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Yang Safia On Sunday, January 12, 2014
Context: Currently I am an English teacher at a high need (see: low performing) school in Kapar, Klang. That is about 45 minutes (no traffic) from where I live so that means I make my move at 6.30 AM everyday so that I can make it in time to punch in my card at 7.15 AM. Before I was placed at my current school, I heard stories about it. How it was an extreme school--gangsterism was rampant and to work there will be a total nightmare. Teachers who work there for many years asked to be transferred constantly but they're stuck. And now I'm here (with my other two comrades)...for the next two years. At a school where no teacher wants to teach at.

2, 3 and 6 January 2014

I knew I won't be nervous. I've had my brief freak out moment at Institute and I was determined to move on from that. I arrived at school with the emotional quotient equivalent to a rock, my face was emotionless and I made my way to the office to punch in my card. I acted like I belonged there, nodded my head at the unfamiliar faces and stopped to stare at the wall full of punched cards. I found mine (with my name spelled 'Yang Sofia' still) and jammed the card into the device. SUCCESS! I felt like I belonged already.

After that I did what most new teacher would do. I hovered in the background and observed what other teachers were doing. They were busy talking but eventually they moved to the assembly area where I immediately took a seat right in the middle. And then I took this picture.

I knew I won't be teaching for the next couple of days because the Form 4 kids had to go through orientation and they weren't streamed into their classes just yet. I was handed the task of Juruacara for the orientation and was thankful. At least that's something I'm familiar with, I thought. 

The next few days were a breeze because I didn't have to do much. Basically I was just learning how things work by observing the teachers. However there were things that I noticed that kind of alarmed me.

Things that alarmed me:

1. The Form 4 kids didn't give a $h#t that I'm a new teacher. I felt like I was invisible.
2. Some of my colleagues' attitude towards the kids.
3. I was getting emotional drained drained from the polite conversations. My other two friends are in the afternoon session while I'm alone in the morning. The teachers were nice but clearly our POVs are very different and it was difficult to find a converging point.
4. I still don't know who my kids are.

On the last two periods on January 6th, I finally got to know my kids. I'm the class teacher for 4H and I led them to our classroom. I was still unsure of my bearings in the school but again, I acted like I knew where I was going. It was until I realized that some of my kids didn't follow me and a couple of the boys were like, "Cikgu, here!" I was embarrassed but I had an "Oh yeah, right." face and I did notice some of them were giggling but I acted like it was no big deal.

10 points to Cikgu Yang. 


My game plan was to be strict especially on our first meeting. I've already arranged the tables but when my kids entered the class, a group of boys started to mess with the arrangement. Suddenly I found my tables were upside down and chairs were kicked around. Garang Mode: ON

It was then that I thanked Allah for my loud voice.

It was then as well that I thanked Allah for being a garang theater director back in Uni.

7th January 2014

Today I was actually nervous. I was meeting the rest of the kids I'll be teaching for the year from other classes. I entered 4J first and it was a class consisted of 37 boys. It was pure havoc. They laughed when I made them do the "Tepuk Kejayaan" probably because they think they're too cool for $h#t like this but I managed to make them do it. They thought it was funny to interrupt me whenever I'm explaining something until I sic my death glare on them. I tell you I'm getting good with my death glares thanks to the hours spent in the shower practising them. Shuts them up straight away.

4B: A world difference from my 4J. They were quiet and overall a familiar sight to when I was in high school. The fact that they were too quiet unnerved me but at least things were moving a lot faster. They did what I told them to do (albeit with less vigour than their 4J counterparts) and I finished my culture a lot faster than I intended.

My last class of the day was 4K. After having a pretty good experience with other classes, I expected the same from this class but this one proved to be super challenging. There were 2 girls in the class but it was not enough to neutralize the testosterone in the room. The kids don't speak Malay and English and throughout that one period, I felt like I was talking to a wall. Obviously they got restless and started walking around. Some "accidentally" hit their friends and I ended up having to break up "play" fights for the rest of the period. 

8th January 2014

I finally established order in my 4J when a random kid walked into the classroom and started calling out for his friend, right in front of me when I was delivering content. 

Me: Excuse me, awak tak nampak ke saya tengah ajar kelas ni? Awak nak apa?
Boy: Saya nak kerusi Cikgu. 
Me: Takde kerusi dalam kelas ni. Please leave.
Boy: Saya nak buku saya. Saya nak cakap dengan kawan saya. Suruh dia keluar sekejap.
Me: Kenapa dia ada buku awak? And no, he can't leave the class. I am teaching right now.
Boy: *ignored me and continued his conversation with his friend in Tamil*
Me: *understood the situation that the friend didn't have whatever the boy wanted*
Me: Stop this and please leave!
Boy: Cikgu saya nak duit--
Me: Get.Out.
Boy: *continued to speak in rapid Tamil*
Me: I SAID GET OUT NOW! *took a step closer to the boy*
Boy: *screamed at me and raised his hand to hit me but stopped*
Me: *my shock turned to a death glare* GET.OUT.

9th January 2014

I had my kids draw what they will be in 5 years time. 

My 4H drawing their life goals

This interesting exchange happened in my 4J when I asked them to draw their life goals.

