I heaved myself into the classroom from chemistry lab to complete today’s lesson. Miss Zee was waiting patiently at the teacher’s desk with a faithful smile carved on her face. Noises of heavy footsteps dragging towards the class were clearly audible; marking our sluggishness and lethargy -the usual episode of every last period – despite our 5 minutes’ tardy.
Miss Zee asked “What did you guys have before this? Did you just complete 100 Add Maths questions?”
That simply put smiles, even giggles, on our faces. She continued making conversations unrelated to the topic of the day – The Pearl that we were bound to learn. We would chat about the “scrumptious” lunch awaiting at the dining hall, her husband’s (who is the Physics teacher) disapproval of her wearing 3 inches high heels, on the grounds that Pressure on the feet increases as the soles becomes smaller, to the extent of the ludicrous phenomenon of “The Annoying Orange”. Several minutes passed and we were all loosened up and adjusted for the life of Kino, Juana and Coyotito in The Pearl. The writing of John Steinbeck which deemed to be indigestible at first turned out to be fairly comprehensible and quite fascinating once our moods were elevated.
* * *
The disturbed look and worried eyes of Puan Salmiah were quite obvious the moment she entered our classroom for Additional Mathematics lesson. After exchanging salutations, she somehow transformed into her usual lively self. Not even a trace of blues could be sensed from her expression anymore. She taught us with total enthusiasm and persistently inquiring us on our understanding until we truly master the ever so intricate and bamboozling methods and principles of the subject.
In the midst of her fervent explanation, her phone rang. Answering the caller, the same look she had worn when she entered the classroom earlier surfaced again, only this time it’s more lucid, as no effort was made to conceal it. She excused herself and ran out of the classroom, leaving us with perplexed looks masking all of our faces wondering about what could have happened.
The next day we learned that Puan Salmiah’s daughter had passed away after 5 days of being admitted to the hospital due to a terrible accident.
* * *
Loud chatters, shrilling laughs and Pop&Rock music jammed the classroom as Mr Ahamd was absent from the class today. The class was a circus. Papers were scrunched up by the boys to create a big white ball inscribed with numerous thin red lines. Desks and chairs were rearranged, voiding a wide area fit for their mini football tournament. The noise started to amplify as the match begun. They played actively and performed many kinds of skills as though the match was the finals of the World Cup Series while we, the girls, carried on chatting and minding our own businesses. The SPM trial exam which was only a month away didn’t seem to bother any of us.
A loud banging on the door was suddenly heard. Adjourning every little activity we had, we soared back to our respective seats. Puan Mariam was standing at the threshold of the door with a stunned look on her face. She said nothing but instructed us to istighfar a hundred times. Sparing us the chance to reflect upon ourselves independently without a long & winded blabber, she then left the class after we finised our ‘punishment’.
I could vividly remember, each of us were lost in our own thoughts afterwards; contemplating in remorse our foolish behaviours.
* * *
I could carry on and never come to a halt when it comes to reminiscing the memories I had with all my teachers, be it my favourite or not, as all of them had played very significant characters throughout my life.
The first ever formal education that every child in this world received would come from the person whom we called teacher. From recognizing alphabets and naming objects, to solving plexuses of questions and conducting research, all were set off from the guidelines derived by our teachers. As we grow older and wiser, we learned to acquire knowledge on our own, be it by surfing through websites or referring to thick paperbacks, due to the fact that the knowledge sought does not satisfy us the same to the knowledge fed. We might even reach to a point of conducting our own investigation.
However, at the end of the day, the journey will always bring us back to our teachers, lecturers or professors, especially in time of difficulty or uncertainty.
Do you know why?
It is because the major reason of their presence is not merely to teach us education and provide us information, but to be the person who clarifies doubts for us and to ensure that we understand the core concepts of each subject, which keeps us on the right track.
When being asked to list down the name of people who had brought major impacts in your life and affected you tremendously, how many of us had ever excluded our parents? Presumably none. Maybe a few of our best friends also made it into the list.
But frequently, we may forget to jot down our teachers’ names. This is because we never really try to see our teachers’ efforts with compassionate and appreciative eyes, despite the sacrifices they had made, which would actually mount up to a level higher than what even our closest friends did. We tend to regard them as individuals who were only carrying out their responsibility of teaching and we simply forget the vision that they withhold which is for us, the students to grasp the subject matter perfectly hence securing our future.
All those extra classes on weekends, additional tutorials at night, whole-day-seminars on holidays and above all, being there each time any student requests further explanations, I strongly believe that these could never be done on the basis of sole responsibility alone, but comes as a package with a noble dream of aspiring the students’ successes in their lives.
One of the most amazing traits that I believe teachers possess is their capability to pick us up and put us in a position of being attentive despite the various states of minds we have in the class. It comes naturally for them to have the best idea of handling the situation and eventually pulling everyone’s focus on them like a magnet. Aside from the understanding parents we have, I suppose that teachers are also considerate as much. They tolerate us well when we experience rough and hard times; hardly ever jumping to conclusions and reprimanding us.
They understand our stress and weariness every time without fail, especially during high school when we are loaded with countless homework, assignments and activities which all piles up and leaving us exhausted at the end of each day. Even if they see our tired faces daily, never once had they perceived them as a lack of interest. Instead, they kept on motivating and reminding us about the importance of education.
Their soft but powerful words of advices never fail to wake us up and bring us back to the right track. Without their ceaseless encouragement, we would probably end our high school without much meaning, or even worse, we might not even understand the true value of the education itself.
Thus, this goes to people who take up the lifelong challenge of carrying the burden of sculpting the future of young generations on their shoulders.
To those who leave the comfort of their family and home to be present at every extra class in the evening or weekends, and even coming earlier than the students in order to ensure we understand every bit of the lesson clearly.
To those who always have more concern for us, even more than ourselves, pertaining our preparation and readiness when the examination is just around the corner.
To those who never feel bored and find pleasure in entertaining the students, regardless of the time and place, I can never thank you enough for the treasure that I’m destined to experience! May He bestow upon you – Teachers of the World – the best reward in this life, and the hereafter.