My PTA Experience

What is the PTA? Parent Teacher Association. What does it do? An organization of parents and teachers for promoting closer relations and improving educational facilities at the school. Bearing in mind that the PTA does not interfere in the day-to-day administration of the schools. Instead, it serves as support group and a significant partner of the school in providing a forum for discussion of issues and solutions related to the entire school programme. It also undertakes fund-raising activities to support the school’s academic and co-curricular activities.

Why be part of the PTA? Here are some of PTA’s benefits I can personally testify:

  • Leverage Volunteer Power. PTA organises hard-working, dedicated volunteers; Parents who are ready to help implement school improvement programmes. Parents who are willing to spare their time for such activities, when required.
  • See Measurable Results. More than 85 research studies conducted over the past 30 years prove that children do better in school when their parents are involved. Exam scores improve. Attendance increases. Better self-discipline.
  • Discover More Dollars. PTAs are self-funding. PTA fundraisers support school programmes, building improvements and educational events.
  • Enjoy Informed Parents. Involved parents understand the challenges school faces and become part of the solution. By developing a closer relationship with parents, student achievement improves, and the school develops a positive reputation in the community.

Now, I would like to share my personal journey towards the PTA. When my children were in primary school, as much as I wanted to, I did not take part in the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) because of language barrier. I sent them to a vernacular school so that they could master another language (i.e. Mandarin) besides English and Malay.

When my elder child entered secondary school in January 2010, I was excited and keen to contribute towards the PTA. However, as a new parent in the school, not knowing how things work, I felt that I should observe and learn first. That was when I decided to be a “shadow” PTA member. I contributed behind an active PTA committee member, working in anonymity. I allowed myself to be  a sub-committee member in a fund-raising event organised by the PTA. That was my initial involvement and small contribution towards the school PTA from the start….

I worked in anonymity for 4 years before I finally accepted the nomination to be a member of the PTA, fulfilling a promise I made to the then principal. At that time, I had completed all 10 courses of my Masters degree, dissertation pending. To this year, it has been my 3rd year as an official PTA committee member, 7th year actively participating in my children’s school. Not as much as I wanted to but I can confidently say that I have done my best for the school and students. Challenges will always be part of our lives. It is what we choose to do at time of adversity that makes the difference. I am a firm believer of teamwork. As a team, we can achieve much more when we pool our resources together.

Being a member of the PTA has its pre-requisites. Some people thought that you have to be wealthy to qualify; some felt that you must have this much of free time to dedicate yourself; etc. etc. If you think along this line of thought, I’m sorry to say that you are not entirely correct. It is a big bonus to have the money but how much can one person continue to contribute for the entire school? Most importantly is to capitalise on our  network of people and to dedicate the time to do so passionately. The more people involved, the bigger the network is going to be. I am not ashamed to ask for help in any way possible. After all, what we do is for a good cause – for our future leaders, the students.

Volunteering ourselves to serve in the PTA require us to be committed, honest, sincere and responsible. Whatever that we do, we must carry out the tasks with clear conscience. Just as mindful as we are in taking great care of our home and family, we would extend the same, if not more to our bigger “home and family” i.e. the school and students. We shall protect students’ and teachers’ welfare as well as we would do the same for our own family.

I personally believe and live by this : I shall not settle for anything lesser than my best. Be passionate in whatever that I do. Despite my heavy work and social schedule, I shall make time for it as best as I can. If I can’t give my best, I shall without second thought, step down and let another take over the seat. I will not selfishly hold on to my position for the sake of holding on. I am sure there are always others out there who can do a better job than me. This is not a glamorous job, but I shall call it “labour of love”.

Dear parents, if you are concerned about the well-being of your children in school and in their education (academic as well as co-curriculum), be active in the PTA. If you have ideas to improve the condition of the school for your beloved children, don’t be satisfied with mere exchange of criticism outside the fences of the school. Step forward to volunteer your services.

