Tag Archive: Week 13


Day #65 – 15 June 2012

Discussed Paper 2 with 1 Buck today.

Did the same thing as I did with 1 Best. But they had different set of errors to correct and explain, especially for the Section A essay. Although, both classes did the mistake of not writing enough for a 25 mark essay. 1 Buck of course, fare slightly better, but only slightly. Some of them did very very badly for the paper 😦

Reprimanded them for Section B questions on the poem and the short story. For the poem because some wrote utter rubbish and couldn’t score 3 out of 3 for the first question, even though the questions were all very very simple! >.< They even claimed that the teacher had not taught them! Terrible!!! >.< For the short story, I was mad at them because I had basically given them the model essays and all they had to do was read and gain the main points from there. But no, they didn’t do that. Some memorized the model essay I gave and scored 11 out of 12. Others, were getting only 3 marks. =.=

Section C summary was also alright. Most of them did alright. I just reprimanded them for not keeping to the word limit—not following instructions. If the question says not more than 60 words, do not write more than 60 words! It’s THAT simple. Don’t go up to 80 words! How am I supposed to give you content marks when you write them past the word limit!? >.< Aikz. Stubborn, just plain stubborn.

I gave them the rest of the time to complete their corrections and ask me questions, if they need to. Then to hand in all their exercise books. I had already explained to the three new students about the journals they’re supposed to write for me, Amzar, Dafeena and Syahada 🙂 And they managed to hand them in! Will return the books to them soon 😀

Unfortunately, although I had given them more than 40 minutes for corrections for Section A and C, a lot of them took the chance to laze around and chit chat while I was busy attending to those who were asking me questions about their essays! So by the end of the two periods, they were not done, although I had expected that the time I had so generously given them was more than enough to complete their work if they had seriously sat down to start work on it immediately! ARGH. I’m so annoyed with them. So what can I do but give them an extension? >.<

I told them to hand their Writing books with their corrections on Monday, even though we don’t have English. Otherwise, they’re gonna be in trouble! @.@

 

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Day #64 – 14 June 2012

1 Buck today. I was expecting to take less time than 1 Best when discussing Paper 1 because most of the students got 30+ marks over 40 for the objective paper. So it should be no problem. Still, they had a couple of questions that I knew they weren’t happy about and needed to discuss it in class.

I had to say, very clearly in the beginning, that I wanted them to pay attention, even though they got the answer to that particular question right. That’s because I know them, and I know that it’s very probable that they got right for some questions because they….how to say it…tikam? They may or may not actually know why it’s correct, but that they picked one at random and it was the correct one. So I wanted them to listen and pay attention to the discussion to make sure that they know and are confident of all the answers for all the questions. 🙂

However, many of them did not bring their question papers to school, or had left it somewhere and lost it. Sigh. Why are they so careless and irresponsible? I get sooooo tired of listening to their excuses, sometimes. Cikgu, tak bawak lar. Cikgu, tertinggal kat rumah lar. Cikgu saya tinggal kertas kat bawah meja sebelum cuti, prefects semua dah buang. Frustrating and exasperating >.<

I went through each objective question, as I’m supposed to. Explained difficult words or vocabulary. Got responses from them. Went quite smoothly, I guess. Just had to reprimand the noisy boys sitting in groups a couple of times >.< But otherwise, alright. The others responded well 🙂

There was one question where they kept insisting on a bonus, so I got annoyed. I explained why they could not be awarded bonus marks, because the answer is very clear-cut—if they really understood the sentence. Want to know which questions? Q39, the sentence given was:

39. “There are only several Asian restaurants here and the food there is quite expensive.” There in the sentence refers to:

A. London

B. Malaysia

C. Asian restaurants in London

Now, you will notice, that there are two “there”s in the sentence given. So, the students claimed that they were confused which one the question was referring to and demanded for a bonus mark. However, if you look at the options given, you don’t even need to know the context/text to know that the “there” the question refers to can only be the second one. Because the first “there” in “There are only several…” has the meaning of “Terdapat hanya beberapa…” which does not refer to any place at all! The only “there” that is possible is the second one—no doubt about it!

So, you can understand why I got annoyed when they kept chanting, “Bonus mark! Bonus mark! Cikgu, bagi lar bonus!” when the answer to that question is clear as day! >.< I explained it to them, and very sternly told them that there will be NO CONSIDERATION whatsoever for a bonus mark, because it is just not correct.

