Saturday, January 5, 2013


My real 1st posting in my teaching career was to Sabah, East Malaysia.
Six (6) weeks before finishing my teaching practical in STAR, Klang, a friend from UPM told me that I was to be posted to Sabah - the official letter was at the Faculty of Education in UPM. Twelve (12) undergraduates were supposed to report for duty on June 1st, 1980. On hearing that, I went back to UPM to take the letter and made arrangements for me not to be posted to Sabah. My father was very ill then, and I wasn't ready to start work (teaching) in Sabah.
I went to the Education Ministry in Kuala Lumpur - Wisma Mirama at that time - to see the education officer in charge of 'posting of new teachers'. The officer in charge then was Mr. Baharom Othman - who later was posted to Perlis as the Education Director in January 1981. He was a very strict officer, but have a kind heart. He accepted my reasons for not being posted to Sabah - and he rearranged my posting to Perlis in June, 1980.

I was posted to SMK Syed Alwi, Kayang, Perlis on 1st June, 1980. There was a commotion with the dates at that time. I finished my practicals at STAR, Klang, on the 30th of May, 1980 (a Friday) and I had to report at the Education Department in Kangar, Perlis, on the 31st of May, 1980 (a Saturday) at 9.00am. I took the express bus to Perlis at 9.00pm (Puduraya, Kuala Lumpur) and reached Kangar, Perlis, at 9.30am the following day (Saturday). I went straight to the Education Department to report for duty.
The officer in charge at the Education Department in Perlis then was Mr. Salim, a very strict man without any "heart". He scolded me in front of everybody for reporting late. I told him the whole situation but he refused to accept my reasons. Bad start for my teaching career....
It didn't end there. The next day, 1st June 1980 (Sunday) - I reported for duty at SMK Syed Alwi, Kayang. Sunday was a school day in 1980. I came early at 7.15am. I went straight to the school office but everybody was busy getting ready for the school assembly at 7.30am. So, I went straight to the school assembly. After the assembly, I went to see the School Principal, Mr. Wan Fadzil - and guess what? He scolded me for coming to school late!
I told him I was sitting right behind him during the assembly. I told him what he said in his speech during the assembly. He was "caught" there...he, he..

I was assigned to teach 'Bahasa Melayu' (Malay Language) and the 'English Language' in the afternoon session. I was shocked. I graduated in Biology (major) and Biochemistry (minor) and I had to teach Bahasa Melayu and English Language for Form 1 and Form 2. How cruel....
When I requested to teach Biology or Science, he said "We do not request for you to come here". Those were his exact words.
Well.. I had to do what he gave me.. No choice.
I went back to the hotel (I stayed in a hotel for 2 days before getting a place to stay) because I was to teach in the afternoon session, beginning at 1.30pm.
Coming back to school at 1.30pm, I began my teaching career teaching Bahasa Melayu and English for a week. Luckily, one of the teachers, Mrs. Aishah (a teacher majoring in English Language) who happened to teach Science, made a mutual exchange with me. She sympathized with me and she made the exchange with me... So - I got to teach Science after all....

Life in SMK Syed Alwi was fun those days.. All the teachers and staffs were like brothers and sisters - except the Principal, of course... I had fun. I taught Science like what I was coached to do in UPM - student centered. I asked my students to do all the science practicals by themselves in the labs. By doing so, I had used 10 cans of gas (bunsen burners) in a month. And..... I was summoned to see the Principal for doing so. The Principal scolded me for using so much gas in a month. He asked me to do 'demonstrations' in front of the class instead of the students doing the experiments by themselves - just to save money (school fund).

Another black chapter in my life also happened while I was teaching in SMK Syed Alwi.
I was offered a place to further my studies in USM (University Sains Malaysia) in Penang in July 1980.
Actually, I went to register at USM on one Friday (weekend in Perlis was Friday and Saturday in 1980), paid the registration fees (RM200) and got back to Perlis on Sunday to inform the Principal of SMK Syed Alwi of my intentions of continuing my studies in USM.
Guess what?
The principal did NOT release me. He said I was a government servant now (then), and I cannot simply leave the service. I had to pay RM25,000 to bail out. I don't have that sort of money...
So... sadly, I had to forget about furthering my studies....

I didn't stay long in SMK Syed Alwi.
1st September, 1980 (after only 3 months in SMK Syed Alwi) - I was transferred 24 hours to another school. There's where the REAL teaching life began....... in the next chapter.

Photos of my days in SMK Syed Alwi:
The letter of my posting to Perlis
The 'Offer' to further my studies in USM in July 1980

SMK Syed Alwi staff room - June 1980.
 fellow teachers in SMK Syed Alwi - June 1980.
Form 1 students SMK Syed Alwi, 1980
 Class party - Form 2 SMK Syed Alwi 1980
 with teachers of SMK Syed Alwi 1980
 trip tp Pantai Merdeka with students of SMK Syed Alwi 1980
 Driving the school bus to Pantai Merdeka - 1980
 my students at Pantai Merdeka - 1980
 driving a fishing boat to Pulau Brasmana, off Kuala Perlis - 1980
 on a fishing boat - 1980
Sports day - SMK Syed Alwi - 1980 
 Sports day SMK Syed Alwi - July 1980.

I was transferred to SMK Syed Hassan, in Kangar, on 1st September, 1980.
The glory days of SMK Syed Hassan in Chapter 4 - next post...
Have a nice day...   

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