Sunday, August 31, 2008

Choosing a career : A personal experience

(This post is a mirror copy of my blog post in Web Writing).

For the last two weeks, the topic for my "Reading and Writing" class in a local university was "career". We read three articles in the textbook - and we ended up with a lengthy discussion about my students' interests and where they think they are heading to.

We discussed the reasons why people would work, and what would be my students' personal reasons. Some of their answers got me to think about myself. Like most people, I work for money - but not for a lot of money, just enough to sustain my life. I place a higher priority on learning. Yes, for me to stay interested in my job, I've got to be able to learn new things - once work becomes a routine and my learning graph becomes static, I would become restless and start looking for a new job.

That explains why in my resume, I only stayed for about 3 years in a place - or simply put as why I job-hopped. And it also explains why I now become a freelancer.

In the class, we also discussed about identifying our personal talents, strengths and interests in order to determine our career paths. And I came across some students who somehow reflected myself - they have too many interests and thus, it's hard for them to decide on a career path. Like them, I want to know and be everything. I used to dream of becoming an architect, but I was also interested in arts - and I had wanted to be a writer too. Due to my family's financial constraints though, I ended up taking a scholarship to be a trained teacher.

I loved teaching, but I had wanted to learn other things too - so, right after I'd completed my 7-years contract with the government , I'd become a web-content writer for a web-designing company, and later a subject-matter experts coordinator cum editor with a company dealing with educational software. That was when I found out that I'm actually a people person. Working in an office facing the computer most of the time had made me feel a bit lonely. I missed noises, and I missed being surrounded by young faces that adore me. So, I went back to teach in a local college.

Teaching in a college proved to be more satisfactory than teaching in the secondary school. Students were more willing to learn, thus I had less problem with class management. I had more freedom to experiment with my teaching methods and approaches too, since colleges have soundproof classrooms. But once I'd taught all subjects possible for all the faculties in that college, and my learning graph had become static again, I just couldn't resist trying on something new.

Being a freelancer, I get to continue doing what I love - teaching - and at the same time I'm free to explore new areas that I'm interested in. I am teaching in three different places on and off, so I get to experience three different teaching environments - one deals with the international students, another deals with all-male technical students and the other one deals with human sciences students from religious education background. On top of that, whenever I don't have classes, I can learn about financial planning, how to pitch for sales and at times be a sub-translator for those who are doing it on a full-time basis.

And being me - these are not enough. I'm still far away from calling myself a "writer", and I want to be one. Plus, I have another ambition that haven't been realized - I want to study interior design, and I want to be a farmer, too.

So... how do I advise my students on how to choose their career paths?

I told them they can choose one area of interest, study it deeper and deeper, and they will be called as "experts" in that area. Famous and rich.

Or they can explore all of their interests for the sake of experiencing and "knowing" about each, but they will be just like me - not established in any field. Not rich, yet content. :D

Yes, that's me - Mima.

We ended our class with a thought-provoking poem by Robert Frost - "The Road Not Taken".

Thursday, August 28, 2008

TESL Pioneers' 20 years reunion

Our reunion happened on the 23rd of August 2008. A Saturday nite.

Balik malam tu aku punya bersemangat kalau boleh nak upload all photos and write all abt it in my blog , and send to the TESL yahoogroups malam tu gak... but me n th internet... memang lembab sikit selalunya... sebab bnyk sgt commitment lain yg nak dilayan, such as homework anak2 murid yg berlambak aku tk dan nak mark tu... he he... so sampai la la ni... ni pun aku copy n paste n modified je message aku kat depa...

This was 'us' during orientation week in UKM, back in 1990.

Tapi malam tu memang seronok... makan memang la tak lavish sangat mcm dibah belanja kitorang dulu, but then malam tu memang tk berapa ingat nak makan sangat sbb seronok sgt dapat jumpa kawan2 especially yg dh lama lost contact. After so many years... aku ingat ada 6-7 tahun aku lost contact dgn Noraizah and Nurazlina, housemates aku kat BBB dulu... malam tu baru dapat jumpa balik... halis, partner aku kat high school kajang dulu pun lepas practical langsung tak pernah jumpa - jumpa gak malam tu. Wan jiran lama aku, zuhana yg aku pernah contact masa aku kerja kat renong dulu dan lps tu lost contact balik, nazima n che' khai yg aku tak pernah jumpa sejak grad, dan ramai lagi lah... excited sungguh rasanya malam tu...

Bukan setakat yang mai malam tu aku dpt jejak kasih... yg tak mai pun sama... esok tu aku belek balik skrip lagu yg organizer sediakan, tak sangka siap nombor telefon semua org ada dalam list tu... buat penat aku mintak nomboq semua org je malam tu... Nampak phone number salmi, housemate aku lagi sorang kat situ... terus aku call...

Rupa2nya setelah aku berpisah dgn salmi lepas aku berpindah-randah dari rompin ke kelang ke penang ke kl ke pj ke cj , salmi dok setia lagi di mersing... ye lah... dia kawin org sana... but then, bab yg sedih, aku baru tau yg husband dia dah meninggal abt a year ago... pas tu salmi bg tau aku nor pun dah kehilangan husband dia abt 4 years ago... Innalillahi wa innnalillahi raji'un... Terasa sgt aku ni betul2 kawan tak guna sbb tak ambik tahu hal kengkawan for the past few years.

Tunggu bas for the visit to "STAR"

Aku memang sokong cadangan jadikkan the reunion an annual event. Mudah2an dapat jumpa lebih ramai kengkawan and refresh mana2 memories yg dah hampir pupus sebelum kita betul2 dah tua n nyanyuk (if the next reunion is in another 20 years :D). Being a cikgu for so long now, I don't mind tempat tak mahal n makan tak sedap, I'm used to it. For me, buat kat kantin UKM pun tak pe. Yg penting dpt berkumpul n feel belonged to the group once again.

So aku nak tabik spring kat semua yg terlibat jadi organizer malam tu. Thank you for the wonderful night frenz!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Irsyad khatam al-Quran

Malam ini malam majlis tahlil keluarga berserta acara khatam, hadiah hari jadi dari nenek untuk irsyad.