Last night we had our Malam Graduasi. It was nice to see our girls all set to face the SPM and the rest of the world. All of a sudden they looked very grown up, young ladies who are looking forward to accept the challenges the world will throw at them.
So why was I there? One reason is because I teach Form 5 this year, so it was compulsory. Another reason was the free food. But the most important reason is the graduating students were, once upon a time, MY students. They were once, MY babies, children thrust into my care. They were once needy teenagers who came to me for help. I doubt many of them actually remember that, though it has only been 3-4 years. How does it feel when they do not seem to remember me? Sad, but I guess, I have learned not to expect to be remembered. What I have invested was done freely, not under compulsion. So, yes, though it is a little sad, I am proud of the girls.
And this brings me to the shorter Restu session we had for the Form 3 girls in the morning. For the first time, I had Form 3 students running to me to ask for forgiveness, and my blessings. Why is this a first time experience? Because all the previous Form 3 girls had never felt it was important to approach US AFTERNOON TEACHERS! We, Form 1 and 2 teachers, had never been given due recognition for our roles in the PMR candidates' lives in spite of nurturing them for 2 years. Previously, we used to just look and wonder HOW COME! It was hurtful, though we had never held it against them. This year, maybe because everyone is in the morning session, all the teachers were approached. Definitely a healthier practice. BUT I wonder, WHAT IF WE STILL HAD AFTERNOON SESSION AND WE WERE STILL IN THE AFTERNOON SESSION? Would they still come to us? From past experiences, I honestly do NOT think so.
My train of thought is kinda bringing to me the experience of how many students in the morning session never greeted the afternoon teachers. For 11 years I taught in the afternoon session. Each of those years, I saw many morning students who either a) pretended not to see me, b) looked straight ahead and refused to acknowledge me, or c) stared at me as if I was an alien with horns on my head. Why did this bother me so much? MANY of them were once my students, people I spent time with for a year or two, almost every day. Am I being too sensitive? No. Because I am not the only one who felt this way. Most afternoon session teachers felt it too.
BUT this is not to say that all of the students were like that. There are quite a number who were nice to me, who said hello occasionally, smiled at me. I do not need a trophy to tell me I have done my job. All I need is a sincere smile from those whose lives I have touched. So, do smile a lot more, girls. Not just to me, but to those whom you feel have touched a part of your lives.