3 Jujur 2012

These are my students from 3 Jujur 2012. Gonna miss this bunch of kids!

3 Amanah 2012

My 3 Amanah kids. They are normally a lot happier!

4 Usaha 2011

Best of luck guys!

5 Murni 2011

I will never forget all of you.

Choral Speaking Team 2012

Champions of Zone H (Pasir Gudang)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This. I like this words so much because I think in is so true. So inspiring for teachers like me. The full quote goes like this:

“The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad... Several future presidents are learning from me today; so are the great writers of the next decades, and so are all the so-called ordinary people who will make the decisions in a democracy. I must never forget these same young people could be the thieves and murderers of the future. Only a teacher? Thank God I have a calling to the greatest profession of all! I must be vigilant every day, lest I lose one fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow.”
― Ivan Welton Fitzwater

Saturday, September 27, 2014

State Level Choral Speaking

We are going to Johor State Level tomorrow (Monday, 29 September 2014) after winning the Pasir Gudang District Level last May. The competition will be held at SK Medini, Nusajaya. We will be performing 'Fun with English'. I just hope the kids enjoy themselves performing, get some good experience and give their best. Do pray for us!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Head Shots of My Students

A couple of years ago I took these head shots of my students from a Year 5 class. Since I haven't posted anything for quite a while on this blog, here they are.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Are You a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" the mother asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why I Become a Teacher

Frankly, I never really wanted to become a teacher. The only time I can remember myself wanting to be a teacher was back in the year 1994 when I was 8 years old. The reason was simple: all my teachers back then smelled nice, and wore awesomely nice dresses. I've had a long list of ambitions after that but becoming a teacher never got a place again in the list. I spent most of my years growing up aspiring to be a doctor, because the way I saw it, the best of students become doctors. So that was what I wanted to be, before I grew up and realized that I never really did want to become a doctor. I wanted only to be the best, I wanted to make my parents proud.

I grew up in poverty. Back then, it was something that I was ashamed of. Now, it makes me grateful. Because of the poverty I had to go through, I am now strengthened from within. I learned to be strong-willed and I don't give up easily. I started earning my own pocket money when I was 9 by selling potato chips at school. I would take orders everyday from my friends and when I go home that day I would pack the chips into small packets according to the orders. I earned 10 cents per packet as commission. The next year when I was 10, I moved to another school in a different state. At this school, I sold stationery. For each item sold, I earned 10 cents. When I was 11, I moved back to my previous school. I learned to make some crafts and quickly realized that I could make money out of that. I started taking orders for bead brooches and trinkets. I also made stickers and sold them. The 'business' was quite flourishing  I earned up to RM50 a month selling those in between lessons at school. This continued until I was in Year 6. 

I sat for my UPSR in 1998. My father lost his job the previous year and he was jobless for several months. Money was tight and debts were mounting. He finally started selling fruits at weekly markets. In the same year, my brother who was studying in an MRSM was sitting for his SPM. As the eldest child at home, I had to help my parents. Since both my parents were out working, I had to cook my own lunch when I got home after school. Sometimes I had to cook for the whole family. During holidays, I had to help them at the markets. I had to do these because we were poor. I had no chance to go to paid tuition classes like some of my friends. The only extra classes that I went to were the ones organized by the PIBG because it was cheaper, even though I had to cycle 3 km to school at night, alone. 

I still remember the first day of the UPSR. My father was about to send me to school with our fruit lorry, which was our only transport. That morning, out of the many mornings that could have been, it broke down. The lorry failed to start. I remember the look on my father's face that morning. He was panicking and worried like never before, but alhamdulillah, after some fixing (and some luck, I guess), he managed to get me to school in time for the exam.

16 November 1998, if I remember correctly, was the day the UPSR results was announced. It was a Monday. The GPK 1 was giving her speech in a school assembly when the GB's car drove in. He got out of the car with a brown envelope in his hand. All our eyes were on him and the GPK stopped her speech to give way for the announcement. The GB walked to the front, put on his glasses and opened the envelope. Five of us got 5A's. He announced the names one by one. I had an indescribable feeling when mine was one of the names announced. It felt like a war won, a dream accomplished, a promise fulfilled. My father cried tears of joy that day.

