I work for an expansive government project that spans the entire country of Malaysia. So thank you, people of Malaysia, for paying my salary with your tax dollars! What the government is attempting to do, is to improve the population’s English starting with the kids in years 1-3. To do this, they are investing in a training project for the English teachers of these years (level 1). I am one of the trainers who has been brought in to work with the teacher’s in this level, improving methodology, pronunciation, and introducing new strategies of teaching literacy through phonics.
How did I end up in this job? I’ve been working in education (ESL and many other areas) since 2006 when I studied for a year in China. I’ve worked or volunteered for education initiatives in 6 countries (Mexico, West Bank, China, Taiwan, Lebanon, and now Malaysia). So, I applied for this job, and although I am a bit young (the cutoff was meant to be 27 and when hired I was 25), I got accepted for the position.
I am working in Taiping, a sleepy retirement town in the northwest of the country. Besides the lack of a social scene, Taiping is amazingly beautiful. Sometimes, I do double takes at the scenery because I can’t believe my eyes. Rolling hills covered in green forests with playful rainclouds shuffling around the hilltops. Taiping has a mixed community (but I think primarily Chinese) of Chinese, Tamil and Malay ethnic groups. My cluster of school’s reflects this. I have 3 Chinese schools, 1 SK (main language is Malay) school, and 1 Tamil school.
Every day I go to one of my schools and work with the teachers. Some of them are more challenging than others, and no two days are alike. So in this blog, without giving away the identities of my schools or teachers, I will try to talk about what it’s like to work in Malaysian public schools, the challenges of teacher training, the awesome achievements, and every day frustrations. I hope this blog will help me process, and help my audience to see what education is like in another country. Welcome to Malaysia!