Mentoring ill students

Caring cikgu: Au Yeong (second from right) says that students are taught at their own pace in a fun learning environment.

Caring cikgu: Au Yeong (second from right) says that students are taught at their own pace in a fun learning environment.

COPING with the sudden demise of students is just one of the challenges and heartaches faced by teachers in hospital-based schools.

Norhayati Abu Bakar, a teacher at the school inside Hospital Selayang, said two of her pupils passed away due to illness.

“It really pulled at my heartstrings,” she said sadly.

“It is quite sad. Sometimes, we have pupils coming in with an intravenous drip or oxygen mask,” Norhayati added.

Another teacher Au Yeong Su Lyn shared a similar story when a student passed on.

“It is very challenging but we have to accept it,” she said.

“We still have other students who need to be taught so that they can keep up with the lessons ,” she added, saying it was for these reasons that teachers had to remain strong.

Au Yeong who used to teach in a secondary school, said that initially there were students who refused to join in the lessons but after plenty of coaxing and parental intervention, they soon warmed up to the teachers and actually enjoyed their lessons.

“We employ a fun-learning environment with iPads and books. Slowly, they get used to us and they will study,” she said.

She said that the teaching style in the School in Hospital (SDH) programme was different from that of normal schools.

“In normal schools, we would be rushing to complete the syllabus and examinations. Here we teach according to the student’s own pace,” she said.

Both Norhayati and Au Yeong said they were inspired to continue teaching their charges despite the challenges they face everyday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin congratulated and thanked the teachers for their commitment and sacrifices in teaching the hospitalised children.

“I realise this is not an easy task because SDH teachers are not only passing on knowledge and skills to their students, but also need to create an environment that makes them happy, so that they have the desire to carry on,” he said when officially launching Phase Two and Three of the programme at the hospital last Wednesday.

“It is without a doubt that the fun learning approach used in the teaching and learning process at the SDH together with the relaxed and enjoyable learning environment has had a positive effect on their recovery process,” he added.

Muhyiddin said that there were currently 10 schools in hospitals operating across the country since the programme was first launched in 2011.

He added that 40,568 child patients have benefited from the SDH between July 2011 and March 2014.

Under Phase Four, there will be three more such hospitals built in Negri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak, and they are expected to start operations before the end of the year, Muhyiddin said.

He also announced that the Education Ministry had chosen the Kota Baru Teacher Education Institute as the special training centre for SDH teachers.

The SDH programme was mooted by Muhyiddin’s wife Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman, who is also its patron.