Tag Archive: Week 11


Day #54 – 18 May 2012

Something happened today.

I knew I had to invigilate 1 Buck today during my English period for their Maths Paper 1. But I knew that a relief was coming. Every day, we’d definitely get relief classes. It’s only a matter of how many. The problem with that is, we’d find out what classes we had to relieve only on that morning, and if you’re lucky, you don’t have to begin any papers. But if you’re UNLUCKY, you get relief for like, maybe the second period, so you have a mini heart attack in the morning figuring out which paper that class is taking (Physics/Economy/Perdagangan), where the class is (I’ve taken that for granted once, and I entered the wrong class! T.T) etc.

Every morning, it’s like that for us.

So, as usual, I waited for my relief sheet(s) from Kak Ida. Oh, goody. Only ONE relief class today. I gasped.

4 Gemilang.

The scariest class in the entire school. @.@

But wait. There’s something else there. Hm, it’s written 4 Gem/4 Waw. Must be a PJK period. Which means there’s another teacher who has been assigned these two classes! Maybe if I go early I get to choose 4 Waw instead of 4 Gem! I’m terrified of 4 Gem, especially after the chaos that happened yesterday @.@

Anyway, I got there early for relief, but ran into Cikgu Asri, the discipline teacher, outside of 4 Waw. I explained that we both got 4 Gem and 4 Waw for our relief classes. He very nonchalantly asked me to enter 4 Gem on the opposite building instead. Little did he know my heart was POUNDING inside, all the way to the class! T.T I was praying, “Oh, please God, don’t let anything happen, please don’t let anything happen…”

When I reached the class, who was inside the class but Mr. Z (I won’t give his name, because I’m not gonna be portraying him in a very flattering manner here). He was standing at the door when I arrived. Do you know what he said when he saw me?

“Oh, baguslah Cikgu kamu dah datang. Sukalah kamu, dapat Cikgu ni kan?” Then he turned to me and asked, “Mereka suka tak kamu masuk kelas mereka?” while the class jeered and wolf-whistled.

I really didn’t know how to respond. But personally, I felt so…humiliated. How could he say something like that? I was their teacher. When you say things like that, isn’t it a little derogatory? And how would the students see me? And coming from YOU, who are someone quite high up in the administration! >.<

It was really humiliating. And when I set my things down, I had also realized that he had written the wrong time length for the paper on the board. Instead of a one hour and 15 minute paper, he had written “Satu jam“. Obviously, he didn’t even know or even followed the exam schedule we were given. The students wouldn’t know, nor would they care.

And would you know it? Almost the entire class was laughing and talking. Some were working silently, but the rest were just doing all sorts of things. Walking up to go sharpen their pencils, throwing erasers to each other, actually ASKING FOR ANSWERS from a neighbour. Which I think is quite futile, because I doubt their friend knows the right answer anyway. So it didn’t really make a difference. And when I asked them to keep quiet, or sit down, they didn’t really bother. And I was so terrified they’d get mad at me and turn on me or something! :O

What I tried to do was push them into trying their Perdagangan paper. I told them to try, because they weren’t even. Some had just resorted to making patterns on their OMR sheets: AAAAA CCCCC AAAAA BBBBB etc. >.< They had just given up, most of them. I told them to try, because mathematically, you had a 25% chance of getting it right. So why not try, right?

They didn’t care. They really didn’t. And I couldn’t threaten them with getting a zero like I could in the other classes because, frankly, I’m sure they don’t give a hoot that they get a zero for the paper. It’s not like they had a high chance of getting an A.

Which made me really sad 😦

But I seriously could not control the class. And what I was worried about most was that their noise was going to disrupt the other classes who were sitting for the paper. So I told those who were done (and most of them were) to just lie down and take a nap. You know, at least they’re not making noise.

What do you think—did they listen to me?

Of course not.

I was at my wits’ end, and completely exasperated when, lo and behold, the knight in shining armour arrived!

Cikgu Asri came in and suggested we switched classes.

OMG THANKGODTHANKGODTHANKGOD.

The moment he stepped foot into the classroom there was absolute silence.

SILENCE, I tell you. No kidding!

