SMATKEM is pronounced “camp” (not “kem” as in kemaman the town.)
On short notice, we made our way to Kemaman, Terengganu to face 150 fifth formers who were 23 days (at press time) away to one of the biggest events in their life. The coaches as usual had lots of fun. (Naik syeikh pun ada sikit). How can you not enjoy yourself talking to a bunch of very responsive and “selamba” teenagers?
These kids are so lucky to have teachers who really, really want them to be good at English. We met the teachers and we know. For one, they have been trying to get ESB for 3 years. Like the saying “jodoh tak ke mana”, we finally made it to SMATKEM.
We talked to one of the English teachers who told us how that the first year of teaching was the year of extreme and full tank motivation. Coming out fresh from the university with all the teaching theories and what not. Everything was applied. All the materials were given. All the multimedia. All the handouts. But, the ‘switch’ to spark the interest in English was not there.
Disheartened. Frustrated. The intention was to get the students to speak English but when you get discouraging words from almost all your students, you tend to rethink.
“Tak ‘caghe (char re) lah cikgu” translation…why bother!!
But as an educator, giving up is not an option.
“Never wish that the job was easier, wish that you, were better.”
We discovered that the teacher, a Nirvana lover, is currently planning to buy a laptop. Why? To teach better. To make a difference. InsyaAllah, one of the ‘switches’ will turn on the burning desire to be good at English. Some students need something big to change. Some would require a single act of guidance.
“Teachers, out there. You students are all unique. They have different interests. They see things differently. They react differently. They came from different backgrounds. If one style doesn’t work, keep looking.”
Being good at English is not a choice anymore. We salute the teacher and any other teachers in this country or in the planet who teaches with love and passion.