Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Teaching Practice - Third Year Ba Ed TESL Major

Thanks to @izahazahari for proposing this idea via twitter

As a requirement for a Bachelors of Education in Universiti Brunei Darussalam, undergrads are required to go on a 'Teaching Practice' or 'TP' in real classroom in school around Brunei. Each undergrad will be assigned a school and will stay there to teach and be observed and assessed by the assigned Co-Operating Teacher or CT and the Universiti assigned Supervisor for a duration assigned by the Universiti.

Back when I was still an undergrad we had two separate teaching practice sessions. My TP was six weeks during our 'summer' long semester break in my third and final year. So we were kind of annoyed that our holiday time was taken away from us.

My first TP was at Maktab Sains in 2002. They were occupying the current S.M.Rimba school while waiting for the renovation work to finish at the current school along Jalan Muara. It was a daunting idea to be sent to a school where you had the best students in Brunei grouped together in every class.

I was given two Form 2 classes and my CT was this old lady who used to be a principal for a grammar school in London. She was so old I could barely hear her. I do not know how her students were able to listen to her. She was nice and she gave me a week to observe her classes and showed me the ropes. I mean I had never taught in a real class so having a week to settle in was crucial to settle my nerves.

I remember the first time I was introduced to the classes. I recalled weird stares and felt like having arrows shot through me with their eyes. One class had a royal family member which made it even more awkward. However, she was kind enough to let me just call her by her name.

I made some quick notes that the boys liked to do things by themselves and there was no communication in the class and especially with the girls. I designed group activities and indirectly forced the boys to sit with girls to get some social interaction going.

Some boys opened up, while others just did their own thing. The girls made efforts to interact with the boys. Guess I was just pushing my them too hard. But I slowly gained the respect of the boys when I tapped into their interest and spoke their language.

Talking about music always helps, plus rumor started spreading around that a radio deejay was one if the TP teachers in school. *Gulp* My Students found out about it so most of them started to be extra nice to me. 'Sir play me a song when you go on air please Sir!'

I learned that you have to earn your stripes in class. Students look at you as a walking dictionary, however, we accept that we are not and we do not have answers to everything. Kids know that, we just need to keep reminding them once in a while that we too are human and we make mistakes.

As a future educator, students can smell if you are nervous or not. Once they figure out if you are, then be prepared for attitude. But if you are gleaming with confidence, students will realise how approachable you are.

You pick up a few things as you teach. You start realising what works and what doesn't. Your CT and Supervisors are there to support you and advice you. Take whatever advice that throw at you. It is for your own good. Never take it as criticism because teaching requires practice. It is not a talent like singing or dancing. I requires careful planning and execution and practice makes perfect. I do not believe it when people say that they were born to teach.

Enough about classroom environments. More in the second part when I share my second TP at Maktab Duli in my final year.

How to socialise / interact in the staffroom especially with the, in my case, English department and administration and other teachers?

- Smile. Its a great ice breaker. A smile allows others to warm their way into a conversation with you by following your smile with a 'Hello!' or 'Hi!'. Trust me when I say this, teachers expect you to break the ice. They want to know if you can 'fit' in with the rest of the pack. First impressions say a lot about the person.

- Never be afraid to ask. If you have trouble with something, just ask. We constantly remind our kids to never be afraid to ask yet we know that the new teachers and TP teachers are afraid to ask. We have to instill within us 'You practice what you preach'. Teacher love to share ideas and will always be willing to lend a helping hand.

- Get to know the Head of Department and Assistant HOD. They have more insight and they will be more that willing to help you settle in. They want to make sure you have a great TP experience and to ensure that you don't change you mind about teaching as a career.

- Mingle with the Admin. Make it a point to know the Principal and deputies and senior masters and mistresses and clerks. If they like you they may want to get you back there after you graduate. However, if that does not happen you would have left a lasting impression on them to know the potential you have. Again, it is all part of a learning process.

- Record book. Now this area I failed to pick up. My lesson plans were never really checked by my CT. I only provided lesson plans for lessons when my CT or Supervisor came over to observe me. They did not even ask for a record of my lesson plans. Trust me, learning and practicing to have a good record of lesson plans and marks will go a long way.

I think I got a 'B' for my TP. I had pick up a lot of useful tips and I had a memorable TP in MS. My students from the classes have moved on to Uni and I'm glad some of them remember me, even though I was only there for a few weeks.

Overall my first TP was a success and just sing along to the tune and you'll find that teaching is easier than you think. Well, sometimes it is.

Monday, October 04, 2010

What is the future going to be like?

