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a teacher’s dilemmas

March 15, 2013

Yesterday, i finally managed to finish marking both Paper 1 and 2 of my 5S2. It was a really testing period of time as i felt quite disappointed by how some students who i thought would do well, performed quite bad; and also that most of the boys only wrote less than half a page for their continuous writing!!!! and we are talking about the second best class of the school!!!!

I was mad that the students did not take their English exams seriously enough.

I was mad because i saw potential but felt that they just threw it away mindlessly.

I was mad because only very few of them applied the techniques that we have gone through multiple times in our classes.

I was mad because i expected not ridiculous improvement in English but at least a change of attitude.


However, i too realised that there were 4 girls who improved leaps and bounds!

One of them was actually quite attentive in my English class and had been quite consistent in her work.

Since i only took over this class this year, i had no idea of her actual performance other than her test scores from previous years and felt that she shouldn’t have been just a ’36marks’ student.

Imagine my pleasure when she scored 58 marks for this exam, topping most of the targeted students (who mostly dropped quite a lot in their exam this time around)!!!

I was so happy because i seen her effort in the classroom and i thought to myself – instead of rewarding the top marks scorers, i’m going to reward those with the most “improvement” by comparing their TOV scores and their current scores!!!

I felt good with that decision as i realised i would be able to show those who haven’t been performing as well that what i care more is ‘progress’ and ‘improvement’ rather than the unreasonable push to score ‘A’s, as set by the school.


i found her cheating in the Physics paper, when i was invigilating that class.

Instantly, i felt cheated.

I also found out,

there were no teachers invigilating their class during their English Paper 1 exam. (unfortunately, a very common scene in my school as we have a whole lot of very irresponsible teachers who contribute to the bad name given to fellow teachers)



My students knew i disapprove of the cheating culture in the school. Most of them complained and moaned when it was my turn to invigilate their classes. I had teachers commenting how supernatural i am as i could make 4A4 sit quietly during the exams (they didn’t know all the tricks and threats i had to come out with to get them quiet)…

But my capability is so limited when so many of the teachers in my school openly allow students to discuss and cheat, inform students about the test questions, or even guide students during the exam!!!!! Think you heard it all? How about a teacher, getting form five kids to help her staple and organise the Form 5 test papers???????!!!!!! And that was done openly in our staffroom, under all our watchful eyes because she had no shame in that!

Basically right now, I feel even more devastated than ever.

I found myself so conflicted.

Should i still reward those who showed improvement? (knowing that most of them cheated during exams)

Will I risk myself condoning the cheating culture?


and seriously to all those teachers who have no respect for the validity and reliability of exams,

i really hope that they would learn to have more respect for their profession and uphold and a better image, for us teachers who are really passionate in Education.

i hear people dissing about teachers and their half day jobs and the many day offs… and i do get mad.. but i can’t really blame them for having such assumptions.


A teaching job should not be about stability in life, but an empowering one.

With elections coming (hopefully soon),

what i really want for Malaysia is – to take away complacency in various fields, and push for performance.

That might probably rile up quite a lot of people, but hey, there is no way our country is going to move forward when there is no  competition or need to change.

And I am terribly sick of having to attend masked talks with official education names which are filled with propaganda!

First of all, bear in mind that you are talking to a whole bunch of educated lot. And no, we do not agree that Japan experienced natural disaster because God is displease with their governing body while malaysia is spared from natural disasters because God is extremely pleased with ours.

Second, we do not appreciate having to cramp in a hot hall with a massive amount of people after our school working hours.


Fourth, do we look like we be appreciative of the hand towels / sarung batik / note books / kuih / beehoon?

Fifth, we do not need to be reminded of how much the government has given us including the pay rise and bonuses all the time.

Sixth, politics should NOT be mixed with education!!! A Kursus Professionalisme Guru should be a Kursus Professionalism Guru and our LDP (Latihan Dalam Perkhidmatan) should not be Lecture Dalam Politik.

Seventh, you keep stressing that we should focus on our P&P then why do you keep asking us teachers to attend to ad hoc political-coated talks during school hours and making us leave our classes unattended for long hours????

Eighth, as teachers, our core duty is to serve and guide our clients – and they are our students. I am not a tool of yours to brainwash the kids. I rather teach them the ability to think, research, analyse,  and make decisions for themselves.


Who said being a teacher is easy? We make difficult choices and stands every freaking day.

And i am making mine now.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2013 4:35 pm

    sigh. ive had that too, teachers who didnt care if students are talking/sharing answers in exams, those who actually showed the test paper to their student before the exam and def had to attend those political lectures disguised as a ‘aktiviti ilmiah’. Hang in there, dear, you know you’ll get out of that school eventually.

  2. April 7, 2013 1:13 am

    Yikes! In every school in Malaysia, you will find colleagues who are irresponsible like that. Sometimes, it is made worse by indifferent or helpless leaders at school.
    Don’t give up, Felicia. You are doing a great thing by standing up for your principles. Do what you can. Sadly, you cannot expect or demand the same of others.

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