Not to worry about being a newbie. Everyone is still learning. So am I. I was “born and bred” in the corporate world throughout my working life. My way of doing things is, cut the red tapes and tackle the issue at source in the shortest time possible. Look for solutions when faced with problems. Regardless of where you come from, we will always find ways to work together harmoniously. It is made possible because we share common objectives and focus on working towards achieving that common goals.

I shall hope to see more volunteers stepping forward to serve in the PTA. The success of the school is very much depended on the PTA. When school administrators work well with the parents, together we can achieve much more and reach greater heights. After all, the ultimate purpose is to provide a more conducive learning environment for our children.

I am most grateful to be given the chance to work with so many wonderful people, teachers and parents alike, who work so hard to ensure the interests of our stakeholders are protected. It has become a lovely big family to me, so much I had seen and experienced, the ups and downs we went through together. Hats off to those who have served the school in the PTA and the ones continue to do so. Great job, everyone! Keep it up!

Cheers,

Alice N.

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My Journey of Continuous Education – Sem 5

One and a half year has passed and I had just completed my 5th semester – all my 10 core and elective courses done. Wondering if it is age factor or what, that I find it getting tougher. This semester seems to be the toughest of them all. I thought, as I go from sem to sem, it should get lighter and easier!

5th sem was the most demanding of all whereby we were required to do mini theses. Meaning, theses that are shrunk into 10-20 pages. Lit reviews, field interviews for research studies, etc. When a thesis is long, we usually face the challenge of getting sufficient content. Conversely, when a thesis is supposed to be short, the great challenge is to “downsize” it by at least 10 times its usual size but, with all important contents remain. No more group projects this semester. One had to do it from A to Z!

Despite the frequent complaints from the heart and tired mind, I found this semester to be most fruitful. Never had I push myself so hard before. Working, playing the role of a mother to my teenager and tweenager, attending social functions and overseas delegations with dear hubby and burning midnight oils to complete my assignments/project papers. Sleeping at 2am+ was a norm, right till the end of the semester, the final exams. Stressed and drained. Amazing where all those energy came from every morning when I woke up…!

What was most fulfilling was that I learnt a lot from the lecturers. They demand for higher standard of works and that pushed us to meet that requirements. My heartfelt thanks to Dr Rizal and Dr Saiful. I told my children, one of the contributing factors of my “survival” was “when the goings get tough, I get tougher”. Also, I kept telling myself that survival and completion of each semester are not options. Just as passing the exams is not an option.

You can’t imagine how many times I read companies’ annual reports, which I had not done before. I did not need to because in the course of my work, someone else would do the reading and analyzing and then compile the reports neatly for my usage. This time around, I had to be on my hands and knees doing the works, reading, understanding and analysing the companies under study. It is a whole load of works but when I finally print and bind the project papers, my heart swell with pride having in my hands, the fruit of my hard labour. I know that I had given my very best to every piece of my work because I spent many nights and small hours going over and over again to perfect them to my satisfaction for the final prints.

During these last two courses, I am most grateful to my ever-loving and supportive husband, children, parents, my wonderful colleagues and Facebook Friends! Not to forget my wonderful classmates too! They were on the sidelines cheering me on, especially when I was at the edge of giving up. Thank you and love you all.

My last challenge is the following two semesters, the last. This one is the finale…..my dissertation. I have to think of a topic to write about, something related to corporate finance, come up with research proposal and then submit to my potential supervisor. Once he or she agrees to take me under the wings, then shall I apply to the Uni before I could start the ball rolling. That’s when the clock start ticking again. Now, thinking of a topic itself is a heavy task. Inspiration….where are thee…

Merger and Acquisition? Corporate Governance? Fellow Uni-mates have been most helpful, sharing ideas with me. Can’t thank you all enough… Liew, Radzi, Fariza. Finally, thanks to my favourite cousin, Ken Teh and his charming wife, for the invaluable advice shared over lunch.

