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Yang Safia On Monday, February 10, 2014
I wish Professor Snape can co-teach with me. #mcm

Today was a disaster. I think I've hit a new low in my teaching career at this point. Tell me I'll hit more lows in the future (I know already so zip it.) and I'll sic my bitch glare on you. Today is a brand new low of all the lows so far. This post will probably come in the form of a rant or a reflection or nothing for all I know because I can't predict the future. I'm just going to see where my fingers and thoughts will take me. For all I know I'm writing this because I need to cope with my emotions. I share my experiences with people because I need to get these feelings off my chest or I'll go crazy. Some people draw or eat when they're stressed and I write. Okay, I eat also la but that's beside the point. On a less self-indulgent note, I write this post because I want my friends (teachers or fellows alike) to know that they're not alone. That their rough day is mutual and we can give virtual hugs to each other right now. 


The post-CNY school days were not kind to me. I feel like I'm losing the systems that I've created for my kids and myself and I'm grappling to just keep up with it. The meltdown occurred in the last class that I had to teach today. It was my most challenging class. I've likened this class to a sinking ship and I, its captain is going down with it. I've tried a couple strategies before and they have all failed. My Leadership Development Officer (my TFM mentor; to all my non-TFM friends) told me to screw teaching them the syllabus right now and just build relationships with them. He can clearly tell that the kids were not fond of me and I the same. I spent my Sunday planning for a game to play with them and was semi-excited to carry this activity out with them.

I came into class, reminded them to greet me and told them to prepare for my lesson. Usual things. Ok. Then I told them that we're going to play a game and I will need them to clear out the class. " We are going to play a game. Push your tables and chairs to the side of the class. Please organize them neatly." I said. Well I said this in Malay but just so you know, I share no common language with the majority of the students in this class. I'm supposed to teach them English but they don't even call me Miss Yang or Teacher. I'm Cikgu to them. (Which is nothing wrong but they are supposed to see me as their English teacher therefore I expect them to refer me in English.) 

So of course they failed in carrying out that simple instruction. First off, a number of them went back to sleep after greeting me, thus laid there unmoving. I woke them up and all I got were death glares. Ok. 

Some of them were at turtle speed in moving their table and chair. Ok.

Some started "pushing" their table towards their friends. Hard. Ok.

One boy went up to me said that he doesn't want to play and he's sick. I told him, "Why do you come to school then?" and he grumbled, "Mum made me." Ok.

A couple of boys started going in and out of class, calling out to their friends and I started to notice they were other kids from other classes started hanging out in my class. Ok.


I lost it. Oh boy I lost it. All I saw was red. I did. The voice that came out of me was not my own. I've never felt anger that intensely before. I was always the passive aggressive kind so this was brand new to comprehend. I think it was clear to the kids that I lost it because one boy actually ran up to me and said, "Calm down teacher. I'm sorry teacher. Calm down." I wanted  to smack that nervous grin off his face. Hard. But I didn't of course. This boy was the same boy who disturbed my class before and almost raised his hand to me. He spouted that he "respected" me countless times but of course he didn't. I even told him that he was a bright kid and he should focus his talents in class rather than wasting time going in and out of class. 


They managed to carry out the instruction eventually but what happened next did not prepare us. I caught the boy who claimed to be sick playing (by play I meant pushing around with his friends that caused the tables to fall around them = loud noise) with his friends. With his back towards me, I grabbed the back of his shirt and turned him towards me. I might have pinched him in the process because he screamed angrily and pulled away. I let him go instantly when he screamed of course. Now we were both seething with anger. He opened his mouth a couple times and he was shaking with frustration/anger. His friends stood around him to back him up, waiting for him to say something but all he did was grabbed his bag , kicked the door open and left. I let him go.

Class continued and all I could think about was the boy who left. What if something happened to him? What will I tell the headmaster and PK HEM if his parents come and they want my head? What will happen to my car?

We moved to the second activity and his friends were putting up more resistance. I heard the word "cibai" been thrown around and I wanted to catch them the second time just to be sure. I stopped myself from giving the instruction and just stared at the group. The tallest boy glared at me and said something in his mother tongue through gritted teeth. His friends laughed. I continued staring and he called me "cibai" repeatedly and his friends snickered. He looked proud. 

I was angry and sad. Not because he called me "cibai" but because he thought it was highly logical to insult another human being. That it was okay. Not just him but this applied to the whole lot in the class. I'm sorry that I don't understand your logic that it is okay to hit another person when you want his attention. I don't understand why you have the need to scream at random moments. I don't understand why you need to stand up and cause the chair to fall and make a loud noise that will distract everyone. I don't understand why you think it's okay to hit a girl even if you're just joking. Honestly I don't. It.just.doesn't.make.sense.

I do know however that it was wrong of me to compare you to my brother or his friends. You lead a different life and has had different exposures. And I am sorry. I am sorry that I'm the teacher who doesn't understand you and could not get you invested in what I teach. And I am angry for you that you had to witness those behaviours as a child. 

Note: I managed to get the boy who walked out of class to come back. I apologized to him and he was aware why he deserved that treatment from me.

After the class I went to the see Mr M* (PK HEM) to talk about what happened. I felt really bad over what happened and I needed to seek professional advice. I might have uh, cried over the process but I think the message got across. Haha. As of now, the students of that class will receive some sort of intervention from the Discipline Body and he asked me to pinpoint the students who were rude to me. I didn't know "mengingkari arahan guru" and "mengutuk guru" carry a heavy demerit mark. Honestly I don't know what will happen tomorrow so we will just see.

I wrote this not because I want to seek your pity or kind words. I've got a lot of them from my family, friends and fellow Young Breezys. I do however would appreciate solutions or ideas that I could do to control this tough class. 

Mantra: I will have control.
Yang Safia On Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Merentas Desa!

After almost a month in SMKTIS, I can proudly say that it feels right to be here. I can’t imagine being
anywhere else. If you ask me whether I was ecstatic to be placed in SMKTIS back in Institute, I would have punched you. Honestly I would. With that being said I’m not saying that I didn’t face any challenges.

1) Lorries! Those lorries are the bane of my existence!  My school is located near an industrial area so it is VERY noisy. Every time a lorry passes by our school, its sound will drown out pretty much anything and my kids will be super distracted. I had to stop my lesson a couple of times just to let the lorries pass.
2) Behaviour problems. My school is notorious for the students’ behaviour problems. Drug-abuse, gangs, vandalism and bullying are among the many things my students do. It is really tough and sometimes I am clueless as to what I should do to help them.
3) Lack of facilities. It’s not that my school does not put any effort but things just don’t last in our school. My own students are rough but sometimes it’s not that they’re the ones who are destroying the stuff that I put up. A lot of teachers seem to think that it could be kids from other classes or outside forces.


1) The only value that I want to instil in my kids would be Respect. I talk about showing respect so much in my classes that every time I pass by my kids, they would scream out “Hey respect your friends!” While my kids still have a long way to go in terms of showing respect, at least now they know that I value that behaviour.
2) I’d like to think that my kids respect me when I’m in class. Like I’m able to manage them.
3) I’m slowly integrating myself with the school community here. I made an effort to smile a lot more to my colleagues and it seemed to be helping!
4) The perk of being a new teacher, kids are very curious about you so they try to talk to me whenever they can. It's a great opportunity to instil respect and manners so since I greet my kids in English (Good Morning!/ How are you?), they're now speaking a bit of English outside the classroom. Now they greet me whenever they can!