How fit are you when you are a part of 4 series club?

It was National Sports Day (Hari Sukan Negara) which happened to be on 13 November 2018 (Saturday).   To be honest, unless I go window shopping at the mall like JPO with my sister (an annual event for us to find new shoes and whatsnot before Eid), I would never walk more than 3k steps per day.  That shows how “physically active” I am (tongue in cheek remark!)

But when I was at school while undergoing my LI, I could not help myself from not involve in any of the school event.  So, one of the events that I have to participate in was this National Sports Day in which we had to walk more than 3km (which equivalent to 3k steps).  We were assigned to walk with a group of students based on their form so, Ita and I were assigned to walk with the Form 2 SK (girls). What I notice was the 14 years old girls walk slowly than I am.  I was impatient when I have to walk slower than my normal pace, so I overtook many of them.  I was supposed to be on the back row and Ita has to walk on the front but here I was overtaking everybody and Ita caught me in action.  I was guilty as charge because Ita took this picture as an evidence.  But, there was nothing to worry because there was form 3 at the back of this group and there were teachers walking with them as well.  The students were in a good hand.  

When I overtook some of the students, some of them could not help from saying “Teacher, why are you walking so fast?” (Teacher, kenapa jalan laju sangat?”   I replied, “This is my NORMAL pace”   They tried to copy my pace but after a while, I heard some of them started to grumble “I am tired.  I give up.  Teacher walks so fast” (Penat lah.  Tak boleh ikut teacher jalan laju sangat“.   I just laughed.  They are younger than me, for obvious reason.  But, unlike them, I would bare the consequences later on (which of course, they wouldn’t know about it ;P) 

But still, Alhamdulillah at 40+ I can still walk more than 3k steps per day.  In Sha Allah I will try to stay physically active as regular as I could.

Thank you for being there for me_Part 1

Z was my research methodology class student.  From day one, I could sense that this guy is different.  After having a bad experience with “Minah t test tak tahu” in the previous semester, I was a bit high strung and guarded with students.  I cannot let myself to be bullied twice.  I had enough.

I told myself to be careful, no matter what.  Don’t be such a fool to treat students naively.  I can be nice to them but there would be a limit.  There would always be a boundary that I have to safeguard no matter what.

He got good results for the class.  Later on, he requested to have me as his supervisor even though the programme coordinator wanted him as her supervisee.  He went to see the programme coordinator to ask for a change of supervisor.  It baffled the programme coordinator after all, there are no students ever requested me as their supervisor.  This is the first time (but not the last.  There was another female student who also did the same who personally requested that I would be her supervisor after taking my research methodology class – I will tell about her in Part 2).

I was a tough task-master.  I pushed them to do the best.  In their first semester of doing RS1 with me, I asked them if they want to present in a conference.  One of them was not keen with the idea of presenting in a conference because she was taking care of her mom.  Weekends are spent on taking care of her mom in Kuching, Sarawak.   But, Z took up the challenge to present in the conference.  In order to make sure that he would not back off from presenting in the conference, I paid the conference fees once he submitted the abstract.  Yup.  I would not let him came out with financial issue as an excuse.  He was shocked that I used my money to pay for the conference fees which cost more than RM500.  Well, my policy is if any student is worth my time, they are worth my money too.  I believe that as their supervisor, I am together with them in their journey of becoming future researchers.  So, I will make sure that they would get the best support from me as their supervisor.  [Pssstt… but not all students are worth my time and money though if they are lazy, highly dependent on me to even find references for them.  Capisc?]  

Alhamdulillah both of them finished their masters degree with flying colors.  They were awarded with Best Student Award (of course, I would never attend such award ceremony because I feel that that is their day.  Not mine).  

Time passes by so quickly.  After graduating, there are only a handful of students who will keep in touch with me on regular basis.  Most of them vanished into thin air.  But he is not the typical student I ever have.  He starts to let me into his life.  He starts to treat me like his big sister. 

When he lost his dad in December 2018, he let me know about it.  When his mom got stroke, he messaged me to break the news.  When he started to make plan to do PhD, he emailed me to ask for tips and guidance even though I am no longer his supervisor.  When he got an interview for a scholarship to study abroad which is sponsored by the Ministry of Education, he asked me to help him prepare a short proposal of a certain topic which was given by the Ministry of Education.  Due to the short period of time left to prepare the proposal, we brainstormed together about the possible issues relating to the given topic.  He was grateful that I am willing to help him with the proposal. 

