Sunday, January 26, 2014

Of love and hope

The past few days at school has been tough. Especially on Thursday when I entered two classes,which 11 out of 32 students were absent. I wondered if there's a special occasion that day,but couldn't think of any.There are only 9 souls at the beginning of the class, 7 skipped the class and the rest were late to come in. How on earth am I going to conduct the lesson? We then had group activity and did some revision.

Again, I have to gave them warning and send them to the PK. I don't like to nag and I hate to scold them over and over again. But still, they said ''Ala, tak sakit pun kena rotan,cikgu'' -.- They had gone through the consequences several times and it didn't mean anything anymore. I really wanted them to know what they did wrong and how it can affect themselves in the future. Thus, I need to find another strategy that didn't involves 'the magic stick'.

Today, right after the last lesson ended,a girl from the next class approached me. She was the same student who came to me earlier last week and admitted that she skipped my class on purpose. She promised not to repeat it again. Today she said she wasn't in my class again last week. I have my straight face and about to give her a final warning,but managed to hold it in. I asked her.''Why?'' and she humbly told me '' My mom passed away on Thursday. She suffered from stroke and paralyzed since I was 10.'' I was genuinely touched and wasn't expecting that answer. We had a short pep talk to inject determination in her. At the end,I saw tears welled in her eyes and she said '' Kalau ada apa-apa yang saya nak share or tak faham dalam kelas, boleh sentiasa cari cikgu kan?'' ''Yes dear, always.''I replied. Husna is one strong-hearted girl.

You're strong hearted when you don't give up, you fight for what you believe is right, your not intimidated, and you let nothing get in your way. I am the one who need the motivation at the moment. Today I've learned from her more than she has learned from me.

p/s Inspiring words fromy former lecturer, Prof Siti Nubailah. :)

Trials and Challenges

One of three incidents and trials this week,which happened in 24-hour time frame.
(1) My 20-year-old cousin has passed away on Wednesday. He was found drowned in a river. The boy brought home some fishes and asked his mom to cook him 'gulai ikan' but never come back since then. I visited my aunt and already have some encouraging words to say to her,but then I was speechless and all I did was to hug her tightly.

Innalillahiwainnailahiraji'un. Allah lebih menyayangi dia. Dan sesungguhnya kematian sebaik-baik peringatan. Bergetar hati-hati ini. Setiap yang bernyawa pasti akan menemui kematian.

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud: “Dan (tiap-tiap) makhluk yang bernyawa tidak akan mati melainkan dengan izin Allah, iaitu ketetapan (ajal) yang tertentu masanya (yang telah ditetapkan oleh Allah). Dan (dengan yang demikian) sesiapa yang mengehendaki balasan dunia, kami berikan bahagiannya daripada balasan dunia itu dan sesiapa yang mengehendaki balasan akhirat, kami berikan bahagiannya daripada balasan akhirat itu dan Kami pula akan beri balasan pahala kepada orang-orang yang bersyukur. (Surah Ali Imran, ayat 145)

On Thursday,we're having a majlis tahlil at the mosque near my aunt's house area. I was late and while rushed into the mosque, I bumped into two little boys playing outside. I'm not sure what was on my mind at the moment,but I quickly put my bag and joined them. After the prayer, some of the women realized their handbags went missing. Looked for mine but yes, I share the same fate too. 

It was the only night I didn't put my handbag up front while praying. Silly me.
It was the only night I put all my valuables in one bag.
It was the only night my dad asked me to keep his wallet, hoping it will be safe under my supervision.
It was the only night I put two smartphones and all kind of cards (and all of mom's bank cards too) in the bag.

The kid said there's a white car came and a guy sneaked into the women prayer side and stole the handbags. He threatened the kid to stay silent. And they just vanished in the dark.

After I made the police report at the IPD, the Sergeant asked me a few times,''Are you sure your total loss is this much?'' -.-' Another Indian police officer said,'' Dah banyak kes macam ni,orang sekarang dah tak takut Tuhan''.

Mom keep repeating ''Who would carry a nice handbag to the mosque anyway?'' ''Kak,kak kat Malaysia sekarang, kena berjaga-jaga''. She's implying 'Please be extra careful, increase your sense of insecurity to level 900''. Now I'm in the midst of renewing important documents and SIM card. Sorry if you can't reach me at the moment.

Allah bagi ujian ambil sikit harta dunia, baru manusia belajar erti syukur 

Of Class Rules

Officially a Math teacher with a little sense of art and expected to be physically fit.

I walked into my Art class yesterday.

A girl asked "Eh cikgu ganti kelas ni ka?"

"No", I replied. "I teach Art"

"Cikgu kan ajaq PJK? Wah serba boleh cikgu ni"

"You bet." Padahal dah tunggang terbalik jugak nak cover 200 students.

Shoutout to my mom(my first teacher),all my primary and secondary teachers, beloved lecturers and people who taught me even a single life lesson. Salute. May Allah bless you,always and forevermore.

math is a verb

I've been cracking my head to come out with fun-but-purposeful-effective activities in my class. I'm teaching 3 math classes of Form 4 kids.
After a class today, two students stayed back during recess and asked me to teach them again on statistics.
So I went through the worksheet with them and go through step by step. I gave some real-life situations so that they can relate to the topic better.

me: Okay, jadi untuk dapatkan sempadan bawah untuk selang kelas ni, kamu kena bahagi dua. 39 bahagi dua.
him : tapi..
me : awat?
him : saya tak tau bahagi cikgu.