So what will the future look like? From a teaching perspective, honestly, No idea at all!!

Then what do I teach in class?

There was this very interesting video which I have used in a previous post on, a TED.Tv production entitled Do Schools Kill Creativity? by Sir Ken Robinson - an insightful and humorous presentation about what educators are doing in class to prepare their students for the future and challenges the ideology of education systems all over the world.

Honestly, have you ever wondered about the future? Where will you be? What will you be doing? What kind of jobs will your kids do? Will you be flying cars to work?

The future for all we know is, as always, unpredictable. One day, someone discovers a way to live in the sky, then everyone will come up with ideas to build things in the sky. A whole new industry develops overnight. New jobs are created and stakeholders are pushing universities and governments to change their education system to cater for this 'unpredicted' change.

The Future, ladies and gentlemen, are unforeseen events that happen for a reason. Educators can do so much in the classroom, lecture theaters and laboratories and still have no clue as to what these young minds that they are nurturing will end up becoming in the future.

There is hope that gone were the days of dreams jobs like doctors, lawyers, architects and engineers. While jobs like Application Developers, Software designers, Video Graphic designers, Web designers will become to be the 'New Dream Jobs'.

As educators we need to prepare ourselves for this, for the benefits of our future generation. There is only so much that can be covered in the classrooms and our ministry's effort to adapt a more 'independent' learning approach should not be taken negatively.

Teacher's jobs are not made any easier even though students do a lot of self discovery because not every house hold owns a PC or laptop and even if they own one, they may not have internet access at home.

Perhaps we still have a long way to go before every student in Brunei will one day only have to bring a laptop to school and teachers need only bring their tablets to class and the whole concept of 'teaching' becomes a 'learning' experience for both the teacher and students.

Who would have predicted that blogging could generate income and turn into a successful business? We just have to look at our local blogging superstar @ranoadidas as an example.

A quick Q&A with @ranoadidas via text

Q: Did you ever predicted that your blog would end up generating income with the advertisements you have and did you foresee yourself making blogging as a permanent job when you started your blog?

A: Nopes hehehe. I made the choice after realizing the potential

Q: What do you think the future will be like for A company? Collaborating with Adidas and making clothing line?

A: Could be Haha.. But that's just a bonus for me

Q: Last question. Do you think blogging could be a potential 'Future Occupation' like becoming a Doctor or Lawyer?

A: Hahha that would be interesting.. Possibility is there

Wise words from the man who's favourite brand believes that 'Impossible is Nothing!'

Come what may, we have no control over the future. However, we can prepare ourselves for and challenge our young ones to dream on and remind them that the sky's the limit. Possibilities are everywhere.

If you believe it, you can shape your future!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Welcoming Myself Back!

I have to admit that I normally spend my Saturday afternoons with my wife and son. We would go out and have afternoon tea or just browse around. Basically spend the whole afternoon with my two most precious people.

Yet I found myself driving to The Law and Court Building ( yesterday afternoon to attend an interesting public forum entitled "A Blogger's Rights and Responsibilities & Other Legal Issues on the Use of Social Media in Brunei Darussalam"

The talk was presented by @jefrirahman and Hjh Rahayu respectively. You may find more articles on here and here.

In light of this forum, I hope that their plans to do some more public awareness and have some kind of a roadshow to school can further educate our younger generation. The internet has become more and more accessible and even if they do not have PCs or laptops. They have access to social medias like msn and facebook via their mobile phones.

We all have our roles to play. Be it a blogger or twitter-holic, we are bounded by laws and regulations the moment we agreed to their terms and conditions. As mentioned by Ahmad Jefri, 'Do you read the terms & conditions before you agree?' Applause to those you have because it seems like such a daunting task to read the small fine print.

Honestly I do miss blogging even though I am more active on twitter and my tumblr. Blogging was always a good way to practice my writing and sharing thoughts and ideas.

Feels slightly weird but happy to be typing away.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To migrate or to stay?

In a attempt to revive a once active blog that has been on a hiatus for a very long while now. I find myself contemplating to either stick with blogger or migrate to wordpress.

I have been using my tumblr and I am actively tweeting nowadays.

I wonder if this is just a spur of the moment thing. I do enjoy tumblr and had hoped that I would move there permanently.

Will decide soon.

Enjoying the moment!

The Editor is making a rare appearance!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Inspired Moment

I remember looking the Apple Crunchers at the Foodie bloggers Event. Since I was so stuffed from all the food, I did not try it. But I am sure it tasted great.

Apple + Peanut Butter + Cereal = a good combo anytime.