Now, I have to do my part and do it well. Choosing the right topic is of utmost importance, just as important as a singing talent selecting her songs to perform. The choice could either break you or build you. This shall be the last lap to finish line. I envision myself to be one of the participants in the 2014 UUM Convocation. With blessings from so many supportive people around me and God willing, I shall achieve it.

This is it….results should be out by the first week of January 2014. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I am going to pamper myself and my family for a while.

~ AliceN.


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My Say….?

First and foremost, whatever I pen here is purely my personal view as an individual, as a woman, as a citizen of my country. I also choose to express my expectation for the country which I love. I do not favour any political party or campaigning for anyone. I do however, favour the right actions. I must see it to believe it. Talk is pretty cheap, even free, if you ask me. Only action and results convinced me.

With the D-Day drawing nearer and nearer, the heat of election campaign rises higher and higher. More accusations painted the dailies and reported violence to which I don’t know if I should feel informed or disgusted. I won’t apologise for feeling somewhat indifferent towards all these breaking news. Some even sounded more like “nightmares” and some are like broken records!

Now, my say. As a woman, I want to go anywhere and everywhere, at any time of the day, without fear. Fear of potential risks of being bullied on the road, robbed, kidnapped, etc. I can’t even park my car in the public car parks without feeling apprehensive. At home, we have to lock ourselves in. Crime is so rampant that the presence of security guards can’t really deter robbers and kidnappers from doing harm to us and our families. I wish someone would stand up for us and immediately work on improving the security nationwide? We don’t need sweet talks and promises every 5 year. What we need is continuous works being carried out to make our nation a better place for us to live in. We are not that forgetful that we only remember what is being done in the past year. We do remember, mind you. We do track the report cards.

I also want peace of mind when my children walk on the street, in the park, taking public transport (if need be), jogging or cycling around the housing area, visiting public toilets, etc. If more uniformed personnel were to make their rounds often, I believe crime would gradually decreased. We don’t only need them at the mall but along public roads too to maintain peace and order.

My say is, I hope some people with authority could put their feet down by doing something fruitful for our education system. We need to progress with time. Children are getting smarter. As such, our education system must cater to them and able to challenge them instead of being a bore to them. Children have grown and advanced but our education system, to my personal view, has not progressed. I wonder, if our children could remain competitive enough when they enter universities overseas and eventually, entering the work force?

I wish someone would plan and do something proactive to boost our economy, strengthen our currency, provide more business opportunities to all who clearly qualify, not mere lip service and stop bickering. Don’t they know that we, the citizens are getting sick of all these dramas? It is like watching long-winded, lousy and predictable soap operas. Boring!

Imagine, the time wasted for works to dig up “cans of worms” about one another. What puzzles me is that, why not they use precious time and effort on more productive tasks by performing their rightful duties and keep all those promises spoken so eloquently some 5 years back. Action carries more credit than revealing in great details what bad stuffs the other person had done. My hubby always tells me that numbers never lie and I do agree with him.

When the country is healthy and safe, its citizens will benefit most from the fruits it bears. Wealth to be enjoyed by all. When everyone is busy working and building their businesses, they won’t have time to think of crime or whatsoever, don’t you agree? When the stomach is full, the mind will be productive, the heart will be contented and will want to contribute back to the society. It may not happen to everyone but would do good for most. Goodness and kindness do make the world go round.

No country can claim that it is free from crime or danger. What I humbly ask for is reduced crime and careless risks. If the system were to come down hard on criminals, it would deter crime to a certain level. Be impartial when delivering judgement and carrying out punishment.

Are these too much to ask for from my beloved country? We should take care of the golden generation who had contributed so much to the growth of our country, my generation’s work-in-progress and those great plans for the following generations. We are a rich country, rich is terms of resources and not short of intelligent talents. Why I said so is because our human talents are very much sought after by many countries. Why aren’t we doing something right to retain them and lure those abroad back, via continuous education, employment, mentoring new business start-ups, etc. Just like any organisation, a nation’s most important asset is the human capital. Without the right personnel, we can’t have a more intelligent and productive nation. So what if we are rich in resources when we don’t have the right hands to handle them. We won’t sustain for long.

