Miri teacher uses traditional costumes to liven up online classes

Miri teacher Nancy Maria in her elaborate Melanau bride costume she wore during an online class. — Picture from Facebook/Nancy Maria

By John Isaac

A TEACHER in Miri, Sarawak has her very own way of bringing fun to online classes by dressing up in a variety of traditional costumes.

Nancy Maria admitted it wasn’t easy teaching online as the pandemic continues to ravage the nation, forcing schools to close.

While virtual classes may not be the same as a physical classroom setting, that doesn’t mean the sessions have to be less engaging.

Or fashionable.

The 43-year-old educator has been going to her closet for inspiration and has since worn a saree and traditional tribal costumes from East Malaysia’s diverse native community.

During her Bahasa Melayu class for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia students, Nancy put on an elaborate Melanau bridal costume.

The 43-year-old teacher makes a peace sign while chatting to students on Google Meet. — Pictures from Facebook/Nancy Maria

“This dress is from my personal collection that I have prepared for our school’s Fashion Day in conjunction with Merdeka month but I didn’t get to wear it due to Covid-19,” she wrote, adding that her husband is Melanau.

In her post, the mum of two shared with followers the lessons learned during the movement control order, in particular, teaching with digital technology.

“There’s a lot of technology we old teachers are starting to learn.

“From not knowing how to use Google Meet, Google Classroom, presenting slides and virtual quizzes, we worked hard to learn even though it was tough at first,” she said.

Nancy added that she was terrified of clicking any buttons on Google Meet, out of fear of accidentally leaving the session and not knowing how to return to class.

“So many new experiences we’ve encountered and we’ve learned so much since Covid-19 with the hope that our students are not left behind,” she said.

Her candid post garnered 2,000 likes and over 200 comments since it was posted this afternoon.

Nancy says teachers have to learn to adapt to teaching with digital technology during the pandemic which isn’t always easy. — Pictures from Facebook/Nancy Maria

Recently, the passionate teacher wore a Dusun Tatana costume from Kuala Penyu, Sabah, which she dedicated to her friends in the Land Below the Wind.

The post attracted more than 3,000 likes and more than 400 comments, many praising her dedication and her impeccable fashion sense.

“It’s not easy teaching online but I’m trying hard to enjoy and savour each moment,” Nancy wrote on Facebook yesterday.

She also previously made headlines for responding to her students’ request to wear a traditional Iban costume for their online class.

Nancy’s love for traditional wear isn’t just confined to virtual classrooms.

The gardening and gym enthusiast wore an Orang Ulu tribal costume when she successfully tracked Nepal’s Annapurna Base Camp in December last year. – This article first appeared in MalayMail Online