Friday, 26 October 2012

Lessons from my students...

Scene One: Teaching impacts lives...

I recall one female student in particular back in the 90's...when I was a teacher in SM Sains Johor, Kluang but I can't remember her name. We stumbled upon each other in an international conference- I think it was MICELT. Although it was a brief meeting, her words were to my mind the most indelible. To this day, I can't forget her words. She thanked me because she was successful in her teaching application. Her exact words were "Cikgu terima kasih. Saya berjaya dalam interview saya kerana cikgu." (Thanks to you, I was succesful in my interview for a teaching application.) This puzzled me greatly because I had never taught her before and how can I take credit for such a thing. I remember seeing her in school but the truth is I had never taught her before. She then related enthusiastically how during the interview, one of the interviewers asked if I had taught her before and what she thought about me. Strange but perhaps I had worked with the officer before. Things started to become clearer after her explanation but just before we parted our ways, I had to somehow tell her that it was not me but God had meant it for her to be a teacher. Wherever she is, I hope she will impact her students' lives in one way or another, the same way she thought I had impacted hers.

Lesson learnt 

Teaching impacts lives. Someday, somewhere you never know when you may help a student or two however remotely. The best part about the whole thing is for someone you'd never taught to thank you for the little you have done. Now, that's your reward in teaching!

Scene Two: Everyone is teachable...

Teaching this class was an eye opener for me two years ago. Don't worry too much about being techy or having copious handouts. The main thing was how to get the students' attention. Be a clown, a reporter, an actress, a mum, a doctor, a singer, a dancer...anything you want as long as you can grab their attention. One day I decided to be a singer. Even better..I decided to be Celine Dion! Instead of playing the CD, I sang from the beginning to the end. Interesting did you ask? Well, I didn't have Celine Dion's voice or anything close to it but I think my pitching was ok and hey the students completed the tasksheet in no time! Word of caution though- be prepared to repeat as they wouldn't have got it the first time. Rehearse before you come to class so your voice box will last! Were they all praise for my singing? Definitely! But of course, play the real song afterwards so they will appreciate the real singer (and do justice to her), the song  and can sing along :)

Lesson learnt

Do anything and everything you (possibly) can because attention is a problem with poor learners.Not only is discipline 80% of problem in teaching these days but grabbing students' attention too is a real challenge. Don't ever give up on your students!

Teaching is one the greatest learning experiences.

The Thinking Teacher



Letter in a bottle for teachers...

What I'd really like to do today is to get back to my herbalife routine and the gym!! What after four days of hotel just binged without thinking because all your friends were eating! There are also the scripts to finish, something I shoud've done two weeks ago. 'Shoud've' is an elusive word because I will not be in the state that I am now if all the shoud'ves were addressed...some people never learn...Well, to be honest, there just wasn't time in Shah Alam- sessions lasted till 10.30 p.m. It shouldn't be a problem anyway. I only have paper one to deal with. Read about a nine-year-old boy who found a French letter in a bottle in Yahoo this morning...oo la la! Just the kind of thing I'd like to do. Write something for teachers and the teaching profession, snuff it in Habhal's 500 litre bottle and hurl it by Port Dickson beach or something and hope it will land in another part of the world (perhaps the Caribbean) someday...peppered with some wise words and a tip or two for teacher-wannabes :) Well, before I get overboard, time to get to work! 

Eid Mubarak everyone :)

The Thinking Teacher

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Innovation Seminar for Secondary Schools- State Level 2012

Date: 20th October 2012
Venue: Dewan Seminar, JPN Johor

I was privileged to represent Kluang in this seminar with Hamsam from SMK Kahang Timur. Although I didn't win, it was a good experience. Well-done to the deserving winners! The PJK teacher deserves to win as her gadget for teaching sofball is innovative. My only reservation about the judging was the fact that the judges were really into gadgets! The impression given was as if an innovation must be in the form of gadgets not ideas or adaptation of ideas. In addition, there were only two language teachers from the 20 participants and the the majority were Maths teachers. It seemed 'easier' for content subjects to come up with gadgets or maybe I wasn't creative enough :) The judges just loved gadgets although sometimes I felt some of the gadgets were a tad ridiculous as they not only reflected how 'poor' our students were but also teachers' lack of skills to teach the particular topic hence the need for such gadgets. Overall though, the seminar was well-organised.

I must start thinking of a gadget from now on :)

The Thinking Teacher

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Weekend ramblings...

