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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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sick of Lesson Plans!

   About the only thing that keeps me going to school is the thought of my pupils. I am, to be very honest, burnt out from writing lesson plans! There are only 3 weeks to go, and I cannot bear the thought of having to leave the school which has taught me so much and provided the ground for meeting so many wonderful people (which includes the pupils, haha), but I also cannot wait for teaching practice to be over.

   Maybe it's the thought that there's still one BIG observation that I find facing the last few weeks difficult. I do wish and wish that I don't have to face it, but I guess I should be thankful and try my best for it. It's not easy getting this honour, and I know getting this opportunity does not mean I have achieved anything yet. For everything depends on how much work I have put into planning my final lesson, and preparing my portfolio and what-not. And have I put a lot of effort into doing all this? I dunno.

   I hope I'll do well. Whatever the results.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kemahiran Berfikir Secara Kreatif dan Kritis & Kemahiran Belajar

   I already posted an entry on CCTS and study skills, which you can read here. I promised to post a Bahasa Melayu version if I find one, and here it is. Credits to Ikha from whom I took this!

   You can print out this list of skills as well as the list of moral values and paste them in you record book for easy reference. (It also helps fill in the blank gaps in your record book, I guess, hoho).

   Click on the pictures to get a larger view.
     Hope this helps!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Silent Treatment - It Works After All

   I have a soft spot for kids. I guess. I really don't have the heart to be angry at them, or to keep at it when I do manage to get angry at all. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. Maybe it's because I'm still pretty much a kid at heart myself.

   With 3 Cerdik, this does create problems sometimes. They are, as Madam Jane says, 'too comfortable' with me, that they're not afraid at all when I show the slightest hint of being angry at them. They'd just continue shouting and running around, and if they do realise that I'm angry, they'd argue over who made teacher angry. great.

   Last week, however, brought about a totally new experience for me, and for them too.

   SKP had its UPP (Ujian Pengesanan Prestasi, which is sort of like a monthly test but is not done monthly) last week, so Eza and I were free from lesson plans for one whole week. Hurray! To top it off, we had had our final observation for English the week before, so we were in good spirits when the week started off.

   We'd been given the UPP timetable earlier, and were told that we were supposed to enter classes according to our usual periods to invigilate the exam. I think this is what most schools do to make things easier rather than to draft out a whole new timetable for invigilators.

   When I entered the class as usual on Tuesday, I could feel trouble brewing. The problem with Year 3 is that since I'm mostly very laid-back and easygoing during classes, they automatically become extra energetic whenever they're with me. So, as soon as the teacher left the class, they started chatting and winking at each other. I just ignored them. As long as they didn't make too much noise, it was fine with me.

   However, on Wednesday things took a different turn. I don't remember what subject they were doing, but as usual they had finished early and started to get restless. They began passing notes and doodling on pieces of scrap paper. I thought this was not proper as it was during an exam, so I told them that I only wanted to see their exam paper and pencil cases on their desks. As usual, the cheeky little things started asking whether a whole bunch of things were allowed on the table. I was tolerant enough until one boy (whose name I will not mention here) asked if one item (which I will also not mention) was allowed on the table too.

   I glared at the boy-who-must-not-be-named. What he said was not only rude, but also rather obscene, and I knew that it was something that he would not have dared say to another teacher. At this time, the others were building up a racket, and without realising it I started to get really angry. At first I scolded a little, but when it did not work, I administered The Silent Treatment. Haha. What a name, huh?

Even these big fellas know how to give each other the Silent Treatment, huh?

   Now, this 'treatment' is one that Eza has recommended a number of times. She said what one has to do is to pull a very 'ketat' or tight face so that the kids know you're angry. I've tried it a number of times, but it never really worked, probably because I couldn't keep my face serious long enough with the kids. Besides, I rarely really, truly feel very angry with them, so I know that I don't mean it when I make tight faces. Maybe that's why tight faces don't work with me. In addition, even if I do it, they don't think I'm angry, they think I'm sulking. So I gave up and just try my best to keep them occupied through the class to keep them from being too noisy.

