Proud to be a daugh­ter of ed­u­ca­tors

They shoul­der their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties with pride, care deeply for their stu­dents

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

IAM blessed to be born into a fam­ily of teach­ers. My un­cle would proudly re­gale us with the story of how our late grand­mother taught one of my broth­ers to read.

Each time I lis­tened to that story, it is as if I’m be­ing taken through a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

I imag­ined (as we fondly called our grand­mother) per­se­ver­ing in mak­ing sure that my brother, Azad, was able to catch up in his lessons.

Apart from my par­ents and grand­par­ents, many of my un­cles and aun­ties have also be­come teach­ers.

For them, ed­u­cat­ing oth­ers does not stop af­ter school.

It is their way of life and it is not lim­ited to books and ex­ams, but also in­volves other as­pects, such as house­hold chores, play­ing, singing and even a thing or two about re­la­tion­ships.

My el­ders, as well as my school teach­ers, played a huge role in my life and I am for­ever grate­ful to them. I would not be where I am to­day if not for their guid­ance.

Some of my sweet­est child­hood mem­o­ries came from schools. I learned how to play hockey from a teacher in pri­mary school (I can’t re­mem­ber his name, though).

De­spite be­ing beaten to a pulp by Klu­ang High School (STK) in our first out­ing, I held on to the mem­ory of that game. This was de­spite me unashamedly ad­mit­ting that I can’t play hockey to save my life.

Of course, some of us would have en­coun­tered that “teacher” whom we do not want to re­mem­ber. De­spite this, I have al­ways had high re­gard for my teach­ers.

Even af­ter years of leav­ing school, when I bump into my for­mer teach­ers, I still have a lively and friendly ban­ter with them.

For this rea­son, I nat­u­rally get up­set each time I come across deroga­tory com­ments and re­marks about teach­ers.

One re­cent ex­am­ple is when some­one posted a Face­book com­ment de­scrib­ing ed­u­ca­tors from a cer­tain school, who wore school uni­forms on Teach­ers Day on May 16, as clowns.

The last time I checked, there is noth­ing wrong with wear­ing school uni­form to cel­e­brate that spe­cial day, nor is it il­le­gal to do so.

Teach­ers Day is the one day they can have things their way (within the law, of course) af­ter a year of sweat and toil, and there is no harm in hav­ing fun on the day that is ded­i­cated to them.

And, if all you can see is a group of peo­ple mak­ing a fool of them­selves, then shame on you.

Teach­ers are not de­fined by the clothes they wear, but by the knowl­edge they im­part and the val­ues they in­cul­cate in stu­dents.

Be­ing raised by teach­ers, I have wit­nessed the late nights my par­ents put in to mark exam pa­pers, the ef­forts my mother made in pre­par­ing teach­ing ma­te­ri­als and how my grand­par­ents were beam­ing with pride when talk­ing about their for­mer stu­dents.

There were also hi­lar­i­ous mo­ments that some of my un­cles had en­coun­tered in their class­rooms.

The in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tions of teach­ers were aptly de­scribed by Sul­tan of Perak Sul­tan Nazrin Muiz­zud­din Shah dur­ing a trib­ute lun­cheon re­cently.

He said teach­ers played a cru­cial role in shap­ing the minds of the youth and that the de­vel­op­ment of a coun­try would come to a stand­still if the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem was a fail­ure.

Sul­tan Nazrin wanted the voices of teach­ers to be heard, as they are the ones who were in con­stant con­tact with stu­dents, and could give in­put that might help the govern­ment to draw up solid ed­u­ca­tional poli­cies.

He also urged par­ents not to de­pend solely on teach­ers in rais­ing their chil­dren.

In the past, al­beit rarely, there were par­ents who would show con­cern dur­ing par­ent-teacher meet­ings, and make it a point to visit their chil­dren in school.

But to­day, we hear of busy folks send­ing text mes­sages to teach­ers, ask­ing them to stay back af­ter school to look af­ter their chil­dren be­cause they will be late in fetch­ing them.

And, also these days, so­cial me­dia like What­sApp has be­come an ex­ten­sion tool in the lives of par­ents and teach­ers.

For some, it is a night­mare when queries start ap­pear­ing in the wee hours or while re­lax­ing on week­ends!

De­spite these “ex­tra du­ties”, teach­ers still shoul­der their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties with pride and care deeply for their stu­dents.

I am sure it means a world for them to hear that there are peo­ple who ap­pre­ci­ate their ef­forts and sac­ri­fices.

To all teach­ers, have a be­lated Happy Teach­ers Day.

The writer is NST’s Perak bu­reau chief. A fan of rock mu­sic and a cof­fee ad­dict, she loves talk­ing to peo­ple, but ap­pre­ci­ates time alone by do­ing yoga or read­ing thriller nov­els

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