Showing posts with label teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teachers. Show all posts

Sep 27, 2007

Is it time for one-session school?

Here are 10 reasons why the Ministry of Education should not implement single session and dismiss schools at 4 p.m.

1. Teachers are not babysitters. Teachers are burdened with a lot of programmes and paper works.

2. Parents will treat teachers like babysitters. They might take advantage to leave their children in school until they clock off at 5 p.m. only to pick up their children. This might lead parents to neglect their responsibility.

3. Teachers will be losing a lot of side income especially from tuition business.

4. Tuition centres and private tutors will generate lesser income too if students study until evening.

5. Students will definitely end up bringing more books to school (which resulted in heavy school bags which is not a new issue) as there will be more study periods. Unless the evening hours are for extra curricular activities.

6. Students should spend their evening for leisure, take a nap or doing homework instead of wasting time waiting for the bus or parents to pick them up after school at 4 p.m.

7. To be realistic, many schools are crowded and still have to opt for the two-session.

8. It's general election soon. If the next Minister of Education is not Hishamuddin, suggesting or arguing about this issue is useless because chances are new minister wants to implement their own policy.

9. The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) is pretty vocally sound and will fight for the teachers who are already MENTALLY and physically drained teaching hundreds or thousands of students each day.

10. Students will be extremely tired after school. Or perhaps during school hours. Which one is better, sleep in the class or skip school?

Mar 9, 2007

parents and teachers - partners or rivals?

I've created a poll which I placed on the sidebar. Recently I've been working on a research project about teachers-parents partnerships. Well, the poll is definitely not going to be used in my research but I would like to know your opinion whether you are a student, parent, grandparent or single working adult.

Parents often feel that what they want for their child is somehow in conflict with what the principal / headmaster / teachers wants for the school as a whole.

Teachers on the other hand feel that parents are too demanding and do not understand their job. Meanwhile, principal or headmaster wants parents to stay behind the school gates during school hours by giving security reason. Schools often confining parents' role to money raising and denying them from any constructive part in the education of their child.

I believe there's a need to improve the relationships between these parties. Yes, there are Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) in every school but these PTAs can be a gimmick. Most PTAs do not gain full support from parents. Attendance rates are low. Many parents do not see the needs to attend. Teachers are also reluctant to join unless they were dragged by their principal or headmaster.

The lack of communication between parents and teachers can also be reflected in students report card. Even if there's an open day for parents to meet their child's form teacher to collect report card, how often is the communication is a two way traffic? How many teachers ask parents for information? And how many parents actually share information with their child's teacher?

This can be a long discussion. So, I'll just have to stop now and continue in the next post.

Feb 9, 2007

tribute to MGS, my alma mater - part 1

Now even in my early 30s, I still love to reminisce the good old days I had when I was still studying in MGPS (Methodist Girls' Primary School, 1983-1988) and MGSS (Methodist Girls' Secondary School, 1989-1993). I did my Form 6 in SMART (Sek Men Abdul Rahman Talib, 1994-1995) and it was nothing like my previous schools. Hence, I would like to pay a tribute to my alma mater here. For easier reading, I'll present all those memories in a Q&A format.

Q1: Tell me about your school.

A1: Back in those years, MGS, both primary and secondary schools were top schools in the district of Kuantan. We had two very respected and dedicated headmaster and principal, Ms Yap and Mrs Judith Quah respectively. I think we were one of the very few schools that emphasized not only on academic excellence but also encouraged students participation in co-curricular activities. MGSS was (I use past tense because I believe the management is very different now) a school that run not only by the principal and teachers but also the students. Students played active roles in making events such as sports day, special tuck shop, teachers' day, etc a success. In terms of discipline, there was no doubt that my school was the best.

Q2. What about the teachers?

A2: I don't have any particular teacher that I really like though. Perhaps there was this teacher, Cik Jarina. I remember she was the only Sejarah teacher that didn't just read notes to us. In fact, I still remember her lecture (more like a storytelling) on the Renaissance topic. She even reminded us to watch a movie set in the Renaissance era on TV2. The movie actually helped me to understand the topic even more.

There were a few good teachers like Sister Susan, Ms Wong and Mrs Cheah too. I must say Sister Susan was a good English teacher. She actually taught us an Abba's song called Fernando!

Well, there was one particular teacher that I hate. I don't even remember her name. She was transferred from another school, and knew nothing about me. I was in Form 4 then. She punished me for not bringing a new exercise book without listening to my reason. Well, I was on MC the day before and nobody informed me or had a spare copy for me. So, this bloody teacher asked me to stand outside the toilet for the entire period. Damn malu because I always had good reputation in school. When my form teacher, Ms Wong saw that, she told that bloody teacher that she shouldn't be doing that to me especially when the class was on (I was in front of them listening to their conversation). I was thankful for Ms Wong not because she defended me but the fact that she knew my character.