Sigh. These kids. @.@

Finished discussing with half an hour to spare, so I made them do their corrections and complete their exercise books, which are due tomorrow. Again, I wonder how many will actually hand in their books? 😉

 

p.s: I had my academic exercise presentation yesterday! It was actually scheduled for today, and I was planning to use the whole of yesterday night to prepare my slides and notes. But Dr. texted to say she had a meeting and won’t be able to make it! Oh dear! Thankfully I managed to rush and complete all my slides in between relief classes yesterday. Still, I didn’t have enough time to finish it in school. However, everything went really well. It was quite informal and Dr. was very encouraging 🙂 PHEW! Anyway, all I have left are the corrections to make, and then I can finally jilid my academic exercise! woohooooo~ 😀

Sun is sick today. She didn’t come to school. It’s not the first time I’m going to school alone, and we don’t always have free periods at the same time, but still, it feels kinda lonely without her :/ (She has fever and has lost her voice. Poor thing! >.<)

Anyway, had class with 1 Best in the morning—the second and third period. I was going to finish discussing Paper 2, which includes Section B and C.

No problems today. I explained the Literature section, provided the answers that I could accept, and those that I couldn’t. Explained why, of course. Was a bit disappointed with their performance in this section though. The first question was about the poem The River, which I did not do with them (the previous teacher was supposed to have done), but it was a relatively easy poem, indeed. Still, they weren’t able to score 3 out of 3 marks. A simple question like, “Who is ‘he’ in the poem?” and the couldn’t answer! >.<

And for the second question, I had already given them the model essay answers for the themes and their favourite character in the short story Flipping Fantastic. I didn’t give them handouts to just paste into their books. I made them copy the model essays into their books so that they would remember the points and examples. Apparently, that’s neither enough for it to get into their heads, nor for them to take the hint! >.< Sigh. I don’t know what else to do with them, I really don’t. :/

Section C, summary writing, was alright, I suppose. Some of them did well. Most were okay, scoring about 6 or 7 marks out of 10, which isn’t too bad. Mostly, they missed out one or two points, then got about 3 marks on average for their language (I was rather lenient, I think @.@). But I was very displeased with those who wrote more than 60 words—some up to 80+! I had already warned them, and nagged them, not to do that because the instructions are to keep it not more than 60 words. Why are they so darn stubborn?! >.<

When I was done discussing the 5 main points from the text given, and explaining the marking scheme to them, I gave them the rest of the time to do their corrections. I opened up the teacher’s table for them to come and ask me questions about the marking, about their mistakes and how to correct them.

Surprisingly, quite a lot of them came to ask about the corrections. Of course, there were those who couldn’t care less about correcting their errors, which is completely expected. But I still felt a little surprised when there were a few of the boys who came to ask and, from their responses, seemed to have actually been listening when I was explaining certain errors yesterday, as well! 😀 I am very glad. Hopefully, it’s not just a temporary thing (but somehow I feel it is. Or a one-off occasion =.=)

Anyway, a rather good, controlled class. Not too bad 🙂 And PHEW! Done with discussing Mid-Year papers with 1 Best! It’s 1 Buck’s turn tomorrow 😛

Day #62 – 12 June 2012

CHORAL SPEAKING COMPETITION.

Today.

Yikes. @.@

I was feeling a little bit ganjeong because I was assigned to ferry the students in my car to the host school, SMK PP 9(2) for the competition. And seeing as how I’m not a very good/confident driver, carrying 5 students in my car driving to an unfamiliar place in Putrajaya is quite unnerving >.<

Also, we were supposed to leave at 12.00pm because registration starts at 1.00pm, but I was given a relief class at 11.10-11.50am. I know it’s before 12.00pm, but we were supposed to have our lunch together before we left. Which meant that I won’t be able to 😦 I tried to get the relief off my hands, but Pn. Koh said that all the other teachers were hard on too, with 4-5 periods of relief! @.@ (Goodness, I must really learn to be grateful >.<)

Anyway, I was nervous about taking the kids, but I prayed hard for our safety. Adding to my nervousness was the fact that I had NO idea how to get to the school, and so had to depend solely on Teacher Mazira’s car in front. What if I lost her? I’d be lost! @.@

Thankfully, we arrived there with no complications 😀

We reached the school at about 12.40pm before I was told that the competition would only be starting at 2.30pm! WHAT? Sigh. Rushed like crazy, then waited like mad for the competition to begin =.=

Ooh, but I met Jessica Chung there, who was the guru pengiring for SMK PP 11(1) and Farah, who is doing her practical in the host school. Managed to chat quite a bit with both while waiting, since there was nothing to do, and the heat was just making me sleepy @.@

Our school drew the last number, so we were up last out of 7 schools! Which has its pros and cons, I suppose. Pros: you get to watch almost everyone’s performance before it’s your turn, but Cons: you have a long wait before it’s done and over with.

