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US teachers wow pupils

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FUN CLASS: English teaching assistants from America back for another stint

KUANTAN: STUDENTS at SMK Cenderawasih had a roaring time when 20 Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) from the United States visited their school yesterday as part of their week-long orientation before starting their teaching stint in Pahang.

Hakim Mohd Hazmi of Form 5 Dedikasi was ecstatic when 22-year-old ETA Antwonett Atkins introduced herself to his class of 26 students yesterday.

"It was wonderful as it reminds me of the time when another ETA did a stint in this school last year. Besides, she is also a funny person who made the short session memorable."

His classmate Chow Min Chu, 17, said it was exciting to know that Atkins would begin her teaching stint next Monday.

"We will not only be taught English but may get a glimpse of her experiences in her home country."

Through such an approach, Chow believed students would be able to understand the language better as it was taught by a teacher from an English-speaking country.

"I have always wanted to know how it feels like to live in the US and it is great that we will have a teacher who can share her experience."

 

Atkins, who hails from Tacoma, Washington DC, was pleasantly surprised by the students' good command of English.

"Despite their shyness, they still put an effort to participate, with some also speaking very good English," said the graduate of Political and Science Studies from Bennett College for Women in Greensborough, North Carolina.

She said it was her first time in Malaysia and it had been a wonderful experience meeting the friendly people here.

"I am super excited to be here especially after having met my future students. It is a great way to start off the year for us."

The ETAs began arriving in the state from Jan 25 and 26.

Five will teach here while the rest will be posted to other districts.

Last year, 16 Fulbright ETAs were placed in as many schools in Pahang and their number has tripled this year based on the shared commitment of US president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to expand people-to-people exchange programmes between the two countries.

Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Antwonett Atkins in action during orientation at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Cenderawasih. Pix by Luqman Hakim Zubir


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