Kathiresan Moorthy: A Journey of Perseverance and Innovative Teaching
BY: Michelle Liew
In the realm of education, there are individuals whose stories not only inspire but also exemplify the transformative power of perseverance and innovation. Kathiresan Moorthy, a 38-year-old award-winning primary school teacher from Pahang, Malaysia, stands as a testament to the triumph of determination over adversity. Despite facing numerous challenges, Kathiresan has not only become an exemplary educator but has also garnered recognition for his innovative teaching methods.
Overcoming Academic Hurdles:
Kathiresan's journey in education wasn't a smooth one. In 2002, after receiving a discouraging grade of 7D for his Bahasa Melayu SPM paper, he faced the daunting task of re-sitting the exam seven times. Undeterred by setbacks, he persevered, fueled by his mother's unwavering encouragement. Despite financial challenges and skepticism from others, Kathiresan pressed on.
The Turning Point:
Operating a modest cafeteria at the Kuala Lipis Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) campus to fund his studies, Kathiresan contemplated giving up after his sixth attempt. However, two senior teachers stepped in, providing the support and motivation he needed. With their encouragement and a renewed determination, he scored a B+ on his seventh attempt. At 24, he could finally pursue his dream of becoming a teacher.
Educational Pursuits and Achievements:
Kathiresan's educational journey continued as he enrolled in the Raja Melewar Institut Pendidikan Guru campus in Seremban, earning a first-class bachelor's degree in physical education at the age of 32. This achievement set the stage for his impactful career in teaching.
Innovative Teaching Methods:
As a firm believer in modifying and improving existing teaching methods, Kathiresan has developed alternative approaches to cater to the needs of diverse learners. One notable example is his creation of "Tapak Kaki Kathi," a kinesiology teaching aid made from recycled materials. This innovative tool supported students at SK Kampong Aur in improving their footwork for netball, resulting in eight students qualifying for state competitions.
Additionally, Kathiresan introduced the "8 Konstruk Kathi" teaching kit at SK Bukit Ridan in Muadzam Shah, which focuses on reading and games. Divided into two phases, the kit proved successful in enhancing basic and advanced skills, with students able to read their textbooks effectively within six weeks.
Commitment to Continuous Improvement:
Kathiresan's commitment to self-improvement and student-centered teaching is evident through his involvement in action research in the classroom. By addressing personal challenges and incorporating innovative findings into his instructional approach, he ensures that teaching is not only effective but also engaging for his students.
Mentoring and Coaching:
Currently pursuing a doctorate in sports science, Kathiresan is not only an accomplished teacher but also a mentor to nearly 400 Pahang school teachers. His dedication extends to coaching and motivating SPM students who struggle academically. He frequently visits SK Mahmud in Raub, where he taught until November last year, to provide guidance and support to his former colleagues.
A Message to Students:
As SPM examinations approach, Kathiresan's advice to Form Five students are rooted in wisdom gained from his own experiences. He encourages them to set clear goals, understand their strengths and weaknesses, seek help from teachers, and work diligently towards achieving success. His heartfelt prayer is that all students will attain the results they aspire to.
Kathiresan Moorthy's journey from academic struggles to becoming an award-winning teacher is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and innovation in education. His story inspires not only students but also educators to continuously strive for improvement, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. As Kathiresan continues to make a positive impact in the field of education, his legacy serves as a beacon of hope for those facing their own educational challenges.