Friday, May 28, 2010

District Level Teacher's Day Celebration 2010

District Level Teacher's Day celebration at SMK Taman Sutera, Johor Bahru  
Vibrant performance from the talented primary school students. 
Waiting for my turn to receive my awards. I am the recipient of the Innovative Teacher Award as well as Active Teacher Award.
I received my awards from YB Tn. Hj. Md. Jais B. Sarday, Chairman of the State Youth and Sports Committee
Counting my blessings for having the opportunity to be where I am now.
Don't stop learning, keep on teaching, love what you do :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Batam, Brunei and Beyond


The principal a.k.a Kepala Sekolah SMANSA, Ibu Dra. Lely Suriani

Two days ago, my school was visited by the Sekolah Menengah Atas Negeri 1 Batam delegate from Indonesia. Widely known as SMANSA, the school is one of top schools in Indonesia that boasts on its integration of IT in education. As the Coordinator of the Internationalisation Programme, I was given the task to set up the committee members and organise programmes for our visitors from the neighbouring country. Alhamdulillah, despite some technical glitches, everything seemed to turn out well, thanks to wonderful colleagues who helped out. The visitors were given a briefing on the HeadCount system by the principal, Hajah Zainab Bt. Ali. Then, they were shown some multimedia presentations by the ICT Unit and  the school 's Broadcasting Team. The team is headed by Form 2 students who represented Johor in the 2010 KWN Training Camp recently. I guess we left a lasting impression on our Indonesian guests as another batch of SMANSA teachers will be visiting our school next Monday! We plan to visit Batam hopefully by the end of this year and learn more about the school management and the Indonesian education system.

 Today, I attended the Brunei International Excursion meeting organised by PPDJB at Sekolah Angkatan Tentera, JB. Two of my students were selected to go to Brunei for one week and live as sojourners with their adopted families. The excursion is scheduled from 1st August to 7th August this year. Wow, imagine that! They are indeed lucky as they are given the opportunity to experience all that at such tender age. On that note, PPDJB will also organise a training camp (5-7 June) at SIGS for all the 56 students. Have fun and hope you will share your experience with all your teachers and friends!

I've arrived in school just in time to conduct the KMK Workshop with my fellow colleagues. KMK stands for Kumpulan Meningkat Mutu Kerja where it aims to enhance the quality of services that translates to Total Customers Satisfaction. Hence, creativity and innovative ideas are inculculated to overcome any adversities faced either by teachers or students. We were fortunate that our former colleague, Mr.  Norazam Abdullah, now the newly appointed PPD Counsellor (Congrats Azam!) briefed us on KMK last Saturday. Guided by his explanations and examples, I've assisted the teachers in constructing their proposals and managing their teams. I was glad that the teachers were attentive and responsive (despite the ad-hoc announcement) and I could say they did a brilliant job. Well done everyone!
Explaining the KMK framework
The Language Department is planning to build a Vocabulary Enrichment Blog :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Murphy's Teaching Laws

  • A teacher is a multi-tasking superhero/heroine who gets the least pay.
  • Disaster will occur when visitors are in the room.
  •  The most ill-behaved student in all of a teacher's classes is always one of the bright ones he can't flunk.
  • A subject interesting to the teacher will bore students.
  • You will be given the most tasks when you least expected it.
  • The time a teacher takes in explaining is inversely proportional to the information retained by students.
  • A meeting's length will be directly proportional to the boredom the speaker produces.
  • Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.
  • The problem child will be a PTA/PIBG member's daughter/son.
  • When the teacher is late, he will meet the principal on the way to the class.
  • New students come from schools that do not teach anything.
  • Good students move away.
  • You will receive a letter for a one week course when you have meticulously planned a family trip to (fill in the blank with exotic location).
  • Teachers who boast doing the most work in school usually work the least.
  • Students forgot to bring their books on the day you are being observed by the school inspectorate.
  • Clocks will run more quickly during free time.
  • On a test day, at least 15% of the class will be absent.

