Sunday, March 4, 2012


I've just survived a week in school.

Honest to God, I don't know how I'm going to survive four months. I'm falling apart, breaking down every few days, stressed out of my mind! I don't know how my dad, and other teachers, can do this every day for the past 30 years. I don't know if I even want to, now.

Q has been rather good to me this week. No problems, except for a little creaking and cranking when I turn right, sometimes. @.@ Thank God.

Finally, a photo of my baby! :D

SMK PP 14(1) is a school with a Malay population of 99.99% (thereabouts. I don't know the exact number). While I don't really have any real problem with that, it has, however, severely limited my wardrobe choices.

There is only one single non-Muslim female teacher, who happens to be the Ketua Bidang Bahasa (Head of Language Department) and every single day (for the past week I've been observing her) she wears a baju kurung. Nothing that doesn't completely cover everything but the face, neck and hands. Even the non-Muslim students wear long-sleeved shirts and long maxi skirts @.@

I had manyyyyyyy blouses and skirts which I was actually looking forward to wear to school. Unfortunately, with the strict Principal and what appears to be a rather Islam-driven school, I don't think it is wise for me to wear anything shorter than ankle-length. Unless I want to get reprimanded by the teachers or ogled by the students.

I am teaching one Form One class and one Form Two class: 1 Best and 2 Gem respectively. 1 Best is the second best class in Form One. There are 28 students and they are a lively, if rather noisy, bunch of kids. They've just come up from primary school, so they are still enthusiastic and excited about a lot of things. Even a simple activity like reading out and guessing their friends' favourites seems to be a lot of fun! There is quite a large gap in language proficiency though. Some have the fluency, but some are weak. It is still challenging though, learning to manage them. Hopefully I'll be able to help them improve. :)

2 Gem on the other hand, is another challenge altogether. I was surprised to find out, on the first day, that the class consisted of 20 Malay boys. Yes, all boys. *gulp* Even though boys are more sporting, and therefore, more fun to teach, they can also be extremely playful and naughty. In the first class itself I could pinpoint who were going to be the troublemakers. >.< Plus, this is the third class out of four in Form Two, and they are very very weak in the language. They are unable to understand even simple instructions like. They often respond to my questions with a (rather rude and) loud "HAAAA?"

I taught them, instead, to say, "Pardon?" when they don't understand, or can't catch what I'm saying. They made fun of it and said, "Apa cikgu? Pondan?!" (What, teacher? Transvestite?) =.=

Even though they are weak, they do not really listen to me. I suspect it is also because they cannot understand half of what I say in class. I resort to first language (Malay) translation in the classroom, which is not ideal. But otherwise, they would not be able to follow the lessons! Some don't pay attention, and one, in particular, has a smart mouth. He's rude, disrespectful and uncooperative. When I asked him to stand up and answer a question, he told me, "Cikgu, nak tidur la," ("Teacher, I want to sleep la) and proceeded to lay his head down on his arm on the table!

I can't control my class. They don't respect me, they don't listen to me. What do I do? T.T

Preparing lesson plans is still something awkward and difficult. I spend hours thinking about what to do, planning, and then doubting myself, so I revise it, and re-revise it... And that's only for one lesson. I have five periods with each class, each week. I have to follow the fixed Form One and Form Two syllabus and the school's scheme of work. And it didn't really help that their previous teacher was only a sub who was temporarily replacing a teacher on maternity leave. He had not really done much, nor anything that he was supposed to, according to the yearly plan. >.<

The students are supposed to be at Chapters 3 and 5 by now, but it appears that they have not really completed Chapter 1! Which makes it very difficult for me. >.<

Adding to the pressure is getting the "orientation" treatment every new trainee teacher seems to receive when they first start teaching. You know the kind. "Teacher, you got boyfriend ar?" "Teacher, are you married?" "Teacher, do you have Facebook?" "Teacher, where are you from?" "Teacher, how old are you? You look so young!" "Teacher, where do you live?" "Teacher, are you Malay?" "Teacher, you Chinese never been to China ar?"

The students are not afraid of you, AT ALL. They walk about, talk, laugh out loud, as if you weren't in the class at all. You give them the evil stare and they still manage to finish their sentence and laugh before they  keep quiet take a short pause in their conversation, after which, they continue anyway.

