SK TERINGAI TEMUNO DARAT (2017)
Day 1 - Shun Qi
I touched down at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) at 12pm along with 2 others. We took an Uber straight to the hotel. Upon arrival, we chunked our luggage at the lobby and started searching for food.
After enjoying our last fast-food meal for at least 2 weeks - KFC, we gathered at the committees' room for our final group briefing. Last wise words from Vinrea, Li Ann and Yi Fen in an attempt to prepare us before we split up and head off to our respective schools early next morning. I took a good look at the foreign faces around me. Soon, 14 of us will be left to fend for ourselves for 2 weeks in SK Temuno Teringai, putting our new found friendship to a test, especially without the internet and access to outside communication. Little did I know, these people would turn into friends that I counted on not just for that 2 weeks but for probably for good.
We SK Teringai peeps hijacked room 881 right after to discuss and update each other on the preparations of our respective activity. We quickly listed down the materials needed and took the opportunity to get them at the city while we can. We also got our daily necessities and loads of tit bits to power us through our first week of teaching.
Later on, we split up to have dinner before meeting up in room 881 again. This time, we had to decide on an inspirational short clip to download. The plan was to show the kids for our motivational talk. Then, we shared our teaching resources which included UPSR past years, children storybooks and worksheets. We went through word by word in Bahasa Melayu and started to freak out for real when we figured out how under prepared we were to teach mathematics in Bahasa Melayu.
Yi Fen came in in the midst of our chaos. She, thankfully managed to douse out the panic by sharing her experience of teaching the kids last year with us. So, we ended up chatting away and the tensed atmosphere eased up greatly.
As the clock struck 10pm, we all left to our rooms yawning. I lazed in bed enjoying the not so amazing internet speed but just grateful that it is present. Took a hot shower, enjoying the warmth; before falling asleep finally on the soft mattress. It may be some time before I get to enjoy these luxuries again.
Our group has put much effort into the preparations and planning for the activities to be held. Nevertheless, we will be ready to make necessary changes if needed. I hope that our effort pays off and that everything would progress as smooth as possible during the 2 weeks.
Can’t wait to see what is in store for us tomorrow. Goodnight!
Day 2 - Nicholas Yong
It was our last day in town before our teams headed out to Sekolah Kebangsaaan Temuno Teringai Darat and Sekolah Kebangsaan Tumunda Salimandut respectively, having stayed at a hotel in Kota Kinabalu the night before to get supplies. So, we kind of rushed our breakfast after waking up around 7.00 a.m. as we had to get our stuff ready for loading into the trucks. We managed to squeeze in some time as well to take pictures with the Tumunda team and exchanged wishes of encouragement before heading our separate ways.
Among my teammates, I ‘got’ the short straw and accompanied the luggage while the rest traveled together by van to Kampung Teringai. However, I enjoyed the ride, even having a good conversation with the driver, who was a member of the Kota Kinabalu Rotary Club. During that time, I shared my reasons for joining the project and my past as a slow student and he was pretty surprised by them. However, he encouraged me to continue on and give it my all at the school. That in turn gave me a sense of affirmation and renewed strength in my purpose.
On the way however, we accidentally overshot the turning into Jalan Teringai, so we had to backtrack all the way from Sikuati and try finding it. With some help, we found the route, though we were an hour behind schedule when we reached the school. After unloading the luggage, a quick lunch on my part (the rest of the group ate while waiting for me) and saying goodbye to the driver, my team and I then started on painting the wall by the stage as part of our ‘keceriaan’ project. In the middle of it, we experienced our first rainpour for the project and were stuck at the stage for the most part. We had to wait for quite a while before the rain died down.
After the rain stopped, we checked the house and found that we had no electricity, at least for the time being. We then settled the sleeping arrangements, having the girls sleep at the main area of the house and the guys taking a side room, before unpacking our stuff. After that, some of us went to check the river, only to find it too dirty to bathe in, so we resorted to using the teachers’ toilets instead.
We then had dinner at the teacher’s canteen. The makcik managing it was very friendly and curious about us. The food there reminded me of all the good meals I had during my previous trips to Sabah facilitating youth camps. During the meal, the girls screamed whenever an insect appeared too close for their liking. Little did I realise I would have to endure such screams and stampedes for the remaining days of our stay there ☺.
After dinner, we went back to the house and sorted out our stuff until one of the teachers came to help reconnect our electrical supply. I can remember the relief we all felt when that was done. After all, even if there was no phone line, we still needed electricity to charge our handphones for other purposes, such as an alarm clock, right?