Well, to tell the truth, when he was preparing the proposal, I was preparing a proposal too which happened to be of a similar topic.  I gave list of references that he can use for his proposal.  In addition, he also starts to email various potential supervisor at various UK universities including my former supervisor [I emailed my former supervisor, Steve Higgins of Durham University and let him know about my student who inspires to be his supervisee too.  Unfortunately, Steve declined to be his supervisor because currently he has more than 12 graduate students.  That’s a lot as compared to when he was supervising me.]

I had a conversation with one of my colleagues today.  We talked about students and how can we make difference in their life.  I told her that when I was at school, since we have one whole year to get to know each other better, I don’t have much trouble to get to know the students at personal level.  We have ample time for that.  At university, unless the students are your supervisee or students who take many classes with you, it is quite difficult to even remember their names.  Sometimes, they even act like they don’t even know you when you bump into each other at a corridor even though I will always look at them intensely with a thought “I have seen him/her/them somewhere but where?”  Some of the students would give salam or smile.  The friendlier type will ask about my well-being (Apa khabar, Dr?) and also will tease me by saying “Dr, you don’t remember me, right?  I am with this so-and-so in your class but you only remember her/him, but not me” [“Dr, mesti tak ingat saya kan?  Saya satu kelas dengan si polan tapi Dr ingat dia je, tak ingat pun saya“.   Of course, I could not deny the fact that I would remember the class rep better than the rest of them 😀

I wish that I could have long lasting relationship with my students yet, I do have to admit that nothing last forever.  But I pray that no matter what or where my students are, May Allah Bless me with students who make difference in other people’s life.  

P.S:  To this student, I wish you all the best!  Thanks for believing in me as your mentor.  


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

She was my personality psychology and social psychology class student.  An average student.  She was also my R1 and R2 student (R1 and R2 refers to a code of thesis writing part 1 and 2 for master programme).  When she took all the taught courses classes, I have a quite good impression towards her.  But I never thought that she could be a student from H**l when I supervised her.

What went wrong?  She seemed to struggle when she was doing her RS1.  One of the earliest indications that she could spell trouble for me was when she did not submit her pilot study results in the first semester for her RS1.  I was naively believed that she would have time to do it in the following semester.  The following semester, I never even once heard anything from her.  No email.  No message.  NOTHING. 

Thinking that she might postpone one semester for personal reasons, I didn’t bother to send her any email or message to ask about her well-being.  I respect her privacy.

Lo and behold, at the end of the semester, I got a copy of a fully completed thesis in which she never showed before (except the first three chapters).  What a heck, man!  Even though I was utterly shocked but with a good faith that perhaps she could do it well, I evaluated the thesis.  This was the first mistake that I made (Lesson learned: NEVER EVER evaluate RS2 of a student who never submits anything AT ALL for the whole semester).  To set the record straight, I did not sign the green form (submission of RS2 form that supervisor has to sign) and yet, somehow she was able to submit her RS2 and thus, “able” to undergo the process of evaluation.  

As I read her thesis, I found that she made glaring mistakes.  Not only she plagiarised more than 25% (I checked it using TurnitIn and found out that there are more than 25% of quotes are not referred), but she also did the analysis erroneously.  I messaged her immediately saying that she made mistakes (yup, more than one analysis mistake) and thus the whole chapter 4 and 5 have to be redone.  It was a major correction.  This was when all hell breaks loose.

To cut the story short, she was dissatisfied with the results (for obvious reason she could not get passing marks both from me and the internal evaluator).    Her dad took matter into his own hand.  Made a false accusation and even wrote a poison letter to the Dean.  May Allah Bless this family.

I was called by the Dean and the Dean (the late Prof Bahar) said to me which I vividly remember until today “Hadijah, kita ni Bugis tak boleh biarkan orang pijak kepala kita” – Hadijah, as Bugis people, we shouldn’t let others to bully us”  May Allah Bless his soul for being kind to me when many others blame me for what has happened.

