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Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Failed Teaching-related Theory Of Mine



Assalamu`alaikum w.b.t. (Peace be upon you)

Hi, there! Got this sort of idea. Urm…lemme rethink of what I’ve been up to all day long. Should sound as fun as I’m wishing. Where to begin, huh? Morning. Yup definitely! Hang on. What time did I wake up this morning? Oh boy! Was it still called morning, anyway? Never mind. Didn’t count.  

Of what I can recall, upon getting up of bed, I took ‘breakfast’ in the kitchen at _________ (censored). Took my shower. Subsequently performed Zuhr prayer. Good Muslim. The next activity I did was reading. Ya, I’ve been reading quite a number of chapters already. It’s a Sophie Kinsella novel entitled ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. Really, I’ve had so much fun reading it up lately. Sophie Kinsella’s an international best-selling author, no big deal!

This best-selling novel was written by a British author, Sophie Kinsella


Meantime, I’d been pretty much anxious thinking of what topic I should be teaching this evening at CT Tutorial Centre. Well…my part-time job. And this time around, my undertaking was to take over a Science class that I get used to ever since I’ve been employed (by the centre).

Take it easy, sweetie. Science is currently taught back in our mother tongue, Bahasa. Still, I feel slightly more comfortable to speak both languages interchangeably in my class. At least, my pupils needn’t have to miss my so-called English-speaking voice a lot. Oh really??? Or a kind of lame excuse of mine, no?

I was a bit late, showing up 5 minutes after 8 P.M. Unforgiveable! I knew I was supposed to get there in time. As I usually was. I need the time to select the topic I’m gonna teach unless I’ve already gotten my own teaching learning resources, then it should be fine. Strictly speaking, that has never occurred in a Science class, ever except for English classes, as yet. I just did a quick glimpse, choosing the first topic of all. Pretty sure I could handle it well. I whereupon headed to Year 4 class on the first floor. (Smiling with enthusiasm. Go Mr K. You sure can do it!)

I ‘shooed’ some kids a.k.a my Year 4 pupils to enter the class immediately. These kids are constantly playing outside the class. And, that tells us something. Their main motive of turning this evening’s class up is to play with their buddies as though there’s no more tomorrow. “Come in, please! No fooling around.” I had them come into the class. The door got shut shortly.

Giving ‘salam’ and asking them after is what I normally do. Began my lesson that evening as usual. The difference was I brought with me my new teaching-related theory in the hope that it would work out pretty well. So, the theory is as follows:

“Pupils would rather study with their teacher sitting much closer to them. Meanwhile, they must be able to laugh out loud together. Because fun is what they’re after in learning. And always keep in mind, they’re just kids, anyway.” Khairul Anuar ©

The topic I was teaching that evening was Basic Needs. It discusses all a human or plant’s very basic necessities to keep on survival. Like, plants require water, air, sunlight for survival. While humans are water, food, air, home. Stuff like that.

On top of that, I too drew a clear simple painting consisting of the blue ocean, tall and short green trees with no specific name, land, the snow-white clouds on the whiteboard. Nonetheless, I didn’t have each of them coloured. What is all this junk for? I then clarified, explained to them how water from the ocean is scientifically ‘transferred’ to the trees by the sunlight. Are you with me? Good. We’re done with that. Sorry, I’m not teaching Science out here, am I?

At the end of the lesson, my random reflection said everything turned out just alright. So much pleasure and I was OK with that. They did make so much noise, however, I believed in my theory – they’re just small kids people! And kids are very keen on making things noisy, aren’t they?

Anyhow, hope none of other next-door teachers felt annoyed with the noise these pupils made. Well, really hope so! Maybe their pupils were even worse, making a whole lot of noise, too. Who can say? No comment I heard, either. Means it’s cool.

After a quarter past nine, the second slot got started. That also signified I was going to teach another class, namely Year 5. The same subject except the topic chosen could be impossibly identical.

Not so fond of wasting my time so I walked up to the following class ASAP. The class was upstairs. They all had had a 5-minute recess already. I supposed. Well… time is money. They could simply take a lot more rest at home after class, anyway. Moreover, I’m paid. Not pretty good to linger with my undertaking. ALLAH disapproves.

Whilst walking up, I saw few female pupils staying outside. Being a busybody, I asked them, “What’s the matter? Whatcha doing out here?” They said the male pupils had gone nuts. Oh my. Once the door was open, yeah obviously, they just told the truth! My eyes caught one ‘batman’ pupil climbing up the back wall of the class. “What the hell are you up to, honey?! Get down!” I growled in silence.

Just then, I came into the class right away and each pupil started taking a seat. As soon as I gave ‘salam’, the unstapled sheets of Science note + exercise question papers were distributed to every one of them. I instructed one pupil sitting in the front row, “Will you please help me pass these worksheets to your friends. Thanks.”

My set induction was actually the notes of some nice pictures on living microorganism. Indeed, that’s the topic I was teaching them. By provoking a number of questions on this microorganism thing, this enabled them to put their thinking cap on. Although for a very short second.  At least, stop talking bullshit to their fellas or posing me illogical questions. You should know that the answers given were all absurd! Didn’t make any sense to me. Their responses piss me off every so often.

