Tag Archive: Week 5


7 Apr 2012

Today is a Saturday, and I am back in Seremban, home sweet home.

But nowadays, every time I come back, which is about once every two weeks now because I’m so busy with school, I bring my work back with me.

And only recently, the turn in of books from the students has been increasing—more students are handing in their books to me! I’m sure it’s truly thanks to Nabihah, my English monitor for 1 Best, and my threatening-to-write-their-names-in-the-discipline-misconduct-forms tactic for 1 Buck.

Although I am happy with the better turn in of books, it also means that I have more books to mark! @.@ And suddenly, I’m realizing that marking is a LOT of hard work! Especially if the students are only handing in their books for the first time since I taught them—there’s so much to mark! If they have been regularly handing in their books, I usually don’t have more than 3 handouts or activities to check in their books. But imagine four weeks’ worth of work in one go! @.@

It has been taking up all my time after school, after dinner. I mark until I feel like I am literally falling asleep as I check their books! My eyes are closing, but I force myself to finish marking them because I want to return the books to the students as soon as possible. I guess it’s a blessing that 1 Best’s work will be marked during the week and returned to them by Friday, while 1 Buck’s work can be marked during the weekend and returned to them at the beginning of the week. So I have two “shifts” of marking, so to speak. 🙂

However, I was marking 1 Buck’s journals last night and guess what I discovered.

At least 6 boys who copied the journal entries from other classmates.

Are you serious? Copying journal entries? How can you copy journal entries? Everybody’s experience is different! And you know what makes me mad the most? That they think I’d be STUPID enough not to notice!

Did they think that I don’t read their friends’ journals? That I just skimmed and scanned and wrote a random Good job! or Keep it up! for fun? That I don’t take my work seriously, and that I don’t care about the quality of their work, as long as it’s handed in? Did they think I was STUPID and wouldn’t know?

I need to take a deep, deep breath, just to stop myself from wanting to strangle them the next time I see them! >.<

I am just really, really disappointed. And hurt. I don’t know why I get so personal in these things. I’m sure that’s just their general attitude, but I hate that they’re doing it in my class, my subject. How on earth is copying a friend’s journal entry going to help you improve your writing? Help you improve how you express yourself? >.<

I am at my wits’ end, trying to figure out how to handle these kids. At this point, I am really tempted to tell them to just forget it, that I didn’t want them in my class anymore, that if they just aren’t interested in learning, they can just leave my class and I don’t care. I won’t care. ANYMORE.

But I can’t. 😦

I still don’t know what to do, though. I want to talk to them again, but I already have, once. After the news report incident, and they still did…….this. I think I will ask them to come see me, and get them to admit they copied from other classmates (it was like detective work, trying to find out who copied from whom >.<) and make them write their own, even if it were just a few sentences. Maybe they were frightened by my asking them to write a page-long entry. Well, I’d rather they write a short simple entry, but from their own effort, than copy pages from someone else’s.

I’ll talk to them soon. Next week.

At this moment, I’m feeling really down, and frustrated, and upset. Is this how teaching will always be? That your students let you down, every time? T.T

Today was actually my first Friday with 1 Buck! 🙂

The lesson started off with me being a little angry with them, again. (It seems like I get angry a lot! @.@) One boy did not bring his text book, and when I asked him where his was, he told me that he didn’t know. I was confused. “You don’t know where your book is? You mean, you don’t know if it’s at home, or even in school?” He nodded. I just couldn’t understand how a student can just not know where his book is. If you had accidentally left it at home, at least you knew where it was and you had just forgotten to bring it.

Here was a boy who just didn’t know where his text book was, nor seemed to care that it appears to be lost! (And these were text books from the SPBT, borrowed from the school. So how can they care so little about it?)

That kind of attitude just makes me sick to my stomach! >.< Why are kids so indifferent towards their learning, nowadays?!

And then, it became a funny moment when he realized that the boy sitting next to him was actually holding his text book this entire time! He immediately sat down, and I asked him who told him he could? So he stood up again, very quickly, and the others laughed. Only then did I tell him he could sit down.

