Thursday, August 26, 2010

The 16th Day of Ramadan

Fifteen more days to food and merriment!

Muslims have by now completed 15 days out of the 30-day month of Ramadan. Initially the fasting month was like dragging a pair heavy feet through wet sand; slow and tiring. But as the fasting month reaches its half way point, the days seem to pass by faster and faster.

And with each passing day of Ramadan, Muslims wait impatiently for the sighting of the crescent moon that indicates the end of the fasting month and the first day of the month of Syawal, and the beginning of a month of festivities, that is Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

I used to remember my late mom telling my siblings and me that only those who fulfil a whole month of fasting can celebrate Hari Raya. I always tried to rationalise what she said and to question her why that was so. I now realise that everyone can celebrate Hari Raya, whether or not they complete their month of fasting.

Most of all I understand what she meant when she said that only those who fast can celebrate Hari Raya. What she meant was only those who fast can enjoy the spirit of Hari Raya because if you have fasted then, only then will you get the full joy of celebrating Hari Raya.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thanks For The Money!

A Little Goes A Long Way.....

The Prime Minister has made a wise move in announcing that all government servants will be getting RM500.00 each for the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Some many groan in despair and express their dissatisfaction that this amount of money is too little and would make any kind of significant difference to their already ballooning household expenditure.

I, on the other hand, feel that money given by the government or anyone else for that matter, other than our salary, is a welcome addition to our monthly income, even though it comes once in a blue moon. It helps to ease the extra expenditure that will occur during this festival. And being the bread winner for my family, I say that this little bit goes a long way.
Let us not complain about the sum that is given to us. Let us express our appreciation by striving to work harder and make a positive contribution to our service because if this small sum were not given to us, our budget for this festival would be a little tighter!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Learn Or Not To Learn

Is English Language such a sleepy subject?

What can a teacher do to attract the interest of his students to learn English Language? I mean, it's not like I have been complacent all my teaching life not to realize their needs to things that are new. It's not like I ignore their desire for things that challenge their critical and creative abilities. And at the same time, it's not like I ignore the syllabus set by the Ministry.

Moreover, I can safely and happily say that I am the only English teacher in this school, or even in this area, who teaches English Language using modules which are related to the chapters stipulated in the school textbooks. I have poured for hours on the modules by surfing for suitable materials on the Internet; netizens will attest that it is not easy to find suitable and at the same time, credible materials. I have spent countless hours creating activities based on these materials that I collect; activities which include reading comprehension, vocabulary building, text completion, grammar activities and even activities for enrichment.

However, my hard work is all in vain because the results that I have been expecting is not materialising. Students seem to misplace the modules that I give them. They don't seem to complete their work. On top of that, they don't even bother to hand in their exercise books. All these, in spite of my many futile attempts to get them to do so.

I am willing to change,yet again, what ever that is necessary to get my students to enjoy learning English Language once again, just like my former students, many years ago. I am willing to change! But are my students willing to do the same?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Form Six Students

Are Form Six Students A Pampered Lot?

Ever since the inception of this new format for Form Six which involves everything from the teachers to the school hours, words have got around that there are many people from the main stream, teachers and students alike, voicing out their dissatisfaction. They say that the Form Six's go home much earlier than their peers in the main stream and that their time-table is more relaxed. The Form Six teachers are not safe from these dissatisfaction's also. They, this time the main-stream teachers, say that the Form Six teachers are having a happy time teaching adult learners who do not seem to pose any disciplinary problems and that teaching is a breeze. The dissatisfied teachers from the main-stream also attest that the Form Six teachers can also go home earlier than they do. In essence, they say that the Form Six teachers can do whatever they like.

Well, I would like to take this opportunity to put to light a few misconceptions. First of all, the Form Six teachers are not leading a happy teaching life. The main-stream teachers are welcome to check out time-table which bear witness that the Form Six teachers' are jammed packed with activities other than teaching. We have slots for group Research and Development sessions which take up to periods. Then there is the Exam and Evaluation section of the time-table which takes up three periods. If a Form Six teacher already has 23 teaching periods, when you add the five periods mentioned, he would have 31 periods! On top of that the Form Six has 160 minutes of co-curriculum compared to the main-stream that is 150 minutes. Worse of all, when there is any activity conducted for the Form Six, we are not allowed to involve the teachers from the main-stream; but when there is any activity organised by the main-streams the Form Six teachers are forcefully involved.

So, I say to these main-stream teachers who complain, go ahead and pour your heart out. Form Six teachers have never complained about their lack of opportunity to become the Head of Departments, Senior Assistants or what ever administrative posts that you are holding. So, to be fair, don't hold a grudge against us.

Ask Me No Questions, And I'll Tell You No Lies

Of course people don't usually ask me any questions. First because I am the quiet type and second, because I usually shy away from people when I see them heading towards me. And especially when I know people want to converse with on topics that I don't really favour.

However, it seems very odd when people begin to lie through their teeth when nothing is asked from them. It always hurts me more when people lie because they think they want to protect me from the agony of listening to the truth; when they think that I cannot accept the truth.

I suppose that is the real reason why I shy away from people. Mostly because I already know the truth, but because people think that I may get hurt when they me the truth, they begin to tell me lies. I, on the other hand, already know the real situation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Remember Her Well.....

I remember her well, so calm and so cool
Waving goodbye, as I set off to school
She packed some sandwiches in my bag; so neat!
So I won't go hungry, I'd have something to eat

I remember her well, by the door she waited
As I came home from school, tired but excited
I ate the food she cooked; all were so nice
Even when they were just 'kicap' and plain, white rice

I remember her well, when I went to the playground
Watching over me; she'd always be around
And whenever I was hurt, she'd blow it away
Surprisingly enough, it would all be okay!

I remember her well, when she tucked me in bed
Putting a light, fluffy pillow under my head
And every time when I started to weep
She'd say, "Don't cry"; she'd sing me to sleep

I remember her well, every night every day
Nothing I do can ever repay
Even though now, we are no more together
I remember her best, because she's my MOTHER.....

from an eternally grateful son......
......and one year has gone by........