Saturday, 28 April 2018

A teacher's rant

A teacher needs to be at the school before 7.10am, and can only leave after 2.15pm (if there are no meetings after school) in my school, which means our official working hour is 7 hours.

On paper, I have 26 periods (ie 13 hours of lesson), one hour of extra-curricular activity, 1.5 hours for meetings per week.

However, on top of that, we get relief classes, so on average, I get about 8-10 periods per day (4-5 hours).

And during my "free" period I usually spent it helping other students in their studies, or preparing for my next lessons.

After school, I usually stay back for an additional hour or two (or sometimes three or four) to give students extra classes (free extra classes ok).

So on average, I spend about 8-9 hours in school per day - and no I don't get much room to breathe. 

Work doesn't end after school - there is lesson planning, admin duties and paper work, and attending to students messages and queries. And sometimes additional initiatives duties that I took on voluntarily, and also compulsory TFM duties too. And oh, did I mention about our crazy stack pile of assignments for DPLI?

During most weekends, we have to attend DPLI classes which is from 8am-6pm, for both Fridays and Saturdays. 

During our free weekend, we have to attend compulsory school event on Saturdays.

And on top of that, we have our lives too - we have our social lives and we want to have fun, meet our friends and go out for dinner too. FYI we have our families as well too.

Why do people assume that teachers are always free? 

I get really triggered when students take me for granted and assume that I am always free to answer their questions, or demand immediate answers. Or when some parents try to push me to have extra classes even though I clearly state I am very busy that week due to assignments. Like everyone else in this world, we have a life too you know.

We need our rest, and we get tired too. We are humans.

I was stunned, at the same time rather touched when a student asked me " you not have many friends here? Why are you so free to bring us out of school?". Well stunned because of the level of maturity, and touched because SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS. It is not that we don't have many friends, but rather our friends (TFM Fellows) are mostly busy. And I do still go out pretty often even though our hands are rather tied (Jia Qi really need her socials). 

[Update 5am 29 April]
Received an Insta direct message from one of my KemSkorlah student and his friend, thanking me for teaching them. They were conveying their dreams to further study in the UK. T_T

Sunday, 22 April 2018


Most of you who follows me on Instagram would know this - my laptop has been giving me a lot of troubles recently. It auto-restarts out of nowhere, and it takes almost forever to reboot. (Okay I'm clearly exaggerating, but you know how we are so used to technology being at the tip of our finger tip, having no access to technology feels like forever?). 

Today is the longest time frame my laptop has been "dead". I can't start up my laptop SINCE 6AM THIS MORNING. So bye-bye lesson plans, my pre-prepared slides and so on. Just goreng lah for the whole day.

I was complaining about my laptop to one of my trusted student, and I (half-serious) asked him if I could borrow his laptop because I AM DYING I NEED A LAPTOP TO LESSON PLAN AND COMPLETE MY ASSIGNMENT.

He said yes. He went home after school, took his laptop, and walked back to school to pass the laptop to me.

And yes, I am currently typing from his laptop. 


I am amalgamation of happiness, gratefulness, guilt and apprehension. Happy because...well I get to do work. Grateful to have a student that trusts me so much, that he is willing to lend me his laptop. Guilt because I am not sure if taking his laptop away from him will cause inconvenience to him (he reassured that he rarely uses his laptop, but really who knows), and also because he came back to school just to pass his laptop to me and ask me to teach him one maths question. I had to ask my collab, Sophie, to teach him as I was guiding another student in English language at that time and I find it hard to multitask. Apprehension because....I am holding on to an expensive asset.

I wonder, if I am a student, and a teacher asks me to borrow her my laptop, would I budge? 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018


"How's my teaching in your class? Am I teaching too fast or too slow? Can you understand what I am teaching?"

"Teacher are you not confident about what you are teaching?"


"No....teacher really need feedback because if you don't tell me how I am doing, how can I improve and give the best to you all?" month into teaching, I'd say I am...somewhat floating.

The insecurities after each class keep building up - did my students understand what I taught? Was I speaking way too fast? My classroom control was way off in that class - will the students hate me for not controlling the class well? Did the students actually learn something in my class? Yadda yadda.

I am getting more apprehensive as the mid-terms loom closer. The teachers that were teaching my classes prior to me taking over are all quite capable - what if I can't meet their standard and cause the students' result to slip?