I got to an MRSM the next year. My father had to borrow money from a lot of people to pay for my expenses and fees. My family spent most of the money we had just to send me there. We were really, really poor. In our home back then, we did not have proper rooms and the water we drank and clean ourselves with came from an old well. My parents are kampung folks. In fact, my father only went to school until Year 6. Even so, he taught me whatever he could and my mother always helped me with my homework. I remember my father being a very fierce Mathematics teacher when I was in Year 2. I always cried during his 'lessons'. But apart from having amazing parents who always put education their top priority, I have to say that I owe my success mainly to the teachers who had taught me all those years in SK Pauh, Perlis. Getting straight A's in UPSR is nothing much now, but I see it as a motivation to kickstart further successes in life.

To Cikgu Sharifah Idziah binti Syed Ismail who taught me Bahasa Melayu in Year 1 Kenanga (1993), Year 2 Seroja (1994) and Year 3 Seroja (1995), to Teacher Noryuzaimah binti Mohd Yunus who taught me English when I was in Year 3 Seroja (1995), Year 4 Seroja (1996), Year 5 Seroja (1997) and Year 6 Seroja (1998), you are huge figures in my life. I have had many good teachers in my life, but the two of you are the most influential. I might not realize it back then, but as I grow older and look back to those innocent years, I could have easily strayed away from the right path without your guidance. You were my strength when I was weak. You were my voice when I couldn't say. You were my eyes when I couldn't see. You saw the best there was in me. You lifted me up when I couldn't reach. You gave me faith and believed in me. I'm everything I am because you loved me. 

Thank you for all your hard work, troubles and time spent in nurturing me as a child. Thank you for guiding me with good examples. Thank you for teaching me values. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for everything. I hope I can teach my students half of the things that both of you had taught me. I hope I can be half of the teachers that both of you are. I hope I can give back to the world what both of you had given me. I hope I can change the lives of others the way you did to mine. You, my teachers, are the reasons why I become a teacher myself.

Year 3 Seroja of 1995

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pedagogi Anak Kelas Hujung

Written by Zul Fikri Zamir. Original article can be obtained here.

“Kami memang orang miskin. Di mata orang kota kemiskinan itu kesalahan. Lupa mereka, lauk yang mereka makan itu kerja kami,”
- Gadis Pantai, Pramoedya Ananta Toer

BADRI paling awal sekali keluar dari program Projek ‘Bedtime Stories’ malam itu. Tanpa disuruh, tatkala melihat kelibat Kak Jihah, dia terus bangkit dan keluar mencari seliparnya. Diikuti Zarul, mereka adalah di antara 6 orang anak-anak Teach For The Needs (TFTN) yang akan menjalani kelas intensif ‘program membaca’ kendalian sukarelawan TFTN.
Di dalam ruang khas ini, mereka sabar menunggu Kak Jiher mengeluarkan pensel, pemadam dan buku Bacalah Sayang milik mereka. Badri (9 tahun) dan Zarul (7 tahun), sudah menunjukkan peningkatan yang memberansangkan.
Kelas intensif ‘program membaca’ ini, diadakan sebanyak dua kali seminggu iaitu pada malam Selasa dan Rabu. Diupayakan sepenuhnya oleh sukarelawan TFTN, tiga mahasiswa dari UiTM Shah Alam iaitu Kak Husna, Kak Jiher dari MSU serta Abang Afiq dari IPG Kampus Ilmu Khas, Cheras.
Bersempena dengan Kempen #TFTNMembaca 2013, TFTN melancarkan ujian saringan literasi terhadap semua anak-anak TFTN di seluruh negara. Dapatan awal kami menunjukkan jumlah yang membimbangkan untuk jumlah anak-anak berumur 5 hingga 16 tahun yang masih belum boleh membaca.
Untuk setiap rumah anak yatim di bawah kelolaan TFTN, data memperlihatkan anak-anak yang masih belum menguasai kemahiran membaca adalah sekitar 10%.