Yet again, you know, they’re just kids (Remember my theory?). What’d I reckon, anyway? Kids are always responding with such silly answers. Still, only can I accept with one or two responses. Imagine by yourself, what if they keep talking crap? Tend to lose my temper sometimes. Thus, I was starting to explain the notes all myself.

What took me aback was when the class turned to be out of my control. Just like observing them playing in a playground. The male pupils seemed to be making a whole lot of monkey noise. Thank you! Due to my strong belief of the theory I created, I didn’t tell them off. Instead I let them be, enjoying their childhood. I was also pretending extra hard to put me in their shoes. Does it work, anyway?

Ironically, what exactly took place was the other way round! My firmness I thought was a must. Subtly I told them to keep silent. Yeah, they sure did. In less than 2 minutes, they started doing it all over again. Occasionally, I feel as if I don’t even know them. I was thinking, what if I stood behind? They would shut their mouth up and then stay more focused on the lesson, the thing is, would they? With a little expectation I moved to the back. But then, my hypothesis went totally wrong! They became way obstinate. Getting much more mischievous.  

I then walked back to the front. Knocked the teacher table so hard. They kept quiet all on account of the dramatic knock. After a second, they’re starting all over again. That made me a little bit speechless. “Do I really need to scold them so they can remain silent?” I inquired myself. Alone.

My mind said: “Never! They’re just kids, Bro. No good to get emotional toward a small kid like them. They seem to have no emotion and proper understanding of what you’re feeling. Very innocent. So, hang in there. Take this as a challenge instead.

The pupils got several minutes to get the exercise finished. Astonishingly, many of them took the exercise for granted. Just circled any answers they liked. Didn’t even read each question as expected! Urgh, damn it! You think this is a game show or what? I sighed deep in my heart. My patience was getting freaking tested, I knew. Compose, Mr Khai! Compose! ‘As-sobru minal imaan’ (Translation: Patience is a part of faith).

We did manage to discuss all the answers no matter what, disappointingly in a half-hearted way. When one pupil was asked to read a question and answer, so many of the rest felt so eagerly like giving an answer as well! Things are so much different to the pointed pupil. H/She would reluctantly do. I was actually attempting to have their mouth zipped. Guess what? They closed their ears to my instruction. Shit! “Should I get angry with them now?” I asked myself. So good had I got a cane and they’d, of course, be listening to me attentively.

Come on, they’re just small kids people! (The theory reminded me one more time) They’re trying to make fun of you, I mean, in a good way. They wanna get more friendly with you. S’okay. Just be tolerant with their no matured characters. Just let ‘em be, Khairul! Cheer up, then. 

OK. I’ve got several questions for you my dearest reader. How do you feel when your student asks you all the following:

“Sir, glad if you could just let us know the answers instead of explaining each question.”

“Sir, I wanna go home. So drowsy at the moment. Huhu.”

“Sir, this girl/boy sitting next to me just said blah…blah….blah….”(Irrelevant with your recent discussion)

“Sir, may I go to loo, please?” (Then guess what the best reply of mine would go, “So keen on that Satan favourite place, huh?” By saying so, some of them whereupon called their intention off to toilet. KWANG3x… serve them right!)

“Sir, wanna go downstairs for a drink, may I?”

“Sir, let’s have a quiz instead?”

Must be damn depressed, right? Because these were amongst their most frequent, popular demands as I’m excitedly teaching. When somebody spoils your mood, you sure can predict how it feels, can’t you? Feel like slapping their face thoughtlessly! No way, so cruel!

Shortly, a couple of female students sitting on the first row chairs grumbled to me like a two-year-old kids. “Sir, hurry up, please. We’re bloody thirsty. Wanna go down for a drink pretty soon. Let’s finish all this Q-and-A session quick.”

Getting fed up with that, I allowed all of them to go down for a second to have a drink. A glass of sky juice. So that nobody would kick the bucket in my class later. Allegedly, they were sort of fasting but AT NIGHT???!!! Come on. No fasting at night in Islam.

Before the male students exited, I overheard something that pissed me off! “Guys, there’s a football match live on telly. Let’s go watch it, okay?” They turned so very ecstatic and energetic. But…this dramatically? Seemed so uninterested in my lesson just now. Oh God! What am I to do, then? I’ve a brainstorm right here. FYI.

About 20 minutes left before the class ended, I had first no idea what to do. The first worksheet got all answered. After flipping through few pages, I discovered a kind of inspiring topic in Chapter 3. Well…it only inspired me, to be perfectly honest, not the students themselves who’re supposed to be. I made my mind up teaching the topic. More precisely, refreshing what they’ve already learnt back in school. They said they had already studied the topic in school. So that would be great! But guess what they all said, “No new topic, please! We’re begging you. Wanna go back home.” I almost lost my temper, you know.

But then, one male student was being rude. Hold on a second! No, he wasn’t. He’s just a small kid. Still remember my theory? He’s merely being stubborn hiding himself at the back of the class. Behind a chair. I didn’t notice him in the first place ‘cause he’s somewhat small. I had him get up and be seated. He obeyed like a slave, somehow. Good boy! I smiled.

