From Kota Tinggi with love: A preschool teacher's journey to educating kids in Sabah

Picture courtesy of Sharin Aizrulidana Samsuri

KOTA KINABALU: The determination and commitment to teach children in Sabah and ensure that they are not left behind from getting good education has taken Sharin Aizrulidana Samsuri, 46, thousands of kilometres away from her hometown in Kota Tinggi, Johor for the past two decades.

The preschool teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Bukit Padang, here, said she continued to work hard and dedicated her time to working on new ideas for early childhood education to create efficient learning environment in line with current needs.

The mother of three said she was once offered to teach at her home state but decided to stay for the love that she had for the Land Below the Wind.

Throughout her 21 years of experience in the education field, Sharin Aizrulidana has served as a lecturer at several private institutions of higher learning in Sabah before pursuing her interest to be a preschool teacher in 2005.

"However, I still have a lot to learn as the challenge in educating children is enormous, especially in educating the Alpha generation which requires teachers to constantly make changes in teaching and learning methods," she told Bernama.

Sharing her experience as a preschool teacher in Sabah, Sharin Aizrulidana said it began when she underwent industrial training in a rural school to fulfil the Diploma in Education (Postgraduate Management Course) Preschool Studies Option course requirements while she was at Keningau Teachers Training College.

She said her passion for the teaching profession grew after experiencing the joy of seeing little children mastering the four language skills (reading, writing, counting, and reasoning) before they move on to Year One in primary school.

Sharin Aizrulidana admitted that the online home teaching and learning method that teachers had to implement due to the COVID-19 pandemic was a daunting task as pre-schoolers needed hands-on and multisensory learning activities to facilitate understanding of the skills that are being taught.

Despite the challenge, she said she continued to commit herself to the online teaching and learning sessions, adding that she even held intensive reading classes via video calls, one of several learning method innovations that she created to help pre-schoolers to learn.

"I used to prepare a special corner in students' homes to make it easier for them to use the innovative materials that I created, I have also created learning videos which were then uploaded to Youtube," she added.

Sharin Aizrulidana, who is also a Business Management (Finance) graduate from Universiti Putra Malaysia, said by having a positive mindset and treating the challenges she encountered in the profession, not as a burden but as a religious obligation, helped her to win 48 awards throughout her career including international recognitions.

She said one of the latest awards that she had received was the Innovative Teacher award (pre-school category) in conjunction with this year’s national level Teachers Day celebrations.

"Alhamdulillah, I am grateful for this blessing. This is the second time I received an award at the national level in conjunction with Teachers Day. This award provides an extrinsic motivation for me to continue working and devote all the ideas, time and energy to educating children," she added.- Bernama

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