Anyway, watching the other teams was quite intimidating. They were all rather good! Some were very clear and loud, with interesting actions and effects, some were very uniform and rehearsed. It made me nervous for ours. However, I was quite annoyed that there were other schools that did not really adhere to the rules and regulations of the choral speaking competition. By right, students were not allowed to wear anything that would make them distinguishable/identifiable from the other schools in order to avoid bias from the judges.

A few schools wore their school ties and colourful skirts proudly, even though the rules clearly stated that only the turquoise one is allowed! >.< When Teacher Mazira complained to one of the organizers, she came back saying that the judges’ allowed it because it is the school uniform and Putrajaya schools do tend to have rather unique secondary school uniforms.

Utter rubbish! >.<

The whole point of that regulation was to ensure anonymity and avoid any judges’ bias in favour towards a certain team just because of the school they come from. You have to admit, knowing that the team is from a particularly GOOD school would colour your judgment and ultimately prevent you from evaluating objectively. Or at least, make it very difficult to do so :/

I was not very happy about that, actually. It makes you doubt if the judges decision is really fair >.<

Also, I remember the rules saying that the performance should be a minimum of 7 minutes. However, the organizers stated, during the reading of the rules of the competition, that a bell will be rung once at the 8th minute! A full one minute more than I thought is required.

It makes a difference, because our kids have been practising to reach about 7 minutes, not 8! @.@

Was really nervous for them when they went up. My hands were shaking as I began to record them onstage using one of the students’ Smartphone. Worried, really. Would they forget their script? Would they be completely all over place? Will they be loud enough? Will they be clear enough? Will they get their actions right? @.@

They were actually rather good! 😀

They were quite loud, actually; louder than I expected. And I was able to hear almost all the solos well. Their actions were alright, and they were quite in sync. Phew! 😉 There were a few minor slip ups at the beginning, probably from nerves, but everything else was fine. I saw a hugeeeeee improvement from the last time I saw them at practice (which was about more than a month ago, maybe?) and I actually felt proud of them 😀 We barely made the 8th minute, but only by a couple of seconds, so they probably deducted marks for that, though. Still, I think they did a really great job 😛

However, sadly, we lost 😦

When they announced that SMK PP 11(1) had won third place, I had known that we would not get a placing. Because in my mind, I had already figured out the top 2 schools, and the third I knew was either us or 11(1), although I couldn’t really shake off the feeling that the latter had done a little better than we had :/

Second place went to SMK PP 9(2), the host school, which, I had to admit, was also deserving, although I am extremely dissatisfied that they were flaunting their gold+yellow school ties onstage, indirectly declaring who they were. Not only that, they even revealed their identity in the script! UNFAIR. According to the rules, they should be disqualified. Them and a few others who did not follow the rules. It’s really unfair >.<

Sekolah Alam Shah (SAS), the famous all-boys elite boarding school deservedly won first place. They were quick and fast-paced and were able to draw you into the script they were reciting. They had good effects and were almost all in unison. They were good. Also, their conductor bagged the Best Conductor title as well. I hate to be a sore loser, but then again, one school sweeping everything just doesn’t feel nice, and sometimes, you get tired of having the same school win everything, you know? =.=

The kids were very very disappointed, and I don’t blame them. I would be, if I had spent 3 months practising like mad every day in school. And to not even get a placing is really heart-wrenching. T.T Still, I felt that they had truly done their best, and I guess that’s all that counts. The kids didn’t seem to think so, though. They girls who were sitting in my car were completely dissatisfied with the results. They felt it was undeserved and that they were so much better, that the other school’s solos weren’t even loud or clear enough, and that they were tired of SAS winning all the time. I remained quiet on the matter though, because, although I did not agree with them on the undeserved win, I knew I might say the same things if I were their age. Maybe it’s their way of consoling themselves. :/

Anyway, I think they should be veryyyy proud of themselves for putting up a good fight 😀

But on a personal note:

IT’S FINALLY OVER! :DDDDDDDDDDD

Class was a little more subdued today, surprisingly.

