Wednesday, June 26, 2019

In The Name of Allah The Most Gracious Most Loving

"Teacher, I forgot to do my homework, I was too tired last night"

"Teacher, why English is so hard?"

"Teacher, I got my result already *sad face and ready to cry*"

Cambridge English for Life (CEFL) is widely known as a centre which provides various English courses ranging as early as 4 years old to professional levels. It is a place where your English language will be tested, taught and implemented in the real world. 

I never knew that I will be apart of this amazing place none other than, as a teacher. I started to know about this centre way back in 2013 when a good friend of my mother suggested me this place. I was doing my Degree in Applied Language (English for Professional Communication) and wanted to earn extra income for my daily expenses as a Replacement Teacher (paid hourly). Yes, I started as a Replacement Teacher waiting for a call in case a teacher is needed to replace another teacher who could not teach on that particular day.

I juggled between my classes and Cambridge classes for a year. I took a test and passed an interview. The test is compulsory for anyone who wants to teach there. The test will determine which level you are eligible to teach. Believe me, the test is such a hard nut to crack!

I was in hiatus for 3 years due to my marriage and pregnancy. 

In 2017, after I graduated from my Degree in Applied Language (English for Professional Communication), I decided to get back on track in Cambridge as a Permanent Teacher (for 2 years - 2017 to 2019). Main reason being that I want the experience there which I believe I will never get it elsewhere. Everyday was a new lesson for me. I learned many things there, differently and creatively. Why did I say so? Simply because I dealt with kids. I needed to always be creative and think on how should I make my class interesting, understandable and the most important is that they MUST enjoy learning English. 

I gained a lot there and there will be a long list for that. 

1) I had such an amazing boss! She s such a kind boss to me. She s the one who knew about my potential and polished them up for me to be who I am today in terms of in teaching field. She s the kind that will throw rocks at you but will lift you up higher. She s a knowledge giver and you can ask her whatever that you want to know at any hour. She s that committed to her work. I was so blessed to have worked with her and to learn from various aspects of teaching, managing and presenting.

2) Fun colleagues! The teachers there were a bunch of people that you would want to work with and would not mind to work together for a long time! They're willing to help you in no time and never keep any teaching tips to their own only. I shall remember this for the rest of my life. 

3) Time Management - I learned that teaching isnt just about reading a book together, follow all the syllabus prepared, the never-ending lesson plans. No no! It s more on how you manage your time wisely because you must prepare a lesson plan for one whole month, to prepare the selected materials, to look for extra worksheets, to analyze each and every students with different level of understanding (being empathy), to ensure that all lessons are within the time frame for example, 2 hours. It' s a lot of hard work and sacrifices that need to be done. If you procrastinate, disaster would knock on the door.

4) Presentation skills - This is such a nerve-wrecking part you know? To be able to stand for 2 hours and deliver the lessons and to make sure that everyone learn something is not easy. Not to forget the "never-ending" questions from the students! I learned how to reach the students with the right tone, right facial expressions, body language, use example suits the students.

5) Emotional Control - Whatever happens at home, stays at home. Whatever happens at work, stays at work. This was the one that I took quite a longer time because I had to segregate the two. If not, I would not be able to control myself better. Of course you do not want to bring negative vibes to other people and if that happens, the objective is not going to be achieved at the end of the day.

6) Writing Skills / Reading - Being a teacher doesn't mean that you don't need to revise anything from whatever that you have learned at universities. Being a teacher means more than that. You need to read MORE, write MORE. Why? Because you have to always come up with various examples, to be able to express more to the students. Hence, the need to do the reading and writing EVERY DAY, even just a short sentence. Apart from that, you must revise the grammar basic and refresh them to the class every time. We humans tend to forget right? 

7) Social skills / Persuade - I was so nervous when it comes to the Parents-Teacher meeting. Because I know how high they hoped for the children to master the language and to ensure that we the teachers meet the requirements they wanted and of course, worth their money spent there. Persuade here means more for the parents to take part in ensuring that their children's ability to master the language goes smooth. If only the children and the teacher worked hard and not the parents supporting along the way, trust me, it will be a rough path for the child. It takes a village to raise a child. Remember this :)

8) Communication Skill in English - I noticed how English I became, 2 years while I was there. No other language than English is allowed there. I do speak English with my son and my husband (sometimes) but a compulsory at the centre meaning you are stepping up another level higher than you were. I was so happy on this matter. I believe a skill requires endless of practices. It may be rough but there'll be rainbow shining in front of you at the end of the journey.

9) Achievements / Proud Moments - I would cry and be the happiest person on earth if my students showed good results, mastered the topic, showed improvements even though they took a longer route than others. Money can't buy that. The letters that they gave me during my last day of teaching were something that I'll cry over and over again if I were to read them.

My time there, roughly 3 years minus my hiatus, I will forever cherished them in my heart. Never I want to do a lot of English exercises at home if it's not because of Cambridge English for Life (CEFL), as I do want to be better and I do want to make sure that I do not let it fade away. 

