Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bitter-Sweet Memories (Part 1)

12 weeks was not that long, as most people say. That was the total time allocated to me for my practicum, and I think it's long enough for me (I believe you know the reason why. It's not my passion to teach.) and I am deeply grateful that I survived with minor injuries (emotionally abused due to a few unwanted occasions. Hehs.) During that period, I was expected to carry the duty of a real teacher. I was given a rumah sukan (yellow--temenggung), I've become the guru penasihat for Taekwando (hahaha. shut up.) I was appointed to become guru penasihat for Kelab Seni Kreatif (impressive eh) as well as the guru penasihat for Ping Pong Club. I was assigned to the afternoon session; so hooray, God blessed me! I am never a morning person. I thought I didn't have to wake up early in the morning but I was wrong since I had to come to school early everyday as I was honored to train the choral speakers. And yes, I also had to come at 8.00a.m every Tuesday for sports' practice. I was given 10 periods of teaching per week and 4 to 5 periods for relief classes, everyday. (pembuli sungguh T__T) One period equals to 35 minutes. I was at school from 7a.m to 7p.m  on the first day of the orientation week (due to misunderstanding of the school and the faculty, they didn't let us know that we're assigned to the afternoon session and so we had to stay back until the school ends that day, and for the very first day, I was given 5 relief classes and I was lost. And my first week of entering relief classes was suck. Really. I don't want to go into detail for that. So basically, during that 12 weeks of time, my life was dedicated to school. (Oh I sounded too dedicated. *PUKE*)
So for this entry, I'd like to share some of my bitter-sweet moments in school. I hope this post will inspire those who would go to school for practicum and will refresh the memories to those who had been in school as a trainee teacher. Things that I've experienced were not that bad, anyway. You can have so much fun with your students. Try to get along with them and be part of them, you're going to get their trust and blend in, believe me.

I was assigned to two different classes; one of a class which consists of very advanced students, and another one is of mixed ability students. People say it'd be easier teaching advanced students but I think both advanced and intermediate offer their own challenges. I would say I am not that advanced user of English Language, I would rather rank myself in the middle stage where as English is not my everyday language; it's still a second language to me. I mean I don't speak English at home, I rarely converse in English with my friends outside the faculty (or should I say class?) though we have tried it trillion times and the attempts were at success for ten minutes, the most, and the only time I use English is when interacting in blog and facebook (other than in class, during presentation, with lecturers.) So, when I had a class of advanced students, it's sort of a torture to me, considering that they are all competent and fluent (they would rather use "conspicuous" than "obvious" in their everyday conversation for instance. There's nothing wrong with it, I swear. But can't you see where they are at and they're only thirteen?) and rich (this maybe a bit off topic since it's not applied to my students but there are form one students who come to school carrying an original LV I tell you for God's sake. I know I should not bother that but I can't help myself. The principal too, had warned us the trainee to be careful with our words, our instructions and all that as she didn't want us to get into trouble when it comes to dealing with the rich parents.The thought was bothering me all the time.) which had made me feel tiny and a bit inferior. I am big small at heart. I infact lost my competency during the first few weeks due to my lack of confidence (and preparations. My bad.) Other than that, I had no problem with them, (except for one student who purposely neglected the tasks I'd assigned and she had a hard time when I had to collect their books for the principal to check.) they were in control, they were very cooperative (this includes the "acting" session when my lecturer came in for his observations. I should thank them for that.)

For my mixed class (I would rather term them as intermediate) I had different problem. I had students with good command of English as well as students who failed miserably in their UPSR. And I even had students from remove class; they're quite a number which I only got to know when the first few weeks had past which made me feel so bad for not knowing at the very first place. (And oh I forgot to mention that I taught only form one classes since the school were lacking in lower-forms teachers.) So everytime I enter the class, I'll have students who stare blankly at me while I am speaking. There was one time, a few female students asked me "Cikgu, Cikgu ni orang apa?" and I was shocked to get that curious look and weird question at the same time. "Cikgu ni orang putih eh?", they asked me again, curiously. I asked them why and guess what they said? "Yelah, Cikgu cakap Bahasa Inggeris, ingatkan Cikgu ni orang putih. Kenapa Cikgu ni asyik cakap Bahasa Inggeris je?" Can you imagine that? And during my first week entering the class, I got chinese students speaking Mandarin to me (There were only seven Malays in that class over 36 students. And I still had students speaking chinese to me, just to piss me off throughout the 12 weeks. Never did I take it too serious as I view them as immature little brothers and sisters though sometimes I feel like speaking Arabic to them just to make them feel how I feel but that would be too bad; for bullying the kids. I would feel bad for that. Out of it, I've learnt several phrases in Mandarin. Cool, isn't it?) I was so worried that that class has a huge gap in proficiency level. Therefore, I had to go for intermediate tasks and extra attention were given to those weak students. I had to translate back in Malay, for the Malays, and asked the good ones to help me translate the task in Mandarin, for the Chinese. And the instruction would always be written on the whiteboard too. But still I have to bear with the fact that there will always be questions like "Teacher, what to do?" or "Teacher, need to copy eh?" or "Teacher, need to pass up today?" and the most favorite question which is "Teacher, what book?" (this question seemed to be a curse, not only to me, but to all my friends who did their practicum in other schools as well. It never fails to depress me.) though I had stated clearly "BOOK 3", "Topic: Present Tense", "Task 1: Copy down the passage in your Book 3 and fill in the blanks with the words given in the box" I also draw the box with Present Tense words in it followed by the passage. And don't be surprise that there were students who asked " Teacher, what box?" And there were also students who passed up the wrong book and you got everything all mixed up together in the wrong book. Worse, some would just copy everything without knowing what to do and when I asked they said they're done, and when they passed up, I got only a beautifully written pasage without the answer, and some didn't even bother to pass up. So I had to go observe everyone in the class, whether they're doing right or not. And it is so very crucial to repeat your instructions over and over again (or in other words to repeat back everything) just so they remember and stay in track. And sometimes you might need to refine and simplify the instructions and tasks and go step-by-step of everything with them. I wonder why is it really difficult for kids nowadays to follow orders from teacher. Unlike my fellow muzaffarians and I, we were obidient, we really listened to teachers. (eceh. But seriously, we did. Nakal-nakal sikit tu adalah but still we're in control and we know the limit. Students nowadays are totally different. Especially the upper form students. Bukanlah semua but most of them are. I am writing based on my observation.) So everytime I had hard times with my students, be it students from my classes as well as students of the relief classes, I would always try to recall back whether or not I had behaved in such manner to my teachers back in school and I believe (as far as I am concerned, second by the boifren as well :P ) I did not. So I always say to myself "This is not KARMA. I was not that bad in school. This is just a test from God" to enable me to breath in and out again :P 

