Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dream School

I love doing this activity with my students. It's suitable for the weaker students as well as the more proficient ones.

First, as the set induction, I will ask the students to list down what they like and dislike about their school. What they like could be their friends, the teachers, the canteen food, etc. What they dislike can be the toilets, the prefects, the exams.

Next, students read other people's ideas of their dream school. I've compiled several excerpts in an A4 paper and gave each group a copy of it.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is a group work with 'speaking' as its focused skill. Ideally, 1 group should have 4-5 members.

After getting a few volunteers to read the handout, students get to start their group work. They have to create their dream school and
1) give it a name (e.g. Macquarie High)
2) draw their school's crest
3) list down the facilities available in their school
4) list down the subjects taught in their school (e.g. shuffle 101, fashion design, firearm training, etc)
5) draw/specify their school's uniform
6) draw a layout of their school

The students will be very excited during the discussion phase. So, you have to constantly remind them to conduct their discussion in English.

The students are capable of coming up with some very fantastic ideas. I wish I had a scanner so that I can share the students' work+drawings.

Usually, the students want a school which has:
-a cinema
-an Olympic-size swimming pool
-no uniforms
-a magnificent auditorium for performing arts
-air-conditioned classrooms
-an arcade
-a cybercafe
-a spa
-lifts and escalators

Conducting the lesson has made me think of my own version of a dream school. What I have in mind is far less fantastical than what my students have mooted. But I would be absolutely delighted if these humble wishes are to be met:

My Dream School:
  1. is a single session school. The current arrangement puts the afternoon students at a disadvantage.The time and weather are just not conducive for learning.
  2. has a maximum of 26 students in a class. The small number of students in a class will enable the teachers to give more personalised instructions to the students. If this is not possible, at least provide the teacher with a small, portable microphone. Making your voice heard over the noise of 40+ chatty schoolchildren is no mean feat. Alternatively, provide the teacher with an aide/teacher assistant to help him/her control the class.
  3. has an interactive whiteboard in each class. Or, an LCD projector. Last resort: OHP projector pun boleh la.
  4. has wireless internet in the whole school. This will make it easier for teachers to search for teaching ideas, AV materials, etc.
  5. has no graffiti and vandalism.
  6. has a good PA system so that important announcements are heard clearly and students need not decipher incomprehensible mumbles.
  7. has a big musolla so that everyone can pray the Zohor and Asar prayers together in a congregation.
  8. has a well-equipped library, laboratories and workshops.
  9. has a lot of greenery.
  10. does not require its teachers to fill in unnecessary, time-consuming, pointless paperwork.
  11. has obedient, courteous, and well-motivated students.
  12. has dedicated and passionate educators!

Monday, February 23, 2009

We Will Not Go Down

WE WILL NOT GO DOWN (Song for Gaza)
(Composed by Michael Heart)
Copyright 2009

A blinding flash of white light
Lit up the sky over Gaza tonight
People running for cover
Not knowing whether they’re dead or alive

They came with their tanks and their planes
With ravaging fiery flames
And nothing remains
Just a voice rising up in the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

Women and children alike
Murdered and massacred night after night
While the so-called leaders of countries afar
Debated on who’s wrong or right

But their powerless words were in vain
And the bombs fell down like acid rain
But through the tears and the blood and the pain
You can still hear that voice through the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight


Taken from:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kejohanan Olahraga

My school held its Kejohanan Olahraga today. The event was held at the Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Selayang. Around 10 buses ferried the students (athletes and perbarisan people) to the venue. I had to look after the students in one of the buses so I had to be at the school by 6.30am!

Thank God the road was deserted during that hour (it's Sunday after all). So, though I left home at 6.30am after the Subuh prayer, I reached school not long after.

The school was already buzzing with the students' excitement. Students were (chaotically) boarded into the buses and off we go.

The journey took around half an hour. We reached there at about 7.25am. The teachers had to "sign in" and after making sure the students are settled down, a few of us "sneaked out" for breakfast at a restaurant nearby. We were like rebellious/naughty schoolchildren playing truant. Honestly, some of these teachers have a bad influence on me :-p I had my favourite breakfast: roti canai and teh tarik.