Sigh. Drama in the class, every, single, day. =.=

Anyway, I was shocked to realize that the students had already done this topic! They told me that Pn. Kartini had already done this with them in their Literature books (I wonder why Literature? Odd.) which caught me a little off-guard. NOW, what do I do? My entire lesson was planned for nothing! @.@ (I guess that’s why teachers really need to be able to think on their feet.)

So, I asked to see all their essays, doubting that all of them had actually done them, and true enough, some of the boys had not completed this work. Although I was glad to know my suspicions were right, now it left me in a little bit of a pickle! >.<

If they had all done the essays, then maybe I could have worked on using the checklist with all of them. But because some of them had, some of them had not, if I started the lesson from writing the first draft, those who had done them would be bored. If I started the lesson from the checklist, those who had not done them would be lost! @.@

ARGH. In the end, I did the first picture with them, together, then told those who had not done the first draft yet, to work on it on their own. Then worked on using the checklist with the rest of those who had done their first drafts.

I emphasized on editing and checking their work before handing in. Because I discovered that students are really very careless—they can’t be bothered to check for spelling or grammar mistakes anymore =.= So I warned them that if I found any mistakes in their final draft, they were going to have to rewrite it! All of them gasped. Well, I guess only then will they truly check their work properly, don’t you think?

So we spent the two periods working on their drafts. There was plenty of time to walk around the classroom, asking individual students if they were doing okay, if they had any questions. And there was time for the students to ask me certain things as well, like ‘practice’ vs. ‘practise’, which is a very good question, which I explained on the board for the benefit of the entire class 🙂

Asked them to hand their work in next Tuesday. Hopefully, they will actually get it done properly! @.@

 

Handout(s):

1. Checklist 15A (Story-writing)

Would you believe that half the class still did not bring the news reports on road accidents, even though this lesson was postponed from last Friday?

Many students were not in class—about 8 of them were involved in the reply trip to Bandung. That left about 16 of them in class. I think one or two were absent. 7 students did not bring the news reports. So I made those 7 students stand at the back of the class.

The reason I was peeved was because this lesson was supposed to be carried out last week! So what excuse can you give for not bringing the materials I asked for? You should have had them last Friday already! In fact, they’ve been given an extra week to search for the article if they hadn’t had it last Friday.

And still there were students who just didn’t bother. Two girls included. One of the girls had said that she was absent that day when I told them to bring the news report.

Well, I had told them to bring the news report on Tuesday last. Today is Thursday. Are you telling me that you were absent for the entire week, that you had no contact with any of your classmates and therefore had absolutely NO WAY of finding out what I had told the class to bring for the next lesson?

EXCUSES! >.<

And I’m tired of listening to them, I really am. I always think that, if you really had the intention of bringing it, you would’ve.

Anyway, I taught the lesson to only those who brought their news reports. Similar to what I had done with 1 Best before. However, just as I had asked them to copy the notes from the text book into their respective books, not even half-way through my lesson,  a teacher interrupted me, Pn. Isramimi, and called all the female students out to get their HPV shots! @.@

I was surprised because I don’t remember being informed about the HPV injections being today, or on any day, for that matter. And I didn’t really want to let them go because, first of all, two of the girls who did not bring the article would get off easy, and second, that left me with……….only two students, males, who brought their articles.

Oh well. I didn’t really have a choice did I? >.<

While I waited for the two boys to finish identifying and labeling their own articles, and extracting the main information from the reports, I talked to the rest of the boys who were standing at the back. Basically, I advised them a bit, and made them promise me they would complete their work from now on. Then I allowed them to sit back down.

So I was left, again, with 7 students to work with. After we were done with that, I did the final activity—the newscaster activity. Surprisingly, the boys were very cooperative and enthusiastic about this activity. In fact, all of them turned out to be such good newscasters that I had difficulty choosing the best one! 😉

Some of them even provided the “introduction music” to the “news section” and could sign off with “Thank you for watching Rambutan TV”! xD I gave the best two newscasters, who were ironically two of the ones who did not bring newspaper reports, and then gave two more prizes to the two boys who did bring the news reports 🙂 (I had bought 4 little Angry Bird erasers as gifts, which I thought were absolutely adorable! :D)

So the lesson turned out quite alright, even though I was a little upset at the beginning. Still, the boys seemed to loosen up more because the girls were not around, and they seemed to enjoy the final activity very much. Which is a good thing, I guess 😀

Since we had a little time, I gave them the safety pins and tape to complete their road safety badges, then took some photos of them! 😉

Day #24 – 4 Apr 2012

Today was surprised to find out that it was Puan Pengetua, Pn. Juriah’s birthday! 😀

The teachers had a nice cake and sang Allah selamatkan kamu and Selamat Hari Jadi for her 🙂 Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long for the festivities because I had class at 8.10 am @.@

Initially, I was a bit worried that I would not have enough time to complete today’s lesson, seeing as it was a Writing class. But thankfully, everything went according to plan, and in fact, I had plenty of extra time left to finish off the road safety badges that we’d started off yesterday! 😀

With today’s writing class, I went through the story-writing step-by-step with them. I got them to look at the pictures on page 61 of the textbook, maybe described them a bit, to ask what they can see in the picture. Then I had volunteers try making simple sentences about the picture.

For each of the sentences provided to me, I wrote them down on the board in paragraphs for each picture. Then I did the same thing for all of the pictures until all the information that was given below the pictures were used up. So that would make for their first draft. Then, this was the new thing that I wanted them to do: use a checklist to write a better story. In the checklist, they were given some steps to follow so they can make their writing better.

They had to of course, write the first draft first, a simple one. Then add details about the accident they were describing, and logical connectors where appropriate. Finally, and most importantly, they were to check for errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation 🙂 I made them use a different-coloured pen to make whatever changes or additions to their first draft before finally rewriting the final draft in their Writing books 🙂

I found that I had soooo much time left over! They could even hand the books in today instead of next week, like I had planned at first. So I went around the entire class to have a look at their road safety badges! Some were really very creative! And beautifully-drawn or coloured 🙂 I wish I could have taken a photo of all the badges! Yet, it was quite sad that many had grammatical errors. I guess that would have been my fault. I should have given them a fixed list of pledges and asked them to choose one, instead of giving them the complete freedom to make one themselves :/ So it was really too bad! 😦

But since there was time, I took photos of the kids with their badges in class today! 😀

Anyway, I think with 1 Buck, I’m going to make them just discuss it together, and then write the first draft on their own. I won’t be writing the entire story on the board for them to just copy. They might take an even shorter time to complete it. Or, there’s nothing much to check (a step on the checklist) if everything was already given to them >.< So I guess I’ll make them write everything themselves, so they can get a feel of writing an essay with guidance and scaffold (the checklist) but on their own 😀 This lesson will be for 1 Buck’s Friday 🙂

 

p.s: Hasrul must have a secret admirer in his 4 Sau class! Know what he found in his pencil box after a Physics at the lab?

A flower! Made out of plasticine!!!!! xD Teased him mercilessly about it! 😉

 

Handout(s)

1. Checklist 15A

I don’t know if I was just tired, or fed up, or in a bad mood, but Choral Speaking practice was just very bad for me, today. (Or maybe it was because Sun wasn’t around too @.@ haha)

I was annoyed that, after 3 full weeks of practices, some still had not memorized the script.

I was annoyed that, even though I am around, the students act like there is no teacher there.

I was annoyed that, there were several students who want to run the show and there seems to be some power struggle that I am just toooooo tired to bother about.

I was annoyed that, a student had approached me today, and Sun once before, about changing the script to another one, even though it’s less than a month before the competition.

I was annoyed that, a few students were showing a black face today, apparently dissatisfied about something, but did not have the guts to approach me about it, or voice it out during practice.

I was just annoyed, period.

Maybe I was beginning to feel the pressure because we frankly had less than a month to fine-tune our script and they were still very messy and not together, and add to that, all these little little things about being unhappy about the script and this mini power struggle etc.

Sigh.

Sun asked me if I would like to exchange instead—swap Choral Speaking for Debate. But I’m not that good with debate anyway @.@

And also, I feel annoyed because many students in Choral Speaking were still absent and involved in a lot of other things—Debate and the reply trip to Bandung. So, although I want to decide on the many solo parts straight away with no more switching or changes, I feel there are a few others who won’t be around for practice who are actually quite good. So, it’s either I decide on the parts, and miss out on the good ones, or I wait for them to be done with their various other programs, and risk the entire group being messy because they haven’t been practising with one unchanging solo person. >.<

I guess I could ask Sun about what she thinks I should do :/

ARGH, it’s tough, especially without any prior experience!

