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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I So Free

Lol - this is my second post in TWO days! Must be diligence record of some kind :p

There's a reason for this - and it's work-related.

I FORGOT TO BRING HOME THE DATA I NEED TO KEY-IN FOR SAPS!!!!!!

Can you say, "Arghhhhhh!?"

I'm not sure if any of you non-teachers out there have heard of this newest thing many teachers are complaining about right now. But just to start you off, it's been mentioned in the Star several times now. Links here and here.

If you're like me and can't face the prospect of having to read news articles, here's a pictorial series to show you:

1. First up, you have to log-in and you'll see something like this. Though this system was only implemented several weeks back, we've been asked to re-enter all exam data for this year (that's 3 exams so far with the next one looming ahead next week).

2. Next, you choose your class (after some background work of registering classes you teach etc. Class teachers also have to key-in the Names, IC Nos and other details of their own class).

3. Then, you wait for the class name list to load (and this can take anywhere from 2 seconds to ....uh, I never had the patience to wait for more than 10 minutes, anyway usually after that time-frame, an error screen pops up). You click on ONE students' name and wait for a text box to appear (please refer to prev parenthesis).

4. When you see this, it means you now have a chance to enter the mark for this one, single student and click "Kemaskini" for the system to update this one, single mark. You have wait for the mark to appear like the "45" before clicking on the next name (again, same conditions of waiting applies).

5. Now, repeat this process for all 35 students in one class and multiply that by the 5 classes you teach and then multiply again by 3 for the 3 exams' data you have to key in. That's a lot of minutes of waiting, I can tell you that! (By the way, previously, we could key-in the marks for a whole class all at once without having to wait for individual loading - but that changed earlier this week...I wonder why).

To be fair, and as a comparison, under the previous system, each class teacher (and most teachers are also class teachers) had to key-in the data for their own class multiplied by the number of subjects tested (average: 13).

So, actually, the work load's arguably okay. But the big difference here is that the previous system was done off-line. If I was in a rajin mode, I could finish up all the keying in of data, write individual (and unique) comments for each and every student, calculate their attendance and print out their result slips in under ..... 4 hours.

The new system could work - but only if it gets fixed in some way. It's a good idea in theory, but when put into practice, it causes too much frustration and time-wasting. I haven't even mentioned my colleagues who haven't got Internet connection at home!

If you read the article, you'd see one of the suggestions given to teachers to counter this problem (of slow loading and congested traffic) is to :

“The system often hangs due to heavy traffic. We are advised to use it late at night or early in the morning when the portal is less busy.

“Why must the MOE punish the teachers? We need time to prepare our lessons at home,” one teacher said.

I love how they use the passive sentence "We are advised" without a "by" in that first sentence. There's no way of knowing who (in a position of authority and power) gave such a thoughtless suggestion. Late at night? Early in the morning?

How late is late? I sleep at 10pm so that I can wake up at 5.45am to beat traffic and get to school on time before 7am. (A school that I've applied to be transferred out of due to distance and fuel-costs but where my application have been rejected). Btw, if you're thinking - no one needs that much sleep, I'm preggers and I do.

How early is early? I arrive at school before 7am, immediately flip on my laptop and log-in. And it still hangs!

So it's a no-win situation for me. How about my colleagues who have to deal with multiple kids at home? They leave school at 4pm, pick-up kids from daycare, go home to cook, clean and manage the kiddies. If they're lucky, put them to bed by 8pm (kids sleep this early ka?) and continue marking and planning lessons for the next day. Time for hubby? Nil. Time for the newspapers? Nil. Time to have a relaxing bath? NIL!

If you're wondering why we leave school at 4pm...."Err, don't teachers work half-day? You guys finish at 1pm right?" Let me correct this misconception right now. NO, we don't work half-days. We work whenever there's work to be done. We stay back in school for extra-curricular activities (earlier in the year) and we stay back for extra classes to help students brush up on their academics before PMR/SPM (throughout the year). So no, we use whatever time we have in between for all other teacher work (please read my prev post to find out more :p)

So, oh-powers-that-be, please forgive us lot for complaining when this still-imperfect system was hurled at us with the instruction, "Make it work". It may not seem like a lot more work to you but please notice the operative word: MORE - on top of everything else.

However, I pray that God keeps me optimistic. Already, I've seen the signs.

School teachers who cannot meet the Aug 15 deadline to submit the online exam data due to technical faults in the portal will not be penalised.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the issue was raised at the post-Cabinet meeting on Wednesday chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“We recognise that the system has its flaws and the software is not perfect."

Halleluiah!


*All text in GREEN were taken from StarOnline articles*

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