I just came back from teaching extra class for the hostel students. Despite having a long tiring day at school plus the extra one hour to teach the students in the evening, I felt very much contented.
Tonight the reality of the phrase Guru Pembina Negara Bangsa really hit me right on my face. *Sorry, I dunno how to translate that in English*.
The architecture of civilizations...Penjana Kuasa Intelek..Teachers being the leader in sense of direction for the nation..Agen Perpaduan..yada yada yada..
So much of the bombastic language to sum up the greatness of being a teacher.
Yet, the simplest thing that touched me deeply to really serve my function as a teacher was the moment that I saw a student was writing with a 1.5 inch pencil on some scrappy paper during the extra class just now.
Me: Itu la pensel yang ko ada umandak?
Girl: Nda la cigu, ada lagi bah
She ransacked her frail looking almost flat pencil case. Then she showed me another pencil. A similar one but slightly longer. I can only shake my head. I checked her pencil box, there were not much inside. Two pens, one empty pen ( the one without the ink inside, badan saja ada ). and that two super short pencils.
She is one super petite girl, below average for girls her age. One of the students who came far from the ulu kampungs in Tamparuli and have to stay in the hostel to pursue secondary education. With her size like that, she is also slow compared to the average students. She is having a hard time to solve (-5) x 12, where the rest of the class are busy discussing about Pythagoras' Theorem.
As I was helping her with that simple multiplication things, I asked her to erase her previous calculations. And guess how big was her eraser. A mere 2cm. Almost none. How sad is that?
Me: Nah, pensel sama pemadam. Jaga bagus-bagus tu ah.
Girl : Terima Kasih ah cigu.
With her look in her eyes and the "terima kasih", it almost bring me to tears. I turned away and pretended to be strong. I continued the discussion of Pythagoras' Theorem with the rest of the class. The hunger pangs that I had during the early part of the extra class suddenly had gone away. I have never felt so blessed.
As I sit down and typing this post, I pretty much got reminded again why I ended being a teacher now.
All my life, I never wanted to be a teacher. NEVER. That's with a big capital N. I cried at the moment I got the offer to pursue science in education last time. When I graduated and started working, I almost jump ship to the hospitality industry leaving the education line behind.
I have been told from time to time while I was a student, that I do have a talent being a teacher. But, I always brushed it off saying that I am better off as a dentist or a doctor.
Just that, the moment that I had tonight is an instant reality check for myself. Being a teacher is more than those so-called short working hours that some people say we do have, so-called many holidays compared to other professions, so-called easy job as some people might claim it to be.
Teachers are engineers of human being, architects of the intellectual power of mankind. Where every profession that you see there's always a teacher behind that big picture.
I may not have the glamorous life of a celebrity, big fat pay check like some professions, adventurous journey of people around the world and I am not perfect and kind as an angel. Yet, I do know if I have my intentions right and sincerity in doing this, I am very much satisfied.
Like what from I get from the Teacher's Day forum that I attended once. To be an educator, you can never go for the status, money or fame. If you want all that, then pursue another career.
Thanks for that tiny pencil incident. I came to open up my eyes now. Teaching is not a job, it is just part of my life.