The school assigned me to classes where there are more Chinese students because of my ability to speak Chinese. I do translate some terms into mandarin in class (and sometimes, a whole sentence), especially in my Science classes. This is becoming a concern to me as I am worried that it might be seen as favoritism to other races. At the same time, I feel that translating the terms might assist some of the students to remember and understand what they are studying. So this remains as a conflict that I am not sure how to resolve.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Happier Side of Things

"Teacher LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, are you relieving our class later?"


"Alaaaaaaaaaa, nak tanya Cikgu tentang soalan Fizik!"

*heart melts, do the victory watermelon dance internally*

On the outside: *Acts cool* Next time round okay? Or you can message me your questions, or meet me after school, I'll try to help.

Despite my kinda sorta maybe okay fine it is negative blogpost, there were quite a few positive things that happened throughout my first month of school which really kept my spirit high and rising. I relieved our school's one and only Form Four Pure Science class a few times and I really do love relieving their class! I expressed my love for additional mathematics & physics to them, and now I am their to-go Physics & Add-Maths teacher. I really enjoy teaching them Physics & Add Maths - one, because these were my favourite subjects in high school and two, they have a positive attitude to learn :)
Relieved the last class of Form 5...and a kid greeted me with a fake cockroach -_- Not really the most effective way of scaring me, as I have slept through the night with X number of cockroaches (house was vacant for too long, and one or two or maybe three? cockroach nest just hatched). The class then told me that the kid who tried to scare me wasn't even their classmate, he was just a troublemaker in school.

School teachers in my school told me that the students in this class have no motivation at all to study. But after talking to them I realize the problem is they really are nice kids, just that they are really far behind their studies and most teachers gave up on them....which is really sad. But they are really good and respectful kids who just deserve to be given a chance!

Whenever I bump into them or relief their class, they'd ask me if I am taking over their English class. I really do want to do so, but first, I have to find my footing in school first!

On an unrelated note, some of the students branded me as the "cockroach breeder" because of that incident -_-. Whenever someone misbehave, I'd (jokingly) say I'll bring a cockroach for them.

Out of school, I had the opportunity to take part in a few 2017s fellow initiative :D
The Young Journalist interview workshop!
Was given the opportunity by the 2017s to be an interviewee for the kids to practice their practical! Thank you Bernard, Ivanka and Norlin for the opportunity :)


Last weekend was one of Teach For Malaysia's amazing staff, Rizal's last weekend here :(  
Dim Sum at Johor Jaya!

And bowling straight after that! 
Our final scores!
Us recording a song cover for Rizal's farewell. Thanks to DPLI for giving us the opportunity to allow our creative juice to flow freely.
Also met up with my KemSkorlah kids for a inter-school fellows & students badminton tournament! They are now in Form Five and have grew taller and looked more matured now! I swear, I almost couldn't recognize them.

I went all the way to Scientex (it is a 30 minute detour!) just to pick them up from their school in Scientex, as a few of them didn't have transport. And when they found out I actually live just 10 minutes away from the badminton court, they were like "Teacher! Why didn't you tell us! We could have find another way to get here!" *heart melts*

"Lain kali kita belanjar cikgu makan!", my kids said, before they left.

I felt really bad for them as my badminton skills are beyond awful (I kid you not, I don't even know the rules...I just look at my kid whenever someone scores and he'll tell me where to stand, and which direction I should swing my racket. OH AND I don't even have a racket I had to borrow from my kid)). I apologized to my kid for causing our lost (trust me.....I kept missing the shuttlecock or serve notoriously...) and my kid replied "Chill la teacher, datang sini main jer!" (Chill, we're here to have fun!)
Dinner at 22 Fried Chicken Factory!
Beer Pong lol (Hoping none of my students read this)

The Local Focal Project photo exhibition!

 Happy to see some of my students' photos here!
And....our last night with Rizal sobs.

Students correcting my mandarin lol.

Going back a little in time....

Had the opportunity to be a short-term intern and helper for Dragons' Den 2018!

Joined a two days Arduino training on our third official day of school!

Survived 6 days straight of DPLI (Diploma Pendidikan Lepas Ijazah / Postgrad Diploma in Education) classes! 
Kacang Pool during one of our DPLI lunch break
Le very random karaoke night at the office one day before the school holidays end....
Parents visited so my tummy was happy and I get to go on a short trip to Singapore :D 
& we are now part of The Local Focal minions!
This felt so long ago but Pesta Layang-Layang 2018 at Pasir Gudang! Can't believe this was one week before placement because after we received our placement, time just seems to fly!

Slowly finding my footing in my English class...still trying to understand my students and what teaching style would be the best for them. Slowly building relationship with them. :) Will be starting to teach Science next week so...wish me luck!

