FORMER Education Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim will always remain a teacher at heart.
Whenever she meets young teachers, be it in the government service or in her current position as the education adviser and consultant with Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Noor Rezan always has this piece of advice for them — enter the profession with an open mind, teach with a passion and never teach just for the examinations.
“Teachers must remember that education is not about preparing students for exams. Their most important task is to educate the children and make sure they become independent learners,” she said.
Noor Rezan retired in 2011after 35 years in government service - first as a teacher in English and Geography, then as senior assistant and principal in several states before being appointed the ministry’s schools’ division deputy director in 2003 and subsequently as deputy director-general (Education Operations) in 2008.
When clocking out for the last time at the ministry, she said she would choose teaching again given a choice.
Prior to her retirement, she visited SK Ba Kelalan, one of two schools located in the interior of Sarawak which was named joint winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards.
Noor Rezan said the method used by the school teachers to teach Science should be an example to others.
“Instead of copying the drawings from the textbook, the pupils in the school sat on a mat and plotted the star constellations. They will certainly remember the lesson very well because they were involved in the learning experience,” she said.
She stressed that teachers must not be obsessed with their rush to finish the subject syllabus in their lessons.
“A teacher’s role is to nurture students to be responsible, balanced individuals in society. The developed nations have realised the importance of achieving this goal and we must do the same,” she said.
In 1998, she set a record of sorts as she was principal of SMK Wangsa Maju, SMK (P) Air Panas and SMK (P) Puteri Titiwangsa in the Klang Valley. Later in the same year, she became a super principal in SMK Seri Bintang Utara. Although she served short stints in SMK (P) Air Panas and SMK (P) Puteri Titiwangsa, her expertise and experience in the teaching profession helped to turn around the performance of the schools.
Recently, Noor Rezan was honoured with the 2012 Federal Territory Tokoh Guru award together with former Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka director-general Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz, Jamalliah Rahmat, Lee Kam Wah and Thanaletchumy Ayanadian.
Retired headmaster Lee shared a similar view with Noor Rezan on the role of teachers.
“Teachers should instil good moral values in students. Even though we are now living in the ICT age, the core values of having respect for elders and obeying the rules should remain the same as the high number of criminal cases involving students is quite worrying,” said Lee.
Meanwhile, Termuzi urged teachers to embrace the evolving changes in information technology so as to keep up with their students.
“It was common for teachers in the past to use manila cards but the scenario is different now with LCD projectors being used. Students can be smarter than their teachers these days as they have more information at their fingertips. When teachers are preparing lesson plans, they should look for extra information on the Internet,” said Termuzi.