Tough lifestyle no barrier for teachers on fishing island | New Straits Times


SANDAKAN: Rough seas and engine break downs are now part of life for a teacher from Selangor who once thought Pulau Nunuyan off here was no place for him.

That was 12 years ago.

Religious teacher Rosli Shamsuddin, 42, admitted when he was first transferred to SK Nunuyan, his mind was bent on getting a transfer back to Peninsular Malaysia because things were different than what he was used to.

Now the religious cherish each day he gets to spend with the school children despite having to take a 3km boat ride from here to the island, occupied by a fishing community.

“I thought I would not be able to get used to this life but turns out it feels like home,” said Rosli who told it may not be easy, having to endure rough sea conditions at times and engine break downs at sea, but all is good.

“When I met my colleagues and the people on the island, who are mostly fishermen, they treat me like family and it didn’t take long for me to blend in,” he said adding being a teacher surrounded by fishermen also has its perks.

“They sell fish cheap here. Back in the peninsula, we would not have been able to afford fishes about the size of an arm but here its sold cheaply,” he said when met on Teachers Day yesterday.

A major challenge for teachers in a rural school like SK Nunuyan however is the responsibility in changing the mindset of the children on the importance of getting proper education to improve their lives, he said.

“There are parents who are still oblivious to the importance of education because of their lifestyles,” Rosli said but pointed out there are also those who have progressed and moved on.

Established in 1976, SK Nunuyan now has 19 teachers and 186 pupils.

Another teacher, Suhaimi Bakar, 40, from Pendang, Kedah said the responsibility lies with the teachers to make sure the children become useful people in the future.

“There are many challenges we face like the lack of facilities, internet, exposure for the children. We just have to work harder to assist the pupils.

“The responsibility lies with the teachers to make sure they will not be left behind,” Suhaimi said.

SK Nunuyan Laut headmaster Mohd Busrah Nordin, a local, said most of the teachers take 30 minutes to communte between here and island as there is shortage of quarters for school staff.

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