Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HE Is My Student

11/6/2012 has bid farewell to me for the longest time, leaving me alone, like, forever and ever. Even if it isn’t my sweetheart having gotta leave me somehow! It’s left me just like a useless old piece of New Straits Time newspaper tossed by the street, just waiting for the rain to fall and get wet. C’mon!

The date means a lot to me, to be honest. It won’t ever come back even for another zillion years to come, for sure. I know. Nor even in the next year’s calendar. Once in a lifetime, in fact. But, what makes it so special to me, anyway?

Is it my twenty-fourth birthday? Of course not!

It’s not just a date. Like other ordinary dates in many years. It’s like a-date-to-remember in my 100 year life, I guess. But I’ve just lived on earth for no more than 24 years, anyway. Uh-oh. Honest mistake.

 Although the date’s gone for ages and will be vanishing in the world before long, I feel as though it was just yesterday. Somewhat complicated for  a too young guy like me to convince myself very proudly that today, I’ve been a school teacher for the last seven months! Seven months! I repeat.

OMG…what a success! I fancy screaming like hell at this second! As if I wanna let the world know about this good news. Only if were I nuts.

The date’s still freshly in my mind like fresh fruits – no question! As if it was just yesterday. As if I just got working at this rural secondary school. I think you ought to congratulate me on my success. The success which is all on the account of the longest working period in the history of my life. LOL. Again, what makes the date June 11 so special, anyway?  

Once upon a time back in June – 11/6/2012. The huge clock on the staff room wall near Cikgu Ling Kok Jing’s table said seven o’clock prompt, in the morning. West Malaysia’s time. I need to mention so just because Sarawak ‘receives’ the sunrise an hour earlier than Peninsular Malaysia. My geographic knowledge. Where the hell was I up to? Daydreaming of a Princess Charming? Heehee…

I was so impatiently looking forward to walking into my very first class. Allegedly. Which meant another two hours and forty minutes away. Just like me back at Uni when I couldn’t wait for my boring Sociology of Education lecture ended.

It was just because my lecturer spoke Indian English (He comes from an island country named Sri Lanka) which I found it really hard to figure his lecture out. His English sounded a little annoying most of the time. The lecture took 2 hours which I was sure the admin had made a mistake. They should shorten it to only half an hour. Heehee…

After a couple of hours waiting, now it’s time to begin my first step, heading to Class Form 3 Bestari. The class is said to be the smartest of all. Its location is on the third floor of the academic building. It’s the last one of the third-floor corridor! If using the shortcut, I most usually use the second stairs next to musalla.

I won’t use the shortcut just to get to the class more quickly. No way. The only reason for using the shortcut is because, (Please don’t laugh.) should I be in the mood of fashion, I would rather use the first stairs as I know I can surely hold a “fashion show”, walking as arrogantly as a popular superstar, displaying my so-called costly attire whilst heading straight to the last class confidently. Like a cat-walk? Oh please! But then, can’t deny, my students always find me attractive to be looked at, I suppose. Heehee…

To get there, I’ll have to walk few meters past the Multi-purpose Room, PSV Room, Senior Assistants offices, sewing workshop and musalla, of course.  

As I walked, I had no idea how I was feeling. Either delighted or probably not! The unseen brain deep in my head couldn’t help thinking about the induction set – what I was gonna begin my P & P. Even though I knew that the first day of teaching must always be preceded with an ice-breaking session. Oh God. “I was damn nervous!”

Something’s crossing in my mind. Aha. First impression! Yeah I recalled. “What’d I be like? A starving skinny lion? Or maybe a nervous little kitten?” I found myself thinking pretty hard to find an answer. Slightly serious and focused. Reminding myself about my lecturer’s advice, Dr Zainurin Abdul Rahman often insisted, “First impression really counts!”

I can still remember his lion-like face briefing us over a post-mortem on our teaching observation – but frankly, I wasn’t the least bit scared. He’s merely a handsome man, not an ugly ghost.

Why does one’s first impression matter? Do you know?

A teacher has gotta be careful or he’s dead?! The first class session is most typically when students acting like a doctor attending a patient make an evaluation of their teacher. The teacher’s behaviour. The teacher’s characteristics.

“Am I too fierce like a tiger? Ngauumm!!! Or too subtle like a homosexual? Hi Darling muah muah! Or, maybe, as friendly as Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza? Or as funny as Johan Raja Lawak?” They themselves will make their mind up.

Upon arriving at Class Form 3 Bestari, I randomly observed the students’ behaviour in the class from outside. Like a cheetah looking for a victim. I didn’t walk to the class directly. I conversely headed to the corner beside the back class door watching the nice, stunning, evergreen view of Kampung Rassau – mostly occupied by Christian Ibans.

I could make a prediction that there were a few students of that class observing my react. They might be identifying, “Who’s that handsome tall man standing outside?”

