Saturday, 26 March 2011

Why is it so hard to say 'thank you'?

So, the much awaited SPM results were out. Congrats to the those who did well. To those who didn't do so well, it's not the end of the road. As a matter of fact, the road is still long :) I've been wanting to blog about this for some time now but I've always postponed it, not wanting to hurt anybody. Well, no more!  This cometh direct from a teacher's heart...

Madam Tan, Foo Wee Nee (Top Student 2010) and I

 In 2008, when the SPM results were announced I was shocked (that's the word) to see a group of top scorers coming to school to receive their honours but ignoring their teachers in the main hall.  They coolly sat through the whole affair till it was tea time and still, none of them came to us to say anything, never mind a 'thank you'. This after having taught them for two years. Initially, I thought I was being too sensitive and also a colleague had remarked earlier, 'this is how students of today behave'. Silly me thought how outdated I was, you know, not keeping up with the so-called current trends! And the fact that this was only my second year in the school made me think I had  probably not understood the culture well enough and needed to be reeducated. And so I  let the matter rest. However, a few weeks later, a Maths teacher commented on the same thing- that the students never said 'thank you' to her and behaved as if  she was  a stranger! And then more and more comments came. And  I thought I was alone...
Came 2010 SPM results and history repeated itself. Students and teachers were total strangers again. Admittedly, one or two would awkwardly try to strike a conversation as they couldn't avoid brushing  shoulders with their teachers  in the hall. But the T word was still elusive..

Why is it so hard to say 'thank you'? (even if the teacher was not your favourite, or you didn't quite get along with the teacher, or that your tuition teachers were your gods  etc. etc. etc. surely you must have learned a thing or two from him or her) Two years is long. A lot of things had happened in and outside the classroom in the two years. Besides there's absolutely nothing wrong with the old-fashion culture where a student shows appreciation to her teachers- more so at such a young and impressionable age. It's all part and parcel of being a student.

Whatever happened to good manners? Come on!  It doesn't cost you anything to say 'thank-you'. It only reflects what a wholesome character you are and most importantly that your teachers have NOT failed to teach you good manners in school!!  I refuse to believe that students today do not  know how to show appreciation to their teachers.  If indeed this is true, it's a worrying state of affairs.  It is such a shame that in the pursuit of A's, we lose our more important values. Surely teaching and learning is also about character-building. And the best place to start is in school.

By all means go for your A's. Go where your dreams take you but please mind your manners too. This is just so you will become successful future doctors, engineers, scientists, artists, chemists with  GOOD CHARACTER. This is what is rewarding about teaching. It's not just about A's but about character. Good character will go a long way and you will be able to impact others in the future. At the end of the day, it's not your thank you that matters but that you acknowledge your teachers' existence!

Dear God, forgive me if I have failed in my job...

p.s I must mention though that the top student in 2008 and 2010 took all the trouble to thank me. As a matter of fact, one of them took the trouble to call me when I was in JB last week. The gesture really touched my heart. You have shown that you are not only smart but you have character and sound upbringing.


  1. What a coincidence that on the same date we both posted on the same subject, mine a brief one as usual. You questioned the lack of thank but I started with thank.

  2. yes what a coincidence pakcik- something i've kept for a long time inside me. i wonder if this is true in other schools?

  3. Tx for uploading the photo . as usual , my eyes are shut !

    I wrote a comment ( a long one ) this morning but it just disappeared when I typed wrongly for veerification . That was before lunch . gave up ! The Board meeting also discussed character building in our meeting on saturday nite .

    Since this is an alarming trend , maybe you can help initiate a way to put it right . Please do . Liase with the school management or the counselling division for some corrective measures ! before it's too late .

  4. madam,
    what an honour! i wish i could read the longer version though..what a coincidence that the Board meeting also touched on the same topic. i am more than happy to initiate anything but everyone must share the same understanding. if we brush this aside as something 'normal' then there's no point. sometimes, we don't see anything amiss because we are so preoccupied with A's. that was me a teacher speaking from my heart and trying to figure out if this trend is 'normal' :)

  5. Thank You Allah and Congratulations to you and others for the glorious achievement. Definitely, you wont bother about your enormous effort, what had been done before as the saying goes, "no gain without pain". May Allah bless all the good teachers here and there after.

  6. tx maimunah. team effort is the key to success :)

  7. salam, teacher Rahmah. long time don't greed you..hihi..
    i'm proud to be as x-convent girl.
    our spm results always with flying colour.
    teacher, btw..
    i'm always remember you as my good eng teacher ;)
    thanks a lot.
    now, my MUET exams is around the corner...i'll be sit for it by next week..
    until now, it's like butterfly in my stomach! really nervous..wish me can do my best, teacher!

    btw, congrats for the excellent English result ;)

  8. Thanks hafizah. i remember u! hope ur muet will be great ya!

  9. hi,
    i think you have a point. character building is the most important thing that schools nowadays neglect. All they want is the number of As. Such a shame isn't it. One of the ways we gauge whether we have teached our students right is when they remember to see their teacher and say thank you. Not because we hope for them to say it but it's only normal. it is something that should come naturally rather than forced. It should come from the heart. I wonder how many students realize this. There is something wrong with our education system. We just go for excellence but we forget character building.

  10. dear anonymous,
    welcome to my blog. thanks for your comments. yes, it's ur CHARACTER that will carry you far. teachers are not desperate for goes on. we just want to know if we have played our roles right and teaching is not only about excellent results :)

  11. I happened to stumble upon this post when I was browsing through your blog ...
    never mind that your big students don't say 'thank you'...i'm not surprised as they're considered 'big'...but, mine...the tiny tots...the 12-year-old boys and girls don't say thank you, too.

  12. so it happens in primary schools too sophyta! what a shame...we must start them early i guess- do you think good manners start in school or at home?


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