Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I remember the first week she stayed at the hostel. She cried, and cried, and cried. Poor little girl being away from home for the first time. Soleha didn't talk much, whatever happened she insisted to go back home. In school she wore wrinkled uniform and there were whispers about her being a stinky kid. That struck me as plain cruel of these kids to label a person like that. Oh, well...children, what do you expect? I decided to ask her dorm mates. One said, "Teacher, dia tak basuh basuh baju..." The other uttered, "Teacher dia tak gosok baju". Another whispered, "Teacher, dia malas mandi. Kalau ramai orang dia bukan mandi pergi sekolah!" Was this really true? I approached Soleha and very subtly broached the subject. What started off as a simple get-to-know each other conversation turned out to reveal many things about this often quiet and shy girl. Soleha's family consists of only three people. Her father passed away a few years back and her mother worked at a school canteen, earning a few hundreds to bring up her daughters. Soleha's sister is in standard 5 and the reason why she doesn't iron her school uniform is simply because she never had an iron at home. Okay, that explains. Apart from that, she's also a slow learner and that was said to be heridetary. That explains the part about her lack of self hygiene care. For most of us, everything is laid nicely on our first day of school, crisp new uniforms, white canvas shoes and a brand new backpack to match. We march into the school compund followed by a grown-up, ensuring that we have safely arrived at our school. We walk in confidently and try to find fimiliar faces, we also don't fail to make new friends on the first day. However for Soleha, not having a transport to school forced her to stay in the hostel. Her mother could not accompany her to school and she had to come with a neighbour who has a car. For most of us also, puberty comes when we are aware of what it is. Girls in school would equip themselves with sanitary napkins and they usually know the existance of bra as early as standard 2 and start putting them on at standard 5 or 6. For Soleha, it's a total shock to see that red blood stain on her undies. Plus, she doesn't even have a bra. After knowing this girl, I realised how blessed and lucky I have been. I have never seen such a thing and looking at this girl grinning and joyful despite her hardship really touched me. I on the other hand, keep complaining about life here. So, what can I do? Upon receiving the reward after my torturous SPM marking experience last year, I've decided to spare some cash to get Soleha some supplies. I got her next month's supply of Kotex plus some new undies. They were really cute! Haha...Soleha took the paper bag and smiled sheepishly. She didn't utter a word but I knew the contents of that paperbag meant something to her. It felt great :)
May 16 - the only day you see teachers really smiling, hehe...really? nah, teachers also smile when students do well in exams, give good answers or even a simple gesture of greeting teachers as students pass by them. On this very day, at least a teacher's frown is not visible, a teacher feels happy that they are doing this noble deed for the betterment of the younger generation. Isn't that something? Often times, we only see the fierce side of them, forgetting that what they are doing is merely a responsibility, a promise to the nation that they will do whatever it takes to prepare the young generation for the real world out there. It's not so much of producing strings of As, but more of hoping and expecting to see positive attitude in students. Praying that they will be hardworking, take education and life seriously and most importantly become successful in the future both here and in the hereafter. On a personal level, although I've had my share of disappointments with students and there were times I lost some control and composure resulting in some of them feeling hurt inside but honestly, I mean well. Students always misunderstand this and hold grudges, maybe I've done that too as a student, but bottomline once teachers get back to the staffroom, that anger subsides and we always say, "Let's make tomorrow a better day. Start anew, and we'll see what happens." Kids, we love you! This reminds me of those great teacher movies; i.e. Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, Sister Act and The Dead Poet's Society. To follow their style, it's impossible given the surrounding and environment we're living in. However, I believe many teachers in Malaysia resemble that spirit of never giving up and perservering despite all the negative attitudes and feedback we get from our students. This profession defines the phrase a 'love hate relationship'. You hate it and love all at the same time. Once in it, you plunge into this pool of emotions and no matter how you try to be professional about everything you can only say at the end of the day, "I'm only human, I've done what I can the best way I know how." To my students especially 3 Venus kids - You can do it!!!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
My oh my, haven't I been silent for a LONG time...i don't think I have any fans, I also like it better that way because this blog was only meant to channel some of my thoughts over what is happening, has happened and possibly will happen in school. So, it's already five months since we started schooling this year. This time my responsibilities include teaching both form 6 classes and 1 form 3 class. I'm also the Ketua Unit MUET - which means my job encompasses registering students for MUET, preparing them for the exam, make sure the payment is made on time, preparing the exam hall and become the invigilator for the speaking test. I went through quite a lot doing all these things, but they weren't too bad...although in the beginning I was quite anxious and pretty confused I've somewhat got the hang of it now. The only BIG problem I'm facing now is with the form 3 students - they're weak in English, lazy and has little motivation to learn. Of course not all of them but the small number still frustrates me. I've tried numerous ways and even lost my composure once. Alhamdulillah, I'm slowly seeing some changes in them. Here's the real challenge people, dealing with really weak students. It sometimes makes me feel like a failure. There were times when it felt like I've not achieved anything, but the little positive responses that I get are crucial to help me tell myself that I must not give up - EVER! I've got to go outside the confines of the syllabus, but the limitations often times kill my drive. How am I supposed to teach what is in the textbook when my students don't even know what a doctor does - not that they don't know but they just can't say it in English. Their repertoire of english vocabulary is too little sometimes I think my niece knows more words than they do! God, that's painful! It does sound like I'm complaining, but seriously it's mostly stress and frustration. Let's talk about something else then, something outside the classroom...