That's all for now, DPLI tomorrow = no weekends.

Even so, every day feels like a holiday, despite the heavy workload, because I am having fun every day (and okay I got to admit there are days where I go cukoo though).

Monday, 2 April 2018

Students fought in my class today

I'm currently teaching two different Form Four classes English - one class is the more obedient type that is very used to following instruction and won't respond much when I throw a question, and the other class is more pro-active but talkative in class. The students' proficiency in English from the obedient class is okay, not super weak but they do struggle in understanding some concept and make a significant number of grammatical error - but they're a lovely bunch. The more pro-active class' students have a slightly weaker grasps in English mastery, but they are a cooperative and enthusiastic bunch.

I really enjoy being in the pro-active class (let's call them class B) - because I don't feel like I am talking to myself (I really feel like I am talking to myself in the obedient class (let's call them class A), but nevertheless, I still love class A! Just that I wasn't too sure whether I am perceived well in their class because it feels one-sided at times).

So today, I decided to give them a group presentation work about "Complaints You Have About This School". The objective of this presentation is just to let the students have fun, rant a little while practicing English, and in the next lesson, reuse their points and make them write a formal letter to their principal to address these complaints :D

Things were going on fine - class was abuzz with discussion, students were asking questions and so on. One group of boys finished early, so I asked them to present first and they gladly went to the front of the class, brimming with confidence.

All was well - until one of the boys (the ketua tingkatan, let's call him B) brought up about a complain about one of their classmate - their penolong ketua tingkatan (assistant class monitor).

They called her a "show-off" and "arrogant" person.

And the assistant class monitor, let's call her H, burst into tears and scream, threw some stuff, banged the white board, and stormed out of the classroom.

I tried to console her at that time but her emotions were clearly unstable, so I asked her friends to accompany her to the toilet.

Back in class, students were upset - some of them were upset because they feel that the students shouldn't be so blunt.

"Teacher is not going to scold you all, you all are adults already. Teacher just want you to think about what you have done....and why she (the girl that stormed out) is upset."

"But teacher, we really don't like her!"

"Think about it, if someone, or a teacher, scolded you or made a remark to you in class like this will you like it?"


"Teacher really want you to think about what can we do to make the situation better? She is upset and hurt."

*More Silence*

"When teacher asked for respect, I am not just asking you all to respect me. I want to respect you all too, and I want you all to respect each other."

Then the girl came back from the toilet.

"Teacher let's just move on with the lesson!" some students suggested.

So I went on asking them, what did the group of boys did well, yes they were honest, they introduced themselves, they spoke loudly etc. etc. And someone mentioned something, that triggered H and H started crying and shouting in class again.

Then B stood up, and shouted "CAN YOU PLEASE RESPECT TEACHER, SHE IS STANDING HERE IN CLASS" (Bolding this because he was really shouting at the top of his lungs)

"That's enough, B. It's alright already."

Then H shouted something and stormed out of the classroom. Sent the girls to console her again. Typing this rather monotonously because I don't know what to feel at that time.

Moved on with the lesson giving them a talk about mistakes, and how we're human, and how we all make mistakes it is okay, just learn from your mistakes. See how monotonous this paragraph is.

And it is the end of school. *Even more monotonous sentence*

Students left. Asked B to stay a while. Wanted to understand what was going through his head. B said he no longer wants to be the class monitor. Couldn't talk to him longer because he had to catch his transport home, but his two friends offered to explain their class' situation to me. They explained their side of their story, telling me why they don't like H.

"If you don't like a particular behavior, then don't learn it. Let's say if your friend always scolds you, do you like it? No right, so don't do it back on him!"

"But teacher.....*goes on telling me what H has done*"

"Teacher is really sad. Teacher just want you all to have fun today and learn English, but you all ended up fighting."

"Nooo teacher! We love you, but we don't love her"

"Okay never mind, just go home and think about it all are adults now and I believe you all will make responsible decision."

Felt rather drained for the rest of the afternoon - conducted extra classes for a form 4 student and a form 5 student after that, felt bad as I feel like I couldn't give my 100% because of my mood.

B's friend texted me and apologized for their behavior in class after that. I told them (again) I am not upset or angry, but I just want them to respect each other and also listen when I teach and he replied:

"Teacher we respect you...but we don't respect her."

Entering their class tomorrow, I wonder if it is better to just leave it, or address it. One thing for sure I'll try to talk to B and H personally (and separately). Hope it will go well....
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