In life, a teacher plays a huge role in shaping one’s outlook on the world. It is a known fact that the majority of our teachers will go out of their way to provide us with the best lessons, but perhaps many of us never realised how challenging it could be for them.
A teacher in Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang in Pahang has taken up the challenge of teaching English to Orang Asli children and proved that great things can be achieved when you combine strong passion and dedication.
Cikgu Samuel Isaiah has successfully changed the mindset of the Orang Asli children from not having any interest in learning the subject to achieving good results for the subject. When asked by WORLD OF BUZZ on why he is willing to go to great lengths for his students, he said,
“I realized I needed to transform more than just my classroom practice. The physical infrastructure, an environment that promotes the use of English Language, self-made modules and books that catered to their specific needs, assessed them for learning and not the exams, and lastly projects that enabled them to love and embrace meaningful learning.Why? They’re my children, and I’m just a father figure who’s willing to go great lengths for them.”
His story was shared by another teacher, Cikgu Fadli Salleh, on Facebook so that everyone can be inspired by Cikgu Samuel’s unique approaches.
When Cikgu Samuel first started teaching at the school, he was told that he does not have to put in too much effort because the students are Orang Asli children and most of them are not interested in learning.
Shocked by the statement, Cikgu Samuel challenged himself to change the perception of everyone towards these kids. He soon realised that it was a difficult task especially to get them to use English regularly. Plus, the attendance to class was very poor.
So what did Cikgu Samuel do?
Firstly, he created a fun classroom environment using musical instruments as part of the English lesson so that his students will indirectly learn the language while doing so. On top of that, Cikgu Samuel also managed to collect some funds to make sure all his students got an instrument of their own.
He dreamt of giving his kids the facilities that are on par with the urban and international schools. Through funds collected via Give.my, Cikgu Samuel managed to create a modern classroom in 2015, where each of the students got a tablet and a PC. Their classrooms were also equipped with a PA system and LCD projector.
This move garnered quite an amount of attention and respect from people. So much so that popular local artist, Altimet even promoted it to show his support.
Another initiative Cikgu Samuel did was set up the international e-mail exchange project called ‘Asli E-Pal’. The project gave an opportunity to all his students to communicate via e-mail with volunteers from all over the world – using English of course. Now that’s cool!
He was aware that some of the Orang Asli children are still slacking behind although so many things were being done to attract them to come to school. Hence, he introduced Sekolah Pokok where he goes to the kampung and conduct their lessons under a tree! It’s worth noting that he sacrificed his weekends to do so. From 10 students, the class size increased rapidly to 50 students.
His class now is full of laughter, music, poetry, and technology; a conducive environment to motivate the Orang Asli children to fall in love with learning. He has managed to break the stereotype and prove that with the right approach, learning can be fun for everyone.
Cikgu Samuel has a motto that he holds dearly to his heart:
“I believe we need good pedagogy to teach, I believe in the pedagogy of the heart.”
The motto drives Cikgu Samuel, telling him that anything possible if it comes from the heart.
With all the efforts done by Cikgu Samuel, the percentage Orang Asli students passing their English paper has increased tremendously with some obtaining A’s in their UPSR.
Ini kisah Adiwira Cikgu Samuel Isaiah. Satu kisah yang aku rasa semua rakyat Malaysia perlu tahu.Cikgu Sam ini…
Thank you Cikgu Samuel Isaiah for the work and effort that you put in so that these kids could have the best education which will one day change the outlook of their future. You are indeed a superhero.