You’re too fat to be a teacher, woman told
KUCHING: When Joanna Gilbert Asson was accepted for a postgraduate course at the Teachers Training College Rajang, she was beside herself with joy. But that joy was scuppered thanks to an insensitive senior official at the college.
Joanna, 29, claimed she was discriminated against when the man told her that she was too fat to become a teacher. She wants the Education Ministry to do something about it. Joanna claimed the man told her: “You’re fat. You can’t possibly be a teacher. You look unhealthy, come back next year after you’ve slimmed down.”
A business administration graduate from Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Joanna sat for an examination and was interviewed by a panel from the college on May 19. After being told that she was successful, she reported to the college on June 22, accompanied by her parents. She paid the RM300 registration fee, collected additional forms, including those for a medical test and waited for her turn. It was then that the senior official called her into his office and told her she was fat.
“How can he judge me by my appearance alone? I have not undergone a government medical test but he was confident that I am sick.”
Joanna said she went for a medical test at a private hospital before registering, but the college rejected the result because it was not from a government clinic. In frustration, Joanna wrote to the ministry to withdraw from the course and for a refund of the registration fee.
“During the interview, nothing was said about my weight. They can see from the form that I am 110kg.”
State Education director Dr Julaihi Bujang said the college official should not have acted that way but declined to comment further. The Education Ministry’s Teacher Education Division in Putrajaya could not be contacted for comment.
I am fat, there’s no denying that and everybody knows that…and I served in the Education service for 30 years before I retired. I would not say that I was the best teacher but I can safely say that I was definitely better than many of the skinny ones around.
I headed a team of examiners marking the SPM English Language 1119 papers until I retired and one of the best I had was Madam Neigne from Sarikei High School. Like me, she has retired from the service having served much longer than I did. She was fat…and she still is. I am sure all her ex-students would say that she was a dedicated and hardworking teacher and despite her shape and size, she was the state MSSM (Majlis Sukan Sekolah-sekolah Malaysia) netball coach.
Graduates from the English Faculty, Universiti Malaya would definitely have nothing but praises and profound gratitude for the lecturer whom they fondly call “Rolly Polly”. I have met her a few times at seminars and workshops but we never got acquainted personally. And she was fat…and I’m sure she still is.
I wonder who that “insensitive senior official” at the Rejang Teacher’s Training Institute is. Is he thin? Was he ever a teacher? Perhaps we should ask HIS students whether he was a good teacher. Is he a lecturer? Perhaps HIS trainees would like to share their opinions about him. Imagine THIS kind of INSENSITIVE people in the institute training the teachers-to-be! (And for the record, I know that there is MORE than just one of them!) What kind of teachers would he be capable of producing? INSENSITIVE ones, EXACTLY like him?