Teaching Practicum: First round of observation

#throwback


The lecturer that observed me was very tolerable, and alhamdulillah he even asked for my permission before the observations were done! 🙂  Dr.Syed was a very polite man and has interesting views on psychology and education. So there it goes, the observation was delayed from the middle of March, and due to examinations and school break, I could only be observed the week after the school break. I was super nervous with the lesson plans (in which of course you have to prepare on every single lesson). He wanted to observe me twice in a week! The first teaching observation by supervisor It happened on Tuesday. The day before, he texted me at 7.00 p.m., asking for permission to observe me on the next day and on Friday. Without any arguments, I just agreed. (It’s better to settle up everything in a week rather than being nervous for a long time, isn’t it?).

I cracked my head that night, thinking of what to teach on the next day’s class, the form 1 students. Since we’re still in the topic of ‘Safe and Sound’, I decided to teach about preposition, using a song, and recap students’ knowledge by writing down on the whiteboard about types of prepositions that they have already known. And lastly, I asked my students to create sentences using prepositions based on the pictures given. They had to work in a group…

That afternoon, I was so nervous and kept looking at my phone. Getting worried and uneasy. I looked at my phone again; it’s 12.25 p.m. It’s time to get into the class… But where is he?

“No whatsapp from him? Where is he? Is he coming or not…?”, said my inner thoughts.

Finally, I decided to call him instead and asked for his location. He’s in the school’s office. So I quickly met him there and walked him to the class. Luckily, my student had already put a table with a chair at the back of the class as I told him before. The students were so well-behaved and responsive on that day. I was kind of surprise actually! And I just continued the lesson as usual. I still feel really bad because I think that lesson was not so good for me. However, I still got good feedback from my lecturer. He wrote his comments on a piece of paper about my preparation, presentation, his evaluation, as well as other matters.

After the class, we walked together heading to the school canteen. Everyone including teachers and students kept staring at us. I think they were too curious, wanting to know whether this guy was a Malaysian or not. It’s kind of funny knowing the fact that my supervisor is a Malay guy, but since he moved a lot throughout his life; studied in US, taught college students there, moved to Singapore, Brunei, and lastly he decided to return to Malaysia. Even his accent doesn’t really sounds like a Malay person. No matter what, I love having a conversation with him.

Photo from : Google. That looks yummeh!

We ordered two glasses of Teh tarik and he started sharing about things that he knows. Since he is a psychology and philosophy lecturer, he evaluated more on the interactions and learning among students rather than the language itself. Make sure you make use of the whiteboard as well when you students answer your questions (because this will be evaluated as well, and it is good for visual learners- to see what they need to know). Have some interaction with the students as well through questions and answering sessions so that it is not just going to be a boring lecture. Let them talk… Another way to let your students think is by setting up group works. This will inculcate teamwork among the students and having interactions with their friends rather than a passive interaction (teacher teach and students listen). The methods might have changed nowadays. It is more towards student-centred. 😉 Since he is a psychology and philosophy lecturer, he evaluated more on the interactions and learning among students rather than the language itself. Make sure you make use of the whiteboard as well when your students answer your questions (because this will be evaluated as well, and it is good for visual learners- to see what they need to know). Write down their answers so that everyone can see them. Have some interaction with the students as well through questions and answering sessions so that it is not just going to be a boring lecture. Let them talk… Another way to let your students think is by setting up group works. This will inculcate teamwork among the students and having interactions with their friends rather than a passive interaction (teacher teach and students listen). The methods might have changed nowadays. It is more towards student-centred. 😉

Neuro-Linguistic Psychology

Photo from: Google

He talked a lot about the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Psychology) in teaching. It’s about how people use psychological approach in changing people’s behaviours and attracting others’ attention. It is also about how our brain works that affects all communication and behaviour, and also how people perceive things around them. Instead of good teaching materials, it is vital for teachers to note that teaching approaches and influencing students’ behaviour is also a very important key to a successful teaching and learning. Even in the business field, people invest a lot for the NLP courses. He also said that teaching is not just about having the knowledge, but also having the skill of making people learn something. Hence, it is important for teachers to create comfort (perhaps by providing less threatening environment, or a simple example is food), and provide safety. Dr.Syed even suggested me to watch a movie entitled He also said that teaching is not just about having the knowledge, but also having the skill of making people learn something. Hence, it is important for teachers to create comfort (perhaps by providing less threatening environment, or a simple example is food), and provide safety. Another tip suggested by him is to use storytelling in attracting students’ attention.