Finally, we discussed our plans for the week and went off to sleep, eager to start off the next day and prepare for the late nights to come. As I tried to sleep, I thought to myself of the day’s events, hoping to do my best and pass on my experience to the kids while learning in the process as well. Having experienced difficulty before in my studies as a kid, I hoped to give back once again to society in that regard, just as how some of my teachers have once helped me out.
Day 3 - Lena Fricker
The 11th of July presented us with our first proper day of teaching at Sekolah Kebangsaan Temuno Teringai Darat. The day kicked off with an opening ceremony with a speech from the headmaster and team leaders Lena and Qi, followed by a delicious Hari Raya buffet. All the volunteers wore traditional clothing to celebrate the occasion. After we ate, we were introduced to the groups of children we would be teaching over the next two weeks. It was exciting to finally meet the kids. Most of us were assigned to two or three kids each.
Our first afternoon session consisted of the volunteers assessing our kids’ levels of English and Math. We also filled out the student survey form to see what they were expecting from our time with them and how they were feeling about their UPSR exams. The form was useful to compare their initial feedback to their feedback on the last day. On the first day, my students generally seemed quite nervous for their exams and said that they did not understand some of the explanations given their teachers in school. However, the kids said that they were excited for the two-week programme and hoped to improve their grades over the course of our time together.
After the first afternoon session we continued the painting of the mural that we had begun on the first day. The background was a light pink colour, which would complement the black tree and kids’ colourful handprints to follow. During the afternoon we also played sports with the kids. They enjoyed playing netball and football during their free time.
7.30pm to 9.30pm marked our first evening classes with the children. After assessing their English and Math levels during the day, it was time to start teaching lessons. I gave them some UPSR questions followed by some educational math games like ‘Fraction Action Snap’ and UNO. This was a good way to unwind at the end of two hours of studying and the kids seemed to really enjoy the competitive nature of the games.
At the end of the evening activities, the volunteers from the two classes came together for supper and a reflection on the days teaching. The volunteers in 6A reported that some kids had a strong basic level of Math and English while others in the class seemed to be struggling with the most basic activities. There seemed to be a range of abilities within the top class itself. We also moved around some students so that each group would be most suited to match the levels of the other students in that teaching group too. The volunteers in 6A also suggested we do more energisers to keep the children interested at the start of the class. 6B reported that the level was very slow, but that it was expected.
Only some of the students from 6B could speak English and their math levels were quite poor. However, the kids seemed to really like the singing and more fun elements of the class, while 6A was more serious exam questions.
Overall, the first day of teaching was a good way in which we could assess and get to know our students better in order to prepare for the upcoming two weeks.
Rise and shine, finally! Third day here in SK Temuno Teringai Darat and it has been raining heavily most of the time since the first day we got here. The rain causes drowsy days, soaked people in class and difficult commutes, not cool at all…
Through personal reflections and group discussion done the night before, group A volunteers decided to stick to their small group intensive teaching method whilst group B volunteers (including me) decided to alter the teaching approach to cater the students who have weaker foundations. All classes will be re-structured to be a mixture of general teaching session for the entire class followed by small group intensive teaching and then interactive class activities.
We kicked start the day by introducing to the kids how the clock works, it was shocking to find out that most of them have no idea how to read a clock, and write the time in 12-hour or 24-hour formats. The moment when they actually understand what was taught, even though it is something really simple, the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable!
General Teaching Session (Intro to Clock) by Meriell
Day 4 - Tyson Chin
With the twins!
Some of the cute students from 6B!
After the recess period, we had to take over the year 5’s English lesson as the respective teacher was on leave. We were also informed by one of our project leaders that there are three students from the class have requested to join the standard 6’s extra classes. This made us found out that besides the year 6s, the rest of the pupils will not have any classes after lunch. It now makes sense why some of the year 6s do not have good fundamentals, this is mainly because the school is focusing only on the UPSR candidates each year. In my opinion, this is not a very efficient system to implement, especially in a primary school where the students are still quite young, the teachers should not expect that the year 1-5 students will take initiatives to revise after their half day classes. Not everyone will be proactive like the three year 5 students that actually tried to learn more during their free time, this will then cause an imbalance distribution of students in terms of knowledge when they come to year 6, which might be too late for the teachers to do anything about it.
After lunch break, we headed back to the year 6 and carried on with English lesson. English is always the least favourite subject for majority of the students because it is another language for them to pick up, hence, we usually try our best to blend in games, songs or dances to make the lessons more interesting.