I’m exhausted from just expressing my inner-most wishes which I hope my country would provide to all of us moving forward. Many people I met expressed similar wishes too. Young, old, male and female citizens. It validates my belief that we all are crystal clear about what we want for and from our beloved nation but are those in the administration know enough to want to take necessary action to build a better future? It is never too late to turn around when we realize that we have diverted from the initial growth path.

Let us all build a better nation for our people and future generations. Let us stop this brain drain and keep brilliant talents all to ourselves. I am very sure, everyone would love to stay. For those who left our home ground, they are not being unpatriotic. As much as they love their birth land, they also have to think of survival and their children’s future. I won’t fault them for doing so. If we don’t know how to appreciate and treasure talents, we should not complain and stamp our feet like spoilt children when our talents slip through our fingers right before our wide, wakeful eyes. For those who stay and return to contribute, we are most grateful. Yes, we are.

Lastly, whatever is the result of GE13 come the fateful day, please do something better for the country. Provide level playing field for those who genuinely deserve it. For those who are truly capable. Who have continuously slaved over the years, blood, sweat and tears, for a breakthrough. We want independence, don’t we? Why are we still very much dependent on being spoon-fed? Do you know that the more you are pampered and protected, the more dependent and less competitive you become? People get to learn the most at adversity. When we are faced with limited resources, we’d put our brains to full capacity works in seeking out opportunities to survive, then succeed. This is our in-born survival mode. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!

I am done with my say and I therefore rest my case…

~ Alice N.


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My journey of Continuous Education – Sem 1

OMG, how time flies! Didn’t realise that I haven’t been writing for more than a month now. My apologies to my readers for my long silence. As much as I wanted to, or rather, tempted to keep coming back to pen a few lines, I have to stay away for a while till I complete my assignments. There are just too much to handle ever since my classes commenced. Juggling with work, children activities, family affairs and with the new addition, my studies. As for writing, I have got so much to share that I’m struggling with what to start off with. Guess I’ll settle for sharing my first semester experience with you.

Some of you might have known that I’ve just started studying again, pursuing my Master of Science (Finance) since May. It is much tougher this time around. One of the reasons is, this is more academic than practical. So, expect loads of reading. This inquisitive mind of mine is quite excited about the potential of learning new stuffs and facing the challenges of digesting all of them at the same time. Faced with so many jargons and financial terms, of which in the past I took for granted. Now, there is not other way to go about it. No more excuses….I must take my husband’s advice and force myself to read the business section, like it or not, to familiarise myself with the financial world. Seriously!

Besides that, another jolt to my senses was the format of assignments. The last time I did my assignments and dissertation in APA Format was way back in 1997! Imagine what the gap of 15 years does to me….I must admit age is a factor here too. I forget easily. I have zero total recall of what APA Format is because I’ve not used it since then, not even when I did my professional courses. During my professional courses, creativity was widely accepted. You’d laugh your hats off to know that I had to google for it and watched it being demonstrated on YouTube! Anyway, I am most grateful to information technology of today, where information is just a tap away.

In those days, one and a half decade ago, I had no knowledge of Google and I was happy to just own a personal computer (a desktop) to complete all my assignments and at the same time communicate with my tutor at Leicester. Imagine the dial-up to internet connection which the younger generation might not have heard of (think of the movie “MIB III – Back In Time”, right before he uses his neuralyzer, the younger Agent K has to first do a dial-up with that weird sound). Researches then, were done at public libraries or via internet at the eLibrary of the Centre of Labour Studies. Today, information is just a tap away.

