16 June 2005

Why Are You Here?

By Rahman Pauzi

Warning : If you are caught using my writing as a basis for your Pernyataan Hasrat, don’t blame me if you don’t get into the course. Get a valid reason or else drop the idea of being a teacher at all!
Why are you here? why did you join up? why do you want to be a teacher?
Those are among the questions that will be asked during the interview and later on by your lecturers. Trust me when I say that the interviewers are much more forgiving when it comes to you giving stupid answers as they are just going to fail you with a smile (yes the interviewers usually smile all the way through the interview which is unnerving.)
The lecturers on the other hand are not as forgiving, cut the crap of serving your nation (berkhidmat utk bangsa agama dan negara). Most of them will smile and afterward bang u real hard for trying to lie to them. Don’t tell them u really believe in serving, they know you are actually lying and it is actually because of the perks a teacher will get. Just tell them the truth and u might get out of it unscathed.

Some would say that they want to be a teacher because in their old job they had to do overtime till midnight and a teacher only gets to work till noon. What a mistake, you will hear a lecture on how a teacher’s work never ends and that you will most likely have to bring home work to do. Being a teacher is like doing a non-stop presentation, you have to get prepared everyday, and when else do you get prepared if not at home.
Some will have reasons related to their families, which would end up as being the same as above but with a little twist, here the lecturers might go softer on you. When it comes to holidays they were all smiling, yes teachers get tonnes of holidays, but never when we really need em. You can’t easily get of work to visit a dying relative and so on. The procedure to get a day off is not that easy.
Why are the lecturers bullying you with all these impossible to answer questions? because as one lecturer once said, “I’m afraid for my grandchildren” yes that one sentence means a lot. If our heart is not truly in teaching, wouldn’t we be teaching just for the sake of getting the montly pay and not teaching because we are responsible for the student’s future. One more thing is, all of the lecturers at the teacher trainee college are teachers who were upgraded to the status of a lecturer. To be on that level they must be passionate about their job.
If you don’t really love teaching, wouldn’t you burn out after a few years (yes teachers usually burn out, especially english teachers). Then what would happen after you have lost your drive to teach? Robotic teaching I suppose, nothing of real value that will sustain the student for life, maybe just for sake of passing exams.
Most of all they are so hard on us, because teaching is a noble profession, but it is being devalued by teachers who teach in a lackadaisical manner. Teacher’s are no longer looked up upon, instead parents use them as a scapegoat for their children’s problem. How many students nowaday hate their teacher? Which is saddening, but then wouldn’t it also be because the teacher himself is not pulling his own weight? As the lecturers are also teachers, (they still prefer being called cikgu rather than lecturers) they feel it as an affront to their profession.
Then you will ask, why am I writing this piece, fret not I will give you the answer. It is because I am sick of people who thinks that being a teacher is a way out of another job that they don’t like. I am sick of people who thinks teaching is a last chance job. For me, I joined up not because I don’t have a choice, I do have a choice, a choice I never exercised. I made a conscious decision to be a teacher, a decision I made after working part time as a teacher during my univ holidays (and afterwards). The satisfaction that you get as you see ur students progressing in their studies is more rewarding to me than getting 10k for a project that took me 2 weeks to complete. (Yes I used to do webdesign and that was my rates those days.)
I could have applied to get a job at a multitude of government agencies. But I did not, instead I only chose to go to only 1 interview, the KPLI interview.
The true reason why I applied for KPLI was because one day during my second stint as a part time teacher I realised that I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing. The student was not understanding what I was teaching. In the 1st stint, the students actually understood something, but now they are not. I was actually afraid at that moment because I realised, that I am not teaching them anything. I was untrained, I don’t really know how to handle these kids. That’s why I applied for KPLI because I wanted to be a trained teacher.
The principal of that school once said that “A doctor can kill his patient one by one, but a teacher can kill a generation.”
p/s: So for those who came to my blog wanting to find out stuff about MTeST, here is a challenge. If you are still up to it, go ahead, by all mean be a teacher but don’t be a mediocre teacher, be a great one. That is a challenge both for me and for you.