The good thing to have facebook nowadays is that you could get to know your students and their social activities and backrounds. And they get to know you better too. Generally, I allow my students to be friend with me in that social network and I keep only one account as I want them to treat me as their friends, so there will be no big gap between us. There are good and bad consequence of course. The good thing is that I was aware of their emotion, of what's going on in their life, and some of them seek for my advice upon certain issues. I feel honored as I am trusted for that matter. But the bad thing, they might go beyond your expectation as they feel like they're so close to you. Some of my students did invite me to join their hangouts with their boyfriends. "Teacher, we're going out this Sunday. Would you like to join? We're coming with our (form three and form four) boyfriends. We gonna watch movie. Teacher let's join us at _____ at _____ a.m on Sunday. Please bring along your boyfriend, we'd like to know him. Abg ____ kan teacher?" I have absolutely no problem with that as a person, I am infact in a relationship at the moment and personally, I think it's good to go hangout with them sometimes but to look at it from a teacher's perspective, I should not encourage them to get involve in a relationship at this age, I should advise them to stay focus on studies. They're only thirteen. It's a looooooong way to go for that. But I don't want to spoil the moment, sound old and uncool at the same time. Haha. So I had to decline, saying that I had to attend class, please not to forget the homeworks, and please behave. Sorry I lied. But I hope I'd given the right advice.

Guess those are some of my experience that I manage to share here for this entry. (I have a lot more :P but can't tell it in a go. I'll try to find time to write OK :) )No doubt, the teaching and learning session was tiring (and I think if I got paid for that, mesti berkat punya. Because all the time allocated for classes was used efficiently to the fullest. Hehs.) A teacher has an endless duty. Those who have never experienced being in school as teacher would not understand the suffering and the workloads a teacher had to face. Apart from teaching, teachers have tons of other things to do from curricular activities to even clerical jobs and sometimes I feel that those are ridiculous. I've experienced joining in a few big events like the PTA's meeting and it was miserable I would say. Therefore, to be a teacher, one needs the passion and deep interest, otherwise, you won't survive. And here, I'd like to take the oportunity to wish all teachers in the world Happy Teacher's Day. (Errr...I hope it's not too late :P )

So, to think back, those hardships I faced (which had made me freaked myself out and burst into tears then) would make me smile now because I could not believe I had gone through such experience and I survived and it's kind of funny to reminisce and it's a worth try, considering that I've got to get-to-know and work with great people (well, some were not.) in a real school environment. It was a wonderful experience.

[p/s: Thank you Mr. Love for being by my side at all times, listening to my blab everyday, comforting me and advising me not to kill myself because I'm still young and beautiful (joke joke) and the girlfriends especially teacher Yuyu from Bandar Utama Damansara 4, teacher Dib dari Convent Klang and teacher Amalina from Tropicana for sharing the experience (and lesson plans. haha.) to make me sane and feel good again (because we're all sharing quite same experience so techniquely we understand each other.) Million thank you goes to my parents too who supported me financially (all expenses are on myself so they're my source, encik boifren ada membantu juga. wee.) and emotionally. Terima kasih juga kepada kakak Idayu saya yang banyak berkorban *hugs* untuk spoilt not-so-little-anymore cousin ini. Eheh. Thank you. I'm blessed to be surrounded by nice people and grateful for that :) ]


que said...

boooo... selamat pagi cikgu....

fitriah said...

k.syiro, i'm scared!i'm not ready. i'm not prepared. mentally, emotionally, physically. :(

SyAhiRah LaLAla said...

que: hah ni anak murid cepat belanja (duit gaji) sempena hari guru untuk kakak sepupu *yeay*

fitriah: u'd better be ready. eheh *buat muka evil kasi fitt takut* all u need is confidence. tp tcer fitriah adalah guru cemerlang. tak perlu risau,,pasti boleh punya ;)
fitt dpt sekolah mana? kerie?

nur said...

uuh,,rindu syahirah menulis,,:)

*terasa dihargailah,,tq2!!*
-hugsnkissestoo dearie-:)

mineral oil said...

u r welcome.thanks to u too dear!!!!muahmuah:)

SyAhiRah LaLAla said...

nur n mineral oil: friends forever ok? :-*