“I can’t imagine myself not going into classrooms for a day.”
Hilmi Faiz bin Mustafa Kamal was a fresh graduate when he joined the Fellowship in 2013. He graduated from the University of Southampton in the UK with a Bachelor of Science (Biology). After completing 2 years of the Fellowship, he decided to stay in school to continue teaching. Read on to find out why.
How did your family, especially your parents, react to your decision to join the Fellowship back in 2013 and has their perception changed since then?
My parents were really surprised that I had decided to join the Fellowship. They had never expected that I would choose teaching as my career pathway. However, I was extremely grateful that my parents remained very supportive of my decision and they love listening to my classroom stories from time to time, especially whenever I am back home visiting them.
What is your proudest cikgu moment in the classroom this year and why?
There were two classes that I had taught last year which, have been withdrawn from my teaching timetable this year. Without my knowledge, my students actually worked together and sent representatives to meet with the principal to make an appeal for me to continue teaching their classes. Unfortunately, my students’ voices were not heard, but I managed to console them by promising them that they can join my extra classes during weekends. I have always thought that I am a stern teacher in the classroom, but I have never realised that my students really appreciated my effort.
What encouraged you to continue teaching beyond the Fellowship?
Honestly, I can’t imagine myself not going into classrooms for a day. Although being a teacher is not always about spending your whole working hours in the classroom, I have to say that I really enjoy going into classrooms because it takes my mind off the other administrative tasks not associated with teaching. Also, I feel needed and appreciated for my efforts in school, which gives me the desired self-satisfaction.
How has your Fellowship journey helped you, career wise?
I believe that continuous coaching provided by Teach For Malaysia is essential to my exponential professional growth during the Fellowship. If not for the constant advice and feedbacks from my Leadership Development Officer (LDO), I would not have been able to cope with the various challenges pertaining to pedagogy and student academic growth. Also, my Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) supervisor, Dr. Zailani, has particularly assisted me with my second year project, ‘Project Outreach’.
Dr. Zailani had kindly suggested the idea of incorporating student leadership development through a mini project where students are given the task to clean and restore facilities at a village in Balik Pulau, Penang. The all-rounded support that I’ve received from the school administration, my LDO, and my PGDE supervisor has made me realised how lucky I am to be able to utilise the resources that I have for the benefits of my students.
Now that you are in your 3rd year of teaching, what are your thoughts on the challenges of education inequity?
I remain convinced that the root cause of education inequity stems from the lack of access among students, either to quality teaching, resources or facilities. The challenge intensifies when multiple administrative tasks are introduced, causing teachers to feel overburdened and not have enough time and energy to fully focus on actual teaching. For example, the time and energy could be better spent improving strategies for the classroom. I believe that I need to remain in the system and continue to drive transformational change within the classroom.