Thursday, July 30, 2009

So you want to be a teacher...seriously?

I have interviewed so many candidates for teaching at Sri Ayesha in the past 10 years. (Of course in my line of professional work as Managing Partner in an Asset Management Firm, I have interviewed not only Malaysians, but also foreigners with loads of ideas and assumptions and business models and bottom line etc etc. Anyway, that's different subject all together)

Initially, when I was faced by potential candidates during interview, I forgot that they're different kind of 'breed' - so to speak. I always assume that having experienced learning in higher-learning institutions (Universities & Colleges), one will be equipped with what may come next...right? Well, not exactly. These candidates are nice people, no doubt. But they're very unprepared and quite naive...making me similarly naive to assume the opposite (I just laugh to myself, sometime).

I have no intention to underrate or downgrade them as a person but I know for sure, there must be wrong, somewhere. I can almost assume that teaching is not a position seek by many of high achievers out there. There are some who truly passionate about teaching and willing to go extra miles, but it's an exceptional case.

So, my job is to create different kind of breed all together! We need to stop this damage and redirect our attention into doing something more meaningful to our kids today. So they will end up becoming better teacher for tomorrow.

I always (and still trying to) inspire teachers to become more than what they are status-quo. It seems that our way of educating human being into becoming 'great people' has failed. We have taken for granted many things about learning. The famous equation: learning = smart = A. What smart about learning when teachers are coaching how to answer questions based on certain scheme so that students can get A in exam but F in life! You can be book smart and street smart at the same time. I'll tell you how (read my future posting, insyaAllah)

Coming back to my interview with potential teachers. I know for sure that some candidates just come for interview to field in his or her vacancy in life (not in school). These candidates can't communicate clearly either in English nor BM. I can understand that they were told to show confidence and seriousness so that the interviewer will sense certain commitment from them.

So I go to the next round. Now I start to apply my usual 'looking for the red flags' line of questioning. (We use this very often in conducting due-diligence with potential companies we plan to invest in - in my line of work, that is.) There're so many red flags! Unfortunately, in finding good teachers is not about the elimination process, rather the inclusion process. Is there something good about you that will make you deserve to be with 'my children' at Sri Ayesha?

Can I trust you to be the true guiding light to these children? Can you do this? Can you do that? Are you out of your mind, we can't do that here! Are you lazy?

Deny, deny and more deny...
"Yes I can.
"I'm a fast learner...
"I want to help my people.
"I can work with anyone!

When I ask our office to call them back the following day, many gave very interesting answer.
"I have to go back and stay with my Mom.
"I got another job at different place.
"I've changed my mind, sorry... :-)

I know they are not mentally ready. That's one aspect I plan to change through Sri Ayesha ie changing the mental perseverance. So if you're thinking seriously to become a better be ready.

*Alhamdulillah, we have good teachers at Sri Ayesha today. Parents should work closely with them for the betterment of our children.

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