Monday, February 21, 2011

Kontrak Latihan, Pemantauan... blah, blah, blah...

There's this Kontrak Latihan thing teachers have to do these days too... the good I see out of it is it makes the teachers give out written work. More teachers can be seen marking their exercise books because of this constant reminder... which is a good thing. But as usual... the execution is going a little overboard. Teachers are making their own rubber stamps (RM15) to stamp the exercise books.... I thought one look can tell quite a lot... ever since the Headcount thing, we're so obsessed with the numbers...

But there is always a but... so here it is. They want the teachers to make sure those exercises are easy to identify, specific books for specific type of exercises. Say if you are a language teacher then perhaps the three areas you might want to give exercises would be Objective, Structure and Essays. To make things easy for those checking, one must have an exercise book for each type. But essays are most difficult to grade. They take the longest time to grade too, especially with the kind of students we have - just think the deplorable command of English today.

However, the ability to write an essay well most probably would sum up a students language ability. An ability to write indicate mastery. The better you write, the better your mastery. One of the reasons for grads not able to land a job is their inability to write critically.

The easiest exercise to give and grade would be the Objectives. You can hold class discussion all the time to counter check the answers. The same can be done for Structure questions..... but if you want to train kids to write you must be prepared to correct every sentence, going by today's weak command.

YT believes in training students to write. And because of that, YT decided not to have specific books for specific type of questions as it often is quite difficult to finish grading the essays before the next lesson. YT goes on a 'as-and-when-need' basis.... meaning all 3 books can be used for all 3 types of exercises. All 3 exercise books will be utilized in the same lesson on quite a few occasions. Over the years, YT has found out that it made no difference to the grades, the mixed exercises in an exercise book... in fact, by focussing on Writing, YT has seen better grades and overall passing percentage for the average students....

So it was much to YT's chagrin to be implied that YT's intention of using the exercise books mixed is meant to hide the actual numbers of exercise. In actual fact, YT has been faithfully noting down every single type of exercise in her spreadsheet everyday without fail; you see YT is a sucker for details too and tablet computing has made such endeavors very possible. So armed with the implied comment, YT sought out the Senior Teacher who observed her. YT sought an explanation but was duly told that it cannot be helped... you know-lah.... atas mahu. So YT told her that it seems that it's better to just stick to the contract cos that way 1 essay a month is quite easy to handle... since there is no rush. Guess what the Senior Teacher said.... she agreed!!!! Gosh! YT is a sucker for details when marking those essays, mind you; but is now totally baffled that the Senior Teacher agrees to cutting down on the number of essays so that it's easy for the observers to keep track of the number of exercises!!!! YT is now seriously considering this aesthetic aspect cos it's really attractive as it means less work and less hassle also..... And LOL! They're all suckers for appearance!

Pemantauan or orbservation... in one whole year, a teacher gets observed twice... if you perform really well, you might get a promotion. Strange thing that I observed... we have Guru Cemerlangs (GC) who are supposed to be excellent. But when you walk into their classes, sometimes you get the impression that they have no control over the class. There is a perpetual hum, a cacophony of noise; tis a conundrum which baffles the mind. There're always comments.... and no doubt some are actually good. But there are those who always seem to look out for mistakes and their remarks can be quite demotivating.... because of the maksud tersurat dan tersirat. What would be good would is that we, the ordinary teachers be allowed to watch them at work too.... learn from the experts. But sadly, this never happens. There is no accountability.... but perhaps after this YT should arm herself with these friendly gadgets and go tape them to learn from the masters.... YT is all for learning to be a better teacher. 8)

Back to Planet School! Teaching these days is also a lot about showmanship; of the wrong kind... for the moments that matter. I have a friend who has been teaching Science and Bio for many years... in all the years that I know her, her classes have always done well.... but guess what too! She has never been nominated for GC or APC or anything for that matter. Lesser effective teachers have melangkahi over her and become Principals. Not surprising too that my friend is quiet, non-showy and timid in her appearance.

As for YT, she has learned a valuable lesson... giving less exercise will solve the problem of the need of using the exercise books in the way that she is using now. Or perhaps she could also look into using nice and expensive files for filing up exercises..... can decorate them with punch arts, whatever crafty material... kind of a crafty way to score more points also.... LOL! At this point, YT is very attracted to reducing the number of exercises... at the present rate she has been going... one week would suffice to complete the whole month's quota. Not bad, eh?? Can crap for the rest of the month... talk, talk, talk more on her part, write, write, write less on the students' part, listen-listen-listen more on the students' part.... actually very often English classes are conducted more in BM... YT's command of BM would soon be seeing another big improvement. LOL!!!!

Anyway... YT thinks GKB is being personal... and perhaps a big dose of racism too.

Kontrak Latihan and Pemantauan... 2 supposedly instruments to help but has become a burden... We should practise this dictum; KISS - Keep it Simple Silly.... instead of burdening the teachers to the point of silliness too.

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