The article by the star above is quite interesting and it offers a lot of things to be debated. But let’s just hope that this blogpost gonna be a santai one, from umi’s perspective.
Umi is celebrated every year in May as a teacher, as a birthday girl, and as a mother. Tapi selalunya kitorang wish sekali harung je in a single occasion hahah. Umi’s gonna reach 50 next year, and as long as I can remember, she is a very dedicated (and tegas) teacher. The stories that umi told us were aplenty – about students, teachers, Bahasa melayu syllabus, and even gossips from the bilik guru pantry.
A story that I would like to share today is about umi’s transfer from SMK USJ 12 to SMK Alam Megah 2, Shah Alam. Umi requested for transfer some several years ago due to mobility reason (and also ehem the stress that the teachers had to endure in usj 12 ehem). Both schools are merely 10 km apart from each other, but boy, they are totally like 10 years apart.
Leaving USJ 12 for Alam Megah 2 is like entering a new Malaysia’s education situation altogether. I am talking about jurang Pendidikan here. The number of students who got straight As in the recent SPM exam is like heavens and Earth; 4 to 70 if I can recall correctly. There are even SPM candidates of SMK Alam Megah 2 who cannot read and write, let alone writing a whole essay. Only 2 students got A+ for Bahasa Melayu (including my little sister), and failing the said subject is normal in the school. Apatah lagi subjek lain kan.
SMK Alam Megah 2 students are mostly Malays. There are only a handful of Chinese and Indian in the school and yes you may guess it right, they are the top students there. The Malay students are like the Gempak Starz Under 18’s comic characters. They are wild, truant often, smoke in the toilets, scratch teachers’ cars, puncture their tires, vandalise school equipments, and use foul language even to the teachers that they hate.
They come from troubled families e.g. divorced single parent, fakir miskin, parents involved in gangs, and families hunted by loan sharks. There’s this one occasion where a student was caught not fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan. Umi enquired his action and the boy said, “ayah saya kat rumah pun tak puasa, cikgu.”
“Kenapa awak dan ayah awak tak puasa?”
“Sebab mak saya masak tengah hari.”
Handling students like these on a daily basis is indeed taxing. Umi being a lovely mother she is, often take extra care to approach them with empathy and not judging the book by its cover. So, it’s a different ball game altogether in this new school. Kalau dulu umi selalu fokus meningkatkan bilangan pelajar cemerlang dalam peperiksaan, kini umi lebih menekankan pembangunan modal insan.
If a teacher tries to inspire these kids to be a successful doctors and engineers (sebagai contoh), their responses are somewhat similar;
“Penat la cikgu belajar rajin2. Kitorang nak lulus je.”
“Saya nak kerja kilang kat belakang ni je.” (Note: SMK Alam Megah 2 is surrounded with factories)
“Tak payahlah paksa, cikgu. Cikgu pun tahu kitorang bodoh.”
“Saya insya-Allah sambung bawak lori ayah saya, cikgu.”
There are always a lesson to be learnt and reflected from these children’s stories, to be honest. It made us think about how well our country is progressing in terms of education equality and family’s welfare. SMK USJ 12 might be only 10 km away, but the set of challenges that these teachers are facing is truly humbling.
I am very proud of umi. She decided to stay at SMK Alam Megah 2 because she believes that these ‘unfortunate children’ need their second parents at school. Cuba bayangkan, alamat rumah ibu bapa ada didaftarkan di sekolah, tapi sebenarnya tiap2 hari budak tu balik rumah dan hidup seorang2 di rumah itu dengan adik-beradiknya.
From what we can observe, their emotional bank account is almost zero and that is one of the reasons some of them enjoyed staying at school and lepak borak2 dgn cikgu. Some of them even came at our house at wee hours sbb nak tumpang tidur sbb tak tahan dengan perbalahan ibu bapa diorang kat rumah. And yes, they slept in my room downstairs -.-
May Allah bless umi, and towards all the teachers in the world.
Teachers, keep your faith strong. Sesungguhnya, amal jariah kalian tak terhitung banyaknya.
Selamat Hari Guru.