Being a transformational teacher

Being a transformational teacher

Wow I haven’t blogged in two weeks! I wake up everyday having a million things to blog about but I just can’t muster enough energy to write at the end of the day. Then, the next day comes and I forget what I wanted to say the day before, and the cycle repeats šŸ™

So I’ve been doing the same thing for the past three weeks, I’ve been teaching at Kem Skorlah (refer to post below). Next week is our last week there, and then we’ll have two more weeks of training before we getĀ catapultedĀ to our respective schools next year.

We had a meeting with our respective schools next year and I’ll be staying at the teacher’s quarters with my other fellow TFM fellow for the next two years. While it’s good to be a stone throw away from school and only paying next to nothing for housing, it’s scary to live on the school ground as well. It’s like I’ll have to be a teacher 24/7 and can only escape when I go back home once in a few months or something. Also, I know I really wanted something really different that’s why I asked for a rural school, but as it gets closer, it’s scary to know that I’ll REALLY be in a rural area.

The quarters that I’ll be living in is completely unfurnished and the electricity has been cut, and to get the electricity, we’ll have to go to Kuala Pilah which is 1.5 hours away. There’s only one bank and it’s Agro bank. There’s no KFC/McD obviously, no supermarkets (only small kedai runcits), one furniture shop to get our furnitures…and that’s it.

Ok don’t want to think about it. For the kids, for the kids!

That’s my personal mantra for the next two years. When the going gets tough, I’ll just tell myself that I’m doing this for the kids. I’ve already decided that I’m going to invest 90% of my time, energy, and emotions into doing this, and only 10% for everything else in my life. I’ve been finding it terribly hard to balance things outside teaching (personal relationships, friends, family, other interests/hobbies etc), but it’s okay because I have my 90%. I know this thinking is warped, but if I want to do a good job then this is what it takes.

Speaking of doing a good job, we’ve been getting a lot of visitors lately in our classes. From our board of trustees, to the staff members, to our corporate partners, to the media. There’s so much pressure to perform it’s crazy! Good thing is I think all of us are trying really hard and it’s definitely translating to students’ achievements. Bad news is, we’re told that while we’re on the pathway to be an effective teacher, we’re nowhere close to becoming a transformational teacher.

Transformational. Even hearing that word sends shivers down my spine. If it already takes so much to be an effective teacher, how much more does it take to be a transformational teacher? A WHOLE lot more, that’s what.

An effective teacher makes sure her students are on track to finish that academic year, that they’re not left behind academically. A transformational teacher goes beyond that and makes sure her students have completely different life trajectories after being taught by her. She instills in them that they, without her, would be able to believe that they can succeed and will work to succeed even without her help. A transformational teacher expects her students to achieve as much as what she would expect her own children to achieve, she would not accept failures and will have high expectations for her students.

Bear in mind that our students are on average 4-5 years BEHIND their academic year, so we have to catch up with being an effective teacher first before we could go anywhere close to being transformational.

So I’ve been teaching for 3 weeks now and already I’m swamped with so many challenges. I think talking about the challenges itself will take a few posts and I’ll get more into it later. All I can say is, academically, the disparity between our students at Kem Skorlah (and they’re not even in the worst schools, which we’ll be going to next year) and with the urban middle-income students in Klang Valley is HUGE. I saw the detrimental effects of PPMSI on the ground and it’s not pretty at all. It did so much damage to these kids whose basic English literacy skill is almost nonexistent. They fall further and further behind, and from not knowing how to do Math and Science already as it is, now they can’t even understand the questions!

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with having Math and Science in English, but definitely not when around 60-70% of the nation’s population is not even well-versed in English yet. Improve their English first then think about such a huge policy change!Ā It’s not what benefits the Klang Valley middle-income people.Ā I learned Math and Science in Malay and yet I could do well in college after that, and yet I’m positive I can compete with anyone else globally. Why? Because of my level of English. So how do you expect people who don’t know basic English to keep up? I can talk about PPMSI for eternity and don’t get me started on MBMMBI (do we really need such a long acronym?).

Anyway it’s been a long rambly post and I have to get back to my lesson plans. I’m compiling my own “kids say the darnest things” logbook so I can remember all the funny things they say, hopefully I’ll post that soon!

Have a great weekend ahead, and thanks for reading despite me not blogging that often anymore!