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Thursday, April 25, 2013

My first experience as a teacher


I have been teaching from 1999. I still remember my first experience in a class full of 15 years old. They were very quiet and well-behaved. That was their first class of the day and none of them arrived late. Some of the students had their English textbook ready on their desks. To be honest, I was very nervous. I never had any teaching experience and training when I was studying in the States. I was not   studying how to be a teacher. I only had the knowledge of American and African American Literature and Sociology.

My sponsor did not ask me to study how to become a teacher but expected me to come back to Malaysia to teach. I took the first challenge in that first class. I remember the students who were sitting in the front row. There were six of them. Three out of six were quite nerdy-looking. Those girls were the ones with the books on the desks. The second row of students were the girls with smiles on their faces. No nervousness were traced in their eyes unlike those who were sitting in front. The second row ones were more 'comfortable' I should say. The rest of the other 2 rows were boys. Smiling from ear to ear they looked excited. My guess was, they might be seeing the first red-haired English teacher in Gerik, a rural area north of Malaysia. Unlike those boys, I was as nervous as the girls who were seated in the front row.

I used of the white board and to make matter worse I made my first blunder. I wrote my name on a black permanent marker pen which I didn not know it was a permanent one. I could not erase it. I wasted 10 minutes trying to figure out how to wipe it off the white surface of the board. The boys started to make noise and I heard the girls giggling. A boy came to the front of the class bringing another marker with him. He started to trace the  words that I have written on the board slowly and attentively. He started with S, I, T, I Z, .... and the rest of the alphabet. I wondered what he could be doing. What I remember the most, he was very patient. He then took the white board eraser and started to wipe the words off. Like a magic show, my name was erased! I thanked him and told him that his action saved my life (this is an exaggeration). He said "That's the best I could do" proudly.

Rosazalan was the name of the boy. He then became one of my debaters. He was a good orator who won lots of prizes during language fest all around Gerik and Malaysia. He was a kind student who liked to help others and he was the hope of his parents. He was studying engineering and was in his final year when he met with an accident that took his life. The motorcycle he was riding from his university to his hometown was hit by a careless driver. He passed away. I had not seen him since he left the school but we kept in touch. The news really hit me. It told me that life is short and I have to make the best of it. So, Rosazalan my boy, thank you for making me less nervous on my first day at work and thank you for being the kind student that all teachers loved. Al fatihah for him. 

1 comment:

acis said...

Such a nice memories do you have teacher.. but it ends with a sad story. I know how your feeling when we lost someone. Recently, i lost my adoptive brother. He died because of prostat cancer. We only meet once a year during Christmas day. Last i meet him was on Christmas 2012. He will be missed.

Last but not least... hope you will continuing blogging teacher..