Why only for 3 years there? I decided to go for more, in Professional Communication, in writing or any field related to that. For now, I do freelance copywriting, keep on reading eye-opener books, writing a lot in my journal book even just a sentence, updating my blog writing on various topics be it in English or Malay and scrolling jobs that can pay me in dollars! Hihi!

So to the question:

Teaching for Cambridge English for Life (CEFL) - Was it good?

Yes, it was!



Thursday, April 04, 2019
In The Name of Allah The Most Gracious Most Loving

3rd December 2018

I travelled with my son for the first time that day. We traveled and had our first solo trip just the two of us from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan. It was a 4 hours journey to reach my hometown. It was raining along the way. 

I was so afraid actually to travel with my son alone. Afraid that I would not be able to handle him. Little did I know, I have Allah to take care of me and ensure our safety. I submit all to HIM. I kept on having kind thoughts to Allah along the way and pray a lot to HIM.

I used to travel on my own a lot as I really enjoy driving. Name me cars, I have driven all (I mean my parents' cars). I truly enjoyed our trip together. I had a blast had fun with my son. We chatted along the way and he was MashaaAllah being such a good boy and listened to me all the way. He sat and never showed any signs of tantrums of getting out of his carseat. 

I'll cherish this memories forever in my heart. I was so happy that I got to spend my 5 days here with my parents. We truly enjoyed our stay there as I really--miss my parents, my hometown.

Here are some of the tips that I can share while travelling with a toddler:

My son, Purnama was around 3 years old at this time. Fortunately, he has been free from diapers since August 2018, about 4 months before this trip. He only wears it during night time but still, he left it dry. I put it on just in case of any incidents.

1. Fill your car tank full! 
- Estimate how many pit stops you will need to stop to fill your gas. To avoid stopping too much and it will be a hassle to bring your kid and all important belongings  to the counter just to pay for the gas because you can't just simply leave your kid in the car! No no parents.

2. Prepare food and water in the car beforehand.
- My son, Purnama, he drinks a lot of water in a day. I brought 1 big mineral water and few drinks like strawberry milk or any kinds of drinks you would like to drink in the car to keep yourself awake and to keep your kid entertained. Sometimes they don't really want to drink but due to boredom, they will keep on asking this and that. Buy some snacks so that you can enjoy them together to avoid feeling sleepy!

3. Bring a sweater along for your kid!
- Being in the car for hours, with raining that does not stop at times, it is important to prepare a sweater and put it on before you even start the journey. This is because, if your kids are still on potty-training, you may need to put on a diaper in case you didn't manage to reach on time. But if you are OK, then proceed. Remember to always ask you child if he/she wants to pee or poo. 

4. Did Fateh ask to pee?
- Yes. I asked him once in a while like every 1 hour or so just to make sure I can make it on time to reach the RnR and assist him to pee or poo. I only stopped for 2 times if I'm not mistaken during the trip. One because Fateh slept along the way, and second, I can notice if he shows signs of wanting to pee.

5. Choose bright and fun songs.
- Kids being kids, they will want something entertaining that you can join in together. If your child is happy, you are happy and InshaaAllah you will have a smooth sailing journey.

6. Did I give gadget to Fateh along the journey?
- No. I did not give him any gadgets. First, I trained him so. Second, when he was awake, we talked a lot about what we saw, we talked on so many random things. Do not underestimate your child's curiosity and they actually have so many things to ask. Keep on telling him where you are going, what will you do during your stay at the place, tell him who will he meet. At this time also you can remind him on the do's and don'ts. Keep the conversation going as I was getting sleepy too during that trip so having someone to talk to really helped a lot!

7. Get some fresh air!
- When you stop at the rest area, turned off the engine and bring your child for a walk around the area. You have to know that a child can be really restless if he/she is seated for hours without doing anything. By taking him/her our for a good 20 mins will be really good for you and your toddler to stretch a bit and loosen up those stiff muscles!

8. Leave your home early.
- Leave your home as early as possible. Early in the morning is a very good time and you can never know what you will face along the trip. Being a woman and having a toddler on your own is quite risky actually. Time and plan your journey well so that you will arrive during the sun still shine bright and you will feel at ease a bit.

9. Bring some toys and books to entertain them.
- If you noticed, in the picture there s a box full with his trucks and cars. Those were my saviors! My son was being such a good boy but there was this one time where he said he didnt want to sit in the carseat anymore which worries me and I didnt want to stress myself out. I took his toys and put in front together with some books. He was distracted and we managed to reach my parents' house in no time! Alhamdulillah!

10. Pray hard and never stop your dhikir to Allah S.W.T
- This is very important as you know only Allah that really helps you to have a smooth journey. Hence, along the way I pray hard verbally, in my heart that both of us arrived at our destination safely.

11. Update your location from time to time.
- This is very important too mothers! Update your husband and your family members about our being and the location you are at. Maybe you can update them every 1 hour so that they will feel at ease and they can estimate the time you will be arriving.

I hope these tips help the mothers who may have to travel solo with their toddler. Be safe on the road and have fun making memories with your precious!