Source : Google

He said; “You don’t necessarily have to shout to attract your students’ attention. You may use storytelling. What you have to do is just go to one corner of the classroom, lower down your voice, and wait until they are quiet. Or, you may ask them; ‘Do you want to hear a story?’, then you start telling them stories, a brief one. After you managed to capture their attention, then you may continue with your lesson. That is how you sustain their attention in class. Some teachers just waste their energy by yelling at their students, and that is not effective at all.”

After we finished our teh tarik, I walked him to his car. We still hadn’t finished talking about interesting topics on psychology and teaching. I told him I adore Syed Naquib Al-Attas’ writings and thoughts on modern philosophy as well as Islamic thoughts. Though I did not join the philosophy classes and instead having a minor in IT, I started to have interest in his thoughts after I bought a book with my Intro to Fiqh lecturer. Dr.Syed even suggested me to watch a movie entitled

Dr.Syed even suggested me to watch a movie entitled Summerhill. It was quite surprising to know that my students still remembered the preposition song I played in the class during my final week at school. There you go- the power of music! Owyeah!! I do hope that this so-called experience sharing is beneficial for future teachers or real teachers out there. We have brain, then use it! 😉

All the best!

#teachwith ❤

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The challenges of dealing with humans

#Throwback

I’ve been thinking of posting this on last week, but due to slow internet connection, everything was delayed 😦

Since it’s school holiday, I am posting this ! 😀


11th March, 2015

It is the examination week, so a lot of class relief throughout this week. Some students are okay, some are hard to be controlled. The same goes when I had to replace teachers that had MC and went to any special courses out of school. So when I get into classes, I usually have games with the students- language or general knowledge games. It is so vital to have any kind of activities during relief because if you don’t, students will be out of control, do whatever they want, and… yep, a lot of noise! A form 3 student even threw a table away when I was in the class, feeling so angry with his friend who teased him. Another student teased his friend by taking a waste basket and put it on his friend’s head. Yes, so hyperactive, so agressive. I know, I know. I was quite shocked to see the situation. Then I asked everybody to calm down, take their seat, and without saying a word, I drew 4 lines on the whiteboard- for writing scores. We’re having a game. Everyone sat down, getting excited and gave their groups’ names. I just follow their pace, and after that, they have to follow mine.

So this is how you get their attention- through games.

Some of the games that I’ve done were:

  1. Draw and Guess the proverbs. 
draw proverb

A girl drew a proverb

  • Get a volunteer to draw the proverb (in which you will tell the drawer later).
  • Divide the students into several groups. Girls vs boys; or group A, B, C, and D. It’s up to you!
  • Tell the volunteer (person that draws) the proverb, and then other students have to guess.
  • The first group that is able to answer the proverb correctly will get marks.
2015-02-27 10.06.04

Charades game during the Language Month

  1. Charades (Guessing game)
  • As for charades, you can use a lot of categories: proverbs, nouns, verbs, and so on).
  • Have a volunteer to act out. And also you may have cue cards for the words that students need to guess.
  • The procedure is as the same as the previous game- divide students into groups and have a volunteer to act out, while other students have to guess. The first group that is able to guess correctly will be given points.

  1. General knowledge game
  • Divide students into several groups. Then, teacher asks questions about general knowledge. For instance, “Who is the President of Russia?”. The categories depends on the teacher’s preference and students’ background knowledge.
  • Group that answers the fastest and correctly will be given marks. Group with the highest mark will be announced as the winner.