Year 5 Kids Demonstrating the ‘Body Parts Dance’
‘Musical Ball’ during English lesson
During the night extra class session, we carried out the survey form with our respective kids. The same form has to be filled up twice, once at the beginning and another at the end of the project to observe the progression of the students and the impact of the project itself.
All in all, it is one hectic but meaningful day, all volunteers including me had agreed that being a responsible teacher is not as easy as it seems. It is only the second day of proper teaching and we already realized the difficulty of it, teaching the kids some of the most basic maths or introducing simple vocabulary and grammar were surprisingly time consuming due to our limited teaching experiences compared to well-trained teachers. On the bright side, the kids are all enthusiastic and eager to learn, this actually motivates us to always think of different ways to teach in order to ease their understanding so that they can absorb as much as possible while we are here. They are also full of energy ALL THE TIME (not even exaggerating), sparing some to us when we feel exhausted after long days of teaching and managing miscellaneous tasks for the project!
Day 5 - Meriell Leeza
The day began with a dose of nostalgia as students for most of us. I’ve definitely missed these moments, those that made up my Monday mornings in high school; singing the national anthem as the Jalur Gemilang rose up to the top of the flagpole, standing at attention, and school teachers addressing students with the weekly announcements. The school principal, Mr. George Elang then introduced each of us to the whole school.
The Penolong Kanan HEM spoke to the students about poor attendance records. Iremembered my girls mentioning that some students have to work during school hours doing laundry or collecting garbage, just to save up some money for their family. It was quite upsetting to hear that the students weren’t treasuring education, but then again, it’s an unavoidable scenario in a kampong life. Which brings to an important point of Project Teringai-Tumunda, where one of the objectives is to inspire the students and make them understand the need for education, for them to get better jobs in the future.
Senamrobics with the students from Primary 4-6 began shortly after. The senamrobics was part of Satu Murid Satu Sukan (1M1S) scheme. We then played a few rounds of bola beracun with the kids. It was so hard trying to play the game with the kids, where you’reavoiding the ball, at the same time trying not to topple over the kids as well. But, overall it was a good and productive morning.
The extra class in the afternoon was cut short as one of my student (Lovely’s) family came to surprise her. The other students were overjoyed by the sight of not one, but two birthday cakes. We sang happy birthday in all three languages; English, Bahasa Melayu and even Bahasa Rungus. The other volunteers and I then decided to give the students a break from studying and conducted some games instead. You’d be surprised to see how competitive twelve-year-olds can be in a game of musical chair! We ate, sang, and played around like a normal birthday party. But what made it different from other parties was the flavour of their culture that I will never forget.
There’s a first time for everything right? It was the first time most of us showered in the river. It was a totally new experience, something I salute the kids for being able to do every day! (Although I do wonder, what is in the water – jokes). We then proceeded with the always-so-delicious dinner at the school canteen.
We had extra classes for the Primary 6 students after dinner. To be honest, I was upset that the kids had such a packed timetable. But, they proved me wrong. My girls were so eager to learn and it touches my heart to see them coming into class and asking “Kak, boleh kita belajar maths hari ini?” They’ve treated these extra classes as blessings, for them to gain knowledge and wisdom. For night lessons, we try to incorporate an educational theme into games, as we realized the kids we’re all sleepy 10 minutes after the class started. We played lego with a catch whereby if they want extra lego bricks, they would have to answer mathematical questions.
Despite the bugs, mosquitoes and zero phone lines, we’ve bonded more as none of us were looking down at our smartphones (and the bugs did bring us closer!). It was a nice change to go internet free for two weeks, with everyone laughing at each other over some silly joke. I came with the aim to teach and inspire the kids, but surprisingly, I was the one who left being inspired by them and learnt so much from them in unimaginable ways. Thank you for all the fond memories, Charismen and SK Temuno Teringai Darat
Day 6 - Katrina Tan
Can't believe it's already our 5th day here in the school, and in a little less than a week, we'll be bidding this place goodbye
Today was slightly less tiring than the previous days, as it's a Friday. School ends at 11:20am on Fridays so we had a very-needed short break before the afternoon extra classes commence.Our first class of the day was a Standard 4 class! Ahh the Standard 4 kids are so adorable. Today's class was slightly longer than the previous Standard 4 class that we had to take over - which was only half an hour long, so this time, we actually had to come up with an actual plan on what to teach. We started our class off with songs! Not surprising of course, children love singing. We taught them the 'Banana' song and they loved it! Most of the kids were singing along, except a few who were either distracted or didn't know how to pronounce the words as well as their friends, and they felt ashamed to sing it out. I found this out by asking a few of the kids why they were so shy to sing, when the rest of their classmates were having so much fun. Our theme for this class was 'Care for the Sea'.