Adapted from Murphy Laws Site

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekly Updates

Event #1: Teacher's Day Celebration
Date          : 17th May 2010.
Venue       : Dewan Sri Tasek, SMK Tasek Utara, Johor Bahru, Johor.
Organiser  : MPPU, Prefect Board and KEBIRU SMKTU.

Of all the day, I had to be stuck in a massive traffic jam on Teacher's Day! Due to a minor accident and road construction near Rustica BBU,  I arrived just in time to belt out 'Kami Guru Malaysia', just my luck! By the way, I was nominated by my school to receive 'Active Teacher Award', an award that would be given during the Johor Bahru's Teacher's Day celebration. I think the main objective is to acknowledge those who prolifically contribute to the district level education programmes & activities. Ah well, I've handed in my form to my PK1 and I'll just hope for the best. When I checked my pigeon hole that morning, I was surprised when I read a fax from SK Tampoi Utama, asking me to fill in the profile for 'Innovative Teacher Award', in conjuction with the District Level Teacher's Day Celebration. And get this, I had to send it on the same day! Yikes! In between the manic frenzy of T-Day celebration, I had to slip out to the office to fax the form.  Frankly,  I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't stay until the end of the T-Day's celebration as I had to rush to Pontian at 1 p.m. for Event #2. 

Event #2: Mesyuarat Peningkatan Akademik Bahasa Inggeris Negeri Johor.
Date         : 17-19th May 2010.
Venue      : Hotel Pontian, Pontian, Johor.
Organiser : YPJ and JPNJ.

I joined 71 other English Language teachers around Johor to build modules based on authentic materials. We were lucky as we were guided by experienced facilitators such as Mr. Ismail Juned, GC from SIGS, Pn. Sallina Hussain, Principal of SDARY & Chairperson of the JB English Language Panel, Pn. Vasanthi, GC from SMK Tun Habab and Mr. Zainal, GC from Segamat (sorry Zainal, I forgot the name of your school).
Although we had to endure sessions from 8 a.m. to 10.30 p.m., I can vouch for the other participants that we gained  a lot of experience via the item building session and the intriguing pedagogical approaches that we could apply in our daily lessons. Meeting new friends and rekindling bonds with old friends were the highlight of the sessions as well. I'll share with all this blog readers the materials we've constructed when time permits. Do watch this space!

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Event #3: PMR Talk & Writing Workshop
Date         : 20th May 2010.
Venue      : Language Lab, SMK Tasek Utara 2, Johor Bahru, Johor.
Organiser : English Language Panel, SMKTU 2.

The next day, I went to the neighbouring school to share my knowledge and experience with the Form Three students on PMR Answering Techniques. Since there are 6 classes altogether, I've conducted two sessions that stretched up to 4 hours. I've also conducted Writing Workshop with the students and alhamdulillah, everything turns out well. Thank you Rasheeda for your warm hospitality and patience. I was pleasantly surprised to know that Rasheeda is one of my blog readers and she was the one who nominated my name to the English Panel for this talk. I am honestly flattered and I do hope we'll keep in touch  yeah :)

Event #4: LDP- Talk on Blogging & My Lit Project

Date         : 22th May 2010.
Venue      : Computer Lab 2, SMK Tasek Utara , Johor Bahru, Johor.
Organiser : SMKTU.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing my latest Action Research, My Lit Project with my fellow colleagues. Then, I'll conduct a workshop on Blogging and demonstrate how blogging can greatly maximise the learning experience. I know some might have qualms on blogging as they might think it's a bit time consuming but honestly, I perceive blogging as a powerful tool to ignite the creative sparks and illuminate the manifold possibilities of learning paradigms.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Giving and Receiving

When I received this joyous news, I told my students that I would give them a treat. I felt it's only fair that my success is shared with all my students, those who made me who I am today. So as promised, I went to KFC and brought along a few students to carry the goodies back to school. It was amusing to watch the shock on the employee's face when I mentioned 6 barrels for takeaway. I think it's the first time they've ever received such large order at the drive-thru. Sure, it's a dent in my pocket but seeing how they appreciated my lessons all these while, well, to me that's priceless. I didn't realise that my initiative moved even the rowdy ones until they approached me that day and fumbled through their thank-yous. Miraculously, they became more cooperative the next day and even hand in their homework on time! Oh my god! Now I know how LouAnne Johnson must have felt. If I knew feeding these kids greasy fried chickens can change their attitude by leaps and bounds, I would have rushed to the KFC earlier, hehe.

