Thursday, 8 November 2012

2012 in perspective

Tomorrow is the last day of the academic calender and I'm so looking forward to the hols...I can't wait! It's time to take that much deserved break and to focus on personal things (minus the blogging itch hopefully) I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all my blog visitors, friends and students for your support. This blog is all about sharing professional development. Sorry to disappoint you if you fail to find many lesson plans and handouts- that's not the point of this blog. I'd rather my visitors take ideas from this blog than ready-made handouts. I'd rather if you become thinking teachers. My teachers taught me to take an idea and to assess it for what it's worth and adapt it to a situation. I was taught not to expect things on a silver platter but to always learn the hard way because this would mean I will be sharpening the saw. I want to be a contributor of ideas more than a user.

Our exam-based system does not help either. We would rather things be given to us than originally produce or develop something that suits our situation. We are so caught up with the bubble called the exam syndrome that at times it numbs our creativity and intelligence as educators. It dulls the imagination and weakens the spirit to break the norm and do the impossible. We are so comfortable with the possible and the reachable.

It's been a long year and 550 postings later, it's time to review 2012. Here are some the issues that I felt profoundly about in 2012:

  • competent English teachers- only the best should be in the teaching profession if we are to produce a competitive nation. Mediocrity will breed mediocrity. Period.
  • support for English teachers - three classes of English is ideal for a teacher to plan and execute quality lessons. Besides the status of English as a second language needs to be reevaluated- less classes = quality lessons. Wishful thinking? I don't think so. It takes vision and willpower for an education minister to see this become reality. One wonders the effectiveness of teaching five periods of English with large classes at that. I pray for the day when we have enough manpower to see this through, although by then I will probably be happily retired :)
  • professional development opportunities for English teachers- more please! Courses that really help CPD not one-off courses with no impact
  • reducing bribery in the country -bribery in the education sector should be looked into by the authorities
  • reducing crime rate in the country so the common man feels safe on the streets
  • getting politics out of education- let educationists run the show and decide on educational issues
  • competent leaders to lead schools- we need capable and qualified leaders in schools not those who get promoted due to seniority
  • short courses for teachers- when will we be able to take three months leave for short courses in universities (with full pay) for CPD for example? I long for the day when I can be on sabbatical to enrol in a related course and renew my skills and knowledge as a teacher
  • the religious departments to play a more efficient and effective role- I feel they are not doing enough to ensure Muslims are eating halal food. There's little sense in claiming that this is an Islamic nation when there are many instances of suspicious products in the market. The mamak restaurant in my neighbourhood was just raided last week and to my horror, the majority of the workers couldn't even recite the syahadah!
  • short courses for teachers overseas- no need to look too far away- Singapore is nearby. How about short stints overseas for English teachers' retraining? I look forward to the day when Johor (the state I am loyal to) sponsors teachers for CPD overseas. Nothing is impossible.
  • PBS- I will definitely be better prepared next year...this year I was just coping to be honest. I owe it to the children, this much I know. Relieved to not be pressured by exams but the success of PBS will rest on the sincerity and integrity of teachers. Too many complaints and negativities about PBS do not help either- more collaboration amongst teachers will!

Thank you for the emails and questions you've been sending- keep them coming. It's been a mixed year :) but Alhamdulillah for everything...

Have a good break! 

The Thinking Teacher

Thank you 4 Syafie!

A scolding session at 8.30 for some boys from 4 Syafie and Bukhari for misbehaving did not deter 4 Syafie from giving me a surprise :) A surprise indeed! The students were all lined in a circle in the parking lot with a "thank you" cheer. Soon after we took some photos and said our goodbyes for the holiday. Thanks ever so much!! I was S.P.E.E.C.H.L.E.S.S and O.V.E.R.W.H.E.L.M.E.D by the act! I had never expected anything beyond their commitment and interest in English- still smiling when I think of today and slightly embarrassed for scolding the boys this morning :) I love these kids. We had so much fun this year and let's hope for a greater year in 2013. You will be missed 4 Syafie. Happy holidays!

A delightful surprise!

Thank you for all the lovely notes!

The last bear I got was on my 18th birthday! That was ooooooohh so ancient :)

The Thinking Teacher