The two male students in the front seemed to be conversing with one another. I was trying to interrupt their ‘conversation’, by asking “What’s really so interesting over here? Mind sharing with us, too?” They refused, for sure. And kept quiet. Oh God! I got annoyed again!

In less than 30 seconds I was about to move back to the front, they both were starting that stupid thing once again. How frustrated I was! My patience was being challenged pretty hard. I can tell. Lucky them. They got such cute faces and that called me off yelling at them. LOL.

Checking the time out, still got 10 minutes off. (I often turn my cell phone alarm on so I shall never let them disperse too late. Or otherwise their parents might probably complain later to Mr Kamarul, the tutorial centre manager). I decided to carry on teaching the new topic entitled urm… I’ve forgotten. Sorry, my bad. A female pupil sitting quite at the back was assigned to go down for a photocopy.

Shortly after that, the photocopied worksheets were distributed to all of them. The pupils were answering very quickly. Still, they’re mucking around. One of them was reading his question too loud. Did I ask you to do that, little jerk?! Were he not Cikgu Usop’s son, I’d have him stop on the spot. Frankly, dunno I find it a little awkward to treat him like many other pupils in the class. Just because he’s a son to my Dad’s good friend’s colleague. The girls were busily ‘gossiping’ with their buddies next to them. As if that counted much more than the exercise sheet itself. OK. I had had it! Having them shut up, but then they didn’t even listen to me, either!

Eventually I surrendered. Merely read the answers as quickly as possible. They didn’t even want to learn. All what’s on their mind was going home! Home sweet home. Know what I told them in earnest? “Wanna go back home? Just get out! Not gonna be accountable to you.” That’s killing me enough, you know.

A half past ten. Time to disperse. Can’t ever let them leave on time. Better 5 minutes late. By doing so, this enables the class to redeem the five-minute recess (Prior to the second slot). Gonna be much better when, by the time they leave the class, their parents have been there to fetch them. The question is, “Is that what’s on every pupil’s mind?” “I’m afraid not!”

Just after we’re done with the exercise answers, I said, “You may leave now and thanks for coming.” Before exiting, one or two male pupils shook and kissed my hand. Full of courtesy. But me, I was still in the class feeling fucking frustrated! After a while, I left the class and went down.
When I was about to step the stairs down, I happened to overhear a son-to-a-mother conversation. “Who taught you just now, son?” asked that mother a.k.a a tutor at the centre curiously. That son a.k.a my pupil replied, “There he was!” – pointing to me straightaway with his finger. That caused me to stop in the middle of the stairs. I looked at the teacher with an insincere smile. At the same time, I really had a bad feeling about this.

She got me shaken up all of a sudden for inquiring me an unexpected question. “Your class sounded real noisy, you know.” I cleared my throat. Deliberately. “Yeah, it did.” I replied with a desperate answer. Didn’t end it right there, I continued explaining what the hell actually came about in the class. She advised that I be a lot more firm with the pupils next time (that I already knew it). I nodded my head, symbolizing my agreement. ‘Thanks for the advice.”

At downstairs, the manager handed me over a small brown envelope of RM50 + RM10 notes as my salary. By the way, before I forget, most typically, I’m paid right after both slots are finished. Two slots per night. I get paid as much as RM35 per slot. Generally got two slots a night. One slot takes 1 hour and a quarter. That means, my one-night income reaches as much as RM60 per night for two slots. That’s for primary pupils. They pay me more for secondary students when I’m in charge. It can reach RM70 at times. Quite a lot for me.

A few minutes after that, without further ado, I asked for the manager’s permission to head home directly. Showing our politeness and courtesy absolutely matters, doesn’t it? On my ride home, I was ‘torturing’ myself with lots and lots of questions. “What the heck was I up to?! Can’t believe this is the worst night ever! Never underwent this sort of state of affairs unless a boring Form 3 English class I used to take over, once last year. That one, I confessed myself, my obvious fault for changing things to be a kind of lecture room. Ah, forget it.

Now, I’m getting perplexed. So extremely puzzled with myself. “What the F have I done? Damn upset! What a bloody class! As a matter of fact, I’m getting confused with my own theory. I thought it surely worked out. Now, evidently, it didn’t work at all! I’m feeling a bit shamefaced. I failed in class management. Oh NO!

Enough! Shouldn’t let the history repeat itself next time. If there’s really a next time. But, I can’t get it. Were I a pupil, I dreamt of a very nice, friendly teacher. That’s me in the few years back. As I was thinking of the good things to do so the pupils would have a really good time during my lesson, I came out with that unsuccessful, dumb theory. As you can see, the theory is a complete failure. Incredible!

Now I’ve got to agree that a teacher can be friendly with his pupils, but nevertheless, still firm in instruction. I’ll stick to this. Forever. For life. Once bitten twice shy. I screwed it up once. I looked so dumb. I wasn’t smarty pants after all, was I? T_T

That’s all till now. Till we meet again. Good day!

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