Sharing copied from facebook of Suet Li from Teach For Malaysia . Wish more educators are like here!
" today, i went into my weakest and most challenging class to teach them simple adjectives like sizes, colours, and shapes. thirty minutes into the class, even with a lot of activities and drawing and colouring, my kids got me very frustrated for not knowing words like big, small, long, short. So I did something irrational after i realized that it's been almost four months of school and they still haven't learned anything! these 25 kids need serious help. so i put them into groups based on where they live, and came up with 6 groups of 4-5 kids each. I told them that from now on, they'll have extra class with me after school/at night and i'll make sure they attend, even if it means i'll have to get them and send them back.
i immediately regretted doing that. am i out of my mind?? here i am, struggling with everything as it is, and i have no idea if i am mentally or physically capable of pushing so far. they live pretty far away and some live quite deep into the villages, about 30 mins from where i live. but i remember Rakis, my orang asli kid's face and the conversation i had with him yesterday. he used to be a really happy kid, but the past few months he's been very sullen and angry all the time. he said it's cause he can't understand anything, and i can't give my attention to him cos everyone else is crying for help/running around beating people. rakis needs help, and i'm at my wits' end as to how to help him.
so i started with him and a few of my weakest but less misbehaving boys. i got them from their village and it was nice to see them waiting for me by the roadside in the darkness, with their backpacks and jeans and best shirt and eager smile. we had a very productive night reading peter and jane and reviewing stuff learned in school. this pic is of rakis reading with utmost concentration, and he was SUPER focused the entire time i just wanted to hug him and tell him that he's doing great.
when i sent them back, we listened to hitz fm and had a karaoke session in the car (mostly me singing haha). they were bickering about what was the singer singing, "cikgu itu "happy" kan?" "bukanlah "here" lah!" "bukan lah "him" lah!" (the word was "hero" but that's beside the point). then, i met some of their parents. some were nonchalant and didn't care where their kid was, some were very appreciative. but they all had one similarity: they all came from homes that are very not conducive to learning. dilapidated, noisy, dirty..
i drove home drained from the long day but i could still hear their voices in my car. it's defining moments like this that made me realize that they're worth pushing myself for, even if i have to start from scratch, from peter and jane book 1a."