Thursday, 24 October 2013

Class Parties =D

This is the 3rd year of me teaching here in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

What? It's the 3rd year already???? Just seems like yesterday when I first had my mild meltdown upon knowing about my posting lol.

Anyway, in 3 years, I have seen so many teachers and even administrators go in and out of this school: mainly because our school is a transit school. Located an hour and the half away from Cameron highlands and 3 hours away from Kota Bahru, our district has been known as the 'first entrance' into Kelantan, and only government servants would know HOW TOUGH IT IS TO GET INTO KELANTAN. Yet, by God's will, I (not a Kelantanese), was sent right into this place albeit not having this state in any of my 3 options. Now that i look back and think about it, I wouldn't want it any other way ;)

The cool thing about teaching here is that my admins (we had so many transfers that I was under 2 different principals, 2 senior assistants of administration, 2 senior assistants of students' affairs, 2 senior assistants of co-curriculum, and 3 different Head of English Panel within the 3 years I've been serving here lol) really supported me and allowed me to do just about anything I deemed right! I pretty much had the freedom to experiment with activities and programs, and I have good colleagues and great moments in this school too.

And although in all 3 years I was given the role as a class teacher on top of my many other positions, it is probably my favourite role as a teacher. First of all, you just get to build so much more rapport with your own homeroom kids, develop a team, inculcate values, and even become their 'mum'. I grew the most as a class teacher, having to dealt with disciplinary cases, talk to parents, visit students in hospitals, and to lead your group of students. It is also an exceptionally tiring job, simply because the students here lack exposure and leadership qualities - something I learned to accept and not to criticise. Most of them came from really big family of more than 6 siblings and they do what they are being told at home and in school, to get by their days. With weak role models of non-educated parents or older siblings who did poorly in school, their main concern was only to 'get money', and are contented just doing rubber-tapping, selling in the market and becoming a worker in Econjaya (our only supermarket)... There was no need to step up or to go beyond their expected duties.

My teaching philosophy has always been - 'get real.' I aim to expose my kids to the real world, create lessons with real and authentic examples, and to teach them how to live well in real life. And with so much of me invested into them, I do get rather emotional during our year-end farewell parties.

For 3 years, I was given Form 5 classes as my homeroom class. So for 3 years I dealt with kids anxiously preparing for their SPM and worrying about their future. Therefore, I want to give the students something to remember about their high schooling days, before they go forth into the real complexities of adulthood... And I try to do that through our farewell parties...

In 2011, my very first homeroom class was 5S1..

That was my first year organising a jamuan kelas. I didn't want them to just prepare food, get teachers to eat, they eat, clean up and go back (which is the norm and culture), so I brought along my projector, taught them to create a slideshow, perform, do gifts exchange, make speeches, and wear oogly glasses just to spice things up a lil ;)

Then came 2012. I was class teacher of 5A2. This group of students were unexpectedly weak in their academic, but have the best attitude! I knew it will be hard to get them to perform as a class, so we did a coloured theme party instead. I gave them permission to bring accessories and we had a blast.


Today, 24th October 2013, we just had our #5A2kickassparty !!!
Compared to the previous 2 years, I was actually a lot more involved in this affair.
These kids are a whole lot weaker than the previous lots, to the extent that 1/3 of them are not passing or barely passed their Malay language. Communicating with them was really tough in the beginning as I had never taught them in the previous years, and I don't speak or understand the kelate dialect well.

But they grew on me. Sooner than expected, I was part of their lives, went for meals together, they sent me home (often in an entourage of at least 3 bikes lol), secrets were shared, life-size questions were asked, and as much as they pissed me off sometimes, they are just really good kids.

And out of my previous batches of students, this group lacks thinking skills, but they counter with pro-activeness.
They lack leadership; they counter with great attitude and surreal enthusiasm.
They lack experience and maturity; they counter with willingness to learn.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw this on my table yesterday...
I told them to prepare invitation cards for the teachers who do teach them, and they came out with scented invitations done in an actual printing shop (by forking out their own money!).

I told them to decorate our plain wall (we had a class change to everyone's horror as we had to part with our actual classroom that won first prize for best class decoration to a shabby one), so that we could take better pictures.
They came the afternoon before, sourced their own materials from home, and did this!

I too promptly prepared some props for them to take pictures with~

..many of which are not shown in the picture as the kids got over-excited with the accessories lol.

I too taught my kids the current trend of a 'dessert table'...
and this is their attempt~

Some of the items are homebaked, and there are more hidden underneath the table for later refills lol.

What really caught my surprise was this,
They created a Guestbook Corner.

That big scrapbook / Guestbook was quickly filled with words of encouragement from teachers who came in while the kids occupied the blank pages. And then, everything you see on that table - the photoframes with pictures, and that book, was gifted to me so that I would remember them :')

After a quick snap, the craziness began when the teachers came in huge groups at the same time @_@

The teachers just kept coming... I was actually getting worried as the food was finishing real fast and I really didn't want to starve my kids. Thankfully, being totally understanding, they served the teachers first and when our crowd was slow, only did they go for the food *proud mama*

Our menu of the day included Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Goreng, Nasi Ayam, Laksa Penang, Bakso, Koey Teow Goreng, Satay, Akok, Pudding, Cocktail (kelantanese ver), Colek, lots of agar-agar, cakes, cookies, lollies, crackers etc. (some food not in picture). By the end of the day, I could safely say that we fed about 130 people today lol.

After our last guest, I went straight into our own 5A2 intimate session.
We had speeches, and came the time to reveal our 5A2's Hall of Fame.
A lil backtrack first: During a previous lesson using the Hall of Fame song, I had the students voting for their classmates according to 12 titles. They range from The Hidden Gem, Masterchef, to even characters like The 'Robin Hood' and The 'Donald Trump' lol. After that, I told them that I will only announce the results during our class party.

So, I made the sashes... and their response during the announcement of the winners was plain hilarious!!! We all had a good laugh at the winning speeches too.

Unfortunately, as I was rather busy running around the whole time making sure everything is in place and our guests feel welcomed, these are all the pictures I managed to capture. Other moments worthy of remembrance include our 57 years-old principal wearing a giraffe mask with a pink headband for pictures with my students, I had the confetti bomb 'popped' at me twice, and my kids brought all the food in those huge containers by their bikes!!!

I lost count of how many times have I said 'terima kasih' to my kids. I was just filled with pride throughout the day, hearing praises from teachers and admins about how delicious the food was, how well-mannered my kids were, how 'happy' the atmosphere was. The principal even made an impromptu speech saying that 'Cikgu Felicia ni nok nikah jauh jauh, meme kerugian besor sekola kito dan jejaka kelate.' OH MY GOSH, the laughter and cheers from the teachers and my kids cracked me up so bad lmao. 

I'm just glad everything went well. Of course there were hiccups and lots of spontaneous problem-solving needed.. But today, I just feel really really proud of my kids.

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