Oh, by the way, have you guys ever made your teachers cry? Well, my class, despite being the top class in our form, we made a few teachers cried because they couldn't stand our noisiness, stubborness and laziness. One of the teachers who became our victim was Encik Azman.

Q3. What were the nicknames that you most remember?

A3: MGS was popularly known as Monkey Girls' School (my Sis told me it's Monyet Gigi Satu). And yes, the girls were like monkeys, making noises, hyperactive, etc. I had a nickname too. My friend, Elena started calling me Aboo when we were in Form 2. The nickname actually came from my surname, Foo. As for my fellow schoolmates, I still remember a few nicknames like SuperG (G means ganas), OTC (otak tak centre, ooops), Mr Chew, and.... (getting old, can't remember). As for the teachers, I remember we disliked an agama cum counselling teacher. We called her Doraemon.

Q4. Who were your best friends?

A4: When I was in Standard 1, I don't have to worry about not having friends during the first day of school because most of my kindergarten friends were there. And I still have a few friends from the kindergarten whom I still meet up once in awhile now. When I was in the lower secondary level, I had two best friends, Norzana and Neela. The three of us were like representing the three main races in Malaysia. I also became good friends to Shu Fen, Cindy and Shuh Yong, whom I still keep in touch until today. In fact I still meet up with Shuh Yong every week as we stay nearby.

Q5. What were your favourite subjects? What subjects were you good or bad at?

A5: My favourite subjects were also the subjects I'm good in. I particularly love History and Bahasa Melayu. I did have a couple of Bahasa Melayu teachers who liked my writing. I even remember a trainee teacher who praised my sajak.

I love science subjects but most of the time I had no idea what my science teachers taught in class. When I asked my friend Shuh Yong recently, why most of our classmates did so well in their exams eventhough they did not know what our teachers taught in class. She told me it was because our friends attended tuition classes and I didn't. So I ended up struggling in my pure science subjects.

Q6: Were you active in extra curricular activities?

A6: One good thing about my school was all students were compulsory to take part in at least three associations and one sports club. For your information, Persatuan Bahasa Malaysia (PBM) and Persatuan Bahasa Inggeris (PBI) were compulsory for all and we had to go back to school every Saturday for that. I think our teachers were very committed because they had to sacrifice their Saturdays and went back to school to assist us in our extra curricular activities. I love PBM and PBI because every classes had to perform depending on the theme that week. We had to act, sing, debate, etc. I particularly love acting and I always got the male lead roles. Perhaps it was because I was tomboyish and tall.

I joined a lot of activities throughout my secondary years: PBM, PBI, Persatuan Sains, Sidang Redaksi (school magazine), ping pong, volleyball. I was also a library prefect and had some minor leadership roles in sports. I was a shy kid back then and being a leader was the last thing on my mind. I think the highest leadership role I got back then was as the class assistant monitor. Even that also was like a burden to me. Perhaps, it was because I had a tough time dealing with some personal issues it affected my self esteem.

Q7: Any unforgettable memories when studying in MGS?

A7: Wow, I'm not sure if can list everything here. I think the best time I had was during the Sports Day and the Special Tuck Shop. MGS had the best Sports Day event compare to other schools in the entire Malaysia, I guess. We had cheerleading, house decoration, marching and the usual race and telematch. Each year we would choose different activity to take part in the Sports Day. I'd tried everything except cheerleading (:D hey I did wrote a rap piece for my Schleman house to be incorporated in the cheerleading session) In my humble opinion, MGS students were the most independent students I ever knew. For example, when I took part in the house decoration for my Schleman house, we had to walk about 1km to search for bamboos. We brought our parang, chopped the bamboo trees and dragged them back to school all by ourselves without any help from adults. As for marching, we had to practise months before the event. We practised almost every evening until all of us became so dark (very, very dark).

Gosh, I love Special Tuck Shop. Each Tuesday, a class would take turn to run the school's canteen. We would stay back after school the day before the tuck shop to do some preparation; fill up the tong with water, boil water, prepare syrup, get the utensils ready, etc. There were a lot of things to buy too. Students and class teacher would go out and buy stuff using the fund we had collected since the beginning of the year. Aside from complicated food like laksa or nasi lemak which we normally order from parents or supplier, everything else were cooked and prepared by students with the help from our class teacher. I loved to prepare drinks, selling food and drinks and go to the supermarket during school hour to buy extra materials (of course with the permission from our class teacher). Even the cleaning part after the tuck shop was fun! At the end of the day, we got our share of profits. Recently I heard the Special Tuck Shop is no longer allowed in my school. What a stupid move. How could they rob away the tradition and learning experience from the students?

I think most of us were afraid of Monday because we had Spot Talk during assembly. The principal would choose a class randomly and then a student from the class (randomly as well) must go on stage and began her speech about the topic given to us on the previous week. Even if we were not chosen, we had to write an essay about the topic and submit to our form teacher after the assembly. We wrote in Bahasa Malaysia and English on alternate basis and it was an every week task. I'm not sure if my school still practice it today. It's a shame if they don't.

