Monday, May 17, 2010

Anak Murid Idaman Cikgu

Last Monday was the second time I celebrated Teachers' Day.

While World Teachers' Day falls on Oct 5 every year, Malaysia's Hari Guru falls on May 16. According to Wikipedia, May 16 was chosen as the Penyata Razak was endorsed on that day in the year 1956. As we all know, the Razak Report "became the basis of education in Malaysia ever since".

Teachers' Day always makes me feel glad to be a teacher. It's not just about the presents (though I like receiving them... hehe). It's the little, little things that make you feel appreciated.

For examples:

1) J surprised me with a bouquet of white roses very early on in the morning. He asked to make sure, "Saya orang pertama yg bagi hadiah kat Teacher ke?"

2) Students wishing you "Happy Teachers' Day" with their bright smiles and gave you hugs and kisses.

3) The students put up wonderful performances for their teachers. My favourite performance had to be the Dikir Barat. The slightly mad "Enjit-enjit Semut" was a close second. I knew the students put in a lot of effort practising for the performances. That made us teachers feel celebrated and special :)

4) Dakshan & Paul played me a song with their ukulele. Sgt comel.

5) Received a very personalized gift from R. A lot of thought went into it so I love it a lot!

6) I also received Happy Mothers' Day wishes. The sweetest SMS came from Atiqah:

"Teacher,atiqah's here,i just want to say happy mothers day to u!i know sounds strange right?but u're like our real mther..the way u teach us!mmg mcm our mther,even though,u x kawen lg,hahah!thanks for everythng!sorry because im not a good studnt in your clss!!i love u!"

One student even combined the two celebrations together and wished me: Selamat Hari GuruIbu!"

7) Four days after the celebration, D said, "Teacher tak pakai pun lagi tudung yang saya bagi" *Err...*

8) Another teacher told me this: A student of hers came to see her to wish Happy Teachers' Day. He said something like, "Saya doakan Cikgu diberkati Allah selalu. Cikgu tolong doakan kejayaan saya. Terima kasih atas segala pengorbanan Cikgu"

His heartfelt wish made her cry along with 2 other teachers who were in the staff room, listening. Her story made me teary-eyed as well.

I remembered H asking me a few days before Teachers' Day, "Cikgu cakap je nak APA, nak BERAPA?"

I replied, "I don't mind. Surprise me".

Now (and though this sounds cheesy) I would have replied, "Your prayers would have sufficed".

This year's celebration also reminded me of the following poem. It's written by my beloved former principal, Dr. Fatanah Mohamed. She read out the poem during the 2001 Teachers' Day celebration (if I'm not mistaken) at MRSM Jasin. I was a fourth-former then. The poem was later published the the school's mag.

Being a teacher has made me appreciate the poem's content better. Hopefully, my students would aspire to be such an Anak Murid.

Anak Murid Idaman Cikgu

(Aspek Minda)
Mindanya positif tidak bercelaru
cerdas otaknya, tidak mudah ditipu,
bersinar matanya mendengar kuliah guru
tidak hanyut atau layu
baik dan buruk dia tahu
membaca bahan bernilai ilmu,
menuntut ilmu tiada jemu
mempunyai wawasan
memikirkan masa depan
mindanya aktif, luas fikiran.

(Aspek Jasmani/Fizikal)
Anak didik idaman cikgu menjaga kesihatan diri
sihat jasmaninya bersarapan pagi
membuat senaman setiap hari -
berjalan, berjogging serta berlari,
memilih makanan dan minuman
rokok, air bergas dijauhkan,
atau apa saja yang menjejaskan kesihatan
asrama dan kelas dijaga kebersihan
tidak membuang sampah merata-rata
menjaga kebersihan alam sekitar kita

(Aspek Rohani)
Hidup bersemangat, percaya, reda pada Allah
berjiwa besar, tidak mudah mengaku kalah
bertanggungjawab, kerja sungguh-sungguh
segalanya beres tak pernah bertangguh
jujur dan sentiasa benar pada kata-kata
sentiasa mempamerkan akhlak mulia
tidak haloba tiada buruk sangka

(Aspek Emosi)
Jiwanya besar, berbudi bahasa
berasa dirinya berharga,
kebolehan diri dia percaya
potensi dirinya tidak dipersia,
yakin diri, berpaksikan agama,
tenang, sabar, tidak putus asa
dia berusaha dan terus mencuba.
Mematuhi perintah, tabah, berfikiran terbuka,
barlapang dada, suka bekerjasama
sentiasa berazam memperbaiki diri
stabil emosi, unggul peribadi,
tidak bersedih dengan kekurangan sendiri.