   This time, however, I was really angry. So I went to my seat and completely ignored them. If anyone made any noise, I would look at them until they stopped. At first, they did not notice, but soon the class went from noisy to a little less noisy. They started to notice that I was angry with them. Some of them called out to me, but I ignored them, which was not hard to do at first since I was really angry. However, the feeling started  to wear off after a while, but I gritted my teeth and kept at it. By this time I was wondering if Eza's Silent Treatment really worked. So far it was working, so I thought I should go on.

   When the time for the exam was up, I stood up and collected their papers, silently and without looking at their faces. By then, they knew that something was wrong. I completely ignored them, and when they tried being playful with me I kept a straight face and averted my gaze. This was something new to them, as I'd never ignored their jokes. In fact, I would usually join in.

   After that, I went back to my seat. There were still about 10 minutes left before break, so I wrote on the board: Break at 11 am. Yes, I did. I was so determined to carry on with the experiment that I did not want to say a single word to them. Laugh if you want. Anyway, it started to get a bit difficult because they wanted to console me. Some of them came to me and asked what was wrong, but I kept quiet. It was especially difficult when Alif, for whom I have a really soft spot, began peering at me from under his long eyelashes and calling "Teacher? Teacher?" in his high-pitched voice. Eza would understand how difficult it was for me to have ignored this!

   When the bell rang for break, I left the class, with the boys running after me. I ignored them. It was all that I could do to keep my face straight, but I did it. I thought that I'd ignored them enough for the day, so I decided that I'd go back to being nice the next day.

   But then things happened... and changed everything. I felt so hurt and so horribly betrayed. I did not know how far the truth stretched,  but I knew that most of it was. I can't speak of it. But I did know that I could not face Year 3 smiling for the rest of the week.

   When I entered the class the next day, I could sense that they had been expecting my Silent Treatment. I went straight to the Teacher's Table and dumped the question papers and my things on it. They were supposed to have their English test, but it was not due to start in 50 minutes. Usually, I would rack my brains for activities to keep them occupied, but this time I only spoke a few words. I told them to revise their lessons to prepare for the English paper, and that was that.

   It was the first time the class kept quiet without any effort on my part. They knew I was angry and they knew that I meant it. I returned their files so that they could study, and I pointedly averted my gaze. One boy, Syukri who is usually one of the naughtiest, started looking for old worksheets and sending them to me to be marked, which i did. I only talked when necessary and I swear the class has never been so quiet during my time with them! I would have enjoyed it more had I not felt really angry with them.

   I could see that the girls were affected by my treatment and longed to talk to me. Aisyah M looked sad and unhappy, while Aisyah R kept hovering in front of my desk as if she wanted to ask me what was wrong. It took all my willpower not to answer to their sad faces. Besides, I felt too drained of energy myself. Alif was absent, so I don't know what difference he would have made to my mood.

   I could go on and on describing what happened, but it will probably be very boring. My point is, if you have trouble controlling your class, and you want to administer the Silent Treatment, you have to really grit you teeth and go at it. It's not easy, but if the kids are close to you they will feel the difference in your treatment towards them. I don't know if it's a good kind of treatment, but if you think it's necessary then do it. Don't feel too bad about it, sometimes we have to be a bit mean to teach them a lesson or two.

   As for my kids, I did not see them much for the rest of the week as I had no classes on Friday. The following week was a holiday so I figured I would not see them until after the hols, but I happened to meet them just before the bell rang for the day. They slowly came up to me and began to tell me their marks for their BM paper, so I gave in and talked to them.

   The Silent Treatment- it works. It was an interesting experience, but I really hope I don't have to do it again. I like my kids too much to have to ignore them again. I hope that's a good thing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Even Little Kids Can Break Hearts...

   I cannot even begin to speak of what I felt and experienced today. As Tikah said, this was a test from Allah. We all get tested by Him, all the time. Perhaps just in different ways.

   What I have learnt today is that you don't need a boyfriend to have your heart broken. Even little kids are capable of doing that to you. If you're a teacher, your pupils can do that quite well too.