There were a lot more to say but I guess that's it for now. I'll go back to my hometown this CNY holiday and I will search my closet for some old photos and school magazines so that I can include them in the next post.

Jul 19, 2005

reasons to be a teacher

When I read today's paper (The Star), I came across a comment by a teacher's child who complained her dad sacrificing too much time in his job, as a teacher.

It is pretty sad because she doesn't understand the meaning of being a teacher. A teacher doesn't work from 9 to 5. A teacher must be ready to sacrifice their time for his students; to assist his students in curriculum and co-curriculum. Probably the job doesn't end there. A teacher needs to be a responsible mentor, advisor and counsellor.

From my observation, more and more teachers are spending their time not only conducting their own tuition classes but also attending undergraduate (mostly in primary levels) and postgraduate studies after working hours and on weekend. (Related blog: 8 reasons why teachers are not overburdened)

If you are thinking of becoming an educator or teacher just because you believe this is the last choice of career you have (many jobless graduates resorted to this job, if you read the forum in cikgunet), you better wait for other job opportunity instead. For existing teachers, hold on to your mission and belief when you first chose to dedicate your life in teaching.

Every Monday night, I try not to miss the show Boston Public. Each week, this gritty drama will look into the personal and professional lives of dedicated teachers in Winslow High School. Principal, Steven Harper, together with his vice principal, Scott Guber, will tackle all the issues that revolves around their school, from confronting bullies to handling irate parents and of course solving disputes between their own staff.

This show is highly recommended for teachers, teacher-wannabes, parents and students. These are the teachers that we all are looking for.

Jul 8, 2005

8 reasons why teachers are not overburdened

Recently the Ministry of Education and National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) claimed that teachers from four states (Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Malacca) are overburdened in their job particularly with the addition of new subjects and extra duties related to co-curricular and curricular activities. Here are the reasons why I don't think so.

1. Science and Mathematics are not new subjects. Teachers are paid extra incentives under the program ETeMS (English for Teaching Mathematics and Science).

2. Co-curricular activities are compulsory. Stop complaining or quit being a teacher.

3. Teachers spend extra hours after school to give tuition under the tuition voucher scheme (Skim Baucer Tuisyen) which financially benefited them.

4. Teachers spending 74 hours per week? That's 12.33 hours per day for 6 days? You mean they are working in school from 7.30 a.m. -8.00 p.m. on Saturday as well?

5. Teachers are spending 38 days feasting instead of training.

6. Teachers filled in 108 types of forms. For example, annual leave form, emergency leave form, cuti bersalin form, etc.

7. Teachers complain so that the ministry will sympathize and agree to shortened the time spent in school. This will allow them to have extra hours for tuition business.

8. The complaining teachers are teachers who do not have passion in teaching. (Don't they watch Boston Public?. Mr Harper and his teachers works from day to night and they never complain.)

5 questionable assumptions about schooling in Malaysia

1. The aim of schooling is to get all students to the same place at about the same time.

The education system expects students at the age of 15 to sit for PMR and by 17 or 18 to complete SPM. Hence below average students who were automatically promoted to Form 4 (although they didn't do well in PMR) struggle in SPM.

I once encountered a Year 6 student who can't even write a proper sentence in English nor Bahasa Melayu. Her parents asked permission from school to allow their daughter to study Year 6 for another year. However the school principal objected as it will affected the school track record. The girl failed in UPSR and continued to struggle in secondary school.

2. A teacher should work with 30-40 students for an academic year, and then students should move to another teacher.

Usually teachers resist working with the same group of students for two or three years period. It is understandable that teachers want to teach the same level or subjects as it makes their job easier.

By the time teacher get to know the students and their parents better, the students move on to another teacher.

3. The best form of school organization is age-grading.
This assumption is related to the previous two. The idea is very simply whereby children of the same age should be grouped together. The age-graded school system is an administrative convenience but has very little to do with what we know about child development.

4. The best way to identify schools that work well is to examine their students' test scores.

Principal, teachers, students, parents and the society judges a school through test scores. However, the function of school is broader and deeper. There is more in life than exams like co-curriculum, school's contributions, etc.

With the recent cheerleading competition at the national level, at least I see some good sign that schools are being honoured for something else besides tests.

5. The primary content that students learn in school is what their teachers intend to teach them.

Some proactive students tend to crave for more information than what the teachers intend to teach them. While teachers will teach according to the national syllabus, some teachers only teach what's in the book without further explanation or giving any good examples.

Instead of being textbook- or workbook- based, teachers should encourage students to find more information through research of certain topics that interest them.

May 16, 2005

happy teachers' appreciation day

Sunflowers by Van Gogh Posted by Hello

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy
in creative expression and knowledge.
~ Albert Einstein ~
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