(Aspek Sosial)
Hati yang lain tidak disakiti
benar ucapan dan memenuhi janji
bersopan santun, tidak mengutuk, tidak memaki
tidak menghasut, tidak membenci
manis wajahnya riang berseri
tiada hasad tiada dengki,
mengasihi dan murkai kerana Ilahi
ibu bapa, guru, dan rakan dihormati dan disayangi,
menjaga maruah dan harga diri.
Pemaaf, bertimbang rasa, luhur hati dan budi.
memberi pertolongan dan berbesar hati.
Tidak membiar rakan hidup susah dan sepi
mendahulukan orang lain daripada kepentingan sendiri,
tanpa menjejaskan kesejahteraan diri.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oral C

I did this lesson in class and had so much fun!

1) Ask the students to bring a self-care product to class (toothbrush/toothpaste/deoderant/lip balm/talcum powder/hair gel/facial wash/etc).

2) Get the students to be in groups of 4-6.

3) Get them to be advertising executives for the day. They have to come up with a print advertisement and a TV commercial their self-care product.

4) The print ad is to be done on an A4-size paper while the TV ad is to be acted in front of the whole class.

The students came up with hilarious commercials. I never laughed so hard in a class before. The funniest bits had to be when they whipped out their products energetically. "Try this!" they would say, while flashing their megawatt smiles...

The students presented 7 products. They were:
-Joey Orange's sunscreen
-Dona' deoderant
-Parfum's perfume
-Oral C toothbrush
-The Intense Mascara
-Safi's deoderant
-Slim Mood Slimming Solution

The funniest ad had to be Oral C's. The group (Fahmi, Adam, Hazwan & Azfar) did a parody of the Colgate's commercials.

Like the original commercials, a representative of the company stopped a random person from the street and asked, "Do you know that bacteria is building up in your mouth?"

Though the respondent was doubtful of the said build-up, he agreed to have his mouth scanned.

In the Colgate's ads, the respondents would be shocked by the scanned images. "But I brushed my teeth this morning", they would say.

But in Oral C's version, the interviewer was the one shocked. Adam exaggerated his horror at having seen the "bacteria" in his respondent's mouth.

"OMG sir, how often do you brush your teeth?!"

After further admonitions, he suggested Fahmi use Oral C. Adam continued to explain the toothbrush's qualities. He then stated the most important thing:

"Sir, this toothbrush is HALAL"

Right on cue, Azfar & Hazwan came into the class with songkoks, looking very important.

"We're from JAKIM", they introduced themselves and proceeded to inspect the toothbrush.

They nodded their heads and made approving sounds while examining the product.

"This is a very good product", Hazwan put his stamp of approval on it.

"Yes, this is HALAL. HALAL!!", Azfar concurs.

-----THE END-----

I had so much fun during that lesson. Such teaching moments do not come often but when they do; they are priceless!!

I also observed that not all students are game enough to do presentations. Of course, there will be shy students in your class but, they too, can participate in such group works if the class is "nice".

If the class provides a safe learning environment, then students do not have to worry about expressing themselves, taking risks, being goofy, etc.

But if the class is not so accommodating, students will be reluctant to do any of these things for the fear of being laughed at.

So, I guess the key to having successful lessons is to create a safe learning environment first (both physically & psychologically).

Saturday, May 08, 2010

faithful companion

My brother is away for 2 weeks. So, I've been using his car for the time being.

I'm not sure how old the car is but its steering wheel handle is peeling, the speed gauge is erratic, the driver's window will not close properly and the sensor is faulty.

All these concerns have been relayed to my brother but he just brushed them off. He has learnt to accept/embrace his car's eccentricities it seems.

When told of the speed gauge, he just gave it a whack and said, "Dia kena ketuk sikit", and sure enough, the then idle needle started to move.

He bypassed the window problem by having a Smart Tag (though he is still having problems when he has to collect/produce parking tickets).

And he just laughed off the sensor's constant beeping (it'll always beep when the car is in reverse gear even though there's no object obstructing the car).

We were always puzzled by Abafan's reluctance to buy a new car. He can afford it but he just doesn't want to.

The situation reminds me of Mma Ramotswe's attachment to her van. The passages below are taken from the book 'In The Company of Cheerful Ladies' by Alexander McCall Smith.

In Mma Ramotswe's case, her attachment to the tiny white van was more emotional than financial in origin. She had bought the tiny white van when she first came to live in Gaborone and it had served her loyally since that day. It was not a fast vehicle, nor a particularly comfortable one...And the engine had a tendency to go out of tune very shortly after Mr J. L. B. Matekoni had attended to it, which meant that the tiny white van would splutter and jerk from time to time. In Mma Ramotswe's view, though, these were small matters: as long as the tiny white van was capable of getting her around, and as long as it did not break down too often, she proposed holding on to it. She thought it as her friend, a staunch ally in this world, an ally to whom she owed a strong debt of loyalty.

After the van broke down in the middle of the night, when Mma Ramotswe was in the middle of nowhere, her husband subtly suggested to her to replace the van with a new one. She pondered on the suggestion and replied:

"I have had that van for a long time...I am very fond of it. They do not make vans like that anymore"

Mr J. L. B. Matekoni looked at her, and was suddenly filled with a great sense of pride. There were women who would be only too eager to get hold of a new van or car and who would willingly scrap a faithful vehicle for the sake of something flashier and smarter. It made him feel proud to know that Mma Ramotswe was not like that. Such a woman would never want to trade in an old and useless husband for a newer, smarter man. That was very reassuring.

