Based on many recommendations and votes, we were able to reach and connect with a teacher who has taught over 5000 students in Sri Lanka. She was well known for her rules that bought discipline for many students to graduate.
With great honor and respect, we featured Mrs. Faiza Galil, currently the Principal/ Dean of Royal Institute International School of Higher Education Studies in Gampaha, Sri Lanka who started her career as a teacher with experience carried from 6 schools both local and foreign (Middle East) lecturing in English, Geography and History to students of Grade VI and upwards.
1) How many years in the teaching industry and averagely how many students have you taught?
I have been in the teaching industry for over 45 years and I am overjoyed and proud to say that I might have taught over 5000 children.
2) How did you survive that long teaching?
The word ‘survive’ it is not an appropriate word to use because ‘survive’ means continue to exist in spite of hardships etc. I enjoyed being a teacher, it was not a matter of surviving but living my life to the fullest. That may be the reason why I am still continuing in the teaching industry as a Principal now. Words cannot express the joy a teacher feels when his or her student reaches the zenith in their chosen field. That may be another reason for teachers to continue in the teaching industry for many years. The feeling of happiness and joy rejuvenates a teacher and teaching young students further rejuvenates teachers. So is it any wonder that teachers continue for many years in the teaching industry.
3) Do you remember the first day of your teaching career started and how it went?
The First day of my teaching career is etched in my memory for ever. I was just 23 years old when I was posted to a “Boys College” after my two years teacher training in college was over. I walked into grade VIII as their History teacher. I greeted the students, and I was a bit nervous. I suppose the children too sensed my nervousness and I was aware that they were nudging each other and whispering and smiling with each other. I just ignored their reactions and began the lesson. The lesson was “The coming of the British to Sri Lanka”. In the course of the lesson. I explained to the students as to why the Malays/Javanese come to Sri Lanka with the British. Incidentally, I am a Malay Javanese and the students were aware of it and one of the students in a mocking tone asked me “You are a Javanese?” and the whole class broke into laughter as I lost my control (Which I should not have done)
I thumped the table hard with my fist almost screaming in anger and ordered the boy to come and stand in front of the class. There was pin drop silence and I walked threateningly towards the boy as if I was going to slap him. I ordered him to repeat what he said. He mumbled some words I sensed his fear and that cooled me down. I ordered him to leave the classroom and turned on the class and demanded if anyone wanted to join him. There was pin drop silence and I continued with the lesson. Suddenly I heard whispers and saw the students looking out through the window. I too glanced and I saw the Principal doing his early morning rounds with the cane in his hand (It was the era when caning was an important part of administration) incidentally the Principal was a strict disciplinarian who used the cane liberally. The punished boy looked at me pleadingly. I felt a pang of pity and told the boy to come into the classroom. With a look of gratitude he came and sat down in his place. The principal passed by and the students heaved a sigh of relief. The bell rang for the interval and all the students trooped out in a very orderly manner and the boy whom I punished went down on his knees worshipping (Sri Lankan culture) me and apologized and promised to be a good boy I advised him and patted him on his shoulder to indicate acceptance of his apology. When I stepped outside the whole class had lined up and in a chorus said they were sorry, from that day onwards that class was my favorite class and the culprit the best student in the school. What I learned from this incident was that as a teacher you should be a disciplinarian, a Counselor, forgiving and loving. This incident gave me confidence and courage. So the first day of my teaching career started in a way I did not expect it to start but like I mentioned earlier this incident was the stepping stone to my success in my teaching career.
4) How comfortable were you then and now from when you started?
Now, of course, I am a Principal. I do not feel uncomfortable or nervous when teaching children or addressing any gathering. The nervousness I experienced in my early years in the teaching profession does not exist.
5) What was the most unforgettable incident that happened during your teaching journey?
The most unforgettable incident that happened during my teaching journey was in an International school in the Middle East. I was the class teacher of grade VII. I was also the teacher of social studies for grade VII. It was a Wednesday morning, the last day of the week. (In Middle East countries the last day of the week is Wednesday) I was marking the register. I heard the door click open and to my surprise, I saw the Educationist and a Ministry official standing at the door. I greeted them and the educationist said that they had come to observe a social studies lesson. I then told them that I had completed the lesson for the week but they insisted that I conduct a lesson and the educationist asked me to do the lesson that I had planned for that week. The lesson that I had planned for that week was about the “EYE”. I started the lesson but the Ministry official asked me to select another lesson as the eye could not be considered as a social studies lesson.
The ‘EYE’ had been included in the syllabus by the management. But the ministry official insisted that I do another lesson. So I flicked through the textbook and selected the chapter on “The Government of UAE” I quickly skimmed through the lesson jotted down the same notes and started the lesson. I had not planned the lesson, so while conducting the lesson. I realized I was blundering.
The ministry official asked me to stop the lesson and he took over and continued the lesson. At the end of the lesson, I was asked to come down to the Educationist’s office. There the ministry official told me he would have fallen asleep had I continued for another 5 minutes. I have never felt so embarrassed in my life. I was very upset. The school educationist explained to the official that the fault was theirs for asking me to conduct a lesson without giving me sufficient time for preparation. The ministry official agreed and told me that he would visit the school the next week. A day before his visit I was informed and I was fully prepared with visual aids and the lesson plan. I conducted the lesson and the ministry official was highly taken up. He congratulated me and praised my teaching skills. The most important lesson I learned was “Lesson Planning” is very important and today as a Principal of a leading school I insist on lesson planning. Thus, this incident was not only unforgettable but it also taught me a memorable lesson that “Lesson planning is very important”
6) How does it feel to be voted as an inspiring lecture for our project (First Contributor to Success)?
Humbled, Honored and Happy.
7) What inspired you to be a teacher?
Even when I was in the Montessori I loved to imitate my teacher. But what really inspired me to be a teacher was my Grade VII class teacher. All the students respected, loved and looked up to her. She was a strict disciplinarian who possessed ethical and moral values which belonged to the good old days. It was then that I decided to be a teacher like her and inculcate in the future Generation good qualities. My teacher is no more among the living, but she lives on in my heart.
8) What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
The best thing about being a teacher is that you are always young at heart and rejuvenated, never growing old. (I am a good example, well past my 60th birthday) As a teacher, we deal with the young and so we have to think like ‘the young,’ update our knowledge and of course also try to look young.
9) How do you see yourself as a strict or a lenient lecturer?
To be honest, I am a strict Lecturer.
10) How do you want your students to see you when you leave?
I want my students to remember me as their “Guiding Light”.
11) Advice to students
My advice to the children “Stand by what is right and do what is right”