By SIMRIT KAUR
To teach is to serve, is the motto of one dedicated educator who has been in the profession for 20 years.
ALTHOUGH teaching was not Lim Guat Bee’s (pic) first choice, she has never regretted the path her life took when she opted to go to a Teachers’ Training College (TTC) after her STPM rather than university.
Lim was in Form Six when she decided to apply for a place in a TTC. As luck would have it, she got accepted as a teacher trainee in Maktab Perguruan Ipoh in Perak.
“Although my dream was to be a psychologist, I took up teaching instead. As a teacher now I am able to counsel my students,’’ she says.
Lim, who is an English teacher at SMK Puteri Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur, was able to get her degree later, thanks to a Public Service Department (JPA) scholarship.
She went to the University of Birmingham in the UK through a twinning programme with Maktab Perguruan Ilmu Khas and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Language Teaching in 1998.
Lim is also an ICT and ICTL (Information and Communication Technology Literacy) co-ordinator as well as a teacher advisor to the Computer Club.
She won the anugerah perkhidmatan cemerlang (excellent service award) twice, and is also the school representative for the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP).
Lim is concerned about the education system which she describes as too exam-oriented. “Lots of programmes are carried out in schools for good and average students. Weaker students are given remedial classes but no recognition is given to acknowledge their progress and achievement,” says Lim who feels that vocational schools should be brought back to cater to these students. She also laments the fact that due to the paper chase, there isn’t enough room for students’ self-development and character building.
My job involves ...
... teaching English and Information and Communication Technology Literacy. As a teacher, I have to plan my lessons including activities.
This is to ensure the pupils acquire the skills and knowledge required as well as get good grades and better marks.
As a teacher I have to create a conducive learning environment, build good rapport as well as counsel my students.
I also manage the school’s computer lab and make sure that everything is in working condition. As a national and state trainer for ICT and ICTL, I give in-house training from time to time.
My morning starts off with...
... clocking in at the school office. I also check to see if there are any meetings, and whether I need to relieve any teacher.
I then go to the staffroom to check my mail, and then to the school’s open hall to take attendance as I am a class teacher, after which I enter class to teach.
Marking is done during my free periods. When I have time, I enjoy going to the school canteen to get a cuppa and relax.
To qualify, you need ...
... either an STPM or a bachelor’s degree. Those with a bachelor of education are exempted from getting an additional professional qualification - either a diploma in education or the KPLI (Postgraduate Teaching Course).
The best person for the job ...
... must have a passion for teaching, is versatile and people oriented. A teacher must be patient, a good listener, team player, motivator, tolerant and innovative.
She must be willing to sacrifice her time, try out new teaching methods and cope with changes.
Prospects for the future ...
... the public has a negative view of teaching because of the perception that it offers low salaries, is unglamorous and boring.
In reality, there are many opportunities for promotion (into various scales from DG29 to DG54, or even JUSA C.)
Promotions should be based on performance, not length of service. Time-based promotions should be shortened from 10 years to seven or eight years.
There should be better benefits in terms of security and safety.
I love my job because ...
... teaching is a noble profession and challenging. There is joy in seeing a child learning and progressing, and achieving his goals in life.
Being a teacher inspires me to learn more. It makes me feel young as I am mixing with teenagers.
It is interesting as I get a chance to visit other schools and go to different places when I am involved in national and international events.
What I dislike most ...
... is to do stock-taking, inventory, data entry. Non-teaching staff should be hired to do this. A teacher’s job is to teach. Because of the workload, teaching is not just confined to official school hours.
Besides teaching, we sometimes have to train students in various sports, even though we may not have the skills, or take students out for competitions.
Will I be a millionaire by 30?
... no but the satisfaction lies in having made an impact on someone’s life and that someone may be a millionaire by 30 and successful in his own right. That feeling is priceless.
The Star Online: 4 Januari 2009