I was so grateful to enter the very-silent 4 Waw. Phew.

From my side of the building, I could see right into 4 Gem. And boy, did they look like they were being creamed by Cikgu Asri. And in just a few minutes, he had them all lying flat with their faces on the tables!

How does he do it? @.@

And about ten minutes later, Pn. Juriah, the PRINCIPAL, walked past 4 Waw. OMG, if she had walked past me feebly attempting to control 4 Gem, I don’t know how I can ever repair my reputation as a teacher! T.T So, seriously, thank God. The timing was just right. :/

Anyway, after we were back in the staff room, I thanked Cikgu Asri for getting me out of that pickle. Otherwise, I don’t WHAT would have happened! >.<

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Day #53 – 17 May 2012

Entered my 1 Buck for invigilation today during their History paper.

Goodness, I don’t know if it’s the kids nowadays, but they’re really very challenging to invigilate! @.@ They’re not only restless, but they do things that seem to TEST your patience, really.

There’ll be whispering, giggles, and goodness knows what else. I got really annoyed and had to threaten them with a big fat ZERO for their History paper if I hear another peep out of them! >.<

Hm, it seems like I often get annoyed in this class.

No, I often get annoyed, period! @.@

Anyway, was in the staff room working on my thesis before my next relief class in 4 Bakti. Then I heard a few of the teachers talking. Pn. Salina, Pn. Kamishah and Pn. Hazliza. They were complaining about 4 Gemilang, the last class in Form Four.

They’re the infamous class of the school, I believe. Within the first few weeks of being in this school, I knew this was the class to watch out for. I dreaded entering the class because they were an all-boys class who were rowdy and boisterous with an I’m-not-scared-of-you attitudes.  They’re rebellious, they’re defiant, and God forbid you ever make one of them angry! :O Sure, there are about one or two boys who are all right, but the rest just scare me, honestly. I’ve tried being strict. Doesn’t really work. I found that being a little friendlier with them might get you farther; still, there’s always the fear of not knowing what could happen in the class, even if it’s just a single period of relief. A fight could break out, or they could just gang up and beat you up.

Okay, maybe the last one’s not possible, but still. The bottom line is, I am terrified of that class. @.@

Then I realized that other teachers didn’t just share my fear, they shared a mutual contempt for the class. I couldn’t help eavesdropping (because they were talking quite loudly in the staff room) and I heard them saying about how hopeless that class is, and how it’s such a waste of time to teach them because they can’t be taught; that it would be better to just open up a restaurant and let them all work there—would be better than trying to prepare them for their SPM.

My initial reaction was one of horror. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing coming out from the mouths of fellow teachers and educators! We’re supposed to teach our charges. How could they just give up on them like that? I couldn’t help feeling sorry for 4 Gem. 😦

On the other hand, as I thought about it, I understood where these teachers were coming from. Although it was not pleasant to the ears, I’m sure many other teachers feel the same way. I wonder, myself, where I stand in this. I do believe that there are some who just don’t thrive in our kind of education system, and they suffer terribly in it. Yet, I also want to believe that everybody is teachable, and no matter what, there is still a little something that they can always learn, or take away, even if it as simple a matter as greeting you in the morning.

Who’d have thought, when I was in 4 Bakti, the infamous 4 Gem created a havoc just directly opposite the building, disrupting the other classes sitting for exams. Apparently, they had finished theirs early (Mr. Zaini was supposed to be in their class but he’d left early @.@) and they burst into the Happy Birthday song and started running and screaming around, and then I saw them playing flour too! @.@

Like I said, HAVOC.

What do we do with students like these? Is there anything that a teacher can do? 😦

Day #52 – 16 May 2012

I had posted on my students’ FB groups, wishing them the best for their Mid-Year examinations, giving them some advice about sleeping early, etc. Then I had told them that because of the new invigilation schedule, teachers won’t be entering classes following their individual schedules anymore. And since I was assigned to the Upper Form classes, I would not be seeing them till  after the holidays.

Then, of course they had to make an announcement saying that teachers are to revert back to following their individual timetables and not the new invigilation one =.=

So when I entered the class, they asked me, “But Teacher, I thought you said….?”