Boy: *Instead of doing the work I asked him to do, he was busy swit-ing (making kissy noises to girls on the ground floor. BTW we're on the 3rd floor.)*
Me: For the 100th time *Mat boleh tak awak focus! Cikgu suruh awak lukis bukan sibuk ngorat perempuan!
Mat: Mane ada saya nak ngorat cikgu...nak berkenalan je. Lagipun saya dah ada girlfriend. 
Me: Dah2 cepat pikir and lukis apa awak nak jadi dalam mase 5 tahun.
Mat: Saya nak kahwin and buat babies. *smirks*
Me: Okay tapi takkan awak takde kerja? Macamana nak support bini and anak awak?
Mat: Rilek ah Cikgu. Girlfriend saya sayang saya. Kiteorg tak perlu duit. 
Me: Yeah right, macam la gf awak tak makan. Macam tak nak beli baju baru kan.
Mat: Cikgu tak faham cinta kiteorg...kiteorg dah setahun couple! Tu menunjukkan yang saya pandai jage gf saya!
Me: *Internally I was face-palming myself and I forgot that a year in a 16-year old's head is a lifetime* Mat...orang couple 10 tahun pun boleh break ok. Kalau awak sayang gf awak baik awak lukis apa goal awak.

Mat went on to draw a picture of himself holding hands with his girlfriend PLUS a distinctly large bulge in his crotch. He showed the picture to me hoping to get a reaction out of me. I just raised an eyebrow and moved on to attend to other students.

10th January 2014

It's Friday!!!!! My LDO, Soon Seng came to visit and it was honestly refreshing to have him there. I didn't have a proper conversation with anybody for days and I was dying to vent. Everything went surprisingly well. I'm not saying it wasn't challenging but I managed to control my toughest class, 4K. It took a while to calm them down but I was surprised that they eventually listened to my orders. HOO-RAYYYYYYYY!!

Yang Safia On Sunday, January 5, 2014

Synopsis (taken from

My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We're neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door. 

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I'm back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I'm hoping that after a year of breathing room, he's moved on and forgotten all about me. 

But even if he hasn't changed, I have. I'm not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We're going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.


I think I'm on a crazy reading streak because I literally finished this book in one sitting and picked up its companion Until You (Fall Away 1.5) within an hour. And about 2 hours ago before I sit here writing this review, I finished Until You. First off it has been awhile since I get to read such an engaging book as Bully (and of all things, it's YA Contemporary!). Honestly I can't say one bad thing about this (okay maybe I can but it's really petty) so expect this review to be a rant why this is such a great book!

Let's just start on what I don't love about Bully. Might as well get the petty matter out of the way first. I really am disappointed with the cover. I love the idea behind it but it looks cheap and amateur-ish. I understand that Bully is an e-book and you know, Douglas is probably using her own money to push this book out so she can't afford fancy bookcover art so I get it. It doesn't bother me too much but I would probably be embarrassed to be caught reading a book that looks like that in public. 

Onto what I LOVE:

a) There's nothing too special about Douglas's writing style but this goes to show the power of a strong plot. The premise is simple but this book has a strong story to tell and it is consistent throughout every parts of the novel. It just demands your full attention and I can bet you that you will be reading this book to the end.

b) As if it is not obvious enough, the social issue that this book covers is bullying. Douglas paints a realistic picture of all the pains and struggles one goes through when she has to face with bullying at school. Her characters are realistically mean not with the exaggerated lines or actions that one may expect when reading a book. Often we see characters that are supposed to portray a real-life figure but Douglas's mean characters could be actual real-life people. I am utterly convinced that Douglas might have gone through the experience of being bullied or witness an event such as that.

c) I LOVE TATE! She's so badass. While Douglas doesn't discuss how Tate was in those years she was bullied heavily by Jared, it is great to see someone who takes the matter into her own hands. No matter how scared she is. Also I see a bit of myself in her so I'm a fan. She's such an emotional character but the grit in this girl will knock your socks off. Definitely one of my favourite heroines in YA so far.

d) The story between Jared and Tate is so sweet and hot at the same time. Oh yeah, it definitely got a bit hot and heavy towards the end but what I'm in it for is their past friendship. Now I wish I had a best guy friend so I probably have a shot at having a story like theirs! HA.HA. I can definitely relate to the loss of losing a bestfriend and Douglas manages to capture those emotions very well. 

I am so invested in these two that I picked up Until You which is written from Jared's point of view. Now I'm not a big fan of dual perspectives because it ruins the mystery. I love knowing from one point of view because I get to feel like I'm that character. Childish, I know. Also I don't often favour a male perspective because believe it or not, it is for the mere reason that I am not a male. I would highly recommend for you to read Until You if you enjoyed Bully. There's quite a lot of new material in there and you will really get to know more about Jared. 

The next book in the series will be on Mudoc and I'm not sure whether I'll like it. Mudoc comes off really annoying rather than endearing in Bully but he does seem to have some redeeming qualities in Until You. Honestly I don't know how I feel about that but Douglas did promise that Tate and Jared are going to be strong side characters in the upcoming books. So let's just see...

Overall Rating: 4 out 5

Obsession Rating: 5 out of 5