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Journal of an English Teacher


Marzlina bt Mahmood
English Language Teacher

My dad used to say teaching is the best career for me. When I was in school, my teachers used to say the same, too. Now, after five years of doing this 'noble job' (that's what some people say), I sometimes wonder... am I really teaching?

The first day I came to this school, I was really enthusiastic. Being a fresh teacher, I really hoped to apply all those principles I learnt in college for five straining years. It would be a hugh waste if I kept them to myself.

So, I entered my first class; 2D. My lecturer advised that I should let the students listen to as much English as possible. In fact, I shouldn't speak Malay in an English class. Thus, I did exactly what he said.

The result; the students were blinking blankly waiting for me to say something in the language they knew best - Bahasa Melayu. So, I taught English in Bahasa Melayu since that day (not in all classes though!).

My lecturer also mentioned that my core business in school is to TEACH. "Never let other things interrupt your main focus", he said. I think he had never been in school since Cikgu Shaari's (P. Ramlee's Masam-Masam Manis) time.

There's not so much teaching that could have happened in school nowadays. We have too much things to do from 7.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m; starting from checking the attendance (at about 7.30 a.m.) to chasing the students to perform Zohor (at about 1.50 p.m.).

I am not saying that we are not teaching at all but it seems that we have a lot more core businesses besides TEACHING. Or, should I say teaching is not our core business anymore?

There are many more jobs that a person has to perform if (s)he decides to become a teacher. For example, early in the year, we are busy with games - we have to come to school almost everyday (not to mention, the weekends) to train students in the many different sports. So, we have to become coaches although most of us are not well trained in sports.

However, never complain! It's in the package. Besides, teachers are also good clerks. There are countless forms to be filled all year through (sometimes we never understand what they are for). Although I've read so many complaints in newspapers and magazines about this, the clerical job never seems to end soon. In fact, those papers are piling up.

Those jobs have taken a lot of our time that should have been spent in classes or marking students' homework. There are many other jobs that you have to do when you decide to become a teacher. The famous EIGHT are:

  1. Baby sitter - relief classes
  2. Driver - sending the students for games, quizzes
  3. Gardener - accessorizing the school for 3K competition and ...
  4. Painter - decorating the walls with murals and the bunting, remember?
  5. Technician - those with good computing skills
  6. Policeman/woman - the disciplinarians
  7. Event planner - the sports day and many other special events
  8. Handyman/lady - if you know what I mean

And the list continues... So, I guess, the term TEACHER is not suitable for us anymore. I think SUPER-T is quite an alright name for our all-in-one career. Don't you think so?

Salute to all SUPER-Ts!

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