dance part- I thought the singer and the dancing were brilliant! The design for the set was realistic and projected the right mood for the entire two hours. The lighting was dramatic and purposeful. However, the spotlight was sometimes a little slow. The choice of costumes was excellent and helped the audience visualise the story as written by Lee Su Ann.

Overall, Hafeezah and her production team were exceptional and her school must be really proud of her. This is definitely another milestone in her career. Kudos to her team as no production of this size and quality would be successful without solid teamwork. I had the chance to meet her principal and congratulated her for the mesmerising performance. My students had only positive things to say about the play.
Congratulations to Hafeezah and SMK Permas Jaya 3!

p.s thanks for allowing me to use some of your photos hafeezah

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Co-Curricular Day and Walkathon , 23 July 2011

Date: 23 July 2011
Venue: SMK Canossian Convent, Kluang, Johor

The ELDSS decided to have a stall for the day. They were given RM100 as capital and RM50.00 for rent of the stall. Farah Yasmin, Wan Er. Yoges, Susu and many more only finished cooking at Yasmin's house at 12 midnight! I was their first customer and the pasta and sauce were great. I hope they made lots of money :) My small contribution was some chocolate cakes for them to sell. A commendable effort girls!

Story-Telling Competition (Language Month) SMK Canossian Convent, Kluang, Johor

Date: 22 July 2011 (Friday)
Time: 12.45 -2.30 p.m
Venue: New Computer Lab

I was one of the judges for the story-telling competition for Forms 1 and 2. The other judges were Madam Sarojini and Mr Puran Singh. Pleased to see the girls so enthusiastic although some were not too well-prepared :) Well-done to the afternoon teachers, Miss Lim Gaik Choo and Pn Nur Azlin Mohamed for preparing the students. In my comments, I emphasised 'practice makes perfect' and the importance of organising competitions at the school level first before anything else. After all, our students are our immediate clients and they should be given priority. The competitions do not have to be on a grand scale. English Pane's do not have to wait for district level competitions only but they can organise many more activities for their students- the sky's the limit! There are many potential school reps that I could see.
Well-done girls!

Form 1 Champ- distinguished pronunciation!

Vachitra- Form 2 Champ- she has the package

Teacher Talk (20): Query on GC

(published with permission)

Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2011 6:11 PM
Subject: A Query on GC

Assalamualaikum Puan Rahmah.

I have been your silent reader for 2 years now. I have benefitted a lot from your blog. What more with your sharing virtue that allows me to have access to materials otherwise I am deprived of.

Sorry if my question sounds so self indulgent and selfish but trust me I have no option but to ask you these:

I started teaching in 2009. Next year is going to be my 4th year of teaching. Am I eligible to apply to be a GC next year? Through some internet research, I found that a teacher must have a least 7 years of being a DG 41 holder to apply for GC. Last three years in JPN ***when i was about to receive my posting letter, the officer said, the duration is 5 years.

And all these years, I have been placed in the afternoon session which means I only teach form1 and form2 students. No exam class at all. Am I eligible for GC application?Am I too 'baby' to apply for GC, puan? Please enlighten me about this issue. For your info, I have managed to develop my own modules namely 5 theme-based modules, a remedial program module, a writing module and a still going on literature component module.

What sparked me to ask you these? Well, last week I had a brief meeting with my erstwhile lecturer. She insisted us (there were 2 of her former students) to apply for GC. Why do I want to be a GC Puan? Besides the attractive pay check (yep!) I am yearning for the privilege of going to professional courses and seminar the GCs are entitled to.

Puan, I have been teaching for 3 years but I only attended only 1 course on new literarature component in my whole 3 years. To me, teachers are not lilin, we are pelita. We need minyak to menerangi orang lain. After 3 years, my minyak is already depleting. Yes, through reflection and some passion, I have come up with some humble modules but I am not sure of their quality or am I being syok sendiri? I miss the time when I was a student. How i was so enthusiatic and fiery after each and every lecture I attended; they were inspiring that I couldnt wait to share them with my future students back then.

Oh, I am teaching at a Gred A school on ***. The school is OK honestly but seniority reigns supreme. I have nothing against my seniors (they were my teacher. I am teaching at my former secondary school) but I am so left behind in term of proffesional development. What more I am teaching in the afternoon session. My friends from other schools have been promoted to JU and such and I am green with envy to listen to their recounts of being to numerous courses and seminars.

Puan, please keep my email anonymous should you want to share this email in your blog. Malu. Hehe.
Thanks for the time you spend reading this email.
May Allah reward you.

