Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Teacher In The Interior

Is the term "blook" still in use today? Because that's what is coming to all major bookstores.

New Malaysian maths teacher Muhamad Hafiz Ismail is posted to his first school: Kampung Kenang Primary School, in a remote Temiar community in the Perak jungle. Initially struggling with his new post, he decides to keep a blog to help him document and reflect on his new life and career and to keep his spirits up.

The posting is hardly a breezy jungle jaunt. Unconcerned with their education, the kids are like hyperactive, attention-deficient ... squirrels. They come to school because of the free food, or simply to be among themselves. Absenteeism is common, and they forget what is taught in class after long holiday seasons.

Nevertheless, Hafiz perseveres. He devises a myriad of creative approaches to develop his pupils' confidence and love of school and to help them see that learning is fun. He finds innovative ways to help them learn and is devoted to giving them the best he can offer.

As he embarks on his journey of self-discovery, frank and earnest Hafiz tells it like it is: learning the Temiar language, fashioning teaching aids with recyclables, and getting to know his students.

There are visits to his students' village and a durian orchard in the hills, teaching seminars in nearby towns, and his travails with accommodation, personal modes of transport and cellphone reception.

But most of all, it's about the joys of being a teacher and a life far away from the bright lights, noise and smells of the city, and how the author grows as a teacher and as a person.

Translated from a blog of mostly Malay-language posts, the record of a year in the life of a new teacher is now a book for parents, new and experienced teachers, or anyone interested in education or real stories on school life.

Life Through My Eyes the blog was discovered by Dr Kit Thomas, Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Education at UCSI University's Terengganu Campus, while on a trip to the author's school. Dr Thomas edited the book, which is published by MPH Group Publishing. All photos in this book were taken by the author.

The book will be launched at MPH Bookstores, Mid Valley Megamall on 24 September.

Life Through My Eyes
A Teacher's Little Steps Towards Perfection

Muhamad Hafiz bin Ismail
edited by Dr Kit Thomas
MPH Group Publishing
200 pages
ISBN: 978-967-5997-56-3

Buy from MPHOnline.com


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