Today, I talked to Aina again. Only because one of her friends, Hannah, came to find me last week to tell me that Aina had shown her her journal and was acting very weird and depressed. She was like, “Teacher, I don’t know what to do!” @.@

I didn’t, either 😦

But at this point, I really felt she needed some professional help, from a school counselor, possibly. And having met the school counselor, Pn. Hafizah, just last Sunday, I was even more convinced that a person a genuinely nice and caring as her would surely be able to help Aina, more than I ever could!

I lack the experience and the expertise to deal with these kinds of situations. And over the weekend, I had decided that I would tell Aina that I strongly suggest that she speak with the counselor. Only because I told myself that I did not want to regret, sometime down the line, that I had not done something sooner. (Who knew what might happen, right? @.@)

I had intended to have a short chat with her, just to let her know my concerns and then inform her that I would like to refer her to the counselor, if that was okay with her. But we ended up chatting for almost an hour! Which is terrible, seeing as she actually had her Geography lesson at the time :/ She cried, and I had to comfort her a little. I shared with her a few things about myself, and how I could also relate to feeling lonely and sad. Or how dissatisfied I used to feel with my over-controlling mum when I was younger too.

But at the end of it, she agreed to let me show her journal to Pn. Hafizah, but insisted that she was uncomfortable talking about her problems, though she did not have problems writing them to express her feelings. I asked if she would be okay with Pn. Hafizah talking to her personally, but she said she didn’t want to. So, I asked her would she then be alright if Pn. Hafizah wrote her a reply instead, and she said yes. Really strange, don’t you think? :/

Still, I am glad that she somewhat agreed, and I can talk to someone professional about this matter now! Phew! @.@ I think I need to talk about this more than she does!

Anyway, Pn. Hafizah is away for a course and seminar and will only be free to discuss it on Friday. I guess I will talk to her then, and show her Aina’s journal. Hopefully, she would have better suggestions on how to help poor Aina 😦

I did the same activity with 1 Buck today, since both classes had their single periods today 🙂 I am grateful that yesterday’s cuti peristiwa did not affect 1 Buck’s English periods, because 1 Buck had two periods to catch up to 1 Best. This way, both classes will be at an equal pace now 😀

However, 1 Buck’s classes will always be a little slower than 1 Best’s, because 1 Best’s lessons are Mon, Tue and Wed, while 1 Buck’s is Tue, Thurs and Fri. Which means that 1 Buck will always have a slight advantage in that sense, because I would have tried out that lesson with 1 Best first before 1 Buck. Whatever didn’t work with 1 Best, I could improve on when I carried out the same lesson in 1 Buck!

But before I started the lesson, I had some housekeeping matters to settle. After they wished me, I made them remain standing until I had returned all the journal books that were handed in to me. Those who did not receive their books (who obviously had not handed them in) had to remain standing until I told them to sit. >.< Only 6 handed in, can you believe it? 😦 I gave them a warning and said that if they still did not hand in their work, up to three times, I was going to fill in the students’ borang salahlaku disiplin and give it in to Mr. Thina. Hopefully that will scare them, and ensure that their books are handed in on time :/

Anyway, as I had said earlier, the discussion part regarding the situations in Handout 14A took longer than expected. So I thought about how I could shorten the time, yet still allow for a little more student-centredness in my lesson. So this time, instead of getting students to read the situation and discussing with the class on the relevant road safety rule, I read the situations out loud to the class, discussed, then got students to tell me what the road safety rule is. True enough, the lesson was much smoother since, after reading out the situation I also explained difficult/unfamiliar words. 🙂

In retrospect, I think it was absolutely fitting that I did these two alternative ways with the two respective classes. 1 Best would have had more scaffolding while 1 Buck had to think on their feet a little bit more. However, I was quite surprised to realize that some students in 1 Buck were struggling with the language. They hummed and hawed a lot when I probed them for answers. They really had problems expressing themselves! Surprising, for the best class in Form 1! @.@

Again, I need to keep reminding myself that their level should be about the same as 1 Best, really. I guess it is good that I plan all their lessons alike, then. :/

Time management was muuuuuuch better and I ended when I should’ve ended—which is excellent! 😀

So, here’s how I made my sample badge to show the kids! 🙂

 

Step 1: Cut a manila card into 6cm x 6cm squares.

