Mohamad Amir Irwan bin Haji Moksin thought he received a scam call when he was first told he would be receiving a prestigious education award from a Thai foundation.
“So I hung up,” he said in an interview at the Thailand Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.
Later, the 44-year-old English Literary Coach at Pengiran Kesuma Negara Bukit Beruang Primary School said he was told that the Ministry of Education was trying to reach him so he would be able to receive the award.
Mohamad Amir Irwan’s dedication in education was recognised by Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation. For promoting education in Brunei Darussalam, the foundation honoured him with the Princess Maha Chakri Award 2023.
The award commemorates outstanding teachers whose achievements have led to a significant impact on the students’ lives and a better education system.
The educator previously received the Excellent Service Medal, the Brunei Darussalam Excellent Teacher Award in 2021 and Dean’s List from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). Mohamad Amir Irwan began his education as a special needs student in primary school.
He did not know how to read, and was diagnosed with mild dyslexia which contributed to his difficulty in learning how to read and spell.
“I’ve failed my ‘O’ level in English language three times,” mused Mohamad Amir, “But later, I scored First Class in English linguistics (for my degree).”
He said he puts himself in the shoes of his students. “I know what’s it like,” he said, saying he empathises with his students’ struggles.
So he treats his students as if they were his own children, telling them: “I am firm, but I also care about you.”
Through that, he said his students listen to his advice and they have a good rapport.
He said, as a teacher, “it is important to have patience. Our students come from various social backgrounds. Some may have support from parents. Some do not.
“We need to pay more attention to students who do no have that support. Every student needs to be educated, taught, every child matters,” he said.
“Teachers have to have a high commitment so we can produce excellent students. We need to sacrifice time, resources and more to help them succeed.
“We do not only teach subjects, but also life. We deliver not only knowledge but the customs of our country,” he said. Mohamad Amir Irwan said that it is an honour to receive the Princess Maha Chakri Award 2023, adding that it boosts his motivation as a teacher.
It has been his ambition to become a teacher since his youth. “Therefore,” he said, “I really enjoy and love my job.”