So while I was driving, I was thinking about the Banana Fritters with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream from Taurean Cafe. Sia Sia Pun. Then I also thought about making Apple Crunchers to munch on.

Then I had a wicked idea. Why not make something like Apple Crunchers.

At home, Wifey was looking through this cook book for children which I bought after Hameez was born. A cook book for babies to young children. We have been following the book from day one since Hameez could eat and we kinda follow the schedule.

Anyways, there are a couple of banana related recipes and I was inspired.

Banana coated with Honey and Cereal

First get some cereals together. My choices are Coco Crunch and some Wholegrain cereal and some almond flakes.

A place for the honey.

and the most important ingredient, the star of the dish, BANANAS! hehehe. You may choose to cut it into half. I prefer it that way.

Firstly, dip Bananas in Honey and then dip to the plate with the cereal mix.

Then place on tray.

Finish everything and stick in the Oven at high for 5 minutes.

Let it out to cool and put in the fridge over night.

I will update tomorrow when I get to buy Vanilla Ice Cream and take proper picture.

P.S: Do not be discouraged if the cereal mix does not stick. Just keep on trying to put as many cereal mixes as you can. You can always add more once its on the try and ada more honey if you like.

All Pictures above were taken using my iPhone using a free application called 'Polarize' downloaded from the itunes store.

I have decided not to jailbreak my iPhone and just buy the Paid Apps by buying iTunes credit.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My weekend

I have been meaning to blog about my weekend but I have spend the past few days and nights working to finish a whole lot of work.

Alhamdulillah I managed to settle everything during lunch time today.

Sunday morning I took part in the Special Olympics Walkathon which was an 8 km walk from Taman SOAS to the National Stadium at Berakas.

My wife dropped me off early in the morning and I made my way to look for a registration form or some sort. I met Reeda there and he was kind enough to tell me where to register. Thanks Reeda and love the picture :D

I met some familiar faces as well and the aerobics was fun but kinda difficult to do on the field. But I still enjoyed it. We started the walk and I looked up to the sky and had a gut feeling it was going to rain. I prayed and hoped it would just pass by.

In to the junction at the old Post Office building when a familiar face greeted me as my ears were listening full blast to the sounds of BackStreet Boys. I said 'Hi' and then I felt it. A blob of rain drop on my shoulder and in a split second it poured cats and dogs. I ran for shelter and hid my iPhone. I looked for a plastic bag to save my phone. Couldn't manage to find one, but I was really determined to continue and finish.

I bumped into Rano and asked if he had a plastic bag I could borrow. It was kind of Rano to offer me his raincoat but I just wanted to save my precious one. :D

A million thanks to Rano for keeping my iPhone when I continued my walkathon. I really appreciate it Bro. I owe you one Bro.

I walked and ran for some parts of the walkathon. I am happy to say I managed to finish the 8K walkathon in 53 mins.

At the Bazaar, I met Pablo at the Foodie Bloggers Recipe Book Booth and bought my copy.

I also purchased a 'Special Olympics - Be a Fan' Black Tee because I was soaking wet from the rain and the walkathon.

While waiting for my wife to come to the bazaar, I browsed around and met Yani and her students booth. I bought two books from there and one is an autographed copy signed by the author himself and I got it on sale.

I also bought my DPMM Fan Jersey which I had asked G-Nul to get it autographed by the DPMM Heroes. I specifically asked for the Coach's autograph. I think he has made a huge impact on the players and that has so far been translated on the field by DPMM FC.

My Wife had to work on that Sunday and I dropped her off at her office and I went home to rest and managed to get some sleep :D

Around 2, went to Kilanas to My Wife's grandparents place for a family get together. We bought the Chocolate Mud Cake from Country Patch.

In the afternoon, I had a footy friendly at MD Field against the Original DPMM FC from the early days at MD. They called themselves the 'DPMM - Reunion'. Even Ali Momin of the former national team played. A star studded line up, even at their late 30's were still impressive and dominated the match from Kick off.

I reckon we could do better, if they don't mind a rematch. Just being hopeful :D

At night, I continued to do my work and while I was engrossed in my report writing. Something magical happened.

My Baby Boy, Hameez who was exactly 1 year 2 months and 9 days old walked by himself. He knows how to walk as I stated in my last post with the need of a 'driver'. But that night he just walked by himself.

It was amazing. From watching him glide out from his Mother's womb to the delivery table and watching him grow and his antics and his mumbling to the very sight of him walking.

Alhamdulillah. Allah and his mysterious ways work wonders and I am blessed to have a loving and caring wife and also blessed to have a healthy and beautiful Baby Boy.

I now will patiently wait for him to utter his first words.