Sarawakian teacher one of five McDonald’s inspirational award winners nationwide

Mohd Nur Hifzhan and his award – New Sarawak Tribune Pix

By John Isaac

MOHD Nur Hifzhan Noordan, 25, of SK Kuala Kenyana, Mukah has won the McDonald’s Inspired Teacher Award 2021.

He is one of the two Sarawakian teachers who have won the award; the other being Kalai Ampi of SK Nanga Tau, Sebauh.

They were among 25 nationwide who received the award for which about 4,000 teachers were nominated online.

Hifzhan was announced as one of the winners last May 10 by a McDonald’s representative.

According to reports in New Sarawak Tribune, his prizes consisted of RM5,000 cash, a trophy and a certificate but he has not received them yet.

“I was shocked and in disbelief when I learnt that I have won. I would like to thank McDonald’s for having chosen me as one of the recipients of the award.

“It never crossed my mind that a rural teacher like me is able to inspire everyone, especially the students.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to my family members, friends and colleagues who have never stopped supporting me in carrying out my duties as an educator, and also my students,” he said.

Hifzhan is a graduate of the Institute of Teacher Education (IPG) Rajang Campus who specialises in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Visual Arts Education. He has been teaching for two years now right since his graduation in 2019.

He was nominated by one of his Year 6 students, Leon Li Gabbriell Bakar who wrote a touching story about how the teacher inspired him from Year 4 up until now.

For his efforts, Leon will be given a RM200 McDonald voucher as a token of appreciation.

As an educator in a rural area, Hifzhan understands the hardships that his students face financially.

Hence, he always has a complete set of stationery on his teacher’s desk in case his students need it.

“On the first day of the school session, I gave each student a set of stationery and some exercise books. I was worried their parents might not be able to provide these necessities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I believe that spending a little of my monthly salary on my students will not make me poor. In Islam, I was taught that if I made other people’s life journey easier for them, then Allah SWT would also make my life journey easier.

“In other words, when I do good deeds to others, in the end, I will be awarded with good deeds as well,” he said.

Hifzhan’s contributions to his students do not end there. He has also contributed ideas to his school in terms of co-curriculum and innovation; for these, he had won three awards internationally and two nationally.

So far, he has encouraged his students to take part in three competitions — one at the international level and others at the national and state levels.

“Last year, I submitted 10 entries in the e-Mansang Anak Sarawak (eMAS) contest and one of my students was among the top 10 winners.

“Recently, I also submitted entries for a Colouring Competition organised by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation at the national level for the preschool level to Year 6,” he said.

“Besides that, I also encouraged my students to participate in a Minecrafts Competition even though it was foreign to them.

“Being in a rural area is not an excuse for them to hold back from competitions. I hope my success will inspire others. When there is a will, there is a way,” he added.

According to Hifzhan, he was not a high flyer or a recipient of the outstanding awards before.

He is grateful for the guidance of his fellow mentors Vitcsy Michael Niob, Sallena Mohd Shukor and Dr Ling Pik Kuong.

“Without them, I will not be where I am now.

“As long as my students love me and understand what I teach, it is more than enough. It is not easy to teach English because it is not our mother tongue,” added Hifzhan.