   I don't feel like facing them tomorrow. Ya Allah, please give me guidance.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grammar: Prepositions

   I prepared this lesson plan for a class that was to be observed by Madam J. It was to be my third out of four observations by her (you can read about how the observation are arranged for my course here), and as usual I was quite nervous. Well perhaps to use quite is not even close. I was really, really nervous. Lemony Snicket would probably call this observation the 'penultimate' one. What? You've never heard of LS? Good heavens, do you live in a box? I was joking, you can find out about him here, he's one of my favourite authors.

   Anyway, I had chosen to teach Year 3 'prepositions ', so I browsed through the internet looking for interesting materials and tips that could help me. I came upon this site called GenkiEnglish. The materials look really interesting but unfortunately they're not free. However, after looking at some samples on this page, I got some good ideas on how to teach prepositions, so thanks anyway.

   As usual, I would like to remind you that the format of lesson plans may be different depending on your school, state, college, country etc. What I mean to do is just to share ideas that I have tried in class.

   I took all pictures from the internet, so credits go to the owners. I only use them for teaching purposes, so I hope they don't mind.

   1. Lesson Plan
       I prepared this lesson plan with a lot of help which I got from the internet. You may edit it to suit your needs. I do hope that no one will use it for assignments or anything. Remember, you may cheat to deceive other people, but you can never deceive Allah.

   2. Box Template

   3. Lollipop Monkey Template

   Insya-Allah, I shall edit this post to provide some pictures and explanations. Right now I have toothache so I have to stop. Sorry, hoho. 'Til then.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Big Classes vs. Small Classes

   When I first went to SKP to see what it was like, I asked the guard how many pupils the school had. He said they had around 80 pupils.

   "From Year 1 to Year 6?" I asked.

   "Yes," he answered without batting an eyelid. "This year we had 8 pupils who registered for Year 1."

   That was last year. There you go. As soon as I heard that, I estimated that the most I would have for a class was 15 pupils.

   When I got here, I found that I would be teaching English to 11 children. 6 boys and 5 girls.

   Hah! She'e got it easy, you think. 11 pupils? Well, you think wrong. Well, perhaps you are not entirely wrong. A lot of my friends say that I have it easy because there are so few pupils in my class. Even my supervisor said I was lucky, as was my partner who got 14 in her class. I say, try teaching my pupils and see what it's like.

   What I mean is, perhaps the number of pupils does affect your teaching in class. Maybe having fewer pupils helps you to have better classroom control and management. But it's not necessarily so. In my case, it was very, very difficult. For one thing, I did not give the impression of a strict teacher when I first entered my class. I was nice. I smiled. In fact, I did all the things that my seniors and friends who have had experience in teaching warned me not to do.

   For the first few weeks of my class, I experienced all sorts of disasters. Kids crying. Kids fighting and squabbling. I think it's normal, but for me it was difficult because I felt that I should not have any excuse for being unable to control my class. Some of my friends have over 40 pupils in their class. I had eleven. 11! And i still could not control them.

   Another thing that bugged me all the time when I teach in class is managing how I gave my attention to the children. My problem was that I knew every child so well... so much so that I wanted to help each and every one of them to learn according to their own styles. I could not see the children as one class. Instead, I saw them as individual beings who each need my help in different ways. It bothered (and still bothers) me, and distracted me from trying to keep the class under control.

   One of the most embarrassing things was how, when Mdm J. came to observe, a teacher who happened to pass by my class, asked another teacher, "Isn't there a lecturer in that class?" The children were that noisy. at first they were quite in awe of Mdm J., but that soon passed. 9-year-olds. Yeah. I wonder if I was ever that bad. The thing is, they're not bad children. They just can't help quarreling with each other. When they speak, they just have to raise the volume of their voices to the utmost level. If they need to ask me something, they come running to me instead of waiting patiently in their seats.

   Alhamdulillah, things have turned for the better now. They have improved a little (and hope I have too...) thanks to some 'help from my guiding teacher, haha. Now, they at least try to glue their bottoms to their own seats. They don't shout so much, but sometimes I still can't help feeling exasperated when they get too boisterous. The thing is, I don't mind how noisy they are as long as they do their work, but I cannot let them distract the other classes. Oh well. Time will tell whether I've improved and whether they have learned anything at all form my classes.