*2-seconds pause*my thought was ''Brace yourself, education inequity is REAL. This is why I'm here for.''

me : takpa,jom kita belajaq sifir dan bahagi. mulai hari ni, kamu jumpa cikgu waktu rehat.
Thus my aim would be at least 2 students in each of my aspiring classes will show incremental growth in basic mathematical operations by the end of this month.

LEARN-and never stop learning


Story 1
So my first in school went well. At least I survived.
I went to school this week clueless. Luckily, the school admin and teachers are super helpful and supportive.
This morning I have to give a motivational speech during Form4 orientation. Kinda my first. They didn't let us know beforehand. So I guess in the future I should have my keypoints ready just in case.
I love the fact that I can share my personal stories with them to connect with the students.
I used to fail one or two subjects too in my school years too, just like them.
I am from a small  town too, just like them.
The key is never stop learning, from our own mistakes and others.
It's such a perfect time for me to do little great things in my own community.

Story 2
I went to several classes during Form5 registration day and Form4 orientation. The first question they always asked was "Is this the last class teacher?". 

In this context,there are 12 classes in each form.

I stressed my point that there's no difference between classes. You guys can succeed too,one way or another. I believe in each and every one of you.

"No, I don't differentiate among classes.There's no 'kelas pandai' or 'kelas kurang pandai'."

Total silence.

One of the boys shouted 'Terima kasih cikgu! (for saying that)" 

The best 'thank you' I ever had. 

5 Things I Have Learned in Teach For Malaysia Journey

1.      Diversity
I actually love the diversity we have in the fellowship. We are all from diverse background and expertise. We are not only different in terms of gender, race, religion and academic background; we are also have different perspective in life. My upbringing and cultural setting affects my perception to the world and people surrounding me. Everyone has their own perception in viewing the world and themselves and this contribute to the diversity.

Each individual see things in different ways. For example, “LIFEISNOWHERE” can be interpreted as “Life Is Now Here” or “Life Is No Where”. It really depends on individuals to look at it as positive or negative view.

Another example, there’s one old lady on the roadside who wants to cross the road. She is holding a walking stick and looking unsure to cross the busy road. You as a citizen with big heart helped her to cross the road, walked with in every step until both of you reach the other side of the road. You can see the lady here as ‘ A blind old Chinese lady’ or ‘ A Lady Who Need My Help’.

I met a friend here who is cheerful and his presence always brightens up the room. He seems to be the happiest person on earth. We assume he has no trouble in his life and had it easy. Little that we know he came from a struggling family, her mother only earned RM600 a month to support the family. His mom did terrific job making sure all her children go to university and lead a good life.

Each people have different perspectives and life maps. Our first impressions are not necessarily true. We could have never assumed what each people had gone through because we did not walk miles in their moccasins. That is the beauty of life that we can treasure.

2. Hope

Why Do I Teach For Malaysia?

I probably have this quest coming my way hundreds time already.

Here it goes:

I Teach For Malaysia because I want to give sustainable impact to the unfortunate children and create a better life trajectory for them. I teach because I CARE. I am in the fellowship because I want to challenge myself and grow personally & professionally. I chose the road less traveled. 

I believe there is hope for every child to attain excellent education. I hope there’s no more 16-year-old who is illiterate and no one telling her she can be a better version of herself.

3.      Humanity and Forgiveness

We had a-day visit to Kajang Prison School. Despite of knowing they must have different life stories on how they end up in the facility, to chat with them personally still causes a heartbreak moment. I salute their optimism. Some of them are sitting for SPM and will have a Majlis Restu Ilmu the next day. The young offenders I talked to are very passionate in the class sessions. They absolutely love the teachers who put so much trust and haven't lose hope on them. Thus, they appreciate the second chance given which might have been better than the situation they have gone through outside. They've come to the realizations that no matter what their peers are doing/asking them to do, they have the final say to decide. Watch what you're doing and know the CONSEQUENCES of their actions. Some wish their family/teachers have told them that.
 To live is to love, to serve, to forgive. Love the One, love and serve humanity. To learn to love oneself and to love is to learn to forgive.

4.      Moving Out of Comfort Zone

So we actually went to Pasar Besar Bentong this morning recruiting for kem SKORlah. It is a FREE Math & English tuition class for Form1-Form4 students during this coming school holiday. The classes will be held in SMK Ketari and SMK Kuala Repas. I have no idea where the schools are but it will be like 20-30mins away from our resort. I really enjoyed it. I never imagined I have to be a salesperson promoting to random people in the weekend market.  I always hate the salesgirl promoting products when I am trying to buy my favorites in a supermarket. It is a new experience to find your random-but-highly-potential customers. I tried to introduce myself in the friendliest way possible (shake hand/salam with the aunties). How did they responded to it? Pretty good. I think they liked me. *haha* Pitch for several minutes, Stress on the keywords( FREE and breakfast/lunch provided etc.) and able to get 3 signatures from the parents. I aim to get 10 *too ambitious, I know*, talked to about 15 people (parents and teenagers), and managed to get 3 successful registration for the tuition classes. Some of them already registered,some of them only have small kids and some have limited access to the tuition schools.

5.      Learn by Doing

We have a chance to meet Dato’ Seri Idris Jala. He told us inspiring stories about special teachers who made a difference in his life. He is from rural are in Sarawak and one of few successful people to go to university from his clan. I still remember his words about making a difference in the most difficult situation. Imagine you are holding torchlight and shed some light into the darkest room.  The light give others hope when they think there is none. Similarly, if we want to be a transformational leader, go to the most difficult situation and make a difference there. It will be a blessing to touch the hearts of others in need.