Firstly, we went through a few words from their textbook to test them on their vocabulary, and then proceeded to split into groups to carry out a speaking exercise. Two of the kids I had were extremely shy, they wouldn't speak a word at first! But they slowly warmed up to me, which showed me the art of patience when it comes to connecting with younger kids. However, it was sad to see that even at 10 years old, they could not read and understand basic English, and it was something that I slowly learnt to accept over the past few days. The kids were so happy to receive their files today! Especially this adorable boy who was so excited to receive a pink file!
After recess, we had our usual Standard 6 class. I've recently switched kids with Dot because our initial kids were at strikingly different levels, so it was much easier to teach after the switch. It has only been the fifth day with Zizie, and second day with Wani, but they've already opened up to me so much more than the start. Zizie is extremely smart, independent, but can never shut her mouth; Wani is much quieter, but also very bright and motivated. Zizie happens to be 3rd in class, and technically in the whole year, so I don't have a problem teaching her at all because she gets everything I teach almost immediately.
After class, we played netball (more like netball with no rules) with the kids as usual, but I ended up with a swollen, sore, bruised foot by the end of it - unlike the game itself, the bruise was not fun. The extent of competitiveness among the kids is crazy, at least one kid will end up crying after each game, whatever the reason may be. My group is called 'Kumpulan Kudis', which is apparently the scabby wounds of animals when they get fungal infections? The kids come up with the weirdest names...
We showered in the river again today! And as usual, it was raining again. I've come to accept the fact that this is probably the cleanest we can ever get here in Teringai, because I found out that there were ticks swimming in the water from the teacher's toilet. Thinking about it makes my skin itch haha.
At night, we had our usual bonding session after reflection, but I feel like today, we've come to the climax of our relationship as a team because we've finally bonded over stories of our love lives. As usual we did what kepo girls do - interrogate each other, while the guys sit in embarrassment. Just like every other night in our wooden house, we found another huge insect in our room. Shouting "Tyson!!!! There's an insect!!!" has become a norm, and we've all grown used to seeing Qiao Hui scream and run from one side of the room to another. The funniest part is Nick being trampled over by us again, but apparently he says that our ‘elephant stampede’ has gone from a Grade F to a Grade C. Still an improvement!
It's only my first week here but I've grown so attached to the kids, I guess seeing their faces so often does that to you. Most importantly, being here has shown me not only how privileged I am, but also the needs of the people living in places like these. Sometimes I look at the kids, wishing we could do so much more, because there's only so much we can do to help them. But I believe that as long as we plant the seed in their hearts, there's always a chance that it'll grow into something more.
Elycia - my initial kid, with Zizie
Crayon - he has the cutest name
Day 7: Nur Rashidah
“The weekend has arrived. Finally, a longer sleep & more relaxing day!” I said to my lazy-self. Well, of course, that didn’t happen. The team had even gone extra today. Guesswho woke up at 6 am to start a hike at 6.30 am sharp just for a sunrise at a nearby hilltop?
Yupe, that’s us :)
The sunrise view from a nearby hilltop
Initially, the hiking was smooth. Walked along a tar road, then entered a pathway where scatter of houses were visibly seen on both sides. The fresh air, the village smell, the humidity of the morning dews with very great loving companies; how often could we find such good combination in the city?
The journey had really put our stamina at test but of course, the hardship were paid off in the end. To be able to see how scenic the sunrise view was and to get to enjoy it with strangers who turned to be crackheads just like you are were just so precious.
The day continued (& kept on going) from there until the night. The whole idea for our activities today was to have fun while at the same time making them educational for the kids. Besides the Hygiene & Health talk in the morning, we also carried out some sort of like Career Fair for the kids in the evening, just to expose the vast opportunities of career
available out there. Before, some of them told us that they chose teachers as an ambition because they were forced to since they don’t really know what else can they do. It was so sad to hear such thing coming out from kids that age. Hence, I am glad we did this activity.In the night, we organised a more fun activity where the kids would surely enjoy it; dance practice for closing ceremony. Oh Lord, every kid who attended the session was being extremely hyped up that we had to separate the girls and the boys in different classes. They were so into the practice that to our surprise, they could catch up with the steps pretty fast.
At the end of the day, all Charismen were so tired since we barely had an ample time to rest after the hike but then, THE DAY WAS LIT! That satisfaction feeling to see how happy and active the kids today made everything worth it. Surely, our feelings grow fonder for the kids and we ended the day with a self-called bonding session among the Charismen.
Will be missing this kind of memory so much once we go home next week :(