Musim Peperiksaan
Masalah utama sistem pendidikan konvensional yang kita semua anuti kini adalah apabila kita mengamalkan sistem penilaian seragam untuk semua murid untuk menilai aspek intelek semata-mata. Beberapa minggu yang lalu, peperiksaan UPSR untuk menilai pelajar tahun 6 yang berumur 12 tahun baru sahaja selesai.
Menyambung musim peperiksaan ini adalah peperiksaan PMR pula untuk menguji pelajar tingkatan 3 yang berumur 15 tahun. Menyusul sehingga ke hujung tahun adalah peperiksaan SPM untuk menguji pelajar Tingkatan 5 yang berumur 17 tahun.
Malangnya, untuk anak-anak seperti Badri ataupun Zarul, apakah harapan mereka untuk peperiksaan seperti ini? Apakah anak-anak kelas corot ini, yang mendiami rumah-rumah anak yatim sepanjang tahun serta tidak punya keluarga untuk menyemak kerja rumah mereka, dapat bersaing dengan anak-anak dari kelas lain yang sepanjang malam menghadiri kelas tambahan, menghabiskan berbakul-bakul set soalan tahun lepas serta mengulangkaji melalui siri televisyen Astro Tutor TV?
Anak-anak ini bukan sahaja ketinggalan dari aspek fizikal iaitu sumber kewangan yang terhad, ketiadaan buku latihan, malah lebih menyukarkan mereka ketinggalan dari aspek psikologi dan kasih sayang. Untuk sebahagian besar anak-anak ini, asrama adalah dunia mereka 24 jam 7 hari seminggu.

Di mana Falsafah Pendidikan Negara?
Ketika inilah lahirnya soalan; di manakah Falsafah Pendidikan Negara (FPN) ketika anak-anak seperti Badri dan Zarul di seluruh negara memerlukannya?
Oleh yang demikian ada baiknya kita baca semula Falsafah Pendidikan Negara yang berbunyi;
“Pendidikan di Malaysia adalah satu usaha berterusan ke arah memperkembangankan lagi potensi individu secara menyeluruh dan bersepadu untuk mewujudkan insan yang seimbang dan harmonis dari segi intelek, rohani, emosi, dan jasmani berdasarkan kepada kepercayaan dan kepatuhan kepada Tuhan.  Usaha ini adalah bagi melahirkan rakyat Malaysia yang berilmu, bertanggungjawab dan berkeupayaan mencapai kesejahteraan diri serta memberi sumbangan terhadap keharmonian dan kemakmuran masyarakat dan negara. “ 
Untuk memudahkan kita memahami falsafah ini, secara ringkasnya FPN menggariskan item Jasmani, Emosi, Rohani, Intelek dan Sosial serta meletakkan kayu ukur seimbang  kesemua item tersebut di hujung pendidikan. Bacaan semula falsafah ini amat penting untuk memahami corak pendidikan yang sedang kita jalani kini, hala tuju serta ideologi yang menggerakkan keseluruhan sistem yang menyokong di belakang gerak kerja Kementerian Pelajaran.
Berbeza, falsafah pendidikan negara Jepun menekankan item ‘kejujuran’, falsafah pendidikan Korea Selatan yang pro-Cofucianism menekankan ‘kerja keras’, manakala falsafah pendidikan Finland menekankan ‘pedagogi yang berkesan’ atau ‘pedagogical autonomy’.

Cinta, Cinta dan Cinta
Kisah Badri dan Zarul bukan hanya cebisan dua kisah sahaja. Di seluruh negara, terdapat ribuan rumah-rumah anak yatim yang menempatkan puluhan ribu samada anak yatim atau anak dari keluarga miskin yang nasib mereka di sekolah hanyalah di kelas-kelas corot.
Begitu juga golongan marginal yang lain seperti anak-anak pedalaman di Sabah dan Sarawak serta anak-anak orang asli di penempatan orang asli. Anak-anak ini hadir ke sekolah dengan niat yang suci untuk belajar dan menimba ilmu pengetahuan, tetapi kemudiannya menjadi mangsa kepada sistem. Lebih mencengangkan, jumlah anak-anak ini begitu ramai sekali kerana sistem sedia ada hanya memberi perhatian dan pengiktirafan kepada anak-anak yang cemerlang, bukannya menghargai setiap individu dengan keupayaan mereka.
Ini mengakibatkan dua teres strata wujud dalam keadaan tidak kita sedari. Di satu hujung, wujudnya kelompok dari golongan cemerlang yang dirai dan disukai oleh masyarakat, manakala di satu hujung lagi wujud kelompok dari kelas corot yang dibenci oleh masyarakat. Ketika kita berbangga dengan keputusan anak-anak cemerlang dan memuji-muji mereka dengan pujian seperti rajin dan bijak, kita sergah anak-anak kelas corot dengan makian seperti pemalas dan bodoh.
Hakikatnya, kedua golongan ini bersaing di dalam sebuah sistem yang sama sekali tidak adil dan rata buat mereka. Jelas sekali, yang kita perlukan kini adalah Cinta, Cinta dan Cinta. Jika kita ajarkan anak-anak kita erti Cinta, dan bagaimana kemanusiaan ini dengan Cinta, sudah pasti anak-anak kita kini tidak akan tegar meninggalkan rakan-rakan mereka yang tidak benasib baik terkontang-kanting di kelas corot.
Untuk anak seperti Badri dan Zarul, sekolah kini bukan lagi tempat untuk mengajarkan mereka tentang dunia, tetapi sebuah penjara yang perlu dihadiri setiap hari kerana hukumnya begitu. Jika benar sekolah adalah tempat untuk mengajarkan mereka apa yang benar dan apa yang salah, mengapa anak-anak ini masih kekal di kelas hujung dan corot?

