Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Thank you!

As I was observing this teacher today, I had a lot to reflect on my job as a teacher. (Twenty-four years later, am still at it, still dedicated I hope)  It wasn't because her teaching was not up to my expectations. She was good but something touched me today- touched my deep heart's core, to quote Yeats, and warmed the cockles of my heart. As I was making my way to the back of the classroom, a tall and plump student unexpectedly took my hand and kissed it. She smiled and I smiled back. It felt special. It's hard to explain. Over the years, many students have kissed my hands (it's part of the Malay culture) but today I just felt different. Perhaps it's a special  feeling  granted to teachers (and only teachers) when a student you don't teach suddenly took your hand and kissed it. Given the scorcher we've been experiencing the past two days, the small act of respect might have brought the temperature down by a few degrees! The thought of  having to stay back to carry out this observation during an afternoon session with the sports events waiting  for me at 4pm did bother me a bit. It meant I had to rush home (15km away)  right after the observation to pray and change. The previous day I only managed to pray, change and had three Jacob's crackers before dashing off to the field.

Perhaps there are some simple pleasures in a teacher's life that we have all taken for granted. When was the last time you replied to a student who greeted you at the corridor?  Did you  so much as look at the student 's face or stare blankly at the floor? When was the last time you said 'thank you' to a student who carried your exercise books for you while you stroll to the staffroom? When was the last time you bought some chocolates or sweets for your students in appreciation of their work? These are but some examples that may have become so routine in school they make us forget to appreciate our students. Our position as teachers too sometimes holds us back from showing warmth and affection to them. There are some who believe in keeping a distance from their students for fear of being disrespected. Whatever our teaching beliefs are, don't forget to appreciate what our students have done and are still doing for us. It doesn't make you a less respected teacher by showing some warmth and friendliness to your students. Let me start by saying 'thank you' to all my students...I will not be who I am today without you!


  1. i was listening to River of Tears by Eric Clapton when reading this. It's really touching.

    I should agree that teachers must also do something to appreciate their students.

    well, i am too, should give a thanks to you. Even if i need to say it for thousands times, i won't be upset.

  2. some students 4got 2 behave when some teachers show too much appreciation...

  3. anonymous,
    yes, that can happen's a matter of striking a balance..

  4. You have had twenty four years of it and are beginning to perceive the elusive psychological elements of the bond between a teacher and the one taught. Many do not see any of these beyond the financial return or the lack of it. I say well done to you.

  5. thanks pakcik,
    it's something we may take for granted because of the routine we are trapped in. it's good to once in a while stand back and look at the bigger picture. teaching is really about touching one's heart so that learning can take place!


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