My Reply

Wassallam ***,

Thank you for your email. Don't worry I will keep it anonymous. The reason I publish is for others to learn and hopefully respond. I'm glad you have found my blog useful.

1.To your question on GC, you can go to the following link especially 'surat siaran'.

2. Teaching in the afternoon session is not a problem at all if you want to apply for GC. The requirement does not state that you must teach exam classes. But teaching your option is important. In a sense, there are less courses for afternoon session because you don't have PMR or SPM. It's good if you can try to switch to the morning session.

3. It's commendable that you've produced a few modules. I say, keep up the good work! Do what you think will help your students improve. It's good that you're building you're preparing yourself to be a GC.

4. With regards to opportunities for professional development, you sometimes have to look for the opportunities and be willing to pay. They can come in the form of courses, meetings, conferences etc. and don't forget reading!

5. Let me share something with you- I became a GC because I like to teach and train teachers. Yes, you may have heard this a thousand times but these were the real reasons why I applied (twice). I wasn't too sure about the pay at the time. Interestingly, I've met some friends who say they want to be a GC because they want the DG...for instance DG48. I'm not sure if this is a good reason. It's not a glamorous job...people have high expectations of you and the pressure is high. But it's good that  you have a vision in life and I sincerely hope you will achieve it.

One advice is to be willing to help others and be willing to lend a hand to PPD, JPN, MOE etc. Many teachers complain when called for courses, meetings etc. as they see it as extra work. This is not the right attitude especially for young teachers. Help, learn and grow in  meetings, courses, conferences etc. That's professional development for you! All the best!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Floating sets..What do we do with them?

The term 'floating sets' must be a Malaysian invention, The term is so commonly used in schools to refer to the forty-odd set of model test papers or workbook that teachers use in the classroom. I checked the term over the internet but failed to find the same term. A teacher never stops learning and this applies to me too despite the fact that I've been teaching for twenty-four years. What is the meaning of the figure 24 if I have not added new values to my teaching methods and approaches? I may be repeating the same mistakes for the past twenty-four years! I have been quietly admiring one teacher's style or approach in teaching a language. She brings the floating sets and gets students to attempt various exercises from the book. Genius! I thought. This saves a lot of time  photocopying (which I do every week). I quickly did a mental audit of the pros and cons and came up with the following:

·      saves time photocopying
·      ss know what to do automatically
·      saves money
·      excellent for drills of grammar items
·      practical

·      ss can copy answers at the back (if key is not removed)
·      teaching is monotonous
·                                 materials tend to be exam-based
·      copying takes a lot of ss time
·      storage

Maybe I should take this up seriously. To be honest I hardly use 'floating sets' in the class. Probably it's time for a change..

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Oh! For the pursuit of knowledge...ICELT 2011 International Conference on ELT, 18-20th Sept 2011

The ICELT conference is coming in September and many of you are probably thinking of going to the conference to learn new ideas, techniques or merely to rejuvenate. The main reason for this post is to raise the perennial questions that teachers ask- "Will our school allow us to go?" "Do we have permission to attend?" My answer to these perennial questions was "go to the ICELT website and download the letter". However, after reading the letter from MOE, I was disappointed to discover that no certainty is given.

As a teacher and loyal public servant of 24 years, may I offer some thoughts about this perennial problem we teachers face in our effort to develop professionally:
  • Most of us who take the initiative to improve professionally look out for English Language Teaching (ELT) conferences to learn new ideas, gather knowledge and improve teaching skills and ICELT is one such conference. ELT conferences provide opportunities for networking amongst English teachers and practitioners too.
  • The majority of teachers are self-sponsored and it is an EXPENSIVE affair (conference fee, accommodation, travel expenses).  But many are willing to pay for their professional development. If there is any sponsorship from the JPN, only about 10 lucky teachers will have the opportunity to go- hence all teachers need is permission to attend without having to take leave.
  • It is amazing how we receive different letters every year and different instructions at that! I wonder which department is actually handling permission to attend conferences for teachers. I wish there is consistency on the matter. If leave needs to be taken, I am confident teachers would not mind taking it provided schools do not attach another 'clause' to it.
  • Everyone knows the importance of professional development but few really embrace the idea. Many think of it as a personal agenda. On the contrary, I've learned many innovative ideas in conferences and used them in my classrooms and feel rejuvenated and motivated after attending conferences. Motivation is what keeps a teacher going.
  • Teachers don't go to many conferences a year because of the expenses. Local conferences are cheaper and they are the first choice for many. I know of many teachers who leave work and replace their classes as soon as they get back from conferences.