I had a near-miss blunder yesterday when we were asked to submit our project papers. Little did I know that I must also save all the references/journals/articles which I made reference to while doing the project, to be submitted together with my project papers! Thanks to my classmates who came to my rescue… allowing me to use one’s laptop (iPad has limited usage here – sigh) to retrieve and save some (but not all) of the articles in a thumb drive for submission. To my dear classmates, I’m most grateful for your help and kind words. I’ve learnt from my ignorance.

I am like a kid going back to formal school after a long period of absence. Even though I had gone through my professional qualifications in between, they are somehow different in many ways. It’s like, everything now starts from ground zero. I only carry with me my brain, work experience and the hunger to learn. I must admit that it is tougher than I thought. This is only my first semester. I believe as I move from one semester to another, I would do better each time.

I learn from my mistakes and from my ignorance. I also learn from others. I shouldn’t complain for there are others who have so much more to handle. There are classmates who have to commute from one state to another, on overnight train or bus, and slept on rough beds; and there are those who have to drive or ride from dawn, for miles to arrive on time for their classes and return on the same day. That must be most tiring even before the classes begin. They have their works and families to juggle at the same time too. I believe, so much more to sacrifice than what I have on my plate. Compared to them, I feel so small.

Having said that, for those of us who have started the journey to continuous higher education, for personal and/or career growth, let’s not be crippled by challenges along the way or beaten by any failure. Let us move on and on till we get to where we want to be, no matter how long it takes us. Of course, the sooner the better. Cheers to all.

~ Alice N.

Aces Matters?!

Today, Malaysian students who sat for the UPSR examination obtained their results. As usual, you can easily spot various expression, of joy, surprise, disappointment and sadness. Some returned to immediately share their joy or frustration in the Facebook. I feel for all of you..

Academically, we can’t deny that Aces still matter. A lot! School authorities use it to measure the overall performance of their students. Schools also see the results before admitting any new students into their compound. Grades matter, like it or not…..is it because this is the only method used, to measure the level of intelligence of a student?

I do recognise the limitation faced by schools in measuring a student’s actual capability. However, I am of the opinion that Aces does not directly measure a person’s level of intelligence. I’d like to believe that Aces indicate the depth of understanding of a student for the subjects concerned. I have met some students with Aces who could not communicate or express him/herself properly, but have straight A’s in their exams. I have also encountered some average students who speak better, active in extra-curricular and display their creative side.

If one does not score all the Aces, it does not mean that he/she is any less smarter. Please do not despair if you have not obtained full A’s. Look at your results again and do a post-mortem. Ask how you managed to get Aces for certain subjects and why it did not happen to the others? Was it because you have difficulty in understanding the subject? Do you need extra help? Discuss with your parents to plan ahead. What about your studying method? Think, if you were to apply the same method of studying, for subjects which you scored A’s to the non-A’s subject(s), do you think it would work out?

Do not for a minute think that you are a failure or you are less smarter than those who obtained straight A’s. How you judge yourself will mirror how you think others feel about you. If you think you are less intelligent, you would think that is how people judge you. So, why not try to change the scene to that of a positive one? Not only does it give you a boost in the confidence department, it would make people feel the confidence in you. You will then attract good energy to you. Try it and you’ll know what I mean 🙂

For those who had done well, Bravo! Hard work paid off. You have the right to your happiness. While you are celebrating, it would be nice to be mindful of your friends who did not do well and are feeling down. For those of you who acted in kind but received resentment instead, from your friends, give them space and time to recover from their disappointment. It’s not easy for them too.

Moving along now….you’ll be entering the teenage world soon. There’ll be more challenges ahead. Enjoy the long holiday and have as much fun as possible. Come new year, you’ll be very busy adjusting to the new environment and new emotions that come with it. Remember to continue communicating with your parents and other family members as you go through the emotional journey. As you make new friends, keep in touch with the old ones.

I shall leave you with my best wishes for your future undertakings. Remember, no matter how big or small an achievement is, it is still AN ACHIEVEMENT! Allow yourself to feel proud. After all, you have completed 6 years of formal foundation education! Aces matters but you matter most to your parents. Always remember that 🙂

~ Alice N.