From this incident, I learn my lesson well.  One thing for sure, as Dr Seuss once said “If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too

That incident happened for a reason.  I’ve got an idea to turn this incident into a case which I use as a discussion in my personality psychology class as a real example of traits of a person by using different approaches or domains to interpret it.  After all, I have to select a learning inventory as my teaching approach that I use in my class.  I choose “case based learning”.  Case based learning requires the teaching and learning activities involve LOTS of case discussion.  So, I need LOTS of real cases as examples.  This incident serves as one of the examples.  Attaboy!

P.S: It might not be too late to thank this student for being an inspiration.  To you and your dad who falsely accused me as an irresponsible and heartless supervisor, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

A little surprise for my (former) form 4 students


When I taught them, there were 15 of them but now there are only 11 left.  My little heroes!

I could still remember their names.  From the left standing: Aidil (a very athletic person), Hafid (a very shy but strong-willed student.  He is also very diligent), Idham (who happens to be my neighbour, Cikgu Bibah’s son), Hakim (Mr Handsome-guy and the most popular among the girls because of his look and mannerism), Farouq (the champion to fall asleep in my class), Ammar (the quiet with lots of self-doubt boy).  On the front: Aidit (an easily-influenced-by-others boy), Hazim (a rebel in searching his identity), Yasser (a very timid and needs lots of assurance), Baqir (who is very talented and artistic) and Halim (Daud’s and Annuar’s brother.  A shy boy who thinks that I like to tease him in class by calling his name frequently)

Why do they look so happy? 

At first they were thinking that I might give them an ang pau envelope.  No.  It is a letter that I wrote to each and every one of them.  Individualised and personalised message from me.  I have given the same thing to my former form 4 Sapphire class (which include the girls).  This time around, due to time constraint, I only managed to complete the letters to the boys.  I will do so for the girls In sha Allah in the future. 

With the formal UTM envelope, I hope it might give them a sense of importance.  Receiving a letter with important message.  Yup.  That’s my intention.  I hope that the heart-felt message would reach to their heart.  I pray May Allah Bless them with understanding and good memory to remember what I wrote to them.

Well, I went to the school yesterday to drop the letters to Teacher Ita (one of the English teacher) and some of them saw me walking with the letters on my hand.  I bumped into Halim inside the teacher’s room but he was too shy to greet me.  

So, what happened to another four?

Two students changed schools after PT3.  Another two?  They changed school because of “a little” incident.  Due to the nature of the issue, let’s just say that they did something.  I am sad when I know about the incident.  I never thought that as young as 16 years old would do something like that.  This is the reality that I wish to ignore and yet, I know that I have to do something about it.  Thus, I wrote the letters to the rest.  I don’t want to punish them because of what has happened even though some of them are involved in that incident indirectly.  Yet, I think I need to let them know how I feel about them.  It does resonate with this saying

“Students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”

I know is never too late to show how much I care even though I am no longer physically at school with them.

Once a teacher, you are always be a teacher_Part 1

I’ve got a message from a former student that I taught when I did my LI (Latihan Ikhtisas).  I taught him for less than 2 months because he changed to different school (He cannot get good marks for Arabic language subjects.  I know that learning Arabic language and learning subjects in Arabic language is not easy.  I had experienced it before).  He asked if I still remember him.  Well, for one thing it is not that difficult to remember students with special characteristics.  He is one of the most attentive and hardworking students that I ever have (in comparison to last year form 4 students).  He always tries his best to complete any task that I gave him.  He would not hesitate to come to meet me after school (which meant that I would have to go back a little bit late than usual).  Sometimes, he would ask to carry my stuff (teachers always have lots of stuff that they bring to school and back home!).  While walking to my car, we would have a quick chat which sometimes could prolong into a long chat – we would continue to chat while standing beside my car even in a hot sunny day until it was ‘Asr prayer.

I still vividly remember his last at school, 14 February 2019 (Thursday).  It was a hot day.  I feel sad because how I wish that he would stay longer but again, I was ending my short stint as a teacher as well in the end of February.  I gave him an exercise book and I wrote a little note for him.  While doing that, his mom was looking at us because apparently, I was the only teacher who gave him a farewell gift.  Well, he is a special student who is worth my time, money and attention (tongue in cheek remark!)

He felt guilty because he did not prepare anything for me.  I told him that I don’t expect anything from him in return but I want him to promise that he will never give up no matter how challenging things can be.  I wished him all the best and off he went back with his mom.  His mom shook my hand while leaving the teachers’ room.

