My name is Khairy Farhan.

I have been teaching since I was 16. I had gotten third in class for Mathematics, but no one clapped like how they clapped for the first two students. I was well-known to be the guy who was always first… from the bottom.

After that, my life changed. I began to teach.

After National Service, I decided to join National Institute of Education and become a teacher. I had many great experiences and a great insight from senior teachers, master teachers, and head of departments. But, I realized that teaching in school is not my cup of tea. I was told that if I only wanted to focus on teaching, I should be a tuition tutor instead. And that was what I did.

And that was where my journey as an educator began.

I began to spend some time exploring my teaching styles for a couple of years, then decided to join a group of tuition centers as an English Specialist. I began to develop my own material and hone my teaching skill. After a year, I realized that I preferred to be in a place where collaboration amongst educators was present.

So I joined another tuition center, this time with the hope that their claim of research-based strategies were used in their curriculum. At this point of time, I was enrolled to an online course called ‘Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms‘ a course found on Coursera, designed by Relay Graduate School. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the course with other educators and was even invited to become a Mentor, given my Distinction Grade.

I began reading books to better understand how the brain works in terms of memory and learning. The first book that I read was ‘Make It Stick’ by Brown, Roediger III, and McDaniel. It was so beautifully written, I wanted to share it with my students. This was when I came across another course on Coursera that I thought would help my students perform better on their academic tests.

The course was Learning How To Learn by Dr. Barbara Oakley, created by University of California, San Diego. It was a really useful course and I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning what learning is really about. I enjoyed it so much that I even did the extra projects they offered students. I ended up finishing the course with the Honor’s Badge, given to students who completed the Honor’s Assignment.

After that, I was hooked, but more questions appeared in my head. I found out that even though I had the best strategies to offer my students, some of them were not as excited as I was! I wanted to understand how to make my students succeed, and I came across this book called ‘How Children Succeed’ by Paul Tough. I began to realize that there may be other factors at play that I may not have control or influence over. But I was not satisfied.

I began to question myself and look at how I wanted success for myself in the many areas of my life. And I learned from James Clear on his article ‘Motivation is Overvalued. Environment Often Matters More.’ that even the scientists who studied motivation and behavior concluded that motivation is not something you can apply to someone, like how we apply medication to a wound.

I began to look at habits and I took up the bestselling book ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. I understood more and more, as I read the book, that in the business of effectively developing a person, it has to be to teach them about habits and how their environment has such an influential and, most of the times, subtle impact on them. The idea of peer pressure is something powerful and yet overlooked, often accompanied with a negative connotation.

Other books that I have finished reading include Leo Babauta’s ‘The Power of Less’. I’m quite the tsundoku, someone who likes to acquire reading material but does not read them. And this is one of the personal battles I have with myself: procrastination. Having said that, the books I would enjoy finishing next would be ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck and ‘How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk’ by Faber and Mazlish. I would also like to finish another online course on Coursera. =)

I suppose to summarise my interests, they would be: neurology, cognitive psychology, behavioral science, parenting, early childhood and development, and self-improvement.

Thanks for reading this post!

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