Sunday, July 18, 2010

Teach, How You Want To Be Taught

In the name of Allah, Lord of this World and the Hereafter.

Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah for the opportunity He still giving me -- to breathe in oxygen and make some difference in other people's life as a teacher. And alhamdulillah too because I managed to go through my first two weeks of practicum.

I - Record
The first week of practicum was a bit messy and tiring for me. Settling down is no easy task: I have to get used to the new environment, have to get to know the permanent teachers in school as well as my students in two different classes, preparing lesson and completing the record book, relieving classes, and do anything the school administrators asked me to do without any complaints. When you are still a trainee, these are the things you have to face and endure, patiently.

The second week was better than the first week. Well, it should be better unless I was playing around. Naturally. I have gotten closer with my Form 4 students and they are more like friends to me than students. But my Form 2 students are still . . . let's not talk about it yet. I did not have much contact hours with them so I could not improve much. But overall, second week was better. I was observed by Mr. Harbinder and he said I have good classroom control and teacher's presence -- something which I was graded low for microteaching. Really, microteaching and actual classroom are very different and I prefer the former much better. :')

II - Reflection
I admit it: There are times when I was disillusioned - I ask myself whether or not I have what it takes to teach students of whose population is 70 percent Chinese. Yes, this is something new for me having been raised in a religious school with no other races in my learning environment. There are times when I was stressed and depressed when people put too much or too high of an expectations on me. I was so used to do things at my own pace but with expectations, one has to keep up with other people's pace.

But always; even when you feel disillusioned and downtrodden, there are things that will keep you going. For me, it is the joy of being a teacher itself: I always feel rejuvenated whenever I see passion and enthusiasm in my students' eyes. Sometimes, their little acts and gestures of kindness are the things that make my resolve stronger.

Every time I plan a lesson, I will remind myself:

Chouji, do not plan your lessons because you want to impress the supervisors. Plan your lessons - make them fun and meaningful - for your students, so they will have motivation to learn English and want to learn. By making them want to learn, you can touch their heart and mind and make a difference in their life.

Which reminds me of an advice from Mrs. Tan Siew Yen, one of our cooperating teachers in SMK Bukit Jalil:

"Teach, how you want to be taught."

Simple advice with deep meaning. Don't you think? :')

"So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith."
[Ali 'Imran, 3:139]

So to myself, teacher trainees and all beginning teachers, be strong and patient with all the trials before us. Never lose heart nor give up because it is our responsibility to gain mastery of what we do. As a teacher, and as a good Muslim. :')

-p/s: And owh, I have two observations next week. Pray the best for me, and that I will be sincere in teaching my students, not for my evaluation.

"O Allah! In Thy Cause I hope to strive and gain mastery of what I can and must do, so help me and ease my path to attain Thy Pleasure."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

If Only You Could See Me Now

In the name of Allah, the Eternal.

I was napping just now when I saw her in my dream again.

Even though a bit blurry and just for a short while this time.

It was not even a week ago when I dreamt about her -- in that dream, I believed that she was still walking on the face of this earth, warm and alive.

That dream was more like a recollection of memories I had with her. And about her.

Perhaps there is still a part of me that still cannot accept her eternal absence and still wishing to see her.

Well, who doesn't?

When you haven't seen a person for two years and you will not be able to see her ever again. And she was the most important person, the most beloved woman in your life, a real teacher whose back you have been looking at from when you still could not remember anything but her warmth and compassion.

"Jangan terkilan sangat," someone with the kindest heart said this to me. The words I really needed at that time. The words that helped me going through the sorrowful days.

"Every soul shall have a taste of death and We test you by evil and by good, by way of trial: And to Us must ye return."
[al-Anbiyaa', 21:35]

The regrets are still here, somewhere deep in my heart. Because there are a lot of things I wanted and want to tell her. And one of the regrets being the fact that she cannot see what I am doing today.

Fatimah Hashim: Forever in my memory, with Love

Dear mom,

If only you could see me now - teaching classes and making lessons fun, touching my students' life while making a difference to it; I wonder what would you say? Will you be proud of me, and not ashamed to say, "That's my son, he..." . . . the way you always did?

Maybe I did not say this too often (and I really regret it that I didn't) but I really and truly love you. And now I am missing you with every passing day.

I pray your soul be kept safe from harms under His Mercy and be placed among those who are near to Him.

"O Allah! In Thy Hand do I put my soul and my everything, for I am weak without You."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: 2 (Special Entry for Practicum)

In the name of Allah, Possesser of all Knowledge.

Next week marks the start of my life as a full-time teacher trainee.

Anxious? Yes. Sometimes I feel like I'm feeling too anxious and nervous for this. I even felt physical discomforts - fatigued, felt as if some kind of lump is stuck in my throat, et cetera.

Perhaps because I do not like to be observed. But without observation, how can a supervisor assess his or her teacher trainees, no?

I may not like to be observed but the thoughts of how can a teacher affects the life of his or her students rejuvenates me every time. So I have to believe in myself, forget all worries and remember why I chose teaching as a profession.

This reminds me to write a review on a book I read during holiday, more than a week ago.


Title: Today I Made A Difference - A Collection of Inspirational Stories for America's Top Educators
Author: Various authors (edited by Joseph W. Underwood)
Pages: 212
Publisher: Adams Media

Even experts have times when they are disillusioned with their failures or incompetencies. They will feel so low, downtrodden and unmotivated.

Have you ever feel such feelings before?

When this happens, the best remedy is to rekindle that little spark of passion in your heart - by revisiting your reasons of choice; and your most treasured and unforgettable moments, which have made a difference to your life.

One of the ways is by reading other people's inspirational stories. And this one is a remedy for teachers.

The book Today I Made A Difference is really a good read I would readily recommend to all teachers out there, and to anyone else interested. It compiles stories shared by various authors who are also teachers who received special Disney Teacher Award.

The book is divided into five sections namely Inspirations, Impressions, Instructions, Interruptions and Illuminations which roughly reflect the different aspects of a teacher.

I was most touched when I was reading Jason Kuhlman's The Power of Kindness and Carol Boyer's Yo Soy Maestra (I Am A Teacher). I was a bit emotional while reading Julie Harris's Two Toms, and feeling somewhat romantic when reading Susan Menkes's Making The Cut. I was most inspired when I was reading Brigitte Tennis's Teaching Gems.

The stories compiled in this book covers various different aspects of a teacher's life - why they chose teaching, what keeps them in the profession, and how can they make a difference to their students' life (and sometimes, save the life without them realising it).

This book is specially recommended to all teachers but anyone can read this, I assure you. Because, there must be - at least once - in your life, when you had a teacher who really made a difference in your life -- either through their kind and supportive gestures, or perhaps through their never-ending advices and words of wisdom. This is how a reader can relate the stories in this book with their own lived experience.

As for teachers, these stories can be a reminder and perhaps a motivation to reminds us that teaching profession may be tiring and draining out lives out of our mortal being, but it has the most satisfying reward when we know that our students become successful people and remember us.


And I would like to wish all the best to all Cohort 4 members who will begin their practicum starting next week. Teaching may be harsh and tiring but hang in there, dear friends! The ease will definitely come after difficulties.

"Try to see your practicum as a positive experience, only then you'll be able to enjoy it," so said Mr. Harbinder Singh, my supervisor. :')

"O Allah! Teach me what I do not know, and grant me understanding of your Knowledge and Wisdom. Lift up and away any barrier or veil from my chest so that I can better learn and strive to better myself as a better Muslim everyday."