See you in the next post inshaaAllah.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019
In The Name of Allah The Most Gracious Most Loving

Along the way of Pantai Timur Highway

I have always loved to go to Usrah even not as frequent as I used to. I really love the positive vibes that all of the sisters brought to the ceremony. My spiritual side will eventually got lifted up every time I came back from an Usrah Session. The reason being because they reminded me to my faith--Islam.

The sisters reminded me about Allah and all the good things that eventually I almost forgot. This is exactly what I need the most--being in a Jamaah. These brothers and sisters will always give fruitful reminders about Islam, about our faith and pulling myself back to center when I seem so lost about this world.

There were times where I almost drowned in my own negativity and these sisters will pull me out and gave a "CPR" rescue so that I can get back on track, stand on my feet and find my way back to The Almighty. 

During the Usrah session, one of the sisters asked us a question:"

Why the sahabahs or Rasulullah S.A.W's companions keep on holding on strong to Islam wholeheartedly back then?"

I did have the answers but I asked myself, do I? It's like a slap on my face where I felt ashamed of myself that night.

These are among the reasons why the sahabahs really hold on strong to Islam despite all the backlashes, humility, tortures that they received.

  • They have strong belief and trust to Allah S.W.T. They know all along that Allah will never leave them and with that, they leave all to Allah as HE will take care of the rest. The sahabahs felt rest assured with Allah as their sole reason to live.
Thinking back about this, I felt so distant. I always/sometimes doubt what will happen either Allah will help me or not. Astaghfirullah. This clearly shows that I have not fully trust Allah's plan. I always doubt on things. It also shows how much I really know my Lord. Subhanallah. I want to be as devoted as the sahabahs. I want to love Allah as much as the sahabahs. I want to know more about Allah as much as the sahabahs. I do.

  • They have the purest love towards Rasulullah S.A.W. They want to meet Rasulullah S.A.W. again in Jannah and they withstand by all means to keep Islam as sacred as possible and protect it with their lives. Because they know, their lover which is Rasulullah is waiting for them.
I ponder to myself this note and asked myself, how much do you love Rasulullah S.A.W, Aliah Athirah? You can ask yourself this too.

  • They know their responsibility towards Islam. Their job in this world is to spread the beauty of Islam. To let people know about Allah, to know who is the Creator of this world and who is our true Master. No matter what happened, they stood by Islam by hook or by crook.
Me? What have I done so far in this world? What have I done for Islam? Every time the sister pin-pointed the reasons of the question, I asked myself a question and pondered hard on all the points. Many questions lingered in my mind and I could not really find the answers to that.

  • They hold on strongly to Al-Quran as they really learned, understood and practiced all the teachings in the Quran. Quran is the last Mushaf that was blessed to our beloved Prophet Rasulullah S.A.W and to all of us. Hence, they hold on dearly to the Quran and always refer to it for any questions at any time.
I still feel that I am far from making it my best friend as there were times I skipped my Quran readings. The consistency is not there and I noticed that is my weakness--consistency. I can see that I need to overhaul myself to get myself back to the deen, to my Creator.

  • Allah's promises and happy stories of the Paradise that made them overjoyed with smile and strengthen their faith to protect it by all means.
Knowing the last point really left me speechless. I knew by then that I have not been reading the Quran a lot, tadabbur the Quran or read any books that really tells about all the beautiful things about the Paradise. If I know about all the good things, the happy things that I can devour in the Paradise, I will surely do my best to live in this world, isnt it? 

The final destination of all be it either the Paradise or the Hell. You and I must be wanting to be in  the Paradise right? I would not even dare to read the word or hear it, not even wanting to take a step inside it, Nauzubillah!


Apart from the question asked, there were 3 main things that I remembered the most during the Usrah Session. We were talking about Yaumul Qiamah as well that night.

Your heart must be cleansed, purified every single day.
This also includes to forgive everyone every time before we go to sleep. To leave all to Allah be it good or bad even when the heartaches are too painful to bear--forgive everyone. It is easier said than done but that's what we have to do. I found this hard to practice but as I slowly trying to make it as a routine, I somehow felt a small burden being lifted up from my shoulders and the most importantly--my heart.

You have to always think good about anything that happened in your life.
It may be good and it may be bad (to you), but to Allah, it is a sign that HE loves you more than you ever think of.

Say a lot of Istighfar and Selawat to Rasulullah S.A.W.
When you realize that your mouth is not saying anything and rather than letting it closes like that, say istighfar or selawat till you mouth feels dry. Take a sip of water and continue to do it. I've always wanted to die while saying these dhikir you know. How beautiful it will be. Thinking back on this, I have wasted so many of my years not doing any dhikir and all. When I slowly try doing this one, I noticed that I somehow refusing myself to talk on nonsense things that wont give me benefits. Of course, this comes with a lot of practice.

I hope that you and I can ponder and take a moment to muhasabah on ourselves, reflect back on our lives and I do hope we can find a way to make our lives more meaningful each day with the intention of solely living out lives because of Allah Taala.

Please make duaa for me too.

InshaaAllah, see you on my next post!