Saturday, 20 May 2017

20-YEAR TEACHING ANNIVERSARY

Teaching is my life...



I returned from UK in July 1997. I started my teaching career in October 1997. I received a letter from JPN Kedah instructing me to report for duty at a secondary school in Kedah but it did not state the name of the school. So, I went to JPN to find out and they informed me that there was a vacancy at SMKTSR Jalan Kuala Kedah. The previous English teacher had just transferred to Kulim after her wedding.... I was surprise because I thought I might ended up in another district. It wasn't easy to get a school near your house. It is about 15 minutes by bus. People asked if I had a 'large' cable but I told them it was pure luck!

This school was quite familiar to me since I had done my teaching experience here in 1996. The girls in my area would study here while the boys went to SMKTL. Later, many girls and boys studied at the new SMKSP.  The common public transportation for the students was the Kuala Kedah public bus which came every 15 minutes. Since I did not know how to drive or ride a motobike, I had to resort to using the bus as my main mode of transportation to and from school. I chose the 6.45 am bus than the 7.10am bus to avoid the heavy crowd. Still, the bus would be full, carrying students to SMKTL, SMKTSR, SMJKKH, MM, SMKSNC, SAS and KSAH. My students were my busmates. This went on for about 5 years - rain or shine - before I could actually afford to buy a Proton Iswara and also get a driving license.

I like the fact that SMKTSR is an all-girl school. The school compounds looked pretty and neat, even though it is quite old. It only contains single and double-storey buildings. It was opened in 1963 under the name of SM Perempuan Telok Chengai before it was offcially opened by YTM Tuanku Abdul Rahman in 1968 and the name was later changed to honour his wife, Tun Sharifah Rodziah.

My first Principal was Miss Mak Sooi Jee who used to be the Principal of SM St Nicholas Convent, Alor Setar for many years. Her Senior Assistant was the late Hj Hashim Samin. They made me the Head of English Panel even though I was a greenhorn! After Miss Mak retired, she went on to teach at Sim Min Private School.. I wonder if she is still teaching there... She seems to be in good health. Altogether, I have worked under 9 Principals, all female of course. Arwah Shariffah Asma Syed Ahmad Barakbah passed away sometime this year. Al-Fatihah...

The next Principal was Pn Faridah Abdullah, followed by Pn Hafdzah Ahmad, Pn Azizah Nasan, Pn Ishah Saidin, Pn Rahmah Yusak, Pn Rogayah Talib and the newest Principal who came to this school on the 3rd of May this year, Pn Che Rokiah Md Isa, whose house is located just opposite the school...! We seem to change  our Head quite often. Perhaps it is because the school is a popular transit before they retire or have their post upgraded. Different Principals have different style of administration but all of us try to adapt to the new style as best as we can and move forward together.

A teacher is also many other things. My roles have changed, increased and evolved during the last 20 years. My happy moments include getting APC twice, finally getting dg44 and later dg48, managed my Meranti Sports House to victory, seeing my ex students becoming English teachers, getting C2 in the CPT test, being the English lang. Emcee for HAC and District level drama competition, accompanying students to represent Kedah in KL for Celcom Youth Contest, being involved with MUET Speaking Test and ULKCP as an examiner, bowling with colleagues, and accompanying the sixth form girls on university visits, to name a few........ 😉

On a personal level, I was delighted to be offered a free trip to Seoul, Korea by the Korean Tourism Organisation in 2015. I joined 13 other international winners for 3 nights, 4 days travelling around Seoul, and Gangchon. It felt surreal. Kamsahamnida KTO and Hana Tour, and my Korean-mad chinggu- Vera from Singapore, Tere from Indonesia, Lucky from the Phillipines, Nat from Thailand and also the Japanese and Taiwanese winners..

2015 also brought sadness to my family and I when my dad passed away... He was a teacher for more than 30 years. I wonder, would I be able to match his experience and knowledge...? Al-Fatihah...