I just love Alexander McCall Smith's novels because of passages like these. They are simple yet deceptively profound aren't they?

I agree with Craig Brown's review that "His novels are also extremely funny: I find it impossible to think about them without smiling"

Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers even said that, "There are some great books that this guy called Alexander McCall Smith put out that take place in Botswana. They are really fun to read and make you feel like human beings can really have worthwhile lives. The first one is called 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'. I highly recommend them if you like to be happy"

The conclusions?:
1) Read the books!
2) Be on the lookout for someone who's loyal to their automobile!

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Ainur used to send me "TGIF" SMSes every week. She stopped doing that some time ago. I asked her why and she replied:

"Wslm. Haha. Syada, u noticed. I stopped my TGIF msges sbb sy dh bnyk kali trtpu. U can't say tgif whn u hv 2 come 2 school on strdays. dh 5 cnsecutive sabtu dh kne pg skolah. dpressed sy. Rs mcm x de life. Syada, awk free x strdays? is ur school suckng the life out of u too? "

oh YES!!
Until this Labour-Day weekend, I haven't had a "proper" weekend since the mid-semester1 break in March. April has been a punishing month. I've had to bring students to three competitions which are held consecutively. They are:
1) The 9th Interschool Debating Championship (Apr16-21)
2) Kejohanan Tenis MSSD Gombak (Apr19-23)
3) Tan Sri Datuk Paduka Hajjah Saleha Debate Cup (Apr23 & 24)

Though I got to skip school for 6 days, I didn't get to goyang kaki since attending these competitions meant my working hours were extended. So, to friends who sensed my incommitment, or felt that I was becoming more distant, I'm truly sorry. I was just in a very bad place :(

(Tasha, I knew exactly what you feel)

My school did quite well in the IDC (the team was made up of Aiman, Dakshan, Amal & Komal). We qualified for the Double-Octo Finals and was ranked number 21 out of the 80 participating schools. On the first day of competition, we won 1 and lost 1. But on the second day, we won all 3 rounds!! It was unbelievable. After the last debate for the day, Pn. Safrina & I had wanted to drive the students back to their accommodation, but they wanted to join us for dinner.

Faris, their senior who went to give them moral support, also guilted us into bringing him along by saying, "Takpe, saya boleh makan maggi je kat rumah..."

Seriously, these people are emotional-extortionists!

So, the 7 of us went out to eat at Taman Melati. The students were so deliriously happy with their wins that they were acting very hyper. Kak Saf jokingly distanced herself from the crowd and declared, "I don't know these people". They retaliated by greeting her loudly, "HAI CIKGU SAFRINA!!".

That night, Man. City was up against Man. Utd at home. So, the eatery was crowded by supporters by both sides. Whenever the supporters groaned/cheered/clapped, the students would make similar noises though none of us was watching the game. It was a very fun albeit crazy outing with the students.

After the IDC high, we went crashing down in the HELP Debate. All 4 students that we sent were new to debating and we haven't had the time to train them/oversee their preparation.

They lost 3 out of the 4 preliminary rounds. I felt so bad about neglecting them and apologised for "throwing them into the deep end of the ocean". Chua corrected me, "Teacher, it's not just any ocean, it's the Pacific!".

After each loss, Pn. Safrina and I had a long talk, dissecting our mistakes and thinking of how we could've won. We came to the conclusion of the necessity of hiring a trainer. Tapi nak cari di mana ye??

The students were demoralized after the first day. There were even talks of forfeiting the remaining rounds. But they persevered and did a much better job on the second day. We won our last round and I'm just proud of them for not quitting even though that was an easy way out.

After all the competitions were over, it's time to enter the classrooms again.

My students somehow seemed a lot nicer. Was I imagining it?

For instance, when I wanted to go to my next class or to the staff room my 3A boys would offer to help me carry my things. If I happen to hold 3 things, then 3 students will "escort" me to my destination, each carrying an item. Tak berat pun but they insisted on carrying them for me. I felt like being waited on hand and foot.

But that's the nature of students: they gave you joy and heartache in turns.

Since returning, I've also heard many complaints about my 3I students. The other teachers complained that they didn't do their work, didn't bring their textbooks, the boys and the girls mix too freely, etc.

I don't doubt that these claims are true but what am I to do? This is one of the parts of teaching I haven't got the hang of; to instill good values in students, to nahi mungkar and to nag dgn berhikmah.

So about the only thing that I can do when other teachers complain is to look grieved and say, "Diaorg tu memang macam tu..." (in a regretful tone and while shaking my head).

Being a class teacher makes you feel like a mum of 40 (unmanageable) teenagers *sigh*