Specially written for our Stories from the East series, Jarod Yong a young teacher stationed in the hinterlands of Sarawak describes life as a rural teacher and why it’s all worth it. (This is Part 1 of 3)
PEOPLE WANT TO BE TEACHERS FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS:
1. Inspired by their own teachers, they want to be teachers too and be an inspiration to their students.
2. After SPM/STPM, they’ve run out of options or got rejected in everything they applied for. Teaching is a final option.
3. After working for a few years as a lawyer, accountant, salesman, escort, housewife or bum, they decide that their line of work is too much for them and they decide to go for something easier.
No matter what your motives are in becoming a teacher, this is probably what you imagine teaching is like:
1. Long holidays.
2. Half-day job.
3. Luxurious pension.
4. Teaching in a good school near your home.
5. Working together with a team of teachers raring to reach a new generation.
6. Receiving the full support of the administration.
7. Students pay attention in class and hang on to every word you say.
8. Every parent respects you and trusts you with their children.
Sadly, in REALITY, ideals are reserved for those with wealth, influence or connection.
All the city schools with the great colleagues, administrators, parents and students will be filled with a somebody’s wife or a somebody’s child.
Eventually, what commoners are left with are less idealistic or worse still …
Would you want to teach in the interiors?!
The strange thing is … I did.
At the end of my university career, I heard many friends lament about where they would be posted. They expressed their hopes and ideals. They spoke of their fears of being posted at a notorious school or worst still … in the interiors. They spoke with spite about how those KPLIs (non-education graduate conversion programme students) got more favourable postings despite being less qualified just because they were married.
I looked into my heart and somehow these fears did not resonate with me. I wanted to teach and that’s where my concerns ended. No matter where I am, I am determined to be the best teacher I can be.
On the day that we had to fill in the posting forms, I asked my Malay friend to translate an English phrase for me because I wanted to get the gist right.
And, equipped with faith in God, I wrote “Dimana saya diperlukan dan Kebolehan saya dimanfaatkan“.
Literally giving them the licence to put me where nobody wanted to go.
Where did I go? What did I do? Well, stay tuned and read Part 2 of this article tomorrow.
p/s: Don’t spoil it by reading my blog or reading the blurb below.
Jarod Yong is single and available but he makes very little money and he lives in the jungle. Any takers? Chicks only, mind you.