Sunday, August 19, 2007

Confessions of a 'Checher'

Student 1

It was a very longgg day and my mind was struggling to keep up with my surroundings. So I thought, I better go home and bring my work with me.

I packed my things and was about to leave the school compound when I heard one of my students screamed my name and literally flew down the stairs and hugged me who was leaden with two bags full of papers and books.


Suddenly the weariness that I felt moments ago left my body and we were both laughing and jumping happily! Lol. Really, sometimes I forget that I'm supposed to be a teacher! Behave woman!

Student 2

"Cherrr, thank you for everything. Thank you for your support. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!" His face was shining. His eyes were twinkling. His smile was broad and both of his thumbs were pointing upwards. He looked soooo happy that it was contagious! Everyone was smiling happily looking at his happy face! hehe.

Student 3

"Cherrr!! I got a 'D'! Inda plang credit but dulu aku dapat 'U'! So aku happy cherrr!! Thank You!!"

Hmmmm, now, I have a mixed feeling about this one. Hehe.


Yes as you might have guessed, my students' results came out three days ago. Really, it is times like these that make you think those sleepless nights, those long hours you spent marking your students' work, those sweat and tears you shed when preparing their notes and handouts and the sore throat that you felt after speaking on top of your lungs for 3 hours straight, are actually worthwhile. Nothing feels better than knowing that you have made a difference in someone's life - albeit a little.

I can't tell you how many times the idea of walking out of my current profession crossed my mind. Many times, I told myself, I can't do this anymore. Many times, I told myself, thats it! This will be the last time that I'm going to be treated this way. Many manyyyyy times I said to myself, I don't know how to do this, I'm not good at this, this job is not for me and I've failed them!

But looking at those hopeful faces somehow makes me want to push myself. They make me endure those sleepless nights. They make me explore those hidden talents that I never knew I had. They make me truly understand the true meaning of responsibility, perseverance......and also hope.

Sometimes I wonder if my students knew how much impact they've made on me. I've lost count of the number of times when I watched some tv programme and came across a particular scene and thought, " Heyyy, I should tell my students this - it might be useful for their project". Or when I went to the market and saw leaflets of some advertisement and thought "OOhhh, I should use this for teaching tomorrow, it can help them understand this and this ." Orrr when I was reading a particular book and came across some information and thought " Heeyyy, such and such asked me about this yesterday. I must tell her about this tomorrow".

Surely, if someone or a group of people managed to creep into your conscious and subconscious minds THAT often, those people must be very important in your life.

And they are. They truly are.

I mean sure they come and go every year. And many times they do get on my nerves (especially when they don't hand-in their work and come up with some out-of-this-world excuses for it), but still, at the end of the day, I still want them to do well and be a somebody one day.

One of my students wrote an essay on how students and teachers tend to have a 'love-and-hate relationship' with each other. She wrote how the students hate the teachers for giving them lots of homework and how the teachers hate the students for not handing in their homework. But at the end of the day, they still talk to each other, listen to each other and joke around together. I smiled after reading the essay and wrote a note at the bottom: " I don't think I've ever hated my students. Irritated, yes, but hate? Nope. :D" hehe. Oh by the way, her essay was based on this article.

My mom, who was also a teacher, said her teacher once said this: Kerja guru ini bukan kerja setengah hari tapi kerja 24 jam. (A teacher's job is not a half-day job but it's a 24hrs job.)

And I thought, how true.

Back then, I always thought teaching must be one of the easiest jobs in the world. One just need to go into the class, write some sentences on the board, discuss those sentences with the students and once the clock stikes at 12:30, waaa lah! You're done for the day.

But there was one minor detail that I overlooked. A teacher does not teach only one student per day. Most teach about 70-100 students per day. And some even teach different subjects per day. On top of that, some even teach different levels per day. Don't even make me start on our non-teaching duties.

Yep, lets just say that teachers are pretty good at multi-tasking.

Teachers are great actors too. Believe me, your teacher might be smiling happily and laughing along with you but you can never guess what goes on in her mind.

