that very early in d morning of 6th March 2008, i dressed up in my light blue traditional costume and walked out from d house to catch 2 buses to get to d Ironside State School in St. Lucia. We managed to get to the school on time and had been briefed by the Principal about the school management, system and we had a small tour around the school. The Principal was so kind as she offered us a hand of help if we need it. We were then been introduced to the teachers of the school and i started my first observation as d teacher aid. My school teacher Rudd is a very helpful and kind middle-aged woman who i could see as having a very good motherly touch. she was willing to answer all my concerns and had given me opportunities to work closely with the students. on my very first day in the school i had already build up quite a good relationship with most of the students that i can still recall their names and faces.
what strike me most about the school apart from its facilities is the relationship between the school and parents. according to my class teacher Rudd, parents are encouraged to come during the school session esp for the Prep students as it will increase students' participation and lessen the teachers' workload. in my class (Prep 2C), there is a box written "Volunteer Parents Task" which the parents will usually go to and look at what they can help the teacher with. Not only that, in d school's tuck shop i could also see some parents were helping the workers to prepare foods for the students and teachers. i'd been noticed by the Principal that parents can just come to d school to help in almost everything. and i could also see that the Principal herself knows almost every parent of the school students as she greeted them all by their names during the small tour. this is something which is unsual if we are about to compare it to Malaysia.
the Prep school session starts from 8.45am until 2.30pm. during the 6hours session, a lot of interesting activities had been arranged by the class teacher. n most of the acitivities are about playing as Prep students learn indirectly throughout their socialization with friends, parents and teachers. i really enjoyed the "sand and water play" activity whereby students are free to play with sand and water. i worked together with the students to build up a sand castle and there was some funny things happened at this time: i took some sand and shaped it up into a cookie and i told some students "look, i have a cookie here. would u like some?". and they started to amuse with what i had and worked together with me to make more cookies and we decorated it to be like chip cookies by adding up some leaves and branches. i also switched to play with those who were playing with water and we built up a small fountain which the students were amazed to see water flowing out from d below of a container. then we moved to d next activity which was "perceptual motor". here is where we played like what we always see in television game show. we had 5 stations of different games. i had been assigned by the teacher at one of the stations and had to assisted the students as they already knew of what should they do. i really enjoyed this session but i found it quite difficult to run in baju kurung. maybe next time i have to change my attire to a more comfortable shirt to allow me to move freely.
during the morning tea my class teacher brought me to have tea with the other Prep teachers. they were all lovely but i was shy which resulted me to sit still and just heard to what they were discussing (which were mainly about the pedagogy).
during d lunch hour i told my class teacher that i wanted to spend time with the kids. so i watched them having their lunch, helped them out when needed and there were two incidents which made me laughed.
1. Isobella came to me and clung over my legs and hugged me. she told me that she has 3 bf. she said that she gonna make it 4 because she likes to hve more bf with her. i asked her how did she get a bf? she told me tht she asked them to be her bf. and d sentence being structured was "do you have a girlfriend? oh u dont? do u want to me my boyfriend?". hahahahhahahah. and i laughed imagined Isobella asked the boys that way. haihhhh. i wonder what will she be in d future. but then still, to me she's just an innocent girl who likes attention. that's all.
2. Jenny (a cute chinese girl) came to me during the lunch time and told me that she has a friend and she wanted to meet her friend. then she took my hand and dragged me to other class where the students are still eating in front of the class. then she pointed to a plump boy who was eating while talking to his friends. then i asked Jenny. "is it a boy d friend that u want to meet?". Jenny said yes and the boy looked at us and Jenny went in front of him and waved her hands. I told the boy that Jenny wanted to see him and the boy answered "i want to see her too". hahahhaha. how cute they were. then Jenny dragged me out from there and on our way back to the class i asked Jenny. do you like him? Jenny said yes. "do you want him to b ur bf?". Jenny said yes. hahahhahaha. kecik2 dh pndai. (^=^)
then after the lunch hour we had rest time where students were given 30mins to sleep. they took out their blanket n pillow and slept while listening to d bed time story being played through the radio by the teacher. the students were then woke up and continued their last activity which was guessing game. they were first been introduced to few pictures of animals and discussed about the animals attributes. then few students been called out one by one to the front and the rest of the class would have to guess what was the animal that their friend was thinking of.
i stayed at the school until the school ended and all the students were already back home. i closed up my visit by having a small chat again with the teacher and reckoned my gratitude to her for let me worked together throughout the day.
from my first visit this time, i am very interested regarding the parental involvement in the school. i've been thinking. if we're about to do it the same way in Malaysia, will it be possible? to what i can think of, if we want to as well involve parents in everyday school session, i think that there're a lot of things need to be taken into consideration.
first of all, the class size. as we know malaysian class size is too big of about 30-40 students per class in almost every public school. students are not having enough space to move. therefore, how can we cater for the presentation of parents if they are together in the class?
secondly. malaysian is famous of its educational system which is examination oriented. teachers are all stressed out to finish the syllabus so that students have enough input to answer exam's questions. if parents are together during the lesson, teachers will find it a burden to please the parents and at the same time chasing out their breathe to finish the topics.
there're still more to mention but i think that i better stop it here or else it will be an assignment. however what i can say tht to every problem there must b a solution to it. in this case, if we're afraid that d class might get to be too compressed when there're so many people in it, maybe we can make a schedule so that parents can take turn to come to the school. so it wont be too crowded. and maybe we cannot do exactly d same as how Australia is doing by involving parents during the class hour. maybe we can only involve the parents in other activities like during the Sport's Day or Family Day.