“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.”
- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India.
What does it mean to be a teacher? This is the story of Cikgu Yu Kok Hui.
Why I wanted to be a teacher
“I wanted to be a teacher because both my parents were teachers,” said Cikgu Yu, Gold Advocate and Frog Admin of SMK Skudai. “But I was also really interested to go into the tech-industry. So I tried to find a suitable course where I could have the best of both worlds - education and technology,” he added.
Also a winner of the Frog Teacher Awards in 2018, Cikgu Yu graduated with a major in Information Technology and was looking forward to contribute to the nation as an edtech teacher. However, during the first few years of his career, he never got the chance to showcase his passion.
“When I was first posted in 2009, there were no IT subjects in school. There was a skill-based class called Computer Literacy, but it wasn’t offered in all schools. So, I never really had a chance to teach IT-related subjects,” he said, sombre as he recalled the downtrodden memory. It demotivated him immensely being unable to realise his dream to teach with technology.
I nearly died, but it changed my life
Unexpectedly, Cikgu Yu never thought that it would take a near-death experience to turn his life around. “Back in 2014, my family and I were visiting my parents in Kelantan. A terrible flood happened and completely drowned my family home, trapping us on the inside. The rain would not stop and the water levels only kept increasing. My son and daughter were only 1 and 2 years-old at the time, and I honestly thought we were going to die,” he shared. Thankfully, the entire family survived but was left devastated as their home and personal belongings were destroyed.
“After the incident, the government declared a two-week break for all schools. I took that time to evaluate my life, my choices and my purpose as a teacher. I could’ve died in that flood, and I haven’t done or contributed anything to society. I realised I didn’t want my life to end that way and so, I decided from then on, I was going to make a difference,” shared a teacher whose passion and motivation were renewed.
Cikgu Yu returned to school and asked that he be assigned as the new administrator of the Frog VLE. “Frog was introduced to SMK Skudai in 2012, but I wasn’t the administrator. So, when the principal agreed to put me in-charge, I started planning on how to cultivate the 21st Century education mindset within the school community,” he said.
Being a teacher is more than just teaching
One of the first things Cikgu Yu did was building a team of students known as the Frog Champions. He helped these students develop IT skills and taught them how to use Frog. He shared, “I wanted to give students a chance to learn new things beyond the textbooks and develop skills that will be useful in the future.”
Other than that, Cikgu Yu also conducted workshops for teachers to help them develop basic IT skills and learn how to use Frog. “During my workshops, I get the Frog Champions to assist me in facilitating and giving teachers a helping hand. I also organised workshops for students that are conducted by the Frog Champions,” said Cikgu Yu, who encourages his students to be mentors and assistants to other students and teachers.
Understanding the importance of 21st Century education, Cikgu Yu added, “The generation of students now are born into a world of technology and are more familiar with it than any teacher. So, it is actually a student’s preference to be able to learn with technology. If teachers continue with the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ method and are not willing to adapt technology in their teaching, it will cause students to lose interest and motivation to learn.”
This year, the Frog Teacher Awards (formerly known as the 1BestariNet Teacher Awards) seeks to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the Most Outstanding Educator, Most Inspiring Leader, Most Influential Advocate and Gamechanger in EduTech. Do you have a teacher whom you look up to? Nominate this teacher for the Frog Teacher Awards! Find out more on how to do so at www.frogteacherawards.com