WHEN I was sitting for Form Six, my aunt told me that I should become a teacher, a government English teacher specifically, because I would get a lot of holidays, a good salary, a good marriage proposal, and would have enough time to care for my children.
I was dumbfounded. Yes, I chose to do TESL (teaching English as a second language) in a public university.
Thank God I was chosen, and the reasons I wanted to be an English teacher had nothing to do with my aunt’s advice.
The responsibility of an English teacher in this country is heavy, especially in the modern world. If we take a tour into the scenario 30 years back, we find people then spoke better English than we do now.
What exactly does it take to become an English teacher? We sit for the Malaysian Educators Selection Inventory test, but that test is also taken by all the students who opt for an education degree. We go for an interview, but what exactly are the criteria that the selectors look for?
Sometimes, even a person who can’t speak a proper sentence is chosen to become an English teacher.
If so, is choosing an English teacher simply about filling up the quota for the course in the specific varsity?
And the sad part is, when they are already a teacher, and if they had chosen the profession for all the wrong reasons, they won’t care about their students.
Won’t this affect not just the students but also the country in the long run?
I had the opportunity to attend the TESL 1stop Seminar in the university where I am studying currently, and we had a distinguished panel for the forum discussion. They included the chairperson of PAGE Malaysia, the dean of Taylor’s College school of educational studies, and the former director of English language teaching centre in the Education Ministry.
The title of the forum was Road Maps to Success for English Language Teachers’ Education in Malaysia.
Well, in order to be a successful English teacher, one has to first choose to be a teacher for the right reasons.
The second is the criterion for choosing to become an English teacher has to be correct.
When a student does not do well in English, fingers start to point and blame is thrown about, but has anyone ever pondered why this is happening?
One of the reasons may be because the teacher does not even know what she or he is doing, because teaching English is not what they wanted to do in the first place.
So instead of blaming others, let’s look deeper into the problem, and let’s strive towards choosing the best with wanting the best for our future generations.
KHAYMALATHA BALAKRISHNAN, Serdang, Selangor.
Source: The STAR Home News Opinion Wednesday, November 14, 2011