Thursday, August 13, 2009

Diary of a Teacher

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*.

Things like..
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.


defoo said...

My beloved mother is also a teacher. At times she will talk to me about all her wonderful stories from when she started out as an educator till now. Her stories moved me in many ways. She made me understand the true meaning of being an educator, a teacher. "If we treat and teach our students well, other teachers will also do the same to us. Each time when we don't feel doing our best, think that we want other teachers to do their best for our childrens, so we will then also do out best."

Joan - You're doin great there.

TaQuiLa said...

i am touched..

macam ko juga, the word NOT for this profession was very high last time. i was even stress and depress for the first couple of months been posted. But i just don't know from where and how come i slowly love teaching.seriously! maybe because of my surrounding and the kid's situation, it seems like everyday they made me in tears and joys..hurmmm..penyakit emo suda ni

ba anyway, keep up ur work!

erizabesu said...

great post joan..
it's an eye opener for me too

Kris and Nadia said...

like ur post.. sya pun mcm c sheila juga... and maybe like you juga.. susah ba jadi cikgu pula kan.. sumtimes sya pun terasa mau kasi crita apa yg sya lalui d skul coz i feel wonderful to be a teacher.. :)

Frankie said...

Nice post ... I remember of my teacher who said that "Kamu stress cikgu bg kerja rumah yg banyak?Tertekan? Good...dgn adanya tekanan lah manusia boleh maju lebih ke hadapan" I used to think that she is being too much for giving us add math questions beyond the SPM standard...and now I realize that a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework is a teacher for life. Selamat menabur bakti, Joan...

PS: So much for a 1st comment in ur blog,huh?

bengodomon said...

I haven't visited your blog for a long time, then I came across what you wrote: I think this should be the blogpost of the year, for Sabah at least. This should be made compulsory reading not just for every teacher, but also everybody in the civil service! It made me think back and be thankful to my teachers at my very "kampungan" primary school in Rangalau Baru. If not for them, I would not be where I am today. Keep up the good work.

Joan said...

thanx you all. I appreciate the comments all, I totally didnt expect this post can be so touching to others as well.