Of my observation, they could be guessing whether or not I was the new English teacher. I’m telling you, I like it when they had to wait and wonder for the answer! Because I so proudly wanted to tell them that I wasn’t an ordinary English teacher ‘imported’ from the Peninsula. I was a mantop one! ROFL.

I then walked into the class with overconfidence. I whereupon headed to a dusty teacher desk whereby it’s located right in the middle of the front part of the class. Behind the teacher table is actually a rectangular-shaped blackboard together with a whiteboard. “Err…this is pretty good. I may utilize both. I may write more on both of them! Leaving the students a whole lot of exercises and much more homework? Heehee…

The class monitor, Ferrylyse shortly stood up and bade me ‘Selamat pagi, Cikgu!’ and then followed loudly by the rest of the class. Now, every one of the 3 Bestari students was respectively looking straight at me. A new cute teacher who seemed too young to work in the teaching profession. I knew I must be looking good. My face must look freaking serious.

I responded in a teacher-like tone, “Good morning. Sit down.” They’re allowed to have a seat afterwards. The English response obviously indicated that the standing teacher before them wasn’t teaching any other subjects but the English language. The killer subject. That’s why I’ve gotta look like a killer too, have I not?

According to the properly suggested agenda, the induction set would be an ice-breaking session. Guess what I was gonna do? Having every student introduce themselves? Or, probably, having them recite a Malay poem? Usman Awang’s Guru Oh Guru poem for example as to celebrate my first day working? Absolutely not! This wasn’t a Music class, was it?

I wasn’t that fascinated to know every student’s name since I allegedly believe in my own theory that I’ll get to know them once I’ve begun teaching them. Sooner or later, I’d have known them more than a name. Day by day, week by week… I’ll as well know their characters. School students regularly have a variety of negative characteristics. Just few are positive. And, that it easy! I didn’t put any high expectation, anyway.

 Amongst the kind faces in front of me, some are lazybones, some too much pampered like a baby, some arrogant, some mischievous like monkeys, some passionate and diligent and some smart and some…stupid? Smart alec? Erm… maybe few.  Their respective characters would be evaluated thoroughly without giving them any grades. I would if they bothered finding it out. I’d already dreamt of the grade-giving session in class.

“You (idiot), of my thorough twelve month observation, you only deserve a C+ for your behaviour evaluation. Hope you’d keep improving your behaviour afterward. Good luck (little jerk),” I heard myself saying.

The class of Form 3 Bestari occupies 21 students. Of that number, only five of them are males. And the rest are certainly females (excluding homosexuals, if there’s any). So proud that there are three Muslim Melanau students in the class: Faridatul Syafiqah sitting in the second row and Arni the first front row of the middle part of the class and not forgetting Azura sitting in the last row at the back of the right part of the class. All the three students (are to) wear hijab to school (or otherwise I think they wouldn’t do that though it’s compulsory in Islam.)

Talking about nationality, the majority of the students is Melanau and the minority is Iban. It can be practically said that 95% of the total number of this secondary school students practice Christianity. It’s a new challenge in my life I have to undergo as a teacher. Not as easy as ABC when we teach non-Muslim students who don’t even share the same religious belief with us. I swear. As a matter of fact, lots of forbidden things too. Mind our language.

I mention Zikr Allah every so often with the intention of converting my students to Islam. Please, don’t tell them about this. Laa ikra ha fiddin. There’s no force in Islam. All I do is simply an endeavour.

Using the highest tone, like a popular singer, I presented myself to the class. I can’t have them knowing everything about me. Or else things wouldn’t be fun! They gotta seek it out on their own, as though they could google my name on the Net. Like a celebrity. I told them my full name which is crucial and it’s a must-remember name or their marks would be deducted without any consideration. I mean it. How cruel I am! I’ve never done this, though.

Besides all those ordinary matters, I too chanced to tell them all the way I got there during my first day I was posted at the rural school. Which I felt fucking upset in the first place for having to live in that rural area. With no roadways! No electric? No town nearby? Ah, damn! Even worse, no cell phone coverage?! Fuck!

I narrated all the journey, flights starting from Peninsular Malaysia to East Malaysia, to the ‘Land of Hornbill’. All I’m able to recall, they couldn’t help laughing out loud like crazy (Oh my God) when I deliberately used the verb ‘terbang’ (fly) which is supposed to mean ‘get on a plane’. Anyhow, I got it that they were only pulling my legs. Thought they were ‘evaluating’ me! – First impression really counts, remember? But I shan’t have them doing such a  stupid evaluation.

Using the verb ‘terbang’ (fly) sounds more boastful and high-class. I wanted them to feel a little jealous. LOL.

As soon as the ice-breaking session was over, for the following activity, we talked over a bit pertaining to the topics they had already learnt before I took over. It freaked me out big time as I was informed that they hardly learnt anything. Although it’s already in June?! What the fuck had the school been up to? It’s just another three months to go prior to the big exam. PMR. What a pity!

