Day 6: Tan Wei Wen

Friday, one last day before the weekend!!! I think I’ve never looked forward to a weekend so much before. Today is the fifth day of teaching and it’s definitely one of the hardest days that I’ve been through here in SK Tumunda.

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Turning up to class this morning expecting all 3 of my kids to finally memorise the sifir (times table in malay- a new word that I’ve learnt and used more than ever at my time here), not all but the ones that I’ve asked them to. Of course, you must take into consideration that these kids barely even have time to sleep for 8 hours every night just like us volunteers do, which pulls you back from raging at your kids when they don’t meet your expectations. Today was the first day I raised my voice at them, hoping they would realise how behind they are for UPSR that is less than two months away from now and they can barely memorise what 9×9 is- and telling me that 4×0 is 3..

Thank god after morning class today, was senamrobik. I think the kids and the volunteers are all too excited to finally do something else rather than sit down and study. Personally, I think we had more fun than the children did cause in the end we had to dance around them to get them moving- it felt like a long overdue workout after eating so much food here.

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Afternoon class was frustrating for almost all the volunteers teaching 6 Bijak- leading to a raging session of Timestable Snap (it’s like slapjack but in timestable form) and slapping the table so hard until it felt like the table was going to collapse. We also had a short but needed anti-bullying talk (led by our very fierce Abang Amir starting off with the tagline- abang sangat kecewa) with the kids especially after noticing subtle signs of name calling, boycotting here and there. One of my girls lost both her front teeth and she has ‘gigi palsu’ and some girls from the other class called her outside just to show one of our volunteers her fake teeth which in my eyes seemed like bullying, but after I spoke to her it just felt like a social norm to her like it’s been happening so often that she doesn’t mind showing it to other people anymore. I guess there’s nothing much we can do to help them through this learning process of protecting yourself and not to be scared to not fit in, but only to tell them that you should treat others like how you want to be treated.

Usual riadah time followed which we get to forget about studying for a little while (not for the kids to forget about their timestable tho- we sometimes try to incorporate it into games like once u miss the ball you have to memorise the timestable for 4) until we get back to studying after dinner. Night time is English classes for my kids, and when they can’t even form sentences with the most fundamental grammar like pronouns and articles, I try to focus more on conversational English like asking how you’re doing, what’s the day today and things that at least in my perspective would be useful to them in the future.

Night time hits, with everyone waiting in line for the shower, a reflection session cut short seeing how tired everyone was with a briefing for the Inspiration activity (A real life board game of life!!), we called it a day.


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