Pedagogi Anak Kelas Hujung
Dalam sejarah pendidikan, satu-satunya pedagogi yang akan diingati kerana memihak kepada kaum tertindas adalah tulisan Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Freire menegaskan, pelan-pelan pendidikan di akhirnya akan menyumbang kepada penyisihan terhadap golongan marginal dan tertindas ini.
Berbeza sekali dengan konsep pendidikan itu sendiri iaitu pembebasan, sistem dan konsep pendidikan zaman ini tidak membantu masyarakat keluar dari stereotaip golongan ‘penindas dan tertindas’. Melalui tulisannya juga Freire menegaskan pendidikan itu sendiri adalah sebuah tindakan ‘Cinta’, bahawa pendidik haruslah bertindak atas nama ‘Cinta’ serta fokus untuk menyiapkan dunia yang penuh ‘Cinta’.
Lebih ekstrim, Ivan Illich di dalam Deschooling Society menegaskan;
“Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being “with it,” yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.”
Illich kemudian membayangkan bahawa manusia belajar lebih banyak daripada pengalaman seharian daripada ketika duduk di sekolah;
“A…major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives.
Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction. Normal children learn their first language casually, although faster if their parents pay attention to them. Most people who learn a second language well do so as a result of odd circumstances and not of sequential teaching. They go to live with their grandparents, they travel, or they fall in love with a foreigner. Fluency in reading is also more often than not a result of such extracurricular activities. Most people who read widely, and with pleasure, merely believe that they learned to do so in school; when challenged, they easily discard this illusion.”
Masa depan bergerak, teknologi semakin pantas dan dunia menjadi semakin kecil, tetapi sesi pengajaran dan pembelajaran anak-anak kelas hujung ini masih seperti 30 tahun yang lalu. Sistem nampaknya tidak berubah walaupun iPhone kini menggunakan iOS7. Pelan-pelan pendidikan mahupun pedagogi sedia ada nampaknya tidak mampu membantu anak-anak kelas hujung seperti Badri dan Zarul.
Guru perlu mengajar kerana Cinta anak bangsa dan keinginan untuk melihat mereka berubah dan keluar dari lingkaran kemiskinan, bukan kerana perlu menghabiskan silibus. Anak-anak perlu diajar untuk Cinta  ilmu agar kelak mereka mampu mengubah diri dan keluarga mereka. Negara perlu membaca semula falsafah pendidikan nasional agar nasib anak-anak seperti Badri dan Zarul tidak tersisih seperti mana mereka di dalam sistem sedia ada.
Berhadapan dengan kerumitan sistem yang tidak stabil, politiko-sosio yang kecamuk dan krisis identiti nasional yang mendalam seperti hari ini, hanya ada satu pilihan di tangan kita iaitu dengan meletakkan Cinta di hadapan sebagai falsafah dan pedagogi – terutamanya untuk anak-anak kelas hujung.
Lebih besar tanggungjawab kita pada hari ini adalah untuk memahamkan anak-anak kelas hujung; mengapa sekolah perlu untuk mereka – serta bagaimana sekolah berfungsi sebagai alat pendidikan untuk membantu mereka menjadi manusia pada masa depan.

“The pupil is thereby ‘schooled’ to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is ‘schooled’ to accept service in place of value.”
- Ivan Illich

Monday, August 19, 2013

Losing Big on Small Mistakes

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