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Centre of Excellence

Let’s talk about Education and School. In our country, Education is part of basic needs. We need to be educated to gain access to a more quality life. Education is easily obtained here, which many take for granted. For some countries, education is a luxury item, which is beyond most people’s reach. They already have hard time putting food on the table and roof over their heads, that education is seen to be accessible only to wealthy people.

In the world today, being literate and knowledgeable is like having the golden key to many doors of opportunities. The more you learn, the more open your mind is to the world around you. It allows you to see opportunities more clearly to seize them. 

I believe that everyone was born smart and never easily give up at all. When we were babies, since when we gave up after each fall? Never. We would be quick to pull ourselves up to try to walk again and again, right? We would find ways to grab our parents’ attention and to get what we ask for (very persuasive; world-class sales person indeed!). 

Growing up, parents sent us to school (I call it the Centre of Excellence), so that we could obtain formal education. It is where we seek more knowledge, learn new languages and advanced counting methods, understanding how things work around us, discover new skills and making new friends at the same time. If we are focused and study well, we’ll graduate from school to the next level of education. This will eventually present more opportunities for us to a brighter future.

You are putting your fate in your hand if you understand clearly how important education is to deciding the landscape of your future. If you let education slip through your fingers, you are heading for a tough life before you. You see, there is not two-way about this – if you work hard today, you’ll enjoy the fruit of your labour tomorrow. Meaning, if you have good education, coupled with your smart brain, you’ll find doors opening for you, regardless it is a career or business opportunity. Conversely, if you choose to enjoy now (not willing to study), you’ll end up suffering in the future.

So, you make your choice and make it today. Either you choose to work with your brain (work in a nice, decent office) or your muscles (hard labour). You see, the seed you sow today will give you the corresponding fruit tomorrow. If you sow an apple seed, you would not get an orange fruit, right? In other words, if you reject education now, you’ll have lesser options in life than those who embrace education.

Education is like “teaching you to fish“. When you master the art of fishing, you’ll never be starved wherever you go. However, if you are so used to being fed with fish and, when one day, the supply comes to an end, you’ll feel so helpless. Simply because you don’t know what to do. You have never fished all your life! Are you going to beg for fish forever?

So, my dearest children, please make the right choice. Time waits for no one. Every second passed is either a gain or loss to you. Grab the golden opportunity to learn as much as possible. Feed your brain with right stuffs and mix with positive friends who are interested in studying. Do not waste time on worthless thoughts or actions.

Treat everyone well because you don’t know who would cross your path in the future. Who knows, the ones you treated badly today is going to be the one who might influence your future one day. I always believe in the Law of Universe. “What goes around, comes around”. If we think we are strong, there is always a power out there which is stronger than us. Always be a God-fearing individual and you’ll grow up fine.

My prayer for all children in the world is that, they be happy, well and safe always.

~ Alice

Dear Teacher

Today I want to write about all-time favourite i.e. children-teacher issue. I’m writing based on my personal experience. I want to share my experience as it works for me over the years and I hope that it would work out for you too.

Throughout my first-born’s primary school years, I met with all his class (form) teachers. Talking about mom doing PR work in school; please don’t misunderstand my action for trying to get my son to be the star of the class. None of that at all. You see, my prince here, is a very “friendly” boy, quoting his teachers (LOL!). Simply means, he loves to talk! It is challenging for a teacher to handle a class of 50 students, and what if all talking at the same time? I can only imagine.

Each year I make it a point to introduce myself to his class/form teacher and to pre-emp her on my son’s friendly behaviour. Not to ask her to consent to such behaviour but to make her understand so that she can use the right application when she has to deal with his “friendliness”. You see, since he was able to talk, I’ve been encouraging him to speak his mind and that it’s okay to express himself. I guess that makes him a confident little boy. But, most of the time, he got carried away with his “speech” and forgot that there are times to speak up and there are also times to not-talk and just listen. I’m so grateful that all his teachers were understanding and knew how to motivate him to move in the right direction. Some of them have become my friends after my son had moved on to the next level and eventually graduated from his primary school. I’m so grateful for his teachers. Bravo!

