By Syahirah Nawawi
Flaming with passion and demonstrating love towards teaching are the appropriate phrases to describe the gold recipient of the Community Engagement Award.
Dr. Ainul Azmin binti Md. Zamin, an Assistant Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature, International Islamic University Malaysia, received the award during the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (KIRKHS) Takreem 2021 held recently.
Frankly, I have heard her name uttered multiple times by my lecturers and seniors about how loving Dr. Ainul is both as an educator and a mother.
I was nervous at first to interview her as I never got the chance to participate in any of her classes. Hence, it was an honour for me to have had the opportunity to interview her when I was assigned to do a feature story on this award recipient.
As I proceeded with the interview, I started to understand why she deserved the award.
Her love for teaching
Her passion for teaching has been embedded inside her since she was young as her parents are educators too. She said that happiness comes to her whenever she sees her students’ faces in class. These are the faces of those who are eager to seek knowledge who become the pride not just to the lecturer but the society.
She shared that she was surprised to receive the award, as what she went through was a humbling experience. “The award does not mean a pat on my back, but requires me to reflect upon it. And to prove to others that you deserve the recognition,” she said.
She further said that she does not regard the award as a privilege but rather saw it as an immense responsibility being put upon her as the recipient.
As a person who is constantly looking forward to improve herself, she is open to learning and teaching the community in order to be a better individual, despite being an educator herself.
The attitude of being humble could be the main reason that contributed to her winning this award for the community looks forward to someone who is willing to listen to them, to teach them, and for them to learn from the educator.
Here is my defence.
During the interview, Dr. Ainul mentioned the changes of generation in the prospect of writing a resume. Back then, she said, people wrote their resumes manually or on hardcopy version. However, nowadays, all documents are required to be in soft copy.
She said it is hard to cope with how technology works, but thinking about the students makes her able to do it. As a result, the struggles did pay off as the students appreciated it, and even shared the knowledge and skills they acquired with their friends, she added.
Besides, she shared that she exposed the students to be involved with community engagement through subject assessments. Her goals are to make impactful projects and assignments that also enabled her to empower students simultaneously.
Subsequently, some of the students reached out to her to thank her for the things she had done. Several of them are still updating their life-about with her through the different social media platforms.
‘It is indeed heartwarming for me to know I leave a good influence on people along the way,” she said.
Hearing her stories, I realised this could be another reason for her to receive the award – her love to face challenges.
Even after contributing to the community as a teacher in a secondary school for seven years, she has the feeling to give more to society. This has led her to challenge herself to teach tertiary level education.
She did not only challenge herself but also did the same to people around her. The act of going out from the comfort zone has opened our view of seeing a particular aspect. That is what this academician is trying to promote to society through teaching.
Even though the current pandemic has caused a lot of difficulties for many people, Dr. Ainul keeps on researching to propose a better learning framework so that children with different backgrounds and abilities can gain knowledge. In the meantime, try to be the best version of them for society, she reminded.
“Of course, there will be good and bad outcomes from doing it, but that is life experience,” she said with a motherly smile.
Currently, Dr. Ainul has just finished wrapping up her ongoing research project regarding online learning in schools around a district in Perak.
She shared a few tips on how to be a better teacher not only focusing on educators but also on others as well.
“This is because each of us is a teacher directly and indirectly in someone’s life,” she emphasised.
1. The murabbi (teacher) understands the needs of students
English language is an essential skill that teachers need to make their students well equipped for the working world. It is the language of the 21st century, widely utilised in science and technology.
2. The skills in pedagogy teaching
Each generation has different way of teaching, and educators need to follow the changes as in the case of technology. Not to forget, the elements of the online class that educators and learners need to adapt with.
On both points highlighted above, Dr. Ainul stressed that educators must not measure everyone with the same tool as it may not apply to some groups to attain the knowledge.
This could be another reason why she won the award. She is a person who understands the need for change based on current trends, demands as well as situations.
It proves that she is consistently engaging herself to ensure the community is equipped with better learning experience. She does this by giving her best in everything that she is involved with.
Dr. Ainul Azmin truly showed her love and passion to give more to the community through her teaching assignments and projects. She proved that teaching is one of the effective ways to engage with the community. ***