While most Malaysians have been busy crooning the litany of woes over the newly-implemented GST since Wednesday (of all the days, they chose 1st of April, cheesecake's sake!), I realize that I have been serving this learning centre for the past two years now. I began my job as an English language tutor here in Miri on April's Fool Day in 2013.
The biggest and the best joke to date, well sort of!
In just two years I have taught many young minds who were and are in dire need of help when it comes to mastering the global lingua franca.
To be honest, I am not a professionally trained tutor/educator. I did bachelor's degree in TESL halfway before I switched to performing arts and I graduated with Diploma in Theatre from UiTM. I spent almost 4 semesters for degree in theatre later on. Nevertheless, I had a harsh brush with one of the academicians in my campus and fell sick at the same time. That prompted my decision to return to my hometown on 15th December in 2012. Without the bachelor's degree, of course.
I recall how my parents, especially my mother, pressing me to find a job here. I was jobless for three months. One March evening a couple years ago, I went out with a former classmate. She told me that a tuition centre was searching for a part-time tutor. Since English language is my forte, she asked me to try my luck. Few days later I gained the courage to call up the centre, followed by an interview and VOILA! I got the job (I began as a part-timer) the very next month.
First few months I struggled as majority of the children speak only Mandarin. I was assigned to handle Transition levels and primary school levels as well. Nevertheless, I have never had problems in trying to adapt to languages.Since then, as I try to fix their English language skills, they generously try to teach me basic Mandarin. Oh dear! I should have tried harder at mastering Mandarin back in campus years ago.
But the journey wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. I did have one big kid (a bully) in my Transition class. A real pain in the arse, I must say. Weeks by weeks, I attempted to stay calm while having to be bothered by his nerve-wrecking antics during class. Until one day, he really pushed my limit button and I broke my "cool teacher" record. I screamed at him. The result? He refused to join the class and the mother even told my boss that her son wouldn't return if I am still teaching that class. Yes, I know, classic case of TEXTBOOK sample of SPOILT BRAT. But that didn't halt me from getting a cool offer to be a permanent/full-time staff at the centre months after the incident.
2014 was quite a year for me. I got the shock of my life when one of my students fell into epileptic seizure one afternoon. I went blank when the boy collapsed and there's so much blood and saliva on the floor. How can I ever forget that incident? My student had a close brush with Death and I was so helpless.
My 31st birthday was another unforgettable experience too. One of the classes that I taught last year found out about my birth date and they set me up. Cool birthday prank, to be honest.
Now that I have entered the second year of my service as a tutor here, I am looking forward to several more years of teaching experience. And oh! I almost forgot this. I began to teach arts since last August and this year I have gained 4 students. I take it as a blessing in disguise as gazillions years ago, I did think my artistic talent was sort of a hand-down jinx. But hey! The old rules DO NOT APPLY anymore. New games of survival are flowing in. I hope to utilize my skills and knowledge as long as I live.