Other than having games, you can also have a sharing moment with the students. It’s not you who share, but let students share theirs. You only facilitate and show your interest in things that they know. As for me, I divide the sharing moment ‘module’ into several categories:

  1. Idols (Someone that you admire)
  2. Favorite movies 
  3. If you are a millionaire, what would you like to do?

There are several ways of handling this ‘module’ (hahah. The so-called module, because I just thought about it). First, you may handle it in a huge classroom, in which students answer randomly and teacher writes the answers on the whiteboard. Once the whiteboard is full with answers (until you can no longer write), ask students the reasons of their answers. Second, you can divide students into several small groups and let them discuss with their friends. Provide a mahjong paper to each group and a marker pen, and finally present in front of the class.

Idols2

List of idols by students

idols

And that boy up there,he was talking about Saidina Umar. Like a pro,I can say! 🙂 To conclude,we need extra knowledge so that we can share something,& let them share theirs as well. 🙂

And of course, finally, you need to conclude the whole module. If you talk about idols, then you need to introduce them to good idols, the real heroes. Those who actually bring goodness to the society. Here, you can insert some values by concluding the whole thing 😉 It was quite surprising to see students became so participative and telling you the answers. (Yes, some of the answers might be ridiculous, so you just need to ignore them, or tell them the right thing that they need to do).

Indeed, dealing with students is such a big challenge, because they are humans, also have feelings as we do, and also have different age gap. Hence, we need to understand their way of thinking, and take the chance to guide them to the correct direction. You don’t have to do a lot of lecture. They can think, but sometimes they are just too eager to do something, easily react to any distractions. They can’t sit still. From my personal opinion, you can’t just ask them to keep quiet and do nothing- because they know how boredom ‘kills’ them. Haha. To be honest, I learned a lot from them as well, especially about idols. I guess I need to read more about sports icons :p

Till then! 😉

Preparation for my first class in school ever!

first-day-of-class

My friend whatsapped me, asking on how to start our first class at school. To be honest, I also have no idea. So, I did some research and had some general idea on what we are supposed to do. I expect my first class not to be too strict, nor too lenient. Alya shared based on her readings that we need to do the ice-breaking part at first, and then know your students’ needs and proficiency level. Syikin also planned for an interesting ice-breaking session with her form 5 students. As for me, I remained clueless. Though I’ve made some notes before the semester break, I am still trying to put those list into actions!

My idea is that I’m going to introduce myself, telling my name, my hobbies and interests. I love writing hardcopy and digitally, watching videos (creative and has good information), reading books, articles, magazines, and some news, playing tennis, squash, or walk around the campus, as well as do some crafts if I have the chance to do so. I hope these inspire my students later on. Haha. You need to tell positive things instead of the negatives! (Motivate them, yeah!)

A friend of mine wrote down some of the rules that she had prepared beforehand;

  1. Do not talk when the teacher is teaching at the front.
  2. Do not eat in the class.
  3. Be punctual.
  4. Submit homework on time.
  5. Be honest, just raise up your hand if you do not understand.
  6. Cooperate as the teacher ask students to complete a task.

So far, that’s what I’ve got from her. Thank you unni for sharing your ideas. 🙂 At least I’m not clueless. Sharing is caring. Discuss with your friends what you have to do. Sharing ideas with the senior teachers will help, since they know kids more than you do (“Makan banyak garamlah bak kata orang Melayu kita“). Or maybe ask your seniors. I was clueless just now whether I need to do a lesson plan or not on my first day, so I whatsapped kak Jannah. She told me that we need to prepare one, telling the flow of our activity-so that you have a proper planning. And then, I whatsapped my mentor teacher during my SOP. She said we can do games, like hangman or puzzles. That sounds pretty interesting!

Talking about interacting with students, I’ve created my own Facebook account, just for the purpose of keeping in touch with students, and let them express their opinions via social network. I know, some people might think that sounds silly, but I stalked an ETA (English Teacher Assistant), Miss Julia’s Facebook. Most students from SMK Seri Dungun (which mostly are hardly to speak in English), wrote comments in English as much as they want! They asked, and gave opinions without thinking about somebody might laughed at them. It’s like you’re wearing a mask, and ‘speak’ confidently. Or if you prefer to stay with an old account, you may create a specific page for your class! 😉 No problem!

*Take a deep breath, and release*

Okay. I’ll be having a period of class with form 4 Shatir by tomorrow morning. I’ll have the ice-breaking session, and will be touching on literature a bit, just to trigger my students to start READING on their own. So here’s my own plan (or flow);

  1. Teacher enters the class. Teacher introduces herself to the students (telling about her name, what students should call her, and what she likes to do- to inspire students).
  2. Teacher informs students her rules. That could be anything, based on the objectives that you want to achieve by the end of the year. As for me, I want to reinforce reading culture among my students. So, every day, we will be having a sharing moment by students before the lesson starts. I want them to speak up, and let’s see how this works. Hmmm…
  3. Students introduces themselves to the teacher, telling their names, where they live, and their hobby. (In addition, do they like learning English language, and why?)-A quick introduction!
  4. Teacher asks students what they have learned before, and books that they have for learning purpose with the previous teacher.
  5. Introducing the short drama: Teacher writes down ‘The Robbery’ at the whiteboard, asking students questions on:
  • What the play is all about?
  • Where do you think the robbery would take place?
  • Do you think it would be successful?

The teacher ends the lesson by asking the students to complete the reading of the short play on their own.

My own rules

  • Interact in English (since school is the only place for students to maximize the usage of English).
  • Each lesson, a person has to share something based on his/ her own reading (or anything that they like) briefly.
  • Cooperate.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (since mistakes are made to be learned).
  • Ask if you do not understand. (Honesty is the best policy!)
  • Think BIG! (You can do more!)

I hope everything goes well & smoothly until the end of my practicum.

To my dear colleagues, if you’re in the same boat as I am, you may refer to these blogs as our references:

  1. http://www.teflteachthai.com/First_Day_of_Class.html
  2. http://teaching.colostate.edu/tips/tip.cfm?tipid=93

#prayformama’swellness

Day 1

I tried to sleep early last night, but I couldn’t. I thought too much -what’s going to happen on my first day of practicum? I’ve ironed my baju kurung and hijab, prepared all the documentations, shoes & handbag-all things were ready. But I wasn’t prepared mentally (Well, I always won’t.LOL).

vlcsnap-2014-12-25-21h12m38s126

So I woke up the next day, with my two other room mates, who seemed to be having the teaching practicum in the same school with me. Lucky us, another friend drove a car, so we’re able to reach the school earlier. Madam Sharifah advised us to register after 8am since teachers and students will be having an assembly on the first day. You don’t want to stay in the office, waiting, don’t you? 😉 But another friend of mine had a different situation. She got scolded for coming to school at 7.30 a.m. The senior assistant teacher expected her to come on time right on the first day! So here, it depends on the school. Some people called the school’s office and asked for the details a week before they registered. As for my school mates and I, redah je! So long as you have the documentation (official letter from the university). This is so crucial, okay?

We parked the car next to the school gate, walked into the school compound and looked for the main office. Alhamdulillah, everything went smoothly (since the senior assistant teacher was still new to the school, she just got transferred). We felt so welcomed, most of the teachers gave us a warm smile, asking whether we were new teachers at the school. Most of the English teachers got excited as four TESL students (who will be teaching English language) came into their school and might take away 2 classes (or maybe 1 class from each teacher). Since there were 4 of us, we were divided into 2 different sessions. Alya & I will be having the morning session of the school (7.20 am-2 pm), while another 2, Hazirah unni & Fatin are about to teach the evening session (12.50pm-6.45 pm). In  total, we need to stay at school for 6 hours. Yes. Better than going to classes, isn’t it? At least you’ll be having a more productive day. Hehhe.