Shy only lar. Sigh.

Anyway, I started the BM 1 paper for 1 Best this morning. They were given only an hour, but most of them were already restless and sleeping on their arms with more than half an hour to go! @.@ Which made it difficult for me, because Nash kept kicking the back door, and Afiq kept giggling, and Aswad was scratching himself like a monkey. =.=

I noticed that pattern though. The students are usually very quiet at the beginning of any paper. But they tend to get restless after the first half an hour. Try any paper, doesn’t matter which exam. It’s usually like that. So that’s why I take the first half an hour to sit down and do my work at the teacher’s table, but of course, with a roving eye that keeps looking up at them every few minutes, just to make sure they’re not doing anything fishy.

But after the first half hour, I know that I have to start getting up and walking around. With the Lower Form, I can still walk in between the rows and sneak up on them. Usually, I check on their progress, to see how far they’ve gotten along with their answers. It’s then that I will notice who are the slow ones, and I’ll ask them to hurry up, depending on how much time they have left for the paper.

For the Upper Forms, however, I realized that I can’t walk in between the rows of students anymore. I used to do that. Then only recently I noticed that when I’m walking down one end, the other rows may use that chance to whisper an answer to a friend, or a send signals to each other while I’m not looking! @.@ So, with the Upper Forms, I stand right at the front, or at the back of the classroom, so I can have a pan-eagle view of the entire class and all the students.

Sometimes, it’s not that you don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but when you trust them too much, they usually make you regret it. So, that’s how you learn, I guess? :/

Started the BM 2 paper in 1 Perdana, which is the new class I’ll be taking on after the holidays. That’s because their English teacher, Mr. Thina, will be teaching the Form 6 students who have just come in, and won’t be able to take the Form 1 classes anymore. I’m taking over one of his two Form 1 classes—1 Perd.

They’re a tough class to be in, for sure. Well, at least for me. They’re somehow not afraid of me. And there are a couple of troublemakers in the class that I wish I can really put in their place. >.< I still haven’t mastered the “mean teacher” role I should have in classes like this. I try, but it doesn’t seem to work the way I want it to.

Anyway, I have had a taste of what it’ll be like to teach 1 Perd, and I’m not looking forward to it, frankly speaking. >.< Thank God I’m done with observations, and hopefully by then, with my thesis too, and so I can just  do the best that I can without any pressure 🙂

 

btw, Happy Teacher’s Day to all the teachers out there who strive and struggle every single day for the sake of their students. I will always respect and honour what you do, more so because I’m in those shoes myself. And I can only hope to be the kind of teacher my teachers were to me 😀 I ask for God’s blessing so that I may bless those entrusted to me. And that is my prayer for all the dedicated teachers out there as well 🙂

Day #51 – 15 May 2012

1 Buck was late today. I knew that they had BM period before my English, and they are always called to go to the library for their BM lessons, but the past few Tuesdays (that I remember) they were already waiting for me in class, so I had thought that they were able to get off a little earlier so they can walk back to class from the library in time for my class.

But not today, apparently! Of all times to be late—when I only had a single period lesson to teach summary writing! >.<

I was glad that, when they entered the class late, they actually apologized to me, saying, “Sorry, we’re late, Teacher.” It’s really nice. 🙂 Again, I wish I had praised them for it in class. ARGH, why aren’t my responses fast enough? Do I only think of doing all these things only after I reflect on them? Sigh.

They have done summary writing before. Pn. Kartini had done it with them before I took over the class, so they were alright. Just needed a little refresher, I suppose 🙂 So the lesson was smooth and problem-free today. None of them gave me any cheek, they were serious and did their work, and all was great! 😀 (I guess they’re serious when I give them hints that it’s important for their exams! @.@)

I feel relieved. 🙂

Anyway, I wished them well for the exams, and I know I will be praying for each and every one of them. I sincerely hope they will do well 😀

ALL THE BEST!

I had changed my lesson plan for today; the reason for it mentioned here.

So, instead of discussing the Grammar Practice I had given them (I didn’t have time to! T.T) I taught them summary writing. Now, I’m not a fan of summary writing, never have. I was never really good at summaries. I was just quite bad at zooming in on the main points and always had the problem of including the supporting details because I thought they were important, when they weren’t.