Maybe because they didn’t do so well for Paper 2 :/ Quite a number of them actually scored less than half the marks! >.< I did try very hard to give them marks where I could, but for most of them, their first essay—the guided writing—really pulled their marks down. That was because they didn’t write enough. Pn. Kartini had already told me that if they wrote half a page or less, they cannot get more than 15 marks. Many of them did exactly that! 😦

Since it was a single period, I had to rush a little. First, I explained the marking scheme for the essay (I always feel that they should know) which included the annotations to indicate missing words, errors of spelling/grammar etc. They are supposed to figure out why it’s wrong and correct it themselves.

I did not really agree with this PMR-style of marking, where the teacher does not correct the essays, but rather merely points out where it’s wrong. Sometimes students try to find out why they’ve gotten it wrong, but sometimes, they just don’t bother. They may never know why it’s wrong because they don’t bother to find out! >.< However, I have to admit that it did make my marking a little easier and faster. Which makes sense, especially if you’re marking 5 classes’ answer scripts! @.@

Anyway, I pointed out and discussed some common errors that they made in their essays. For example, the difference between “policeman” and “policemen” (yes, some don’t seem to know, writing “a policemen” in their essays!) and that a word like “explained” needs to be followed by the preposition “to” while words like “told” “praised” and “thanked” cannot. I also gave them some words that were considered good, and could be used in their essays. Descriptive words like, “cute baby”, “shady/sturdy tree”, “kind-hearted”, “responsible” and “caring”.

Hopefully, it helps them. And I really hope they do their corrections!

They’re supposed to hand in all their exercise books, including their journals, tomorrow for marking and Inspection. I wonder how many actually will? @.@

btw, this was a gift from Pn. Koh to Sun and I from Sabah—pearl bracelets! 😀

Day #61 – 11 June 2012

Had two periods with 1 Best today, during which I had planned to just discuss every question in their English Paper 1 with them. I had gotten their OMR sheets from the office just this morning. And I was surprised to find out that most of them did quite well for the objective questions; even those whom I had not expected to do well were scoring 30+ over 40, which is pretty good!

Well, I guess that is good news for them, because I knew they did not do very well for their Paper 2 @.@

Anyway, the class was extra noisy and restless today! When I asked them why, they said they were excited, since it’s been a long break. I guess they’re still in the initial stage where they’re excited about everything in school before they get into the school-is-boring and I-hate-school stages again. Which is kinda like a cycle, isn’t it?

I hated this time of the day—12.30pm to 1.50pm in the afternoon?! If I had my way, school would finish by 12.00pm. Then everybody will go home and have a good and proper lunch. After 12.00pm, the glare and the heat from the sun just makes everyone sleepy and grouchy. >.<

Could you imagine going through 40 objective questions at this time of the day?

I know even would get bored. Because it’s pretty much the teacher who does most of the talking, which explains why my voice is now a little hoarse, and my throat hurts a little :/ Not to mention, some of the boys were just busy busy busy—talking, that’s what. Did not pay much attention to me, trying my best to help them see why this answer is correct, and why the other options are wrong, explain vocabulary etc.

It got a little frustrating when every few minutes in the midst of your talking/discussion, you have to yell, “Hilman, please look in front!” “Haziq, pay attention!” “Boys, please keep quiet!” “Akif, which question are we discussing now?”

And it didn’t help that most of them did well in Paper 1, so they must be thinking they’re really clever and don’t really need to listen to the discussion on the question when they’ve got it right. =.=

Even the girls who were trying their best to pay attention (they had sleepy eyes) were not very responsive. When I asked if they were okay, one of the girls asked if I could go faster.

I knew that if I did, they would not really be able to catch up with what I’m saying. However, at the pace I was going, I knew I would never finish the 40 MCQ in the two periods I had, because I really discussed with them, or at least, I tried to. I’d model the thought process of answering the question for them. For example, “Okay, look a the context. She needs to pay the water bills before they ‘cut off’ the supply. Is it A) reduce the supply, B) reject the supply, or C) stop the supply? What is the meaning of ‘reduce’? Is it different from ‘stop’? What about ‘reject’, what does it mean? Yes, ‘reject’ is not very likely. So do you think ‘cut off’ means ‘stop’ or ‘reduce’? Yes, it means to ‘stop’ completely, not to reduce in amount.” etc.

