Day 9: Esther Chua

I could never imagine how happy I was when my students/kids managed to answer one of the model questions on their own.

I still remember vividly the fear on my students’ face when I asked them to attempt some model questions. It was a mathematics lesson after recess, when my three lovely kids returned from a short break. They were excited to continue the session even though they had just finished a two-hours English lesson, the subject that they found most challenging. After two days of inspirational activities (see other volunteers’ account), I felt the need to test them the materials I taught in the past week. Despite of their curiosity towards Mathematics, they were afraid of trying the questions. They tried to puzzle out, but to no avail. Then, I realised that they had the difficulty in understanding questions (often with long sentences). To my surprise, they were convinced that the questions were too difficult.

‘Try to read the questions carefully. Don’t be afraid. You have learnt how to solve it. It is the time for you to practice,’ I said.

I taught them a step-by-step technique. The first question was about rounding numbers. So, I asked them to read the questions and understand what the question asks for before starting to work out the solutions. I could sense their lack of confidence, but they were willing to try after I assured them that they were capable of answering the question. Slowly, they became interested and asked to do more questions. The joy shone from their faces when I revealed the answer. They did it. The moment was priceless.

After I came back from lunch, a few students in the class were writing appreciation letters for us. I recalled that I stopped them from writing in the morning when I was delivering a tutorial. The kids approached me with a drawing of me and heartwarming letters. My heart melt when I read this: I get a bit smarter and I understand whatever you teach only.


It was from a sweet girl named Juhaila. She picked up very fast, but she was very reluctant to try. What I aimed to do was to instill the correct attitude towards learning. I think, it was by far the most important lesson I had taught; dare to try.

In the night class, I added games in the lesson as the students were tired and distracted. Since they enjoy playing lego, I used it to grab their attention. In order to get more pieces, they had to answer Mathematics or English questions. With this method, they revised the materials, which I had taught in the morning and afternoon, and had fun at the same time. What I learnt was that the traditional way of sitting and listening to a teacher for learning does not work all the time. I had to be flexible to change my way of teaching to engage my students and heighten their learning efficiency.

It is my eighth day in SK Temuno Teringai Darat. I have so much to share to my lovely students, and also to learn from them.


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