Most of the teachers in SMKTSR have known each other for more than 10 or 15 years so we are actually a strong and close bunch of teachers. It could be quite difficult for a new staff to adapt to our school culture but as time goes by, he or she will fit in comfortably.... Insha Allah. Our favourite shopping and travelling destination is Hatyai but ever since Ringgit is down, Hatyai seems so far away now...

The English Panel consists of friendly, happy, ceria teachers - led by Mastura and the previous head, Mazlina. Liyana is the youngest but in a few years she would be ready to take over the post. Puspadevi and Chuah Bee Lan are our senior sisters. Datin Izzatul, as we call her and Marlinda are responsible for the youngest forms while yours truly is known for being the only teacher who studied TESL in UK but love all things Korean.  Alhamdulillah.... Our English panel is always lively. I am grateful for the friendship and I hope it will last forever. Some of our English teachers who have retired or transferred to other schools include Pn Nurul Aznim who is now the Senior Assistant at SMKAJ, Pn Mimi, the owner of the famous  original Rojak Mak Bee, Pn Lim Siew Kah, the late Hj Hashim Samin, Miss Mak, our ex-Principal, Pn Hidayah Rushdan, Pn Fazlina Shuib, whose post I took over, Pn Lilian Wooi, Pn Chye Siew Chen and Pn Daisy, to name a few. Two cheerful and hardworking trainees were also with us temporarily - Nasharil and Siti Fatimah. Forgive me, dear colleagues, if I have accidently missed out some names...

I moved to my own house in Mergong in 2009. My family now lives with me. The old house in Kuala Kedah stays empty. Its fate is still unknown. Now, I drive my Almera to school everyday. I usually arrive quite early, before 7.00 am. It is a habit that I cannot break. i guess things would be different if I were married and had small kids. Cest la vie.



My first batch of sixth form students were in 2003. Many of them stayed in the hostel where I was a warden. That brought us closer and since everything was new, we went through it together. They are now working, they are somebody's wife or mother. So technically, that makes me a 'grandmother'.. ;) I love teaching MUET to the sixth form girls because they are young adults who feels more like a sister than a daughter. The age gap then wasn't that big before but now, I am probably closer to their mother's age.

One sad fact was that later, a student by the name of Rohaya, met with an accident and died. Years earlier, the teachers got together to help her further her studies in UMS. This act of kidness was led by Pn Azizah, who is now teaching in Kuantan. Other sixth form teachers who used to teach here  include Pn Siti Aminah, who is now back in Johor, Pn Puziah who has retired, Pn Supiah who is now at SMKHK, Pn Mashitah who is in SMKAK, En Azman who is now a lecturer at IPDA, Pn Fatmawati who is now in Trengganu, Pn Nor Shuhada who is now the Principal of SMKAJ, En Ahamad Fauzi who has retired but is still painting and drawing actively, Pn Husna, Pn Shobihah, En Ahmad  and Pn Azilah, who no longer teach Sixth Form. How I miss our old days together... At present, the sixth form teachers include our new PK T6 Pn Nooriani, Pn Azura, Pn Azira, Pn Chuah Bee Lan, Pn Lily, Pn Lim Choon Shiang, Pn Rodziah, myself and the three gentleman- En Mutalib, En Nasrul and En Sharuddin.

We are actually waiting for our fate. This school is phasing out sixth form to make way for a single-session school since we don't have enough classrooms at present. I wish we have a new academic building, a new hostel and a proper field... Our 'middle-age' school is also in dire need of re-wiring and refurbishment...

Will we, the sixth form teachers, end up at SMK Hutan Kampung or SMK Tunku Abdul Aziz or remain here, in SMK Tun Sharifah Rodziah until we retire? Only 2019 will tell.....




Rodziah, Azira, Lim, Nooriani, Mutalib, Nasrul, Sharuddin, Jasmidar, Lily, Bee Lan, Azura









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