As someone who did not travel a lot, I was not familiar with Johor state. In fact, I could even count with my own fingers on numbers of time I visited this state before. To be honest, most of my classmates in TESL from Kelantan or Terengganu requested for their own states, including me. As expected, we did not manage to get our desired locations, instead, most of the east coast people are posted to Johor.
When I checked my result on SPP, of course, I felt so nervous thinking whether I will get the chance to be a teacher or not. I was so grateful that I got posted, even not in my own state. Trying to be positive, I told myself that I need to stay out of my comfort zone and take it as a challenge by living in a new place.
If you ask Johorians about the district of Mersing, most people will think of a small town, a very remote place in the state of Johor. Well, in my case, I thought of Mersing as a nice place which located near the beach, facing the South China Sea. It would have been so wonderful to be living next to the beach. However, my idea about Mersing was not the same as the day before. I just knew that I was sent to a remote place. I think it is worse. I was posted to a Felda (a place surrounded by palm estate). My first impression was it is a remote area, a place where you hardly even find a shop or to buy things. It took me 40 minutes to reach the school from Mersing town.
As we reached the school, I was fascinated by the beautiful musolla. It is finely decorated in and out. I went to the office and met the school pricipal with other two new teachers. I was lucky that the principal had already arranged a place for us to stay. Then, we moved into the house located nearby. It was quite shocking to see that the house that we rent was empty. Totally empty, except for the sink in the kitchen. Thank God that I brought along a mattress, a pillow to put my head on, and some cutlery to be used. My housemate and I sat for hours in the living room doing nothing, thinking of our own fate being sent here. As I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram, I think we were lucky enough to have a place to stay when some of our friends were still renting at hotel.
After three months of staying and teaching in a new place, I think I can cope quite well here with my friends. We even have more furniture and things after several weeks we stayed here. To be honest, I am so thankful that I was posted here. The nature is a bit different due to different exposure and environment as compared to schools that are nearby the city or town. However, I take that as a challenge for me to utilize every single chance that I have in making them understand English and use it as much as they can. I hope I can keep this spirit until the end of my service… Hahah!
My advice to the next batch or future teachers who are about to get posted; know what you are doing. I am reminding myself as well to be prepared for any future conditions that I am about to face. Most importantly, to try our best in anything that we do. Real life is not the same as the one that you watch in Malay drama or movies… When you got back home, sitting on a nice couch, watching TV, your housemate makes a cup of coffee for you, bla, bla, bla… It’s nonsense! We (and most of the teachers) started with zero. And I told myself that I will remember the time when I lived in a tough situation. It makes you stronger, and appreciate things that you have later on.