So to teach this as an impromptu lesson with not much preparation? SCARY. @.@

Still, I had some time to prepare a rough, very rough, lesson plan to teach them. I was very worried for 1 Best because this will be the first time they are going through this, on summary writing. And it’s a skill that is really not that easy to acquire and takes a lot of practice to master. :/

Anyway, I did the best that I could so I could prepare them for the exams.

I was rushing to get to 1 Best just after my relief class in the Upper Form even though it was the Lower Form’s recess because I had written my own short essay for them to work on for the summary. However, due to the lack of time, I would have to write the passage on the board in order for us to work out the steps of summary writing together as a class. Since I only had one period, spending time to write the passage on the board seemed like a waste of precious time. So I planned to enter the class during their recess to write the passage, so that when they enter the class, the passage is all done and ready, and we could start immediately.

Then, as I was taking the lift down to the ground floor, I met Mr. Thinaharan. He stopped me and asked if I’d like some notes for the summary writing. He showed me a passage on the benefits of Facebook that he had managed to get the office to photocopy and had just given them to his class to prepare them for the exams. He had asked them to make 120 copies, so would I like to take them for my class too?

Would I? Of COURSE I would! It was godsend! 😀

This way, I would not have to waste time writing the passage on the board, and the students will have something to refer to if they needed to do revision. It was great! I must remember to thank him again tomorrow 🙂

So when I got to my class, I just needed a few minutes to prepare the main points for the summary writing. I had already planned out a step-by-step lesson to write a summary:

Step 1: Highlight the main points (identify only the main points; no supporting details/examples/irrelevant information)

Step 2: Change any words or sentence structure to your own (reduce the number of words, or say it in a different way, but do not change the meaning)

Step 3: Use linking words eg. Next, Besides that, In addition, Lastly, Finally etc.

Step 4: Write it out, then count the number of words (NOT more than 60!!)

A simple step-by-step procedure that I taught them today for summary writing. However, there wasn’t much time for them to copy notes into their books, or anything. I was in too much of a rush. I can only hope that whatever I delivered to them, they’d be able to retain at least some of it. And I worry that since they have not done this before, they’re not going to have an idea how difficult it is, until they sit for the paper. Then they’re really going to suffer. I am so worried that they will not have enough time! T.T

Bottom line is, I’m really worried for them, I am. They’re the weaker ones and they’re the ones who have not done summary writing before. Yikes. >.< But hopefully they’ll be okay for the rest of the other sections.

Their exams start tomorrow. But the English papers are on Thursday. I can only pray and hope that I have prepared them enough to fend for themselves come Thursday. Will be praying for all my students. I hope they will do well 🙂

p.s: They were very well-behaved today. And quietly did their work when I asked them to. I also noticed Azim being extra participative these few days. I should have complimented him on it in class. He doesn’t always get the answers right, but I love that he tries 😀 If only more students did that too!

Today was a terribly tiring day. @.@

My first task of the day was to check on the Form One test papers that Pn. Kartini had sent to the office to be photocopied. She was attending a course for three days and wouldn’t be around this week. So she had asked me to help with the Form One test papers. Which meant that I had to go check whether they were done this morning, then proceed to sort them, for both Paper 1 and Paper 2, staple them together, prepare the OMR sheets and foolscap papers, then pack them in the right numbers for each Form One class, and fill in the forms that noted the time and date of the papers, the teacher starting the exam, and the teacher collecting the scripts according to the classes’ respective timetables.

Thank God Sun was helping me. Otherwise….. @.@

Anyway, I arrived this morning in school and was happy to see that the Paper 2 test papers were done, although not the first. I took them back to the staff room thinking I could start work on them as soon as possible.

However, I discovered that Pn. Kartini must have forgotten to cut and paste the poem The River (by Valerie Bloom) on the master copy and so all the 120 copies made had missing poems too! ARGHHHHHHHHH.

I had a panic attack, I tell you! >.< Oh dear, why didn’t she check first? Now, what are we to do? T.T

Nope, not “we”, but ME.