The English language class would be ending soon. I had had them take a piece of A4 paper out. Then, I wrote down on the blackboard every item I wanted them to fill in on that A4 paper. All info regarding their biodatas such as name, home address, pastime(s), favourite food and beverages and all that. Favourite teacher was excluded. Because I knew they mightn’t yet be willing to put my name as their favourite teacher. I was still new and had just gotten my first teaching started.  “What can I expect?” I thought.

The idea of the task was picked from my former teacher back in secondary school. Approximately 11 years ago. My Form 2 Science teacher named Mrs Salbiah Dagang – wow! Can still remember her full name after 11 years?! I know. I’m smart – used to instruct our class to do the same task on our first Science class.

In my opinion, this really matters because that way eases me to know them even better. All that night long, I’d been reading their written biodatas. I must say I was quite impressed. Even though a small number of them had real bad handwriting.

Today, so incredible that the school breaks will be ending pretty soon. In a couple of weeks’ time. And I hate to come back! I’ve known my 3 Bestari students’ characteristics really well now. I know which one is so lazy and which is completely hardworking. I sure can tell you now but I choose to keep it confidential. Besides, our student-teacher relationship is getting way closer than ever.

Is it because of my natural friendliness? Or my handsomeness? And that’s why they like meeting me a lot often that some teachers envy with me.

I admit. Nearly all my students I’ve taught look much friendlier with me. I’m so OK with them. Guess what? Few students seem to have been too close to me. Like a bosom friend. Well…I’ve never ever forced them but they themselves choose to get closer to me. What to do? I notice things have changed a lot for the last three months. How come? I dunno. Only do they know why. I like it, you know. Let them be. Vote for me. Lemme win the Most Popular Teacher Ever award. In my dream.

I wanna tell you that you’re about to find out what makes June 11, 2012 so special to me. All you’re required to do is read on.

For the very first time I saw this school prefect, I becamse rather shy. His name is, um…I’d better use an acronym for his name, HE. He looked smart in his black blazer with a dark blue tie. Indeed, he forever is. At the time I was standing before him, he looked pretty enthusiastic. As if what I was a great scholar. (Sorry. I can be such a boastful person at times.)

On top of that, he’s the only male student sitting in the first row in the middle part of the class. His neighbours are a couple of females. Errica Florencia sitting on his right while Arni, also a school prefect, sitting on his left. He was like a Prime Charming there. He totally deserved my genuine compliment for his passion in studies. I can see that.

Additionally, every time people mention about Form 3 Bestari, I couldn’t help remembering him. As though the class and him can’t be separated. Like a loving couple or so. It’s slightly complicated for me to memorise his name actually. Because, you know what? Most Melanaus and Ibans’ names sound like Mat Salleh’s (English’s). The distinction is that their mother tongue isn’t English. Plus, they’re unable to speak English fluently either.

The funniest moment in that class I ever did was when I miscalled his name. Unintentionally I called him ‘halilintar’. (By this time, you could guess what his name is. Do guess. Heehee.) Something unintended coming out of my bloody mouth.

Things became even more embarrassing when the whole of his classmates began laughing out loud at him. Oh HE, poor little thing. That embarrassing incident made me remember his name till today, though. And surely I can’t forget that. Although it took place six months ago.  

Who could ever suppose that me and the school prefect have been this close today? Like my BFF. And, I tell you, there is something I can’t forget about this student. One day, he texted me saying that “Inilah guru (yang) terbaik yang pernah saya jumpa.” (Translated: This is the best teacher I’ve ever met.) As I read the sms, I became speechless. Immediately. Deep in my heart I wonder, “Oh really?” (Can’t hide that I was overwhelmed by the feeling of pride.)

Things are getting all miserable and I’ve no idea how I shall undergo all this later. Can’t believe he would probably transfer to another school! I’m sure he 100% will. He’s selecting a better school for him. For his forthcoming future. For his brighter future. He is a smart student. I know. Excellent not only in academic but also in co-curricular activities. You know what? I feel just envious of him occasionally.

Yet, for the sake of his brighter, more promising future, a better school is more eligible for him to pursue his high school studies. I want him to succeed, for sure. Although I know I’m gonna have to bid a farewell to him next year. Although I know I’m gonna miss him so much. Although I know I’m gonna feel fucking reluctant to let him go. But, what else can I do? Kidnap him?!

Due to his loss, I’ve gotta suffer. I’ll have to accept our destiny that one day, I shall somehow leave him forever and ever. Farewell is full of pain and bitterness. But I’m just an ordinary school teacher after all. Hope I’ll have the guts when the day comes. Insha-Allah.

To my beloved student, HE, please don’t forget me. All the best on your studies.

PS: What’s the student’s full name? Lemme the only one here who knows, OK?


Post a Comment