Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our first class as husband and wife.

Something's wrong big time with my internet connection. Very unstable and erratic.


Yesterday, I spent the whole day doing up a PPT for the class at night. Alan and I did a self-introduction using powperpoints, coupled with loads of pictures of ourselves and Singapore. We started the class by doing just that and as the students trickled in...soon we found ourselves staring at fifteen kids (aged from 15 to 18!).

The classroom was airconditioned and with an attached toilet (albeit abit dim) and Alan brought his projector to allow for the powerpoint screening. I realised that if we infuse more IT, the children will be more excited to learn. We also played music (Alan brought his speakers) for the kids and they were certainly enthused and even asked for certain songs of their idols to be played. Whatever notions we had (due to prior warning) of their ill-disciplined behaviour and disgruntle nature sort of vanished almost immediately.

After our self introduction, I asked every student for his or her input on what they do daily. And soon, the whiteboard was filled with helping words - for them to write a composition, of course. Their standard of English was very bad and some even needed me to translate my instructions into Mandarin before they could begin on a task set. The longest composition was 13 lines.

Anyway, the kids tried their darnest and we also could see them being drawn more and more into the lesson. *smiles* Later on, each one of them had to do a self introduction to the class and tell everyone of their fav. subject in sch, their idols etc. I got everyone to share verbally (and I realised that they have very few opportunities to speak up in their own classes in school). Very surprisingly, the biggest guy in the class, Wu Long, who perhaps is towering at around 1.85m, who the most shy and he was tongue-tied and refused to speak. I made him promise that next week, he would address the class. Wai Kit also shared that his idol was Michael Jackson and upon further probbing, promised he would dance to any tune DJ Alan spun during our next class on Tuesday! hahahha

When I passed them the cookies I had baked for them as a special 'welcome gift' at the end of the lesson, I think they were rather touched. Quite a few boys even polished off the ten cookies (each child had ten to prevent any disputes) each on the spot and returned me the little plastic tub almost immediately! Hahhaha. ahhhh one had the cheek to even say the cookies were too sweet and 'next time can dun make so sweet'. ahaa duh The most heart-warming part of it all was when the kids were going to leave the classroom and some of them came up to my make-shift table to return me the marker pens I had placed on their tables. They also thanked me sincerely and shyly.

anyway, it was 1010 when Alan and I packed up and left the orphanage. We were exhausted but very pleased with the class and very enthusiastic about this whole volunteering thing. :D

Volunteer work is fun and exciting and we can to make 'friends' with 'children' and bring more life into their lives. Interestingly enough, KC mentioned that these children are very used to getting things because of their under-privileged status. And that he hopes to train them into useful beings who will work to line their own pockets.

Sad to say, I don't see how the education in Malaysian local schools will actually do much to benefit these kids. I mean, in Crescent, if our students (local or scholars) were to produce such short and simple and grammatically flawed essays, our dear Mr Ravi will perspire through his singlet and press the panic button and give them one MOCK EXAM per DAY comprising Paper One Part One and Two and Paper Two and sometimes maybe even Paper Three! The sad little teacher would have to MARK and give REMEDIAL every single day until the student gets her A1 and leaves the school without thanking the teacher, her nose held up sky high.

Frankly, Hayden's level of vocabulary and his phonetics-enabled spelling makes him a superior student than any of the kids. Very sad ya? I will need to seriously plan the syllabus for the class. Because they are from form 3 (15 yrs old) ot Form 5 (17 or 18 yrs old) there needs also, on top of normal grammar, to be a distinction in their learning. I will also target those who will be sitting for their PMR / SPM this year.

SOmething to highlight is that the policy of Ti-ratana is that once the child turns 18, he or she will no longer be a member of Ti-ratana. He or she is deemed capabale to take care of him or herself in society. This is kinda scary as I know, the children's level of education will not get them very far in life. They will, as Alan put it, probably end up manning the toll booths and collecting RM1.50 for the entry of each car. *sigh* This is the way the government caters to the low-achievers in society.

Anyhow, 1 July 2008 was a special day for Alan and myself and we also feel closer than before, having participated in something together, that we believed strongly in.

I think MUCH more can be done to improve things here. But I will start with these 16 kids.

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