For the sake of CPD (continuous professional development), which is by the way, an important element in the new PTK component, I wish for the ministry to be consistent in this matter. I long for the day when teachers do not have to worry about getting permission to attend a conference relevant to their subjects. Perhaps we should take a look at our neighbouring countries and how professional development is structured and encouraged for teachers. We can certainly learn a thing or two from them.

p.s I have emailed Dr Jayakaran Mukundan, Chair of ICELT 2011 to kindly look into the matter and hope that there will be a positive development.


~the thinking teacher~

Friday, 15 July 2011

Language Month and Reading Month

Date: 4th July 2011
Venue: Main Hall, SMKCC

The Language Month and Reading Month of SMK Canossian was launched recently by Madam Hjh Mahizan Muhammud, Senior Assistant. Many activities will be organised by all language panels and the library. The following are the activities lined up:

  • 4th July-launching
  • Book Exhibition 
  • Classes based on Themes
  • Pop Quiz (English)
  • Pon Quiz (Bahasa Melayu)
  • Crossword Puzzle Competition
  • Dedications- Apple Day, Cupcakes Day
  • Book Sale
  • Nilam Lucky Draw
  • Literature Quiz
  • Talentime
  • Story telling
  • Spell in Right
  • Treasure Hunt

Launching by Hajah Mahizan, Senior Assistant


Choir by librarians

Poem recitation in four languages

MBMMBI Programme: Pedagogy Course for English Option Teachers, IPTHO, Batu Pahat

Date: 13th July 2011
Venue: IPGM Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Pahat

Trainers for the coming Pedagogy Course were called for a briefing today in IPGM Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Pahat.The course for primary schools will commence soon:
  • Phase 1: 19-21 July 2011
  • Phase 2: 20-22 July 2011
  • Phase 3: 4-6 Oct 2011
Each cohort is to complete 3 phases (9 days) which is equivalent to 68 hours. Teacher's Module, CD and Trainer's Module plus CD will be provided. The course for secondary schools will be in September.

Dr Rafiah briefing the trainers


Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Curse: 23 July 2011, Chong Hwa 2 Hall, Kluang

This Musical Theater is a masterpiece from Ms. Hafeezah Sulong or her Cast Name Adreena Aleeyza Adli, a teacher from SMK Permas Jaya 3, Masai Johor. After her successful theater entitled 'The Last Tribute to... The Pearl in 2010, her journey of directing a theater continues this year as to honour the first year's Literature Component Text for form 5 which is "The Curse" written by Lee Su Ann. Her objective in completing this Musical Theater is to give a better understanding of the story in sense of its Characters, Setting, Plots and Moral Values to all form 5 students mainly in Johore. Her wish, is that to introduce her talented crews which comprises of 51 ordinary yet gifted students to the whole Johore. Though they are not blessed with intelligence, their spirits, strengths and hard work in making this Theater a successful should be admired. They might be ordinary but they have extraordinary talents!

Come and watch this breath taking performance by this Adiswara Theater Club of SMK Permas Jaya 3. Book your seats for only RM10 early as the seatings are limited. The venues and time of performance are as follow:-
18th June 2011 - Dewan Sultan Iskandar, UTM Skudai
2nd July 2011 - Dewan Serbaguna Johor Jaya, Johor
23rd July 2011 - Dewan SRJK (C) Chong Hwa, Kluang
TIME : 8.30am - 11.30am , 2.30pm - 4.30pm , 8.30pm - 11.30pm

HOTLINE : 010-8259005 , 010-8259006 , 017-2885298

p.s Well done Hafeezah!!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Glad it's over...

Yesterday was D-day; the inspectorates came to evaluate me and stayed till about 2 p.m. I was very happy they came yesterday, despite my feeling under the weather (still sniffing and now coughing). I must thank them for the early evaluation as something significant is about to happen pretty soon so I wanted to get this out of the way first. My thoughts on the evaluation...
  • thanks to 4S1 for their creativity and enthusiasm- objectives of lesson achieved
  • thank you for the ample opportunity to describe myself and what I do
  • thank you for the thought-provoking Q & A session
  • questions/comments/perceptions I hope were well-addressed
  • thanks to supportive friends who wished me well
  • powerpoint 2010 is certainly a great idea for presentation- the new 3-D effects will surprise you!
  • lunch was good I thought :0 
 Well, can't say too much about it :) Just glad it's over!