I remember when I first started teaching I came home crying everyday for two weeks. Ok ok i was a cry baby ok. hehe. But hey, teaching 4 classes of hormonal 13-18 year old boys can make any 21 year old a bit distressed you know. :p

So on that one extremely hot day, I just blew it. Never in my life I felt that much anger. The boys did not finish their homework, they didn't copy the notes written on the board, they didn't bother listening to me, some were busy laughing at the back of the class hence drowning my voice, some were busy clicking and comparing their handphones; and some were busy ogling a group of girls walking across the street!

And I thought that's it!

I packed my things, furiously yanked the door and left the class.

Now, in my previous school, one of the rules that all teachers must adhere to is that they should never ever leave their classes unattended.

At that point, I did not care. I just kept on walking and went straight to the washroom and washed my face. It was only my second week of teaching and already I was on the verge of giving up (and insanity!!)!

I was in the washroom for a good ten minutes when suddenly I heard the bell rang. It was time for my next class. I thought noooooooooooo!! Please I can't go. I can't face another 28 hormonal boys for 1 hour and 10 mins!

I washed my face a couple more times, fixed my hijjab and went out of the washroom. I did not immediately enter the class. I walked around here and there, trying to clear my head and hence I was 15 mins late.

When I entered the class, one of the boys said, " Ani jua teacher nahh! Kami cari-cari kita tadi di staffroom. Pikir kami kita lupa atau sakit." ( There you are miss! We were looking for you at the staffroom. We thought you forgot about the class or maybe you were sick."

I just smiled shakily and put my things on the teacher's table. I looked up and saw all 28 boys were looking at me expectantly. They looked ready to learn.

I forced myself to push the image of the boys in my previous class, apologised for being late and immediately proceeded with my lesson. To my surprise the lesson went well! So my day did not end with me trying to eat everyone's head off. hehe.

Hmm this is a rather long post don't you think? hehe. I can go on and on actually. If you are a teacher, you would probably be reminiscing your first few days of teaching right now. If you aren't, well you have a peek of the life of one of the persons your son/daughter/sister/brother or even yourself spend a few hours with each day.

On another note, a colleague, who was also one of my teachers back in high school (hehe!) said this to me the other day: “ Ehhh hari atu cigu tejumpa c *insert x school mate’s name here*, inda ia tagur cigu! Bagitau ia, cigu marah ja” ( Ehhh a few days ago I saw c*insert x school mate’s name here*, she didn’t say anything to me! Tell her I’m very upset).

To the teachers out there, a new week starting tomorrow, a new week full of adventure, ey?



Anonymous Yan said...


Girl, I TOTALLY undertand where you're coming from!

It's rewarding this profession we're in. A sincere heartfelt thank you and smile makes a world of a difference doesn't it?

I hope we still feel this way in the years to come, Amin :)

6:31 pm  
Blogger Bella said...

LOL hmm mcm ku tau previous school atu hahahhaha but yeah sapa pun nervous breakdown tu sana ah but now Alhamdulillah I guessed once you are there and u're still there.. there's bound to be some loopholes on how to get to them. sigh...

11:49 am  
Blogger Muslimah Melayu said...

Yan: amin to the doa babe. Sure we hv our ups and downs but which job doesnt? I guess Allah gave us this job cause it is the best one for us at this moment. :)

Bella: hehehe. Wherever we are, we can learn so much. I think i learn more now in this profession that when i was in highschool till Uni combined together!

3:37 pm  
Anonymous Running Freak said...

RESULT TIME is always a REWARD TIME for teachers, either in a positive way or in a negative way. Five of my students took Bio June. They are actually average students but managed to shine. 4 got B and the other one got a D. The reward came when they all came and thanked me for their achievement.

5:21 am  
Blogger Muslimah Melayu said...

Running freak: yes true. It can be quite an emotional time too. hehe. Actually, even a sincere smile from our students can light up our day. Btw congrats on the results! :D

10:30 am  

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