When I went to SMK Gelang Patah for the Immersion Programme the next day, I've discovered that all teachers face various adversities in teaching, some may vary depending on situation and circumstances. Dealing with troubled adolescents, especially ones with discipline problems can be tough. Without doubt, good class management is vital in ensuring the flow of the lesson. The teachers I've met are dedicated teachers who had to deal with a challenge, engaging weak students to enjoy English Language class.

I had my fair share of teaching the last class, the one where not many teachers would be rubbing their hands in glee whenever they need to enter such class. You'll find a lot of sleepyheads, troublemakers and some of them are clueless, not sure why they need to be in school. If you're lucky, you'll get to coax all your students to hand in your work in time. Well, hopefully not because they'd copied the work from their friends. *shrugs*

I'm no expert in teaching. I've only been teaching for 9 years but I believe that regardless of your years of teaching, your success in teaching depends on how you engage your students in your lessons and how well you control your class. Voice projection is essential too. Apart from that, we need to accept students' criticisms as well. Once, my students in a class I've taught confessed that they thought the lesson for that particular session was boring because it was just worksheet and textbook. I know it's easy to feel demotivated once we receive such comment but if we reflect it positively, it could actually turn us to be better teachers. After receiving such feedback, it's only fair that we try to improve ourselves as teachers. Turn lemons into lemonade, they say. Hence, any feedback from students, positive or negative, fueled me to find engaging teaching alternatives to cater to their needs. Songs, language games, pop quizzes, multimedia and Internet-based learning are some of the catalysts for engaging and meaningful lessons.

In my honest opinion, all teachers face adversities and challenges in schools, regardless of whether they teach in a good school or not. It's unfair to label teachers just because of the demographic aspect or the attitude of the students per se. Nonetheless, I believe that teachers have strong impact on students' engagement in learning. In order to receive good results, we need to give good teaching as well. It's a reminder to myself that I need to be a constant learner and always try to give the best in everything I do.

Next Monday is the Teacher's Day celebration. Ironically, right after the T-Day's lunch, I need to tear myself away from the celebration to attend a meeting. Yes, that's right, a meeting. I'll be in Pontian to attend the 'Mesyuarat Peningkatan Akademik Matapelajaran Bahasa Inggeris Negeri Johor' for 3 consecutive days. Happy Teacher's Day to all the teachers out there. Kudos for being the resilient multi-tasking experts. YOU ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

All In A Day's Work

This week is a super hectic week for me. Rushing to classes, attending meetings, dealing with book distributors on daily basis, restocking books on E-Source, YPJ tuition classes, doing paperwork, the list goes on and on. On top of my manic schedule, Fahmi, my youngest son was down with high fever two days ago. My husband and I dashed to the nearby clinic and we were alarmed when his temperature reading was 39C! It took a doctor, two nurses and two frantic parents to hold on to a wailing infant. The doc gave him suppository medication and thank god, his temperature dropped after that. Still, he didn't sleep well at night. That means mommy didn't get her sleep too. Took CRK yesterday, just to keep an eye on his progress. Alhamdulillah, he's now back to his normal self which is climbing onto sofa and running around the house like a mini RoadRunner. Heh, a mom's jobs never end aye?

As I was scanning through the PPDJB's website (my daily digest), I stumbled upon this. Oookay, to go or not to go, that's a big question. I discussed with my husband and I decided to attend the meeting since hubby was around to take care of the kids. On my way to the school, my principal called to inform me on this meeting and she sounded relief that I was aware of the rendezvous.