A teacher led us to the teachers’ room, and asked us to seat at the leisure area, a place where teachers have their meal, student answering exam paper, and parents waiting for the registration of their children. The school has two different streams; KAA (Kelas Aliran Arab) & KRK (Kelas Rancangan Khas). KAA means students are provided to learn the Arabic language in addition to other subjects. As for KRK students, they only learn normal subjects as other form 1-3 students do. Yes, you need to know the differences & the system of a particular school. Pretty please, ask around, talk to the teachers, or read school magazine. You may also get the school organization’s book and understand the rules of the school. It does helps so that you won’t go against the ‘culture’ or rules of the school itself, and might get scolded (of course you don’t want that). As for me, I am so grateful as I have my course mates to accompany me here and we can seek for each others’ help when one of us is in trouble. Personally, I do not prefer staying alone in a school. SOP’s (School Orientation Programme) experiences had taught me a lot on being independent in a school. Though I did my first practicum in my own secondary school, it’s still so hard to suit yourself to the environment and teachers, who mostly are super super seniors! Haha. You may take my advice or leave it, but I think, being in a group is much better. You’ll be more conscious of what you have to do.

Then, teacher Zuraida gave us our own classroom timetable. All of us got 2 classes, which includes 10 teaching periods per week (5 teaching periods per class). Most of us received form 1 & form 4 classes. However, there are certain cases that they need to teach classes that will seat for PT3 and SPM by the end of this year. So, you cannot be so choosy and just be ready for any future outcomes. Ergh. Sounds quite tough for first-timers like us, but… take it as a challenge yeah?

The timetable (for a time being...)

The timetable (for a time being…)

So I got two teachers as my mentors; teacher Lin (the head of English Department)  & teacher Aisya (which is about to move to another school by next week. *sigh* Why now?).

So here’s how English teachers in my school work; there will be 5 teaching periods, right? So it will be divided into 2TP+1TP+2TP.

Here’s the sequence on how they teach the upper form;

2 teaching periods : Comprehension or summary

1 teaching period : Literature

2 teaching periods : Essay

You might start to wonder; “When’s the time that the students learn grammar? Oh no!”

No worries, we just need to integrate grammar with any of the lessons (writing, reading, etc. *Opens notes*)

Yes, just keep reminding on the grammar structures okay?

IMG-20150202-WA0000

Collections of form 1 and form 4 literature components. They seem to be more interesting than during my time… I hope my students read ALL of them. No, don’t just hope. I won’t even read if I’m a student. Somebody got to push me to read. Muehehe

One of my favourite short plays- The Robbery! A funny story of robbers. I laughed a lot while reading this :D

One of my favourite short plays- The Robbery! A funny story of robbers. I laughed a lot while reading this 😀

As for the lower forms, the sequence is just the same. It’s just that they do not have summary as part of their lesson. In fact, they have error analysis in PT3! Yes they do! Just like what we did in our Grammar classes during foundation and degree! *bhahahah!!* Hence, you can replace the summary with teaching grammar, okay? At least they are clear with the rules and have a strong foundation in English, rather than confidently speaking, with wrong grammar… (Oh no, that’s quite shameful).

Teacher Aisyah said my form 1 class would be quite challenging. The boys are quite lazy, and the girls are quite shy. However, don’t underestimate them! Once they open their mouth & start talking, you’ll be amazed with their voice projection. 😀 As for the form 4 class, teacher Lin loves them, because they are good students. I don’t put any estimation, since I haven’t met them face to face yet. I hope they will learn something from me, or teach me something, and cooperate with me. 🙂

It’s funny when you walk around the corridor and heard students whispering to their friends; “Wei, cikgu baru, cikgu baru!”, which I used to do it before, during my time. 😀 Reminiscing my days at school. ^_^

Daily attendance, it's a must, people!

Daily attendance, it’s a must, people!

And here I am. Still living (alhamdulillah). And my other 3 companions, survived the first day. Yes, we got scolded for not sitting at the teacher’s table, since we’re still new and clueless. It’s okay friend, getting some admonishments are normal & crucial in improving ourselves. So let’s take it positively, yeah? Even teachers that I met advised me with the same point; “Get involved with other teachers. Don’t stick to your group all the time…”.

All the best for your first class ever in your teaching profession, my dear friends!

Remember that tiny little key? It has grown bigger now! *grin*

Though some of you (and in reality, most of us) do hold big keys.

You hold the key, and let’s be responsible for it. 🙂