The journey to SBPLD was awful but once the school came into view, I was glad. The school was big and beautiful...and new. It was only a year old with only 200 students ( I can't remember the exact number actually ). I met the principal, Tn Hj Zainuddin who previously was the principal of SERATAS, a boarding school in Taiping. He then took me to the staffroom and introduced me to the teachers there. Well, again I was glad....glad to see many "orang Semenanjung" in Lahad Datu. I met Saodah, Saleha, Idrus, Halim, Aminah and Kamaliah. These are the names I can still remember until today. I stayed with Saodah and Saleha at the teachers' quarters. It was not bad actually....compared to the journey I had earlier that morning. The three-room flat was quite comfortable. From the window of my room, I could see the whole school; the field, the school buildings and the hostels. Everything was fine except.....there was no water supply......well, the only water we had was the rain. There were some water tanks on the ground floor of the flat ( which the teachers used to collect water ). I complained of course...well who would not? Just imagine yourself carrying a pail of water up the stairs to the second floor.....and it was not only a pail of water in my case. I had my ups and downs, my good days and bad days in SBPLD but I was happy there...really happy. I enjoyed the company of my colleagues, students and the people there. They were friendly, comforting and understanding. I learned to adapt with the new environment, get to know the people and their cultures, and the most important of all, I learned to be independent. Thanks to all the people I met in SBPLD as they have helped me in making who I am today, a teacher.
Literature helps language learning by providing a genuine and rich context. Students use their knowledge of the world they bring to class and this context given to them enables them to make predictions and inferences in searching for meaning. They also link the new knowledge learned with the old knowledge to comprehend the new knowledge more clearly. In short, literature helps students learn language by giving them opportunity to become active participants in the learning process. For example, the poem "Row, row, row your boat" which has very striking vocabulary and structures enables the students to memorise and with additional actions and movement involved, gives extra support to their understanding of the language. For secondary students, they can be asked to work in groups and choose the part that they like best in the novel The Prisoner of Zenda ( form 3 ) and act it out in front of the class. For better proficiency students, they can be asked to form their own conversation or script based on the part they have chosen. To make it more interesting , students can be encouraged to prepare their own props for their short act or sketch. This gives meaningful and memorable contexts for processing and interpreting the new knowledge. Thus, it gives support to their learning of the language. Using literature as a source of materials for language learning can bring variety, fun and enjoyment to the language class. From a simple piece of literature such as "Row, row, row your boat" to a more challenging production of an act or sketch by the students can wake them up and stimulate them.
It was 1989 and I was 23 years old . I was posted to Lahad Datu and the school was Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Lahad Datu. It was not easy for me. Firstly because it was the first time I was sent to a far away land without my beloved family. Secondly because I had no idea of what kind of place it was. When I reached Kota Kinabalu together with other new teachers from the Peninsular ( I can't recall the number but I am very sure there were many of us; more than 100 of us) , we were gathered at SBP Kota Kinabalu where we were given the names of our schools. Many left for their respective schools the following day but unfortunately I had to stay an extra night there as I did not receive my air ticket to Lahad Datu.
Two days later I took a flight to Lahad Datu and was sent to SBPLD. Although the distance was only less than 7 km, it took me more than 2 hours to reach the school. The road was terrible, the journey was awful; my head knocked the roof of the trooper many times and the bumpy journey made me dizzy. It wasn't a good start at all. I was crying inside at the same time praying hard that I could reach the school in one piece. Luckily, the school clerk ( a Johorian I think ) was in the trooper too, at least her presence made me feel a little safe......I couldn't wait to reach the school and get out from this torturing journey.....
This year will be another challenging year in school. This year's batch of students especially the Form 3 is definitely a great challenge for the teachers. For the teachers who teach the last class will have to arm themselves with all kinds of methods and strategies to help the students in their studies. Well, looking at the positive side of it, this will surely make the teachers pay extra attention to their lesson planning so that the teaching and learning will suit the students' abilities and needs. Perhaps by being a little more creative will help in making teaching and learning interesting for both teachers and students.