What’s Next? Education


Now that they’ve completed their two years in the Fellowship, what comes next for Teach For Malaysia’s first cohort of alumni? Khoo Tze Jian tells us about the next step in her journey as a lecturer at Sunway University.

Khoo Tze Jien, TFM Alumni ’12

What is the position you’ll be taking on after the Fellowship?
Next year, I will be taking on the position of lecturer at Sunway University. Not sure what I’ll be teaching yet, but it will be one of the courses in the English Department.

What made you decide on this particular pathway after the Fellowship?
This was not a pathway I had previously considered before the opportunity presented itself through TFM’s alumni team. I still want to teach, but I am also looking for some new challenges and experiences. This pathway fits.

Was this your plan when you began the Fellowship? If not, what was? How did things change as you progressed through the 2 years?
No. When I began the Fellowship, my plans for Post-Fellowship were:

a. Pursue a PhD.

b. Teach English abroad, preferably in a truly foreign culture.

I’ve always been ready to switch directions if a different but interesting opportunity presents itself. For example, TFM was certainly not what I thought I’d be doing 2 years ago. If I had to name one takeaway which may have influenced my decision, it would be ‘I still have a lot to learn in Malaysia about Malaysia’.

How do you think being part of Teach For Malaysia helped prepare you for this role? What skills do you think you gained from the classroom that will give you an edge in this position?
Teaching experience. Perspective. Optimism. Patience. Flexibility.

How do you think you’ll be able to further the cause of ending education inequity in this position?
This is probably a stepping stone in my development. In the future, I hope to be involved in teacher training because I believe that improving the quality of teachers will directly improve the quality of education.

What will you miss most about being a teacher in a high need school?
Interacting with the students and seeing them grow and mature before my eyes. My biggest high is summed up by a student’s name – ‘Fairus’.  Last year, he was the moody reserved boy sitting in the corner. He rarely had his books, and when he did do any work, it was sloppy and half-hearted. This year, he reads English books and stays after school to give oral book reports. He struggles with pronunciation and vocabulary, but always tries to speak to me in English. He is an active member in my Choral Speaking team and volunteers for solo parts. Interacting with him is the best morale booster ever.