   So that's it. Whatever happens, however big or small your class is, you still have different sorts of challenges to face. Don't say things like, "You have it easy, you have such a small number in your class!", or "You're lucky for getting the smarter ones, you don't have to use BM at all." Don't someone else has it easy. you don't know the difficulties they're going through, and by giving these comments to them you're just bugging them even more. Just saying so from experience.

   And whatever happens, don't give up. Find one small moment in your class that makes you feel that you have to go. Something that helps to lift your spirits a little. Don't keep finding excuses. And DON't compare your pupils to that of others. Your pupils are special. They need you, just like other pupils need their own teacher. If you don't want to be there with them, they can feel it.

   I give my best wishes and prayers to all teacher trainees and teachers who are fighting, every single day, to make the world a better place by educating our children. May Allah bless our efforts, Insya-Allah.

Friday, March 4, 2011


   That's it. It's done and over with. Alhamdulillah.

   This morning Mdm J. came to SKP for her final observation on my partner and I. All this week, I've been a total wreck- only grabbing a few hours of sleep at night, squeezing in another few after getting back to school... and still, there is always so much to do.

   I was afraid when Mdm J. had not yet shown up when my class was about to begin. Usually, she will come for observations on Thursdays as it's the only day on which my class and Eza's don't clash. On Thursday I have three periods with Year 3. What I usually do is prepare two lesson plans for the three periods - one 30-minute lesson & one 1 hour lesson. Mdm J. usually enters during the second and third period to observe my 1 hour lesson, so I try to use the one period lesson to prepare my pupils for it.... yeah, yeah I know it's cheating a bit, haha.

   Anyway, to cut the story short I began to feel nervous when she did not show up at 9.45 a.m. (which is when the 2nd period for my English lesson starts), so I grit my teeth and started the lesson. Just after my set induction finished, she entered the class and sat at the back. Some time later, my guiding teacher came in too.

   It was a good lesson. I was mostly nervous because of my portfolio, which was still only halfway done, but I enjoyed teaching the kids. They were so good- so much so that I felt like hugging them at the end of the class. They paid attention, and volunteered to answer questions. The topic was interesting for them, I guess, so that was good too.

   It was the first time that I felt good after the end of a lesson for which Mdm. J. observed. It's a good feeling, knowing that your pupils have learnt something new (hopefully!). I was also very happy because Amirul actually tried doing his worksheets without being told to! Who's Amirul, you ask? I will tell you all about him, and all about the other 10 sweethearts (and imps!) in my class soon.

   For now, one stage is over. I do not know if I am ready to face another. It will be difficult, and I must always be prepared, and I do not think I am up for the challenge nor do I think I deserve the chance, but I hope things will go well. This is not just for me- it's for all those people who love and have supported me throughout everything that has happened in my life.

   And my partner. What would I do without her? She doesn't read my entries (I'm not even sure if she knows I have a blog) but one thing is sure- I could not have asked for a better partner. She has done so well too, and I'm proud of her.

   So one little advice that I can give from this entry to all teacher trainees who will at one time or another face teaching practice- build a good rapport with your partner (or team mates for that matter) during practicum. You will need each other's backs. If you are allowed to choose, choose someone that you think you can work with and are comfortable with. Help each other.

   And that's all for now. Thank you. May Allah bless all of you who read this.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The final is finally coming... & I'm not ready

   Just a short note - my final observation is tomorrow!

   I can't sleep today. Sometimes I can't help feeling that it's unfair, that my partner and I have to face our final observation tomorrow when some of our friends have only had one observation. I know it can't be helped though, and I also know that Allah knows best, and as one of my good friends once said, "Susunan Allah itu cantik" which means Allah has made arrangements and everything He does is perfect.

   So I believe in Allah, and I pray that I'll believe in myself too. The number one being I am doing this for is of course Allah. And I know that I should do it for myself, but it's not enough to make me want it that badly. I want to do it for my parents, family, teachers, friends and all those who have supported me so much throughout life. I know that there are people who believe in me, and wish only for the best for me.

   Ummi & Abuya, this is for you. And for all who love me and are loved by me.