Friday, October 11, 2013

Why I Become a Teacher

Frankly, I never really wanted to become a teacher. The only time I can remember myself wanting to be a teacher was back in the year 1994 when I was 8 years old. The reason was simple: all my teachers back then smelled nice, and wore awesomely nice dresses. I've had a long list of ambitions after that but becoming a teacher never got a place again in the list. I spent most of my years growing up aspiring to be a doctor, because the way I saw it, the best of students become doctors. So that was what I wanted to be, before I grew up and realized that I never really did want to become a doctor. I wanted only to be the best, I wanted to make my parents proud.

I grew up in poverty. Back then, it was something that I was ashamed of. Now, it makes me grateful. Because of the poverty I had to go through, I am now strengthened from within. I learned to be strong-willed and I don't give up easily. I started earning my own pocket money when I was 9 by selling potato chips at school. I would take orders everyday from my friends and when I go home that day I would pack the chips into small packets according to the orders. I earned 10 cents per packet as commission. The next year when I was 10, I moved to another school in a different state. At this school, I sold stationery. For each item sold, I earned 10 cents. When I was 11, I moved back to my previous school. I learned to make some crafts and quickly realized that I could make money out of that. I started taking orders for bead brooches and trinkets. I also made stickers and sold them. The 'business' was quite flourishing  I earned up to RM50 a month selling those in between lessons at school. This continued until I was in Year 6. 

I sat for my UPSR in 1998. My father lost his job the previous year and he was jobless for several months. Money was tight and debts were mounting. He finally started selling fruits at weekly markets. In the same year, my brother who was studying in an MRSM was sitting for his SPM. As the eldest child at home, I had to help my parents. Since both my parents were out working, I had to cook my own lunch when I got home after school. Sometimes I had to cook for the whole family. During holidays, I had to help them at the markets. I had to do these because we were poor. I had no chance to go to paid tuition classes like some of my friends. The only extra classes that I went to were the ones organized by the PIBG because it was cheaper, even though I had to cycle 3 km to school at night, alone. 

I still remember the first day of the UPSR. My father was about to send me to school with our fruit lorry, which was our only transport. That morning, out of the many mornings that could have been, it broke down. The lorry failed to start. I remember the look on my father's face that morning. He was panicking and worried like never before, but alhamdulillah, after some fixing (and some luck, I guess), he managed to get me to school in time for the exam.

16 November 1998, if I remember correctly, was the day the UPSR results was announced. It was a Monday. The GPK 1 was giving her speech in a school assembly when the GB's car drove in. He got out of the car with a brown envelope in his hand. All our eyes were on him and the GPK stopped her speech to give way for the announcement. The GB walked to the front, put on his glasses and opened the envelope. Five of us got 5A's. He announced the names one by one. I had an indescribable feeling when mine was one of the names announced. It felt like a war won, a dream accomplished, a promise fulfilled. My father cried tears of joy that day.

I got to an MRSM the next year. My father had to borrow money from a lot of people to pay for my expenses and fees. My family spent most of the money we had just to send me there. We were really, really poor. In our home back then, we did not have proper rooms and the water we drank and clean ourselves with came from an old well. My parents are kampung folks. In fact, my father only went to school until Year 6. Even so, he taught me whatever he could and my mother always helped me with my homework. I remember my father being a very fierce Mathematics teacher when I was in Year 2. I always cried during his 'lessons'. But apart from having amazing parents who always put education their top priority, I have to say that I owe my success mainly to the teachers who had taught me all those years in SK Pauh, Perlis. Getting straight A's in UPSR is nothing much now, but I see it as a motivation to kickstart further successes in life.

To Cikgu Sharifah Idziah binti Syed Ismail who taught me Bahasa Melayu in Year 1 Kenanga (1993), Year 2 Seroja (1994) and Year 3 Seroja (1995), to Teacher Noryuzaimah binti Mohd Yunus who taught me English when I was in Year 3 Seroja (1995), Year 4 Seroja (1996), Year 5 Seroja (1997) and Year 6 Seroja (1998), you are huge figures in my life. I have had many good teachers in my life, but the two of you are the most influential. I might not realize it back then, but as I grow older and look back to those innocent years, I could have easily strayed away from the right path without your guidance. You were my strength when I was weak. You were my voice when I couldn't say. You were my eyes when I couldn't see. You saw the best there was in me. You lifted me up when I couldn't reach. You gave me faith and believed in me. I'm everything I am because you loved me. 

Thank you for all your hard work, troubles and time spent in nurturing me as a child. Thank you for guiding me with good examples. Thank you for teaching me values. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for everything. I hope I can teach my students half of the things that both of you had taught me. I hope I can be half of the teachers that both of you are. I hope I can give back to the world what both of you had given me. I hope I can change the lives of others the way you did to mine. You, my teachers, are the reasons why I become a teacher myself.

Year 3 Seroja of 1995


hi sis, your words are very motivating. i is a teacher myself. a new teacher.. lingering here looking for choral speaking script at the first place. keep on motivating, i'll become one of your silent reader from now on.

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