So, yes, I had to re-type the poem on my computer, print it out and send it to rezzo at the office. Quite scary, because I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get them in time. @.@

THEN, I discovered that Section C of Paper 2 was summary writing.

I blinked.

Summary writing? SUMMARY WRITING?

I had not taught my class summary writing yet! Why didn’t Pn. Kartini tell me? Did she forget to mention that? OMG, they have to do summaries! And I have not taught them yet! I only have one period with them today! How am I going to teach them? What passage can I use? How are they going to get this? Can they do this???

Last minute-preparation for the lesson, but I did it. Phew! @.@

Then, despite my 2 periods of lessons, I was given 3 periods of relief, two of which were back to back with my classes, and two of which, I was also starting the exam papers. @.@

And in between classes and relief, when I was supposed to be free and working on my thesis, I was busy stapling and sorting test papers—only to find out, staying back after to school to finish it, that there weren’t enough test papers because there were too many missing pages (the school’s rezzo machine is really quite bad! >.<) to make enough complete test papers! So I had to send the paper down again to be copied. Sigh.

So much drama in one day! >.<

Tomorrow will be the full-on invigilation mode! New timetable out for invigilation, at one-hour slots each! @.@ It’s gonna be tough! But at least there’s no teaching. So I hope I can use the time to complete my thesis. It’s 90% done! 😀

Had planned to work on the remaining two sections of their Mid-Year paper with 1 Best today: Meaning in Context and Reading Comprehension. I had earlier explained to them that Meaning in Context is difficult, because it involves phrasal verbs with specific meanings that they may not know unless they read a lot and come across these phrasal verbs.

It’s a tough section, which I understood. And I wanted to work on it with them today, plus the Reading Comprehension part.

I had already done this with 1 Buck last week, only because I had no choice. 1 Buck had two periods less than 1 Best this week before the exams. The last time I would see them before they sit for the paper is tomorrow, Tuesday, which is only a single period! >.<

1 Best was lucky in the sense that I could go at a slower pace with them and split the four sections into two double-period lessons whereas with 1 Buck, I had to squeeze the four sections into two periods only. So, while I only had time to go through and discuss, for some, only ONE practice for the section with 1 Buck, I could do more examples with 1 Best, and in fact give more scaffold.

Unfortunately, 1 Best didn’t seem to care. >.<

There were several students who did not even bring the worksheet. I made them stand in the class. In retrospect, maybe it was a little bit unfair, since I had not specifically told them to bring it today. However, I did tell them to bring all their exercise books for their English, and I had told them I was going to do revision for the exams. @.@

Anyway, after that, while they were quite actively participating at the beginning, their interest slowly waned and once again, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.

I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep yesterday, or I was just SEARCHING for an excuse to scold them, I….

No, I didn’t yell at them.

I just fell silent. (Really! Just fell silent mid-way through my sentence @.@)

Guess what?

Nobody cared.

They continued talking and chatting and laughing with their friends like nothing was happening. Sure, those who were listening got confused why I kept quiet, but the rest? The majority of them?

Maybe they didn’t notice. Or maybe, they noticed but, like I said, just couldn’t be bothered. >.<

I got fed up, again. I was just really tired, I think. I really wanted to guide them through everything, step by step, to teach them how to answer these kinds of questions. What they should do, improve their vocabulary etc. But only a few were actually paying attention. The rest didn’t care. :/

So I just wrote all the answers on the board, then nagged them for a bit. I was harsher with them this time, telling them that since their English was SO good, they can just finish the rest on their own, and their non-caring attitude is just “great” and they should be REALLY “proud” of themselves. Seriously. And a couple of times, I said very sarcastically, “Good for you!” You know what’s really sad? They might not even get that I’m being sarcastic! >.<)

Until I realized I was late for my relief class which was having exams right then. ARGH! >.<

Anyway, I am really tired with 1 Best by now. Really tired. I’m tired of saying and doing the same things over and over. I care about them, about their studies, and this is how they act. If I start to not care, then people will say I’m a horrible teacher!

Tomorrow, I’m going to try again, with Grammar Practice this time. This time, I had informed them to bring it, so I hope they do, for their sake. And I hope it will be better! @.@ Phew!