Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My First Teaching Experience

My First Teaching Experience

I started teaching even before joining a teachers' college. In April, 1971 there was a vacant post for a temporary teacher in Heng Ee Secondary School, a school founded by the late Father Julian. When attended the interview, Father Julian just asked me one question. He said, "Do you have a credit in Bahasa Melayu (Malay) for MCE?" I said, " I have a distinction in the subject." Then he beamed and asked me to report for duty the following day.

The next morning, I cycled to the school as I was still a student, waiting for my HSC results and could not afford a motorcycle. The clerk brought me to the principal's office. The principal then asked me to take over the duty of a teacher who had gone to attend a three-month Bahasa Melayu course. In those days, teachers without a credit in Bahasa Melayu would have to undergo a three-month course in the subject. I was assigned to teach Form Two and Form Three Bahasa Melayu. It suited me well because it was my favourite subject and I excelled in this subject in school.

It was pin drop silence when I entered Form 3A's classroom. As I was used to public speaking, I broke the ice by introducing myself and told them that it was not difficult to master the subject. They waited eagerly for what I had to say after that. Well, I let them know that to write well in the language, they had to understand 'imbuhan' (affixes) thoroughly and learnt to use them correctly. Then I composed an essay on the blackboard using as many affixes as I could to illustrate what I had said. They marvelled at my ability to write an essay impromptu and had great confidence in my teaching later.I did the same when I went into the other two classes.

I enjoyed teaching in the school because the pupils seemed to take a liking to me and did not give me much trouble. Those who hated the subject began to like it.

There was one teacher, a Mr Cheang who liked to talk with me in the staff room. He had very low opinion of the pupils there and had warned me not give face to anyone of them. However, my rapport with my pupils was very good. In fact, they even invited me to climb up Penang Hill with them. I did join them and on the way back, one pupil took me to his grandpa's orchard. There I had the privilege of savouring various types of rambutans - each with a different taste. Before going back, his grandpa handed me a plastic bag with an assortment of rambutans to take home. Such was the hospitality the pupil and his grandpa accorded me.

My three months stint in Heng Hee finally ended. On the last day of my teaching there, I received quite a number of presents from my pupils as remembrance.

So much for my first teaching experience.

No comments: