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Teach For Malaysia - Wong Theen Yew's Story

“They lost by 3-15 in the first set. We, the teachers, were already shaking our heads. Everyone wrote them off, including myself. No one believed what would happen next. They fought. And they fought hard. Real hard. Despite trailing behind again in the second set, they came back time and time again, unwilling to give up. By sheer willpower and grit, they forced a deuce and won the second set 17-15. The second set gave them momentum for the third and their hard work finally paid off. At the end of the day, they topped their group with pride. These are mostly kids from the "back" classes. These are kids I would feel so stressful to teach. I scolded so many of them before for misbehaving, to the point where I was already losing faith in their potentials. And today, they put me to shame for judging them too quickly. They reignited my belief that there are strengths in every single one of them. They showed me how to have some real steel, immense fighting spirits and undying perseverance.”

Teach For Malaysia 2014 Cohort Fellow, Wong Theen Yew, an University of Oxford graduate wrote this post after learning an invaluable lesson from his kids at a sepak takraw match. In choosing to join TFM, Theen Yew said, “I joined TFM with one purpose in mind, that is to play my part in building Malaysia, which has given me so many privileges in my pursuit of an excellent education.”

More often than not, where a child is born determines his or her whole life trajectory. As of 2015, one fifth of all Malaysian children do not end up completing their secondary school education. 44% do not meet minimum proficiency levels in Reading and 60% do not meet minimum requirements in Mathematics. (1) But it doesn’t always have to be this way.

Every year, Teach For Malaysia selectively recruits the best and brightest minds to be placed into high need schools across the country. Our Fellows are employed full-time and are paid a salary competitive to fresh graduates for two years. Over this course of time, our Fellows are coached and trained, and will have the opportunity during their 2nd year to initiate and implement their own project to address the problems within their school and community. At the end of the Fellowship, Fellows will graduate with a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) and will have the option to either continue teaching or seek employment in other sectors with our corporate partners. Khazanah, Mckinsey, CIMB Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers are some of our corporate partners who recognize our Fellowship as a prestigious leadership development program.

Here at TFM, we constantly remind ourselves not to judge, but instead to believe that there will be a day where every single child in Malaysia will obtain excellent education. Each child is special and valuable, and worth fighting for. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object will continue its state of motion unless acted upon by an external force. We are that external force. Join us and be a part of the movement of change for the better.

Visit to find out more and join our movement to fight against education inequity for the future of education in Malaysia.

Source: (1) Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013 - 2025


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