Step 2: Get ready safety pins and masking tape.

Step 3: Decorate the card however you like, but remember to write a pledge using the subject “I”. (Students can even cut the cards into other shapes if they wish—either a square, or a diamond shape like this one, or even circle! :P)

Step 4: Place the safety pin carefully on the back of the card.

Step 5: Finally, tape the safety pin firmly with masking tape.

DONE! 😀

Doesn’t it look good? 😉

Let’s see if the kids can come up with nicer ones! 😀

Handout(s):

1. Handout 14A (Road Safety situations)

It felt weird going to school without Sun today :/ She took a day’s leave so she could collect data for her research in SMT Kuala Lumpur. So I drove to school alone, spent a whole day in school—including staying back for Choral Speaking practice—alone, and then drove back to UKM alone, too.

Lonely. 😦

Anyway, I had interesting activities planned for my kids! Guess what, I managed to have time to prepare everything I needed for the kids to make the road safety badges like I had initially planned! 😀

After the trip to PWTC, Sun and I made a pitstop at the kedai runcit opposite Al-Fariz’s in Bangi and bought all the supplies. They had some awesome fluorescent yellow card that was perfect for making badges, and lots of safety pins! 😀 PERFECT!

But first of all, before getting into the fun stuff, of course, there was some learning to do, right? 😉

With 1 Best today, before I began the lesson, I had something to inform the class first. I cleared it with Aswad, the monitor, and then I let the class know that Nabihah was going to be their English language monitor. No, Aswad would still be their class monitor; he would do all the greetings, but Nabihah will be my helper who collects all the books and informs the class if there is anything I need them to do/bring. 🙂 Nabihah was so shy and quiet about it, but I was determined to make her my monitor. She was more responsible than Aswad, that was certain, and I felt she was very very capable, but only lacked the confidence, and the opportunity to shine.

So, I was going to give her that opportunity. 🙂 I’m sure she’ll do splendidly!

So, I started off my lesson with a story about Pak Abu. He was driving to work, but he was late! Suddenly, the traffic light turned red, and he made a split decision to beat the traffic light. “Aiyo, I’m late! It’s okay lar, it’s just this once!” What happens? An accident! 😦 And you know what is the saddest thing? I asked the class. The mother and two kids who were injured in the accident, who were completely innocent. So I asked them, why did this happen? Because Pak Abu broke the rules. So what are these rules for? To keep us safe.

So that was our topic for today: Road Safety.

Not too bad for a set induction, right? 😉

Then I gave them a Handout 14A, where there were situations I had created in which a few road safety rules could be drawn. I asked one student to read out each situation, then did a whole-class discussion on what the character did right, and why it was the right thing to do. For example, “I’m sure many of you often open the car door on the side of oncoming traffic. Do you know that it is not safe to do that? You should always open the car door on the side of the sidewalk.” Or, “Amin wears a cycling helmet. How many of you actually wear a cycling helmet? We should always wear protective gear, especially for our head!”

I wrote down all the answers on the board: We should this, we should that, we should not this, and we should not that.

Unfortunately, the discussion took longer than expected and there wasn’t much time left to make the road safety badges in class! Well, yes, I had intended for the students to continue the task at home anyway, since I’m sure most of them want to use special colour pens or colour pencils or markers etc. But there wasn’t much time to explain the task properly.

Of course, I did tell them that I wanted them to write pledges. Meaning, change the subject to “I”. For example, for the road safety rule, “We should stop, look and listen before we cross the road,” they should make a pledge by saying, “I always stop, look and listen before I cross the road.” This means that they are making a promise to themselves to stay safe on the road by adhering to at least one rule. 🙂

Once they were done, I could give them the safety pins and the tape to finish making the badge, and they would be able to wear them on their uniforms in school. How fun would that be? 😉 I guess we would have to continue this in the next lesson. Hope there’s enough time! @.@

 

Handout(s):

1. Handout 14A (Road Safety situations)