“I wanted to leave my career as a journalist in the New Straits Times to dive head first into becoming a Fellow. I wanted to give up the job – despite loving and thriving at it – because I knew I wanted to make a change in the education system in Malaysia.
But a year out from planning to do that, I was still there: never having stepped foot in a classroom, never having gotten to know a single student, never having made any sort of change.
I had failed the physical component of the UKCG – a test set out by the Ministry of Education needed to become a teacher – so I had never even gotten to start on my Fellowship journey.
I had to wait another year to try again and I couldn’t help but feel a little demotivated. (Should I even leave all that I have behind? Will all this be worth it? What if I fail again?) But deep down I knew that I still wanted to do it.
I knew – after reading, seeing and experiencing the real-life change that TFM Fellows brought – that being a part of this was important to me. I knew that having the opportunity to empower the younger generation – inspiring them to dream big and build the nation – was something that was invaluable. I knew that creating a space where students could feel safe to fail and learn made all the difference in their schooling lives and beyond.
So I decided to persevere.
I trained and fought the battlefield in my mind, building grit and a support system along the way: with my peers, forming a loving sense of camaraderie- pushing and motivating me; TFM employees, regularly checking up on me, easing any apprehensions; and my family, showering me with affirmations.
It was months of pushing through before I finally managed to pass the test and months more before being placed as a teacher in a school. But after a year-long deferral, I had made it.
There are moments when I catch myself wondering if all that persistence I put in was worth it. A year of my life spent challenge after challenge, only to be faced with more challenges, navigating the challenges of leading a classroom. But now, after experiencing what it means to be a Fellow first-hand, I know for a fact that it was worth it.
I was right to have been so sure about joining this movement and I was right about Fellows truly making an impact. So all those hours of trying and struggling- they were tough- but they were also definitely more than worth it.”
Beatrice Nita Jay is a Fellow from the 2020 cohort. She persevered with the Fellowship because she knew that it was important to her in making a difference. Join our Fellows to impact the lives of students across Malaysia too. Apply now at teachformalaysia.org/apply.