Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Zest of Invigilation

Lately I am bogged down with so many things at work that I hardly have time for myself or blogging. Although some teachers have gone off for the year-end holiday, but others are in the midst of invigilating the most important examination in the country - Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). 

It is not supposed to be my turn to be the Pengawas this year but I have to take up the responsibility voluntarily. Just to fill in the vacancy left by people who are not willing to sacrifice their long holiday. Well, Saya Yang Menurut Perintah or more accurately, Saya hanya menurut perintah. Since I have invigilated SPM last year, so this time I am assigned as the Timbalan Ketua Pengawas (TKP). I have to admit it is more challenging physically although it can never match up the pressure faced by a Ketua Pengawas. They have countless of things to mind and do throughout the invigilation.

At times I just wonder why this task is not given to those who never had the experience invigilating SPM, especially the ones who already received the Anugerah Perkhidmatan Cemerlang (APC) and novice teachers. There are many other teachers who can take my place, especially the new ones. Not that I dislike this job, but certain people could use some compassion and consideration that I am not physically fit. Yeah, I have a knee that is still hurting badly. What makes the situation worse is now I am suffering an excruciating pain on my spinal bone after carrying heavy boxes that contain materials and papers for examination use. Just for your information, I have cracks on my spinal bones (which I have not fixed yet) and went through arthroscopic knee / ACL Reconstruction surgery in 2011. I also had a second surgery on the same knee in 2012. In fact, there are two screws planted in both my left thigh and shin bones. Only God knows the pain I have to bear each time I walk up and down the stairs during invigilation.

Sometimes I wonder if this sacrifice is worth it despite being paid to invigilate. The perk is really nothing if it is deteriorating one's health. In this case, health is wealth. I could just simply say NO to the administrators when I was asked to fill in the spot, but how would that affect their perception of me? Yes, that is another problem although I realise we cannot please everyone all the time. Moreover, impression sometimes can be translated into yearly appraisal marks! Yeah, you can say it is subtly intimidating which makes us give in to whatever we are not interested of doing at the first place. So, either way it will have effect on our career development and we are likely to end up in dilemma just thinking about it. Like it or not, that is how things are in working life.

Nevertheless, I am still grateful that this time it is not so bad compared to last year. Back then I had to wake up at 4am and start driving at 5am, so that I could board the earliest ferry at 6am. If I missed it, I would not be able to make it to that isolated rural school in time for invigilation and that would spell trouble for me. Each day I would only reach home at 8pm and it was indeed physically exhausting. What really frustrated us was the pay we received, lesser than we could actually claim. Besides, no one understood it better about the risk of crossing a super wide and croc-infested river like we did. However, I do remember one good thing from this epic adventure. The scenic view at the break of dawn. It brought forth the feelings of serenity and gratefulness while standing on the ferry deck. That was something money could not buy.

I learned a lot of new things throughout the invigilation process in these two years which I truly appreciate. One more paper for us to invigilate next week at this religious school before I can shout "Freedom!" together with Form 5 students. I just hope next year I will not be requested to take on this task anymore. It is time to give way to those without similar experience so that they will have a taste of invigilating a public examination such as SPM. Let them savour the zest of underpaid assignment. It may sound a little harsh but I survived it anyway. If I can do it, so can you.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Graduation Day

Graduation is definitely something we all would look forward to at one point of our life. It gives us a sense of accomplishment after spending at least 13 years of schooling from kindergarten to upper secondary school. Of course this is just the first step to another graduation at a higher level of education. 

As a class teacher to my princes and princesses in 5 Electric & Electronic 1, I had mixed feelings on this special occasion. I did feel proud and happy for them on Graduation Day although at the same time I also felt sad. Soon they will be leaving school once the SPM Examination is over. Time really flies. I have been their class teacher since early 2012 and this is the last batch of SPM students I teach at Kolej Vokasional Betong. There were countless bitter-sweet moments watching them growing up. Sometimes irritating, sometimes hilarious. It was not an easy task to take care 27 teenagers whose hormones were still raging! Throughout the entire two years, they never failed giving me headaches and heartaches. Always got themselves into troubles, especially with discipline teachers. Most of the time they were playing truant. I ever went searching for them beyond the school's compound - jungle and cyber cafes in town. People would usually tell you not to bother too much and just ignore the stubborn kids as they are not your own children. What if all teachers chose to be that way? I wonder what kind of leaders and citizens we will have to face in the future. No matter how fierce and angry a teacher is, he or she would never wish students the worst. Teachers scold you because they truly care. 

Despite all the difficulties in educating my 5EE1, I have the chance to see some of them blossomed into matured and better individuals. We might not see their full potential yet until they have become working adults. Experience said, it is too early to jump into conclusion. Sometimes naughty students could be more successful later in their adult lives and making millions. On the other hand, graduates only earn a few thousands. Regardless how much money they will make one day, I personally wish to see each and everyone of them becomes very successful person and a good citizen to this country. 

I would like to take this opportunity wishing all my students in 5 EE1, 5 Katering and 5 Kimpalan Fabrikasi Logam all the best in your SPM Examination. Hope to see lots of flying colours when the results are announced in 2014!