Ask a Fellow: Part 1
Before the recent Chinese New Year break, we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter if they had any questions for the Fellows. We received a great response and as promised, these are the compiled answers to part one of your questions, courtesy of the Fellows.
Is there hope to change the education system in YOUR school?
“Yes, but not overnight. Patience and persistence are what we need. As a new teacher, convincing others of my methods may not be easy. My approach is just to do it and let action speaks louder than words.”
“There certainly is. The principal and the teachers have generally been very supportive in programs that attempt to increase the students’ performance. This shows that they have the right attitude and the will to help the students.”
What type of assistance would you need now, to allow you to be more effective as an Educator and Mentor?
“I would definitely need more guidance and support from Teach For Malaysia in terms of resources like training and updates on what’s the best way of teaching in tough environments. I would also need youths or young professionals to volunteer from the outside world. To have the volunteers come and spend time on our kids will accelerate their learning speed and these injections from the outside world will broaden their sense of possibility and narrow view of life. That would definitely project my teaching in classrooms to a different level.”
What’s the biggest challenge trying to teach your kids at school?
“The biggest challenge is trying to teach the importance of education (more importantly English) to my kids. I teach in a rural school where students come from poor backgrounds, where parents are still farmers and fishermen. I have some kids who don’t see the need to learn because they ‘know’ that they will remain in their area and that they will take over their families’ businesses. English and even Bahasa Malaysia are seen as ‘useless’ to learn. I also have kids who have difficulty in learning and get easily frustrated when they cannot grasp a concept. Over time, they too do not see the importance of education and do not want to try. In class, I’m not only dealing with trying to have kids invested in English but with education as a whole.”
“The language barrier. There are students who can’t understand English and Bahasa Malaysia at all, which makes it that much harder for them to understand the syllabus.”
What was the one thing you wish you knew before you stepped into the classroom as a teacher?
“I wish I knew the names of my students. Memorising names is not my talent. I also wish I knew more about the kids, their backgrounds, their end of year exam results – so that I could use this to better communicate with them.”
Do any students came up to you during recess?
“Yes they do! They greet me and say hi to me. Some even ask me if I have had lunch/breakfast.”
“Yes, some do, after I’ve invested a bit in them.”
“I still find myself chasing after them :P”
How exactly does a teacher’s workload affect the effectiveness of Teaching and Learning in the classroom?
“Apart from the usual paperwork and co-curricular activities, some of us are also involved in teacher organisations. All of these can take up quite a bit of lesson planning time.
Stay tuned for part two! And to be part of our 2013 cohort, click here to apply.