Many parents are quick to complain about their children’s teachers. When I hear that, I would always encouraged them to go to speak with the class/form teacher personally, if they have not done so already; to try to understand the issue  and to seek understanding from the teacher. We can’t expect a teacher to understand the character of each student in his/her class. We as parents also find it hard to solve that big piece of puzzle and we are still learning to.

I’m sure all teachers want to give their best to the students. Being a teacher is a labour of love, requires a person to act selflessly and patiently, imparting knowledge to build our future leaders. I choose to trust the teachers to carry out their responsibilities. Unless there is any valid reason for me to doubt that, then I shall want to find out more, before taking necessary action.

At an early sign of any issue (problem) at school, parent(s) should immediately meet with the teacher to discuss the matter amicably. Not to act with threat or legal letters the instant our children complained. I would prefer to take a more pro-active role than being reactive. We must first investigate, listen to both sides and then, find a solution or compromise.

I have great respect for teachers. Of course, I have my share of experience with inexperienced temp teachers who did not know how to handle their students in the class. I spoke with them to find out what’s the matter and we exchanged information. At the end of all discussions, we always part on friendly basis. If my son is on the right side, I would stand by him and make the teacher understand the situation, from his point of view. On the other hand, if the teacher is right, I’ll support the teacher and make my son understand the teacher’s action. I strongly believe in teacher-parents partnership to make our children’s learning experience in school, to be as smooth as it possibly can.

By meeting with the teachers, to discuss our children’s school matters, it shows that we are open for discussion and that parents-teachers can make great teams for the benefit of our children. All teachers whom I came into contact with, over the years, told me that they greatly appreciate when parents came to talk with them personally instead of shouting at them in front of the students or slapped them with legal letters, without first understanding the situation. Teachers are human too, subject to making mistakes. When they found out any misjudgment on their part, they would be quick to apologise for it. Why can’t we do the same too?

We must not pamper and spoil our children. If they happened to forget their homework, show disrespect to teachers/rules and regulations of the school/disrupting lessons in progress, we need to sit down with them and have a nice, slow talk to find out why. We need to know the root cause to their misbehaviour. Assured them that we won’t be mad when they tell us the truth. Sometimes, the root of the problem stem from us, not them or the teachers. Surprise! Surprise! We must keep the communication line open to let them know that whatever happened to them, matters to us. We can start by asking about their day at school and if we like, share about our day too.

So, parents who have not meet their children’s teachers ever, please make it a point to get to know them before the end of this term, okay? You can find out a lot from just a short conversation with the teacher. Teachers meet with all sorts of challenges everyday. And, they need motivation too, you know? One way is from us parents, to validate their actions, when they have done something right. It is okay to pay compliments to the teacher and let him/her know that he/she had done a great job, in making your child a better student. Many teachers are great. There may be some who don’t fit the bill – but don’t let some bad apples spoil the good ones.

To me, it all balls down to communication. We need to always listen to both sides of story before we jump to conclusions. Bear in mind that our children is constantly watching our actions, including the ones on how we handle sensitive issues. If we jumped and blow our tops each time they come home crying or complaining, be careful – they might take advantage of that. Just be mindful when handling sensitive issues like this.

I shall leave you to your thoughts….you have the right to think differently. Like I said, this sharing is purely from my own experience.

~ Alice

Math & Science in English

My BB was bombarded with texts yesterday, from friends about the poll in The Star Online (http://polls.thestar.com.my/).  Seems that many parents are concerned about Math & Science (M&S) being taught in Bahasa Malaysia (Malay language) again.

