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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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

6 Weeks Gone, 6 More to Come!!! (And some info on teaching practice)

   Can you believe that I am now half way through teaching practice?

   That's right. The period for my teaching practice is 12 weeks, and yesterday marked the end of the sixth week. 6 down, 6 more to go! Hurray!!!!

   Yesterday, my friends and I went to our IPG for tutorial. The tutorial was organised by the practicum unit, and during the session we were supposed to ask questions, fill in some forms etc. We also met our supervisors. During the session, I was surprised to know that some of my friends have not even had a single observation by their supervisor! I guess the particular lecturers/s are very busy.

   As for my own group of friends who are being supervised by the same lecturer, Madam J., we are nearly at the end of our journey! Most of us have had our 3rd observation, and are waiting for our final one.

   Let me explain give some background info on the teaching practice that I'm going through. I am not sure if the same condition applies for other programmes, but this is basically what goes for ours (B. Ed Tesl - Twinning Programme between IPG KPM and IIUM). We only have 2 stages of practicum as compared to the other programmes which are totally under the IPG (which by the way stands for Insitut Pendidikan Guru).

  1. School Based Experience (SBE) or also known as Rancangan Orientasi Sekolah (ROS)-  No teaching or anything, just observations and preparing reports. You can read my half-hearted writing about it in my earlier entries.
  2. Teaching Practice (12 weeks) - What I'm going through now. It's the only time that we're given to practice teaching. At one go. The other programmes at IPG have about 3 shots at it I think, throghout their time there. We only get one shot, and have to do it in 12 weeks.
   So that's it. Now for teaching practice, we are observed both by our supervising lecturer and guiding teacher. They're both sort of mentors who will help us during teaching practice. My partner and I share 1 lecturer, together with 6 other people, and we also share the same guiding teacher at SK Pegoh- one for English and another for PS. The observations are as follows:

   Major Subject (English):
   Number of observations by supervising lecturer: 3
   Number of observations by guiding teacher: 4
   Number of observations by both lecturer & teacher: 1 (Final observation, and the one that determines your grade for the whole teaching practice period)

   Minor Subject (Art)

   Number of observations by supervising lecturer: 2
   Number of observations by guiding teacher: 3
   Number of observations by both lecturer & teacher: 1 (Final observation, and the one that determines your grade for the whole teaching practice period)

   So altogether we each individually have to go through 14 observation in 12 weeks. Just imagine!

   Now, in the case of Madam J's mentees, we have it a little more difficult. Our lecturer is pregnant, and she is due in March. It's only a few days before March arrives, right? Tada! I'm having my final observation next week. That's right, it's during our 7th week. Some of our friends who have other lecturers have not even been observed, while most have only been observed for 1 or 2 times. As for my partner and I, our grade will be determined next week. We have to get our portfolio ready, as well as be prepared to teach really well.

  And you know what? After 6 weeks, I sometimes feel like I still don't know what I'm doing. I still need more practice. I still can't control the class. And I have to prepare for my final observation. In fact I have to prepare for two observations next week. My guiding teacher is coming in for the final time on her own, and then it'll be her and Mdm J. together. The Finale.

   I am under great pressure. I have to prepare for these things as well as make preparations for my kids because they are having their first UPP the week after (8-10 March). I'm preparing the exam questions, and their English subject is wholly under my responsibility for 3 months.

   I'm scared. I'm under pressure. Yet here I am typing away on this blog. Duh.

   If I have any readers at all, please, please pray for me. Pray that I'll do well. Thank you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teaching is NOT easy!!!!

   Wow, has it been nearly a month since I last wrote? The thing is, I probably have a long queue of drafts waiting to be posted, but I never get the chance to finish any of them which is why you don't see any new posts.

   It's a pity, I guess. I wanted this blog to be a memoir of my journey as a teacher trainee- I wanted to write about the processes that I've gone through (and am still going through), the ups and downs of my LiFe as a TeaCHeR, all the trials, things that make me feel like giving up, things that help to strengthen me and keep me going... everything. I do not know if anyone even reads this blog- every time I visit my own blow, I can see that the total number of page views increases (which I find to be very strange). In fact, it used to be way behind compared to the other blog that I write in, but now the numbers have caught up and this blog has surpassed that of the other one! (Sorry for the confusing way in which I'm writing. I just got back from a difficult class, which I'll write about later).

   My point is, I know I do not have many readers. Perhaps just one or two people who happen to be blog walking come across and my blog and that's what increases the page view number. But in the end, it doesn't matter I guess. What matters is that perhaps one of my stories can help someone see things in a different way. maybe it'll help another teacher trainee who happen to come by and read. Maybe it'll let some people know that teaching is hard. It is difficult, and it is especially so when you are just starting out. And yet teachers don't give up. They'll go on trying, and they won't stop. Otherwise, would you still see schools functioning? Would you be where you are now?

   I have loved most (if not all) my teachers up to now. Alhamdulillah I've always been the sort who is not afraid of my teachers or lecturers. I find it easy to talk to them and be in their good books (most of the time anyway). I usually like my teachers and it's very rare that I dislike one. If I do, then something is probably wrong with me (or the teacher/lecturer? I don't know, haha).

   What I always try to remember until now is Ummi's words. I remember how she told me once to never speak badly of my teachers or lecturers. It was a simple reminder, but it hangs true, and I try my best to hold on to it to this very day. Yes, it's true that sometimes your teachers and lecturers can be very trying. I remember some occasions in which I cried after getting scolded (if you were one of my Cohort 4 TESL friends, you may remember the times during our TESL Camp. Boy did I cry!). Yet after a while, I began to see that whenever something is extra difficult, up to the point where you just cannot hold it in anymore and you cry- those are the moments that help to shape you. If you let them help you, they'll help you.

   After 6 weeks of teaching practice, I sometimes feel that I still do not know what I am doing. Sometimes I feel like I'm groping in the dark, trying to find something to hold on to. I'm not blind, but I can't see. It's even more frustrating than being blind altogether. It is so very frustrating. I've shed tears, and on some days I feel so exhausted that I cannot think. I have little time to think of how I look- hey, a pupil even commented that I have a lot of pimples today! Rude boy. It's a good thing you're not in my class, haha.

   I'm scared. I do not know if I can become a good teacher. I don't know if I can become any sort of teacher. The knowledge that I have to be one no matter what happens (considering the fact that I'm tied to the government after graduating, due to my scholarship)- that and the fact that I still don't know how to really teach scares me. Yet I still want to do it.

  And I am about to say something that you probably will think is rather superficial. Not true. A lie. The thing is, I used to hope that I could get Cemerlang for my teaching practice. However, as soon as I started at SKP, those hopes started to fade away. Right now, I don't- no, I CAN't care about getting Cemerlang. I'm used to getting good grades and having a comfortable position when it comes to marks. So I did hope to get good results for teaching practice.

   But now? What matters to me is that I want to be able to teach my pupils. I want to help them learn. For example, today's class was a disaster. I felt useless, and I wished my guiding teacher (who was supervising my class today) had given me the lowest marks for everything. But she didn't, even after I requested. Yes, I requested. What do you think of that?

   The thing is, in the end your marks do matter. However, I don't want to teach well just for the sake of getting good marks. I want to do it just for the sake of Allah. I want to know that my pupils are learning something. Marks matter, but I don't want to teach well just during the classes I'm being observed. I want to teach well all the time.

   I guess I'm putting too much pressure on myself. I know I should take things slowly. I won't stop trying. Even if kills me (I hope it doesn't!).