Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing.. On Teacher's Day

It's almost middle of the year. The mid year hols is just a week away, definitely looking forward. Not that I've had a spectacularly different year or experience so far. There are changes undergoing but then again, changes happen, all the time. Change is inevitable, positive or negative; it depends on which side of the divide you stand.

Son is about to embark on the next phase of his life. And he has spent the last couple of months working, as in holding a real job. The experience has been good for him. We didn't expect him, an introvert to do well in an extroverted kind of job like sales. But then again, being an introvert doesn't mean not being able to do well in a field that requires extrovertism.

A few verses bugged me today... but I had to do a little search cos I had forgotten where the verses come from. Anyway, from Matthew 15:24, But he answered and said, I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Another one from Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost. Looking at it in the simplicity of both verses. The House of Israel and the lost; and within a narrower context, as in within the confines of a church, our own members and those out there. Often we fail to build our own. We focus on those out there cos we believe they need the message of salvation. We fail our own because we are too busy chanelling our focus on the work on the outside... and so the possibility of crumling from within.

The funny thing was one of the things that got me thinking about this was a question put forward by my colleague during a Q & A in a recent inhouse training that we were forced to attend. He asked the speaker why is it that good students seldom seem to show their appreciation to their teachers. And on the same night, during church service, the pastor highlighted Matthew 15:24, well it was one of many verses used in a different context. It was then I was reminded how often we forget the forgettable ones among our midst. These are the ones who are quieter, seemingly lack obvious talents to serve in church. They are always deemed not ready, willing or suitable because they fail to measure up to our yardsticks.

And it brought me back to a response in my mind to my colleague's question directed at the speaker... the smart students don't need us teachers much actually. It's those other students who need the extra push, attention, encouragement, discipline who need us teachers more. Yet, often we focus on the able ones. We gravitate towards those we deem ready, willing and able. We pour more attention and hope on them. Am reminded of how some in church too sometimes, we fail to encourage and challenge those quiet or difficult ones by deeming them not ready... but that's so us too.

Today's Teacher's Day. And it's smack in the middle of mid year exams for most schools. And this year too marks the first time, my lil one wasn't too keen about pressies for her teachers. My own? It wasn't any deal...

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The teachers sang this song... what riled me were the lyrics or rather the lack of common sense in choosing this song, the last line of stanza 1. The lyrics may be 'cute' but this is not suitable material for something formal like a Teacher's Day Assembly. We encourage the use of colloquial language in a formal setting, not really a good idea since schools are supposed to be a place where we try to inculcate oneness. Or if at all humour is the point, then perhaps care should have been taken to modify some of the words, again to reflect oneness. Perhaps sama-sama Malaysians?

Years of practising 2 standards in labelling citizenship has erased quite a lot of what should constitute being a Malaysian. There has always been 2Malaysia. You can scream your voice hoarse the 1Malaysia slogan but it actually amounts to very little. Can you imagine a school where there are non-Muslim teachers and if you sing this song, in the silliest scenario, you can be implied to claim to be a Muslim. And who is to guarantee that your body (after you are dead) might not be snatched for Muslim burial because of this 'admission'. After all, we have seen dead bodies which cannot defend itself being snatched because some quarters claim that they were Muslims. Crazy as it may sound, we actually 'fight' over corpses here.

Teachers, are supposed to be the pembentuk bangsa... but tell me what kind of bangsa are we shaping, if we can't be expected to exercise care to ensure that the spirit of nationhood remains. This year we're supposed to be the agents of tranformation..... which direction of transformation, I wonder?

Much but nothing... in a week marred by so many comical but(t) in a way a poor reflection of what we stand for. And guess what, a lot of this display of poor character traits stems from schools....

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