Alhamdulillah I have been happily teaching in school for the past five months without much interruptions... it's a blessing in disguise. Well, not entirely..there were some odd meetings here and there. My latest contribution was the Score A programme last Friday in Ulu Tiram for Agama schools at 2.30 p.m.  The Deputy Director, Johor State Education Department signed the letter and so I headed for Savannah Hill Resort, Ulu Tiram to assist 95 top scorers from religious schools all over Johor.

driving a point...

During this  'hiatus', I've developed a bond with my students in 4 Syafie and 4 Bukhari. Believe it or not, I miss them a lot because of the exam week that commenced last week. My contact with them is mainly in the exam hall and you can't disturb them because they are seriously and furiously answering the questions! On Wednesday night this week, I sent them hot burgers in the evening. You get hungry easily when you're studying so...When Afiq and Danial returned the box,  it was barely ten minutes after they had distributed the burgers to the two classes. That was super fast! And they relayed a message from their classmates "I love you teacher." That was sweet. Free burgers = LOVE :)

Currently, I'm assessing the Form 4 end f year Paper 2 and I can barely wait to finish marking to see whether there is any improvement in the students' performance. The best gift for a teacher is to see student improvement, however small, because improvement shows progress and increased understanding. Thus far, their responses haven't been too bad and I'm pleased to note individual students who did well in Section C (Reading Comprehension and Summary). However, there are some in 4 Bukhari who have not shown much progress and this worries me to a certain extent. Why haven't they shown much progress when their colleagues have? 

A rumour I just heard while chatting with a friend just now is GCs will be placed under the PPD. What this means is left to anyone's imagination. I would certainly like to know in terms of responsibilities. Lately I've been approached by the PPD about innovation and a course for new teachers. Hmmm...perhaps we GCs have not been informed of the latest. You know what they say, no news is good news! Meanwhile, the module on "Catch Us If You Can' for use in 2013 is progressing albeit slowly and my cough is getting better. It's been two weeks now and I've got my voice back! And am looking forward to lunch with four girls tomorrow. Carpe Diem!

The Thinking Teacher

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Staff Development: Action Research

Date: 9 October 2012
Time: 3.00-5.00 p.m.
Venue: Meeting Room 1

I had a great time conducting this session today despite my cough! My cough seems to be coming back :( I thought the ideas from the panels were doable and specific to warrant a good action research. Sometimes the biggest problem is not being able to narrow down the issue/problem. When faced with this I always remember Dr Hunston's (my M.A supervisor) wise words-'Small is beautiful.'...To be honest two hours is not enough but I did what was possible :)

Selamat Membudayakan Kajian Tindakan di SASEM!

 The Thinking Teacher

Good Luck In Your Exams!!!

To all Sasemians and especially for 4 Bukhari and 4 Syafie. Make me proud :))

                                                             (credit: google images)

Sasemians- break a leg!

The Thinking Teacher

Wadah Siswa Issue No.3: English not Manglish!

Read my articles on 'English not Manglish" and "SPM Tips: How to write an article" in this issue of Wadah Siswa. Happy Reading!

using proper English

How to tackle an article- Directed Writing

The Thinking Teacher

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Lesson Study, Second Cycle: SMK Layang-Layang

Dateline: 2nd October 2012
Venue: SMK Layang-Layang

I was alone this time around. No officer from the PPD with me. When I arrived in SMK Layang-Layang, it was recess time so there was a bit of noise. Had breakfast first with the English teachers in the canteen before seeing the Senior Assistant. Tn Hj Mohd Yusope (PK1) decided to join us in studying a lesson today. The lesson was conducted by Hizrian, the Head of Panel and it was on language we used for expressing ourselves.

I thought the lesson plan was a solid one and am thinking of using it with my students after the end-of-year exam. The lesson objectives were achieved except for objective number three. We had a slight problem with this one because two colleagues decided to join in and helped the students while they were doing the group activity. The colleagues had all the good intentions...unfortunately this wasn't the right protocol as the teacher being observed was Hizrian. This wasn't about co-teaching as the lesson plan reflected. Anyway, overall, the lesson went well. As the emphasis was listening and speaking, I was hoping to see the students speaking more than the teacher though...I thought Hizrian had a way with students and I like his explanations on the purpose of communication after each activity. They reinforced the activities students just carried out although he needs to reduce the explanations sometimes. 

It's amazing how much I've learned in my school visits and interactions with young teachers-something I'd volunteer to do in future. I hope I had been useful in this visit. To the English teachers in SMK Layang-Layang, good job!

research lesson in progress

interesting lesson!

Hizrian..has a lot of potential

critical friends helping out..

 The Thinking Teacher