I got catcalls and wolf-whistles. One student actually commented that I looked "sexy". Another, when I stood at the front of the class, actually said, "Cikgu, tepi!" ("Teacher, move!") when he wanted to copy notes from the board.

I am utterly appalled at their lack of manners and the way in which they treat teachers nowadays. Granted, I am a trainee teacher and they are certainly not afraid of me (they have made that painfully clear to me T.T) but it does not change the fact that I am still older than them. I have never spoken to any of my teachers, in my entire life, the way that some of these kids did to me in this one week.

It's challenging. It's nerve-wrecking. It's exhausting. It's stressful. It's humiliating. It's terrifying. It's de-motivating.

Can I really do this? Do I want to?

At this point? I don't know and, I don't know. It just feels awful. Right now, the only light at the end of the tunnel is a school-free day: Sunday.

All in all, it's been an exhausting, depressing week. Not many highs, but many many lows. :(


Anonymous_X said...

Hey, is definitely very tough. But don't give up yet! My late father was also a teacher himself & he had gone through almost a similar frustration (he taught Math).

In any case, I'm not sure if you're into Japanese drama or anime. But if you do, give this show a try: "GTO" (Great Teacher Onizuka).

ahmad endo said...

yeah kids these day...hehehe..i have a full of respect to anybody that can teach in today with they xbox360 and ps3...all the best and hey you look cute in your kebaya...hehehe

Liz said...

Thank you guys, for your encouragement! But I think GTO makes you have an idealistic impression of what teaching will be like which is not always true. You may be nice and inspiring to the kids, but they might still treat you like you were invisible >.<

I will try my best though. I don't have a choice T.T

Hannah Khaw said...

Your class is your mission field! :) Keep on persevering Liz. Nothing good comes easy. Pearls are born out of oysters' adversity, no? ;) I've got confidence that you'll be able to be a wonderful teacher. Take courage, persevere! <3

Nath said...

So hard to find a Chinese who looks hot in Malay outfit

k0k s3n w4i said...

Who is the scariest teacher in your school? Make a pact with him/her asking if you can send these unruly bastards to him/her everytime they get out of line.

Hate kids. Always had. Sticky, smelly, sociopathic, stuuuuupid little pricks.

goingkookies said...

You might feel like you've failed but don't throw in the ropes just yet k... even to change just one child is worth all the toil, sweat, pain and humiliation right?

You will sow what you reap.. changes take time and sometimes, when we don't see an immediate effect, we feel like all our efforts are worthless, give yourself 3-6mths... and who knows? you'll be pleasantly surprised.

but i salute you for being a teacher.. even if it is a temp. just bumped to ur blog from another and don't know how or why u re in the field but it's commendable and i hope u will be blessed richly in ur endeavours.


ps: u re rocking the baju kurung and kebaya outfit.. no wonder ur kids think u cantik! ;p

btw, kids sometimes say stuff like 'sexy' cos they learnt it from tv etc.. don't take it to heart ya.

Liz said...

>>Hannah Khaw
Thanks babe. I keep telling myself that, but it's still hard. :/ Will have to "cast all my cares" upon Him, though. Otherwise, I'm gonna break! @.@

Ahaha, thank you! ;)

>>k0k s3n w4i
I do threaten them with that, but the fear doesn't last :/ Ahaha, I guess they are, in their own ways, sociopaths :P

Welcome! And thank you for the encouragement. God knows I need a ton of it! @.@

Aki said...

Holla Cute Teacher.. Well, reading all the rant here make me think back what happen during my school day.. :P.. Well, I'm one of hell student shouldn't be.. Yeah, every problem U mentioned there was my problem, but another teacher's problem about me is I got the grade for them.. So, it's just like, if you're teacher's favourite, then U're good to go all the way you like.. ^_^.v..

I don't really know here, but being a CIKGU GARANG is also an option.. But I guess it's hard to be done here in Malaya right?? ^_^.v..

jcdagreat said...

Hey's tough...always as a teacher. Gayou... I can see you're doing your best... don't let those rude kids a chance to bring u down k.... bdaway, you look very sweet in Baju kurung... but the kebaya is best on you :) Take care alright