NUMed offers several teaching fellow posts for newly qualified NUMed MBBS graduates each year. Teaching fellows contribute to the development, coordination and delivery of the teaching for the NUMed MBBS course. I first heard of the teaching fellow post in 2018, and I have been quite interested in it since then. As I have always liked to share my knowledge and experiences with others, I am sure that I would enjoy it a lot. However, I knew that it surely wouldn't be easy to get the post.
In April 2019 when I was in Stage 5 of MBBS, NUMed opened the application for the teaching fellow post. I definitely thought of applying for it. However, the application involved writing a personal statement and curriculum vitae, which I felt was a daunting task. Just a few weeks before that, I had a huge crisis with my group mates. The crisis made me lose my self-confidence to some extent. On one occasion, one of my group mates mentioned that he would be applying for the teaching fellow post. I then said that I was interested in applying as well, but he ignored me and didn't continue to talk about it. In the end, I chose not to apply for the post.
After the Stage 5 final exams in June 2019, I spent some time at the NUMed library every day, since I thought I would be leaving NUMed very soon. On 10 June 2019, it was the interview for the teaching fellow post application. At the library, I met a few students who were attending the interview. One of them was quite surprised that I didn't apply for the teaching fellow post, as she felt I would be a good fit for the job. That made me feel a bit regret about not applying for the post, but it seemed to be already too late. My group mate who applied for the post wasn't successful in his application.
On 13 June 2019, the Stage 5 final results was released, and it turned out that I failed the final exams. Consequently, I couldn't graduate in 2019 and I had to repeat the entire Stage 5. Later, I realised that I would have another opportunity to apply for the teaching fellow post in the following year, and I told myself that I mustn't miss out on it again. My family members were very supportive of my decision to apply for the post. Throughout my repeat year of Stage 5, I often took the initiative to assist my friends who needed help in certain subject areas, using the knowledge I gained from my previous year.
In April 2020, one of my friend who was a NUMed teaching fellow created a WhatsApp group for all those who were thinking of applying for the post. I joined the group and found out that many of my close friends were also interested in applying. That made the teaching fellow post even more attractive for me. However, due to the disruptions caused by Covid-19, there was no news about the teaching fellow post application for a long time. I was a bit worried that there might be no teaching fellow recruitment in 2020, but a few lecturers told me that NUMed was still planning to go ahead with the recruitment, just that they were waiting for the approval from Newcastle University UK.
On 6 August 2020, I passed my repeat year of Stage 5 and graduated from the NUMed MBBS course successfully. On 10 September 2020, the application for the teaching fellow post was finally open. To apply, I had to write a personal statement and curriculum vitae. The submission deadline was 18 September 2020. There were two options, a 3-month post or a 9-month post. I definitely chose the 9-month post. I knew that if I apply for the 3-month post, I would regret it when the 3 months is up, just like how I regretted my decision to not do my Elective 1 in UK during Stage 4 of MBBS. I put a lot of efforts in writing a good personal statement and curriculum vitae.
Eventually, I was really satisfied with my personal statement and curriculum vitae and I submitted them to NUMed on 16 September 2020. I was very confident of being shortlisted for interview. The shortlist was supposed to be out on 21 September 2020, but I didn't hear anything from NUMed on that day. On 22 September 2020, much to my disappointment, NUMed informed me that my application for the teaching fellow post was unsuccessful, without giving any reason. I really couldn't understand why I wasn't shortlisted for interview. I definitely wrote the personal statement and curriculum vitae very well. I also fulfilled nearly all of the essential and desirable criteria stated in the Person specification. The only exception was that I didn't have a Master of Medical Education, which no other applicant had anyway.
After giving it some thoughts, I decided to make an appeal as I didn't want to give up so easily. I sent NUMed an email where I emphasised my fulfilment of the essential and desirable criteria and urged them to give me the opportunity to attend an interview. Several of my close friends gave me words of encouragement for that and I really appreciated it. The shortlisted applicants had their interviews on 23 September 2020. On that evening, I received an email from NUMed. It turned out that NUMed decided to invite me for an interview! I didn't really expect that my appeal would be successful and I was so happy about that.
Nevertheless, I was aware that the interview wouldn't be easy. In some ways, the interview is like the MOSLER exam, which had always been my weak point throughout my MBBS course. I decided that I would just do my best in the interview, and if I am still not successful, I would just accept the outcome gracefully. To prepare for the interview, I looked up the internet for common interview questions for lecturer jobs. I also did some revision for my medical knowledge, just in case I get tested on them during the interview.
My interview was held online through Zoom at 1:45PM on 25 September 2020. Coincidentally, I got interviewed by the same lecturer who interviewed me when I was applying to study MBBS at NUMed back in June 2014. The interview wasn't too difficult and most of the questions were those that I had expected. It lasted for about 20 minutes. I felt that I performed reasonably well in the interview, but I wasn't sure if it was sufficient for me to get the teaching fellow post. I estimated that my chances of success was about 50%.
At 5PM on that day, NUMed sent me an email to inform that they had offered me the 9-month teaching fellow post. I was overjoyed. Getting the teaching fellow post had been my dream for quite some time, and now it has finally come true! This is another great life event for me after I successfully completed the MBBS course in the previous month. However, the imperfection is that a few of my close friends who applied for the teaching fellow post weren't successful in the interview. In my opinion, they are definitely qualified for the teaching fellow job and NUMed really should have offered them the post.
As the teaching fellow job would begin in just a week time, I had to arrange for my accommodation urgently. Unlike students, teaching fellows are unable to apply for the NUMed managed accommodation. After considering a few places for the accommodation, I chose EcoNest as it's cheaper and I really like the place after having stayed there for the past 2 years. I travelled to Johor Bahru and moved into EcoNest on 29 September 2020. My new unit is really nice, and it's located at Tower A of EcoNest. Interestingly, I stayed at Tower C during my first year of Stage 5 and at Tower B during my repeat year of Stage 5, thus enabling me to experience all three towers of EcoNest.
On 30 September 2020, I and the other teaching fellows met one of the lecturers at NUMed for the Year 3 teaching induction. On 1 October 2020, I started the NUMed teaching fellow job officially. The first week just consisted of some induction sessions. On 2 October 2020, I went to Hospital Sultan Ismail to help coordinate the first hospital visit of the Year 3 students, but I wasn't involved in any teaching. My teaching began on the week starting from 5 October 2020. On that week, I delivered teaching for spirometry as well as spine and knee orthopaedics. My students are quite satisfied with my teaching.
Now, I can say that I enjoy my teaching fellow job a lot. I definitely made the right decision to apply for it, and I am so grateful that I succeeded in the application. I look forward to all the fun and challenges that lies ahead.
Read the sequel of this story here: