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Hi, everyone! I have finally managed to write something. I hope 2017 will bring many great things for all of us!
-TM, 2nd February 2017

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3: 17 Days to Go (Guess with what intonation this is said)

08.15 am, SKP Computer Lab
17 Days to go, not including today. I’m starting to count down the days for ROS to be over. I wish and wish that I wouldn’t do this, but I feel so helpless not knowing what to do. Today I brought my laptop with me, so that I’d have something to do instead of just moping around, sms’ing my friends (who are also facing the same dilemma of not knowing what to do) and staring at the computer screen in front of me and adjusting my tudung until I have to force myself to stop for fear of becoming vain.

Every few minutes I usually ask any teacher who happens to be there at the moment (which is usually Kak Zah, the teacher in charge of the computer lab) if she needs any help, but as of today, there is nothing that I can do. However, I have received an assignment; a memo to relieve a class. 4 Nilam! This is the third time I’m entering their class, and I still can’t remember their names… I have to start working hard to remember, because I hate the thought of the children finding out my weakness in this. Bother, bother!

10.39 am, SKP Computer Lab
17 Days to go? How fast… hehe. Yes, I’m starting to change my thoughts about ROS. I know it’s too early to predict, but the children are starting to warm up to me, and I feel a lot better about the whole thing. Just now I took 4 Nilam (apparently the teacher whose classes I replaced yesterday is having her PJJ a.k.a. Pengajian Jarak Jauh or Long Distance Learning exam), and this time when they saw me, they started saying, “Ustazah dah sampai!” Hehe. Yup, suddenly I’ve been crowned Ustazah, probably because of my tudung, but it’s sort of funny so it’s okay.

When I entered, they all immediately wanted to draw, so I asked them to draw the animal that they wish they could be, but they rejected, saying they didn’t know how to do it, so I told them to draw anything they wanted. It was through this activity that I learned a few things about 4 Nilam, and my ray of hope grew from being very, very tiny to being a tinier bit bigger, hehe:

1) You can catch their attention, but you have to know how to do it.
2) They can actually concentrate when they put their minds to it. I have to help them somehow.
3) Some of them don’t recognise certain letters of the alphabet! Poor children. They can’t even attach certain sounds to the correct letters. Some of them write letters in the wrong way, so I tried to help correct them. I showed a few of them how to write the letter ‘e’, but they felt that their usual way writing was much easier. Need to do something about this!
4) One or two are quite bright, especially one by the name of Farah Natasha! She can spell most of the words I asked, and she finished her work quickly.
5) The children are somewhat attracted by my ‘newness’ and youth I guess, judging by the way they wave to me excitedly whenever I pass by, so I should use this to help them to learn a few things while I’m here.

I think it’s good for me to set some goals to achieve while I’m here. The instructions we received concerning ROS was too simple and too brief… many of us still do not what to do. So I hope we can all share our experiences, and maybe this blog (though I doubt anyone is reading it) will help my friends and others go through their training.

I’m going to observe 1 Delima after this. I wish myself the best of luck…

11.45 am, SKP Computer Lab
I didn’t observe class 1 Delima because the teacher said she was only doing revision for the previous UBB (monthly test), but she said I could come in tomorrow. I offered to help her with the lesson plan and the teaching materials, but she said she usually didn’t make any. But since I offered, she said she’d look at the topics and see what I can do to help. She offered me her place to teach, while she observed! I nearly died right then, and I rejected politely, saying I’d rather watch than teach. What a near escape!

Just now, I entered class 3 Nilam again because they asked me to, and it was an English period anyway, and the teacher was absent. There was supposed to be a replacement teacher, but no one came in. Strange. Anyway, I went in, and surprise, surprise! Most of them had brought books because I asked them yesterday, but a few didn’t so I asked them to share.

We read a story titled “King Lion and His Cooks” from the textbook (page 28). It was a simple story for the children, but I had to translate it into the Malay language so that they could understand. I think they can actually be made to understand, but it is so hard to capture their attention. One minute I was reading out loud and they were following me, and the next the boys were suddenly standing up and moving their desks around. Children are just exasperating.

Some of them sat down and followed my readings all the way through. I felt like hugging them! It just shows how hard it is to keep their attention on a lesson, even a simple one. Some of them ran around. One had no book, so I went up to him with my book (a borrowed one). I put my hands on both sides of his head and made him look at the book and read along. I wonder if I did the right thing? He didn’t protest much though.

I tried to ask them to spell a few words and tell me the meanings in Malay, to see if they understood the story. Hah! Don’t say it. I know, I know, a lot of people disapprove of the Grammar-Translation Method, but the people who say that have probably never taught children in Palekbang. Sometimes, we need to resort to the methods that best suit the children, but of course I have yet to find out which method suits these children best. Adoi. Anyway, I ignored my sense of guilt and asked them to translate the meaning. At least it helped them to understand the story. So there!

Then suddenly, two of them started fighting. I’ve had my eye on one of them since yesterday. Macam samseng. But he came when I called him, so I guess he can be trained to follow what I say, but I am in despair when it comes to their personal fights. I’m not at resolving conflicts, and these children are nine years old… I don’t know, are they too young to differentiate between good and bad? Anyway, I tried my best to separate them (nearly got killed in the process. Kidding. Not) and decided to go back to the lab. Whatever possessed me to accept these kids invitation? I must be mad. However, when I wanted to go out, they tried to stop me. Pulak. These kids are beyond me. Really!

My usual words… I hope tomorrow will be better. I’ve planned to discuss the things we have to include in the logbook with Ijah this weekend. We better stick to it! With Ijah it is dangerous… you’ll probably end up gossiping instead! And I hear there’s a new gossip in town… but this doesn’t have anything to do with teaching, so I won’t talk too much about it. It didn’t rain today. And I had another free meal! (This time it’s Ummi’s friend, Cikgu Siti Noor). May Allah help me get through the days that are to come…. Amin!

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