That is the last time I saw him.  When I got a Whatsapp message from him, we had a quick chat and I am glad that he is adjusting quite well (as what he said but he told me that he is worried about Ujian Setara).  I told him that he doesn’t need to worry about anything.  Allah is always there for us.  As long as we give our best shots, Allah Will Always Bless us with the best rewards.

As a teacher, to the world, we are just people but to some people i.e. students, we are the world


The day I attended this workshop which I have attended 6 years ago….

It has been a while since I logged in and updated the information at this webpage.  It is not that I am lazy to do this but there are so many things that I think are more important to do and thus, I “neglect” this webpage of mine.  My fault.  I admit that.

There are so many things have happened within 6 years.  Some leave indelible marks on my life but what a heck, whatever thing that does not kill me, makes me stronger.  Attaboy!  That’s the spirit.

So, what’s new?

I just came back from Latihan Ikhtisas or LI (Professional Training) which I had undergone at a school for a year in March 2019.  I admit that the first few weeks were challenging because I am in the process of reclaiming my identity as someone who teaches at university, rather than school.  Being a teacher has its own perks yet nothing can beat the satisfaction of teaching university students even though there are more challenges (not in teaching them per se but with the other 7Ps – including Pembersihan). 

When I left UTM to start my LI, I left my 7Ps responsibilities.  When I came back to UTM, I am entrusted with another P – PembersihanYup.  We are becoming like the Japanese schools.  There are some people come to collect the rubbish from the big black bin at the corridor, but there are no more person in charge of cleaning the toilets, hallway etc. on daily basis.    Since “Kakak” stopped her contract, there are irregular individuals who come once a while to clean i.e. clear up the big black rubbish bins, not cleaning the toilets though.   But, I don’t mind to clean and mop the toilet once per day (if I feel like it) even though some of my colleagues feel otherwise.  Like one of my colleagues said “I am responsible to clean the toilets at my home.  I don’t want to clean the toilet at my workplace.  I teach (Pengajaran), supervise (Penyelidikan), conduct research (Penyelidikan), write many things not only for publication (Penulisan), publish my work (Penerbitan), go to the community to offer my services (Perkhidmatan kepada watan), be a consultant for others (Perundingan), and now what?  Cleaning (Pembersihan)?”  I couldn’t agree more with this person yet this is the reality which I have to face or another stressor that I have to deal with.

To decrease stress causes by a stressor, there are certain coping strategies that I can use.  Either using appraisal-focused coping, emotion-focused coping or problem-focused coping.  In this case, I choose appraisal-focused coping.  Rather than looking at the additional P i.e. Pembersihan as a burden, I look at it as a way for me to relieve my stress by doing physical works.  Just doing a quick mopping gives me a sense of satisfaction when I look at the clean floor.  Yay!!!!  I feel good by releasing my oxytocin hormone when I see the faces of toilet users who happen to be my students who say that they prefer to go to this toilet because it is clean.  I guess now, for the eppp I need the students to rate me in terms of my commitment to make them feel “comfortable” – i.e. to make their “tushy” feel comfortable- while studying at UTM (tongue in cheek remark!).   Well, what can I say!  “Happy tummy, happy studying“?

Attaboy!  Good job, Dijah! (I am self-praising myself because I using self-regulated model to evaluate my action)

Well, that’s all from me!

Image result for free toilet picture

Personality Psychology_MPPE1353_Assignment Instructions

For my Personality Psychology class, I decide to use Case based learning approach.  So, I crafted a case based on my own experience and discussion (plus evaluation) of the case would be based on the short vignette that I wrote.  To the student who inspire me to use her case as a case in this class, I would like to thank you.  You have been a great help.  

Other than case based activity, I also give my students online quiz using elearning.  So, they can take the quiz anytime they want, when they are ready.  I set specific dateline though.  

Educational Psychology_SPPP1012_Assignment instructions

Somebody hijacked my assignment instruction that I gave to my students.  Without asking me for permission to use it in his class, he simply removes my name and replaces it with his name.  Plagiarism in academia?  It is quite rampant apparently.  Most of the time, people might think that they need to give credit on journals articles, but they might forget that they should also give credit to the person of any material that they use like course instruction.  What a heck, right!  You might think it is unimportant but to this junior, screw you!