The 2 hours visit at SM Kebangsaan Merbau was a very unforgettable one. We were greeted with 'hadrah' and 'bunga rampai' with teachers and students (most in coats so I assumed they were the school prefects) greeting us from the school main gate all the way to the Conference Room. The school was so clean and tidy. I wonder why our Bruneian kids seem to dislike cleanliness and perfect furniture in schools here.
The briefing on the school itself was very detailed: going from its history (with the background music of 'Titanic' hehe) right up to its mission, vision, 'war shout', logo and its symbols, population and so forth. All these were presented by its Head Prefect. What a fluent young girl. I think she was only 15.
Next, we were taken to witness Secondary 3 students at the woodwork area. Chatting with the teachers there, students from Secondary 1 to 3 are made compulsory to take skill work courses. When they reach Secondary 4, they are then allowed to choose courses they wish to pursue. The lesson starts as early as 7am right up till 12.30pm. It comprises of Secondary 1 till Pre-Uni classes. Each teacher has 25 periods (heaven!!) but of at least 45 students per class (erk!!). Apart from that, teachers have extra duties in the afternoon. With 2,800 students in that school, and only 150 teachers, I salute whoever serves there!
The kids were shy but we admire their art and craft works. The lesson on board showed that the course is presented in Malay. It's amazing to see the chalked lesson was Maths related, something about calculating how much one should be paid over a piece of work done. Amazing!
At the Counseling Section, I gotta say! They have so many things to do in that one small room! This section handles the school's action plans, finance, up-dating individual students personal files, apart from of course providing counseling sessions with those students in need. What amazed me was, this section handles students with discipline problem AFTER they were punished by the school admin. So their main job is making these punished students to realise WHY they were punished in first hand. I tell you! How this section works is way different from how counseling functions are done here in Brunei.
Back to the Conference Room, we had some tea and Malay 'kuehs' and another briefing on the counseling part. The section alone handles 16 responsibilities, some I've mentioned above. What's nicer, they have their uniform! Purple coat-like top and black skirt (for the female counselors). After the briefing, we had lunch, before again viewing the beauty of the school.
What I'd like to bring back to our school is to put up those sign boards of countdown to exams as well as dates of exams for parents to see, somewhere located at the school parking lot. Also, the list of emergency contact numbers, also located at strategic places around the school. Motivational phrases should also be brought into the school, like how the SMK Merbau is doing. The dozens of motivational phrases are put up at the school canteen areas, just the right place where kids would sit and read.
The visit was meaningful. I just wish we had more time there at the school so we could see the classrooms and labs up close, rather than wasting (my) time shopping at the town, or (forced to) listening to 'dangdut' songs on the bus!! What a waste!!
PS: Will upload pictures in the next entry. I am exhausted and need my sleep. Tomorrow is another long day: CCA in the afternoon and BBQ-ing at Junjong B&B with my Drama team at 4pm onwards. Ngaleh ku kamuuuuu ...............