I tried to get in to cast my vote but it failed to direct me to the right poll! It kept getting me to the F1 and Sarawak polls! Has someone decided to put a stop to people casting their votes? I hope not, as I still insist on casting my vote, hopefully to make some kind of change. If anyone knows the right link, please provide the correct address. Would appreciate that very much. When we, the citizen feel that a decision made is not right, we must make our stand. We shall not compromise our children’s future by being a bystander or fence-sitter and hoping that some else would do the work. Every head counts, yes?

I feel that it is bad enough to confuse them thus far. First, the subjects were taught in Bahasa Malaysia (BM), then, it was changed to English (I applaud the former PM’s foresight on this) moving forward. Now, they (people of authority) want to make a U-Turn by changing back to BM!

Besides confusing the children, so much have to be spent on translation works, man hours, books printing, etc. Why not use that fund to do something more productive? Teachers’ training, recruiting retired teachers, if need be. As a mother, I am most disappointed with the system. The decision makers can’t seem to make up their mind and they keep changing in the expense of the children’s future.

When we are faced with challenges, we do not back down. If English is an issue, we should step up our education system to ensure that our children learn and master it. English is widely spoken and it connects people from all over. In our lovely country, English is being used in writing and speech everyday. 

I personally feel that English language shouldn’t be the underlying problem here. Bear in mind that children learn and master a new skill (languages included) very quickly. They absorb like sponge! The whole world is changing by the second. Do we want to be still while the world is moving rapidly around us? If we allow that, we would be left far behind to the place of no return. We must march forward bravely and change with time.

I hope the persons who are influencing the decision makers, and the decision makers themselves, would see beyond them to think of our future leaders, the children, before acting on it.

Now, do you still feel that Math & Science should make a U-Turn? Please vote below to be heard….

Straight A’s?!

Just barely a week ago, the whole nation (Malaysia) was excited (or not) about the SPM results. On that particular morning, as I was trapped in a bumper to bumper traffic, on my way to the office, I listened to JJ and Ean (my fave DJs at Hitz.FM) on the radio. One particular lady in her 50s spoke with them. I agreed with her on every word she spoke of.

Let’s see if I could still recall one particular point she said about results (not in exact words) : Whether the children did well or not well enough, one door may be closed but another would open. Do not give up, just keep on moving forward.  She is so Right! Being a top student is great; being an average is great too.  As long as you have worked hard for it, it’s the best that you could deliver, that is already a great achievement! 

Me, I was always an average student (for all subjects except for Accounting and Math/Add Math – my fave) in school, till I became a professional adult student – I became one of the top students in the class! How I could do so well? Simply because I finally found what I was (still am) passionate about and my brain went to work full swing, tirelessly. I got it finally! What I learnt from my own experience was that if one studies what one is passionate about, it’s like a hobby. It becomes easier to learn and understand, and excel in it. Same goes to a job. If you like what you are doing, you don’t find your job that tough after all. You’ll surprise yourself with all those amazing ideas you came up with, to complete a certain project or task. Believe me….been there, done that.

So, whatever results your children/niece/nephew, etc have, find out what his/her strengths are, what his/her passion is, and that would be the clue to which course he/she should go for. Be not afraid of choosing the wrong course. There’s not right or wrong. It’s only wrong when we try to get them to live our dreams, against their will. Yes, I’m a parent, and I would like to give the best to my children….but sometimes, we must not protect them too much.

My Dad as I was growing up, allowed me to make my own decisions, right from choosing my primary school, Science Stream (I hate Science and I hate History too) or change to Art Stream (cos I love Accounting) to selecting my courses in college, etc. Thanks, Dad! I asked him, what if I made the wrong decision? He simply said that whatever decisions I made, he would give me his full support. I am so grateful for he had given me the opportunity to learn how make decisions at a young age (since 6 years old) and not afraid to make any decisions (right or wrong) at all. He allowed me to grow at my own pace, and I survived well.

Signing off and hope you have a great evening 😉