The meeting was held at SMK Tasek Utara 2 and we were briefed on this programme by Pn. Raziah, En. Baba and En. Hafiz, the PPDJB's officers. Generally, the Immersion Programme is aimed towards helping under performing schools in improving their academic performance of critical subjects in public examinations (PMR,SPM). I am one of the selected facilitators who will be observing the subject teachers for this programme. Majority of the facilitators are Guru Cemerlang and Key Facilitators of the respective subjects. Well, the main tasks of the facilitators are to supervise the teachers, guide them in planning their lesson plans, demonstrating ways to conduct conducive lessons and share innovative methods in teaching.

I've been assigned to monitor two English Language teachers at SMK Gelang Patah. I'll be meeting the teachers next Thursday and I hope I could discuss with them on their needs and perhaps, some challenges that they face in teaching English Language in their school. I do hope that the teachers would benefit under my personal tutelage. Hope for the best!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Great Tips on Public Speaking

The mere mention of Public Speaking would induce students to have the following symptoms : butterflies in the stomach, sweat rivuleting down their backs, frequent visits to the restroom and some even resort to messy gut puking scenes. Oh well, maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit but from my observation, majority of Malaysian students have inhibition when it comes to public speaking. They might garner strings of As and various accolades but that does not automatically guarantee that one can speak nonchalantly in public.

I would like to share some great tips on how to give a good speech, e-mailed to me by Jamilah Samian, a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) who is also a sucessful author. If her name kinda rings a bell, perhaps you might have came across her books: COOL MUM SUPER DAD, IBU KOOL BAPA HEBAT, COOL BOYS SUPER SONS and ANAK LELAKI KOOL & HEBAT. Thank you Kak Milah for imparting your knowledge and expertise to me. I hope these tips would benefit the rest of the readers as it has greatly benefited me.

1) The key to give a good presentation is preparation. Find out who your audience will be and what the purpose of the speech is. Suit the content to your audience.

2) There are several different kinds of speeches e.g. motivational, informative, persuasive and inspirational. The best kind of speeches always motivate and inspire people to change. Begin with the end in mind ... You start by asking yourself: How can I achieve this? How can I inspire people to change? Good speakers always try to make an emotional connection with the audience. By this I mean, you evoke interest in the audience from the moment you take the stage. You can do this by sharing a story, some statistics etc to grab attention. 

3) Remember: IT'S GOOD TO BE NERVOUS BECAUSE IT SHOWS YOU CARE FOR THE AUDIENCE. In fact, someone once said that, If you are not nervous, something is wrong! You might be so relaxed that the speech falls flat. Nervousness is actually a form of energy. Put it to good use in your speech. I often take a deep breath before I start to calm myself down. I also remind myself that, in any presentation, the spotlight is on the audience, not me. I'm there to ensure that transfer of knowledge takes place.   

4) Nothing beats practice. Practice, practice, practice. As you practice, imagine yourself in front of the audience, giving a great speech. This is called 'visual imagery'. Even if you haven't delivered the speech, you can trick your mind to believe that you have done it before (this is supported by research).  

5) The audience doesn't know if you have forgotten some lines. In case you did forget, just act normal and proceed as usual.

6) On rushing - pauses are very important. A dramatic pause at the right moment helps the message to sink in. Remember this if you find yourself going too fast. 

7) I guess the speech is probably less than an hour long. You can't squeeze too many things in an hour-long speech. Decide what your main points are and elaborate on them.

8) A note on jargons. Unless your audience consist of only university professors, stay away from technical terms that can confuse people. A good speech is direct and easy to understand. The best way to engage people is by using simple terms that they can relate to.

9) If you can, try to inject some kind of humor. It helps to spice things up. 

10) Last but not least, the more speeches you give, the better a speaker you become. So don't worry too much :) Enjoy the learning process!

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to Write Better Essays

Slideshare is a great Web 2.0. learning tool where you can share PowerPoint presentations with practically everyone around the world. Based from the positive feedback, I believe knowledge sharing and collaborative learning would immensely benefit our Malaysian teachers and students as the knowledge that one possesses is not limited within the small community of educators in the same school.

Here's a good PowerPoint presentation that highlighted the essential essence of good writing. Sharing is caring :) Do check it out!