I know what I am about to write here is going to be controversional, but it just has to be said.

I observe a lot of teachers in my life. Back when I was young,more than 25 years ago in Muar, I was schooled in Sultan Abu Bakar Primary Girl School till Penilaian Standard 5. Later then, I was enrolled in Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Bakri, Muar till Form 5 before I am off to England for my undergraduate studies. In our lives, we cant escape the fact that we are close to teachers, second to our parents. We spend almost 8 hours in school. Morning in primary school, later afternoon in Religion School, at least I did back then. We come back home close to 6pm almost everyday, have our dinner, do our homework, watch little TV then off to bed. We do spend most of our days in schools.

Those days, teachers are among the most respected individual in our society. Probably it is because they are among elite educated individual, competent enough back then to lead and educate our young ones, and we sort of give our faith in our teachers. Everything was great. Not much of disciplinary issues back then when I was schooling. Every student respect teachers, we listen to them, we admire them, and some of us were inspired by them, considering being a teacher is a choice of profession if you ask some children back then.

I remember my Standard 2 class teacher, Puan Kalsom. She looked very fierce but she was really good teacher. I was appointed by her to be the Head of the Class. Among my duty was to clean the whiteboard off the chalk everytime class finishes, line up the class member before class starts and during assemblies, and my favourite one was sending piles of exercise books to the teacher's room after their classes.

This is the time when I get to knock on the Teacher's room door, get inside and put the big pile on top of their desks. It was a respected position being the Head of the Class and I loved it. If this happens during recess times, I could see almost every class teacher inside the room, munching away their lunches and they talk about their students. One corner, the teacher is talking about the next field trip, the other 3 were talking about science subject and I can see they are burning something in a glass container.

The other corner, a few Ustazah was talking about some prayers and I can hear them reading from some books. Everytime I step in the room during recess, they are talking about enhancing their teaching and gathering ideas of what next.

The reason I remember Puan Kalsom the most is because she was the one who teaches us basic science and we were always eager when her class started. She will take us out of the class room, get us to sit under a very big Sena tree in the school compound, and start teaching us about nature, grass, why they are green, what makes them breathe etc. I was so fascinated by her. She believed learning is process of seeing and touching. We get to catch butterflies & grasshoppers among other insects that infested our green football field, touch them and release them back to the air. We aced in the subject, and we were only 8 years old!!!
She teached us science until standard 5, and later I heard that she had some disease and can no longer teach.
But I saw her once in a while in the teachers room when she paid her visit to her colleagues.

Then my adventure in Maktab Rendah Sains Mara starts. The teachers there are very well mannered, some of them quickly become friends with some of us, and almost every one of them have very open mind. This is an exceptional school and I loved every bit of it. They teach me to love knowledge, and the teachers emphasized it more, and it's really fun!

My homeroom teacher, Puan Badariah, who also taught us Additional Maths, Puan Rosnah who taught us Chemistry, are among those with greatest impact in my schooling life. These individuals are really something. They become what they are and good at it because they LOVE DOING IT, no external force make them do otherwise. We can feel it through their tenacity in teaching and educating. In short, they LOVE what they do and that makes them very good, honest and SINCERE. The results are tremendous, almost all of us passed with flying colours, some made it to England, some to other parts of the world namely US, Australia, Germany. We really made them proud, second to our parents.

But look at what happened now? year 2009 & 2010. Everything seems to be bad when it comes to our local education. Graduates flooded our unemployment charts, teachers become more like a profession than something noble, it's merely getting the salary and to some, it's just an escape route out of unemployment. To my own detriment, teachers now are more like "PAYCHECK" monster. They care less about the students, they do it because they failed at everything else. They failed at numerous interviews they went, none of private sectors willing to take them, nonetheless almost everyone of them can barely speak good english!!! Not to mention to hire them.
Malays are the biggest portion I am talking about here. I sound ruthless but yes I am.
Furthermore, I have quite a number or teachers in my life too right now, related, non-related, most being married and all.. they are no other than those individual who are struggling with "not" wanting to educate their fellow students. Some expressed regrets. Some admitted they had no other choice of profession. Filling up KPLI forms are the last resort. After all, they also said they will never get sacked if they slack, the worst, the government will transfer them to "problematic" school. Whatever that means, I sounds scary to me and my younger generations.

Some even told me, working with government, they can escape retrenchment, government will not fire staff, "if they dont like me, they will transfer me elsewhere, but the main important thing is I still get paid."

Among my own relatives who took teaching as profession, 6 close relatives of mine, to be exact, come back from school, after dinner, out of the 6, only 1 single individual I know will look through some books, reading through some articles of what to teach their student tomorrow.

Some others, I never seen them doing any revision or even reading anything for next day's teaching preparation. Until to the point I was shocked that they are Secondary School teachers. Wow! they must be damn clever to remember everything before teaching a class without revising first, or my guess is, they just dont care, they read from the books out loud, when bright students ask for details, they will shut them off and change the subject. The latter is what I suspected.

When English was introduced to primary schools, some retaliated loudly and opposed the government's move right to the grave. The subject became hot topic after dinner everytime I came back hometown for holidays. Some are quite cool about it.Name it, the ones that are cool about it are the ones that CARE about our students!

