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For #TFMWeek 2014, Teach for Malaysia invited a diverse group of industry leaders to enter the classrooms of Malaysia’s high needs schools to teach and inspire the students to do more than dream.

Our own team members Sue and Jasmin were given the opportunity to participate and co-teach in a few classes – here are their thoughts on their one-day teaching experience.

Sue, Cikgu-for-a-day, SMK Jalan Reko, Kajang

"The most insightful part for me was actually the unscheduled class we decided to drop in on. I was curious to know what the so-termed lowest streamed children would be like. I expected the children to be uncommunicative, silent and carrying on personal conversations despite the teacher.

Instead I found a classroom full of children who were loud, boisterous and bouncing off walls. If only this energy can be harnessed into something more productive than just be funnelled off as the lowest streamed children. They had much stronger interactive skills than the two scheduled classes I co-taught at and shy was most definitely not in their vocabulary. What makes a higher streamed child so introverted with one refusing to get up to sing and another lower streamed child who at the drop of a hat would be more than willing to belt out the latest chart topper.

What I came away with is to question whether streaming was right. Do grouping children who score good grades separately from children who do not actually benefit the children? Yes perhaps the higher stream children will not be distracted but is distraction such a bad thing? Is naughtiness really something that should be cordoned off into a separate classroom? What makes a person innovative, what is disruptive technology? It’s about thinking differently, not afraid of being wrong and seeing the world from a different point of view. If we mingled the children not in terms of their grades but randomly, could the lower scoring children not benefit from peer to peer learning whilst higher scoring children lighten up a bit and do belt up those songs and learn that it’s okay to speak up and be wrong? An important part of education is to take an active part in it.

Whilst the children in the lowest stream classroom put up their hands for wrong answers, their higher streamed counterparts would rather sit in silence than be wrong – something needs to be re-addressed perhaps?"

Jasmin, Cikgu-for-a-day, SMK Jelai, Negeri Sembilan

I was reminded of why I first fell in love with teaching and why I left it. Why it is probably the hardest job in the world, but also why it can make all the difference in the world. Teaching is simultaneously uplifting and saddening; freeing and bridling; frightening and empowering; honest and manipulative; authentic and contrived. Teaching is a very challenging and confusing journey of learning about how young minds work. Most importantly, it is a very deep but scary look inside oneself and one’s values. Teaching is a call to action for the nation’s bravest.

If you think you want to answer the call to action for the nation's bravest, and go into classrooms to make a change in students' lives nationwide,apply to become a TFM fellow today!

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