Obviously, it takes up A LOT of time. >.< And after a while, when you’re realize that, to some, you’re practically talking to yourself, you feel like giving up and just breezing through the rest of the questions. Which I did, sad to say. They weren’t exactly eating up every word that came out of my mouth in class today. Groups of them were just not paying attention. And I guess I really cannot control my class. :/

In retrospect, it is more my fault than theirs. I should have been able to control my class better, really punished them or something, then maybe everybody will pay attention.

But sometimes, it just feels like it takes too much effort, you know? Not that I’m lazy, but that at certain times, I ask myself, “What’s the point?” They don’t seem to care. They don’t seem to respect you as a teacher. They don’t seem to appreciate what you do do for them. I know I should do what I do regardless of how they treat me. But I think it’s reasonable to have one of those days where you refuse to get worked up and angry and want to let it go.

I didn’t want them to remember me as the teacher who always nagged and scolded them. I only have but four weeks with them. Maybe I should, as they say, “chillax”. =.=

Frustrating day in class today. Hopefully it won’t be as bad, tomorrow.

After 2 weeks of holidays, it’s BACK TO SCHOOL!

It could either be a hoorah, or a groan, depending on how you feel about school. However, I have yet to find a teacher who is genuinely excited about returning to school after the holidays (what more students! @.@) And personally, it’s definitely a GROAN for me. The holidays are just never enough! >.<

The holidays was a good break. I am truly thankful for the time of rest, the time of indulging (watching English comedy and sci-fi series! :P) and………..a time to clear my head and think seriously about what I plan to do next. It was during these two weeks that I had time to really sit down and consider the option of pursuing my Masters. I was glad to be able to talk to Dr. Melor, and she convinced me to go for it. From what she told me, it appears that she certainly has more confidence in me than I have in myself. She agreed to be my supervisor for my Masters studies! 😀 It feels nice, to have someone believe in you like this 🙂

And since I decided to do my Masters, my holidays were spent preparing and getting all the documents I needed for the application, which involved me travelling up to UKM twice and ferrying between the Faculty, the Language School and the Centre for Graduate Management (PPS) to get the forms and inquire about some matters. Dr. Rai, who taught me Literature, agreed to be my second referee, after Dr. Melor of course. Again, it was a boost in my confidence to know that there are people who believe that I can do this, even when I doubt myself.

Anyway, all too soon, holidays were over. And I was not looking forward to going back to school. >.< There were so many things to deal with: Discussion of Mid-Year papers, keying in the marks in the SAPS system, familiarizing with a new, third, class and having to begin implementing the chaotic School-Based Assessment (PBS) for all the Form 1 classes, which means A LOT of work! Also, I’m involved in the choral speaking competition! Yikes. @.@

Plus, the getting up early and writing lesson plans again thing.

First day back at school, long assembly again. =.= Which was expected, though. But oh, what’s this? SEVEN new teachers have arrived at the school! I told Sun that’s it’s really such great news because it most probably means less relief classes for us! 😀 It’s about time though. The school was flailing with the lack of teachers, and I felt that the ones who suffer the most are the students. Imagine, with the Form 6 teachers being busy with Form 6, their classes were all given relief—which meant that the students had not been studying for a couple of weeks before the exams! >.<

But the best news of all was that, with the new additions to the teaching staff, it meant that Sun and I did not have to take on the third new class, after all! 😀 Since these teachers would eventually be able to replace us as well, once we finish our practicum here. So, yay! 😀 I am really quite ecstatic to know that I would not be taking on another class. I know it sounds silly when other teachers are teaching up to 25 periods per week with so many classes they barely have time to breathe, I feel that taking a third class—and a new one at that—would be quite a lot on my plate. I don’t know if I could handle it. :/

Plenty of announcements from the Principal today, though. LADAP this Thursday on coming up with a module for activities that can be done during relief classes. Nazir expected to visit the school, sometime this week, possibly even today (but they didn’t show, though). Sports Day (nooooooooo~) on the 30th of June and all teachers are required to be involved in House practices.

Why is it that suddenly four weeks seem like a realllyyyyyy long time? 😦

Although I do care about my students, I am counting down the days to when all this will be over. Just another four weeks, will be my mantra.

I really do hope that this last month of practical will be a good one. I vow to scold less, to get angry and worked up less, to get stressed out less, and to try to enjoy myself in everything that I do. 🙂