Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beza Guru dan Murid

Last Monday, while waiting for the previous teacher to exit my class, I wandered into an empty classroom. I perused the class' bulletin board and stumbled upon this poem. The title immediately caught my attention.

Beza Guru dan Murid

Kalau cikgu sembang,
Cikgu bertukar fikiran,
Kalau kami bersembang,
Kami mengata yang bukan-bukan.

Kalau cikgu berbual-bual,
Cikgu bual isu semasa,
Kalau kami berbual,
Kami bual Akademi Fantasia.

Kalau cikgu bergaya,
Cikgu jadi lebih berkeyakinan,
Apabila kami bergaya,
Kami nak 'contact' kawan idaman.

Kalau cikgu senyum,
Cikgu seorang yang mesra,
Kalau kami senyum,
Senyum kami ada makna.

Apabila cikgu menulis,
Cikgu tulis laporan pelajaran,
Apabila kami menulis,
Kami lukis gambar syaitan.

Apabila cikgu pejam mata,
Cikgu fikir silapnya di mana,
Kalau kami pejam mata,
Kami tidurlah tu jawabnya.

Kalau cikgu ke tandas,
Cikgu melepaskan hajat di hati,
Kalau kami ke tandas,
Itu, dah memang hobi kami.


I thought stanza 5 was particularly hilarious. "lukis gambar syaitan"?!?

I guess the moral of the poem is to give your students the benefit of the doubt; To not jump into conclusions. In other words, kena khusnudzon.

I mean, you've got to admit that we are rarely occupied with "[menulis] laporan pelajaran" kan?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Not According to Plan

Last week, I was unexpectedly called up for MSSD duty. I was assigned to be one of the track officials for a 5-day Track & Field District-Level Championship.

Now, some time away from school after 4 weeks of relentless work is God-sent.

But since it came out of the blue, I was a bit flustered. It's like what The Joker said in The Dark Knight:

"You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan'. Even if the plan is horrifying!"

And I - someone who's utterly dependently on to-do lists - couldn't agree more.

The timing just wasn't right. The students have just completed their February Test and I was planning to review the test with them this week. The call up had effectively derailed my plan.

Besides, I was also on a "rectification" mission. I recently experienced 2 light-bulb moments which made me realise how much of an ineffective teacher I had been.

The first moment was provided by Cikgu S. We had a talk last week and she told me about her (disastrous) experience learning Arabic. Cg. S attended an SMA (Sekolah Menengah Agama) which made Arabic a compulsory subject for all of its students. From Form 1 until 3, she had 2 teachers who would teach Arabic without using any Malay. The entire lesson would be completely in Arabic which was an alien language to her. Needless to say, she was left clueless and scraped a Pass in her SRP (the PMR-equivalent in those days) by memorising essays. She said that she didn't even know what the questions were but she just regurgitated what she had memorised.

She said, "Sampai ke sudah, saya tak tahu 'Fiil Mudhari' tu apa".
I have a sinking feeling that my students feel the same way when I keep on harping about verbs/past simple/past participle/other grammar items.

She said the whole experience has made her a better language teacher because she can empathise with students who are struggling to master a foreign language.

When I listened to her story, I realised that I lack that empathy. Oftentimes, I would automatically look dejected when students couldn't answer a simple question. That look must have crushed their already fragile self-esteem. Thus my rectification mission #1 was borne:

I promise to be a more patient teacher who doesn't mind explaining the most basic and simple questions even when the questions have been asked before.

The second light-bulb moment happened last Saturday (Mar 5, 2011) when the English teachers had LADAP (Latihan Dalam Perkhidmatan). The course was held to familiarise teachers with the literature component's new texts. The speaker, Puan Suhaila, is a Guru Cemerlang from a school in Shah Alam.

Courses are rarely fun, even less so during a Saturday. But I really enjoyed the course conducted by Cg. Suhaila. I particularly liked the part when she taught us how to teach Drama. We had great fun doing the vocal, facial and whole body warmups.

For poetry, she had slides with lots of visuals which would definitely help students in comprehending the difficult prose.

I was just amazed and inspired by the effort put in by the teacher. My excuse had always been: I have no time to plan really good lessons anymore due to the punishing workload. But if others could do it why not me?

So mission #2: Plan more fun and enjoyable lessons (with educational value of course!).

These missions have been put on hold due to the MSSD duty. Hopefully toiling under the hot sun for 5 days (and getting significantly darker because of it) will not completely melt away my new resolutions.