All in all, those who retaliated (very big fraction are the malays in Kelantan, escpecially) without realizing that they admitted this fact. They are "scared" and felt stupid because they cant even speak proper Bahasa Malaysia, not to mention English, for god's sake!!!!!!!! One of them started talking to me and laugh everytime he speaks english to me (me and hubby are the the only ones studied overseas, we never see english as "alien" language, we enjoyed them). It's like a 5 year old trying to speak english and all pronounciations are haywired. Damn it was funny!!!

They struggled to speak to outsiders ("Orang Luar"), (that's what they call us who are not born in Kelantan)because outsiders speak much more relaxed bahasa compare to them.

I am not worried about them, most of them have passed 40 years of age, couldnt care less about educating their own children, not to mention other students who are not theirs biologically.

I question about the younger teachers, graduates who enrolled in as teachers.
What kinds of measures the government take to tell who is "fit and unfit" for the job?

Filling up quotas are one issue, but just by taking anyone off the street without having any passion for educating the young ones are nonsense!!!.

I have a few suggestions here that the government should consider :

a) Interview them for the job.
Interview should be conducted by good teacher himself. Have a few other panels ready during the interview - each from disciplinary dept, finance, administration, subject mattered dept etc... how would I know all these, I am not a teacher.. but I am just giving suggestions.

b) Give at least 2 years probation period. The reason I suggest longer period is because their performance should be based on their teaching subjects and the results of their classes. Examination is once a year, right? So how can you judge the teacher through 6 months? If their classes couldnt barely understand what she's teaching and the teacher has no tenacity in teaching and educating, it will show in the final class result.

c) Never ever encourage female teachers to get pregnant during these probation period. The reason is obvious. She will be a passenger, not the driver if she is pregnant for 1/2 of the year during the probation period, there's no way you can asses her.

d) Have an Evaluation Programme for teachers performance from all aspects. From her colleagues, from her pierces, and also from her students.

  1. Merit them on Communications, Relations with others, Effective Teaching Methods, Creativity in teaching methods etc... and of course the behavioral attributes like Attitude, Knowledge, Common Sense, Ability to speak more than 1 language....
  2. Most people think that student's feedback is not important, but it is. From students you can gauge :
  • Teacher's appearance (nicely dressed or untidy),
  • Hygiene- some teachers can teach in dirty classes, I cant. I like it tidy and neat.
  • Effective Listening - teachers using their voices appropriately- just imagine 1 class of 45 students, teacher has a very soft voice, those at the back cannot hear her, not to mention to understand her... that's not children's fault.. Teachers should know how to use their voice depending on the class size.
  • Effective Understanding - teachers who will try as much as they can to get the children understand what she's teaching will use various methods and techniques, so children can grasp. This also shows how passionate one is to educating. Those who dont care, they dont have this attribute!!!!
  • Creativity / Preparedness before classes - as I mentioned earlier, teachers who revise first before class are bound to answer questions on the spot, and will not defer the answer. Only students can asses these characteristics.
  • Fluency in other language(especially english)- some teachers sails through teaching english class like a sunny day without any obstacles or hindrance. But most malay teachers struggle like a 5 year old trying to spell "elephant" and doesnt even get their pronounciations right. Only students can asses these. Some teachers think they are superior in the class, they get to do what they want, headmaster not watching them, they teach half in Malay, half in english.. and it's comfortable to their tounge. But I am sure students will get confused!!!!! If the subject in English, teach in english only. If bahasa, teach in bahasa only. Then it will be less confusing to our young minds.

e) Get parents involved in the evaluation process. Some parents (like me, of course) are concerned about their children's education. They would want to hear and see what their day school teachers are teaching their children. The parent teacher meeting should not be restricted to once or twice a year. It should be done monthly. And progress and actions taken about all matters -should be recorded and dealt with.

It seems too much to handle huh?? But if you get the system right, everything will fall into place.
I am only talking about Primary and Secondary schools.

Why do you think local graduates cannot make it to the corporate world nowadays?
I'd say the problem comes from the ROOT!!!!! You fix the root, you get the fruits. If the roots are not healthy and incompetent, the fruits you get will be just as ROTTEN!!!!

I am just guessing from the above suggestions. I feel these measures should be strong in Primary and Secondary Schools.

If the "INCOMPETENCE TEACHERS" problems are solved, a lot of other things will just be in place naturally.

Rather than merely blaming parents for children's slacking which is always the easiest escape nowadays, what's the point of sending your children to school if everything is blamed on us, parents? Why pay hundreds of ringgit to send our children to school?

Why battle traffic jam every morning sending our kids to school every morning, and yet teachers can just lay back and point fingers to parents for their children's downfall?

If malaysia is like US, they recognize home schooling, I dont mind doing it to my children. Unfortunately they dont.

So, do look at the source of the problems, and these are just around you. If you look closer and listen carefully, you'll agree with me.


Anonymous said...

Wow,why is your English so rotten? You had no idea you should write in which tense. It's like a rojak piece. I couldn't find the patience to plough through your whole piece. Kesian that you did not benefit from the best English language teachers.

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