After having our fill, we went back to the stadium and reported for our respective duties. I had to be Hakim Lorong(!). Had not the slightest idea of what I have to do. There were 8 Hakim Lorong so we delegated the tasks. Unfortunately, I had to be in charge of the longer events: 800m, 4x100m, 1500m and 4x400m. I'm definitely several shades darker by the end of the day.

Rumah Merah was the overall champion. My house: Purple/Perwira was second last... huhu

A few pictures from the event:

The opening ceremony

I get to walk on the field while the sprinklers are on - something that I've always wanted to do :-)

The closing ceremony

why oh why is there an image of a fencer in the programme book when it's an athletic event???

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sesi Petang & Camping

My honeymoon period is over.

I've been transferred to the afternoon session effective Feb 2, 09. So, instead of working from 7.20am to 1.30pm, I now work from 12.40pm to 6.50pm. The afternoon session has one Kelas Peralihan, thirteen Form 1 classes and thirteen Form 2 classes. The total number of students is 1035 while the total number of teachers is 53.

Further, instead of teaching only three Form 3 classes, I now have to teach 5 classes. They are: 1 Kreatif, 1 Nekad, 1 Tekun, 2 Qudus and 2 Intelek. Good news is: I still get to teach English. Bad news is: I have to memorise over 200 names.

I'm also the form teacher of 1 Kreatif, Perwira/Purple House teacher and the Girl Guide advisor.

I'm finding it hard to adapt to my new roles and new working hours.

Penat tau sesi petang ni. In the space of 6 hours, I to cram in around 2.5 hours of teaching, Zohor prayer, Asar prayer and lunch. Most of the time, I don't get to eat lunch since by 4.30pm, the canteen has already closed.

Kalau dulu, sempat la tanda buku in between classes. Now, I have a HUGE pile of unmarked exercise books on my table. I feel extremely disorganised. And I ran to and fro my different classes like a headless chicken. Seriously. Not exaggerating.

This week was so overwhelming. Much of the stress is due to me being a form teacher. Who knew that the job is so time-consuming? So many things to do: take the attendance on a daily basis, fill in the students' maklumat pelajar in the register, distribute the PIBG annual-meeting notifications and collect the replies, make sure all the students have got their free textbooks, etc. So many administration tasks that TEACHING & LEARNING has unfortunately taken a back seat.

There are so many things I don't know that I'm supposed to do. There wasn't a transition period whatsoever. No briefing, no orientation.

I neither blame the school nor the previous form teacher. I completely understand their constraints. We, teachers, are very very busy people. But I did wish that someone had taken the trouble to explain/mentor me on these stuff. It's too much to ask, I know... but I would have really appreciated it.

But enough whining.

Haha. Just needed to get that out of my chest.

So, tutup that cerita. Bukak cerita lain pulak. ;-)

I just got back from camping. The unwritten rule of most schools is: Guru2 bujang equals camping chaperons (!).

But I don't mind. I had a great time. The camping was organised by the prefect council. It involved 112 student prefects with 9 accompanying teachers. The 2 day, 1 night camp was held in Kem Belia Bukit Lagong in Selayang.

These are what the students did:
-heard a lecture from Mr. Amin Idris
-went jungle-trekking from 12.20am to 3.30am
-flying fox
-went through a tough+challenging+muddy obstacle course

We, the teachers, joined in their activities but forwent the "messier" final task. It was fun watching the students "rough it out".

I also got the opportunity to know the other teachers more intimately. They are a cool bunch of people.

Oh, I forgot to mention the instructors. We had 5 instructors that carried out all the physical activities with the students. They are real pros. A special mention to the chief instructor: Mr. ---, who's really funny. He had us in stitches throughout the programme.

All in all, it has been an eventful week. Looking forward to have a good rest this weekend to recover from all the excitement and prepare for more-of-the-same to come :-)

The campsite
Flying Fox
Obstacle Course I
Obstacle course II