Monday, September 28, 2009

Naughty pupils make good teachers

Scratching Post, Weekender, 26th September 2009

In school, I was known as the goody-two-shoes. The geek. The (cringe) teacher's pet.

Little did everybody know, I longed to be anything BUT. I harboured a burning desire to be the coolest girl in school, a girl like Sharmila.

Some (misguided) teachers might have labelled her naughty, but to me, she was a heroine. A tad rebellious. Witty as hell. But always brave. All the qualities I aspired to.

Obviously I couldn't be her. So what was the next best thing?

To be with her, of course. Form 2 and 3, the two years I spent a lot of time with her and the ZOPFAN gang (you know who you are) were two of my happiest.

Judging from the responses I received, this story struck quite a few chords, though the only person's response that I was worried about was the story's heroine - Sharmila.

I've written about heaps of people in the past. The difference is, they knew of my intentions. I usually forewarned them at least a day before the article was due to come out.

In Sharmila's case, I wanted to surprise her. Consider it a revenge for calling me "Dangerous."

"She's going to freak out," my ex-colleague Poh See hooted with laughter.

I send Sharmila an sms first thing in the morning. No reply. At 8-ish am, an hour I deem suitably decent, I call her. "Have you read?"

"Dei," she growls in a sleep-slurred voice. "I got your earlier sms already. I am not so fast wei. I just got up lah. You think I'm superhero ah dei."

10am. 11am. 12 noon. Already, five readers have written to me. Not a word from her.

I text Chang. "Could she be angry? So long also no response one."

"She is probably busy at her husband's clinic. Remember, teacher by day, clerk by night, and sexy wife at midnight."

"Cannot be. Today is Saturday and a holiday. "

"Holiday means data entry girl the whole day. What I see is only praises. She might be crying her heart now, touched by your magic words." (I have always maintained that I'm not smart or witty in the least; I am merely fortunate to have smart and witty friends, who have a propensity for poking gentle fun at me)

I am not convinced, so I sms Sharmila again. "Are you angry?" I ask timidly.

"No. How can I be angry at a bunny?"

Her cryptic reply plants the first seeds of suspicion. Maybe ... she... hadn't... read it?

At noon-ish, she texts me. "My husband read already. I just got the paper. Will read after lunch. Reaction at 1400 hour.

1400 hour?????


What kind of a human being can be so cool and clinical while her friend is practically apoplectic with anxiety???

At five minutes past five, my phone lights up.

"Now my husband thinks I put frogs in people's pockets..." she says before dissolving into laughter.

"Didn't you? Hmmm. Maybe old already, foggy memory."

We speak for a while before putting down the phone. A text comes in. "Thanks mate. I hope others read and make a difference."

So do I, Sharmila, so do I.


ling said...

I have to agree with Sharmila. A teacher's job is no simply departing information but feelings. I hated my form 5 teacher simply because he sit me at the last row where I got chance bulied by a guy then when I reacted, he gave me a C for my conduct. He never knew that the C he gave me cause my mother's dissapointment but today, I have become a better teacher. I hope all teachers will teach with love and patient. If you cannot do it, then don't become a teacher.

Anonymous said...

i reali enjoy reading wat u wrote=)

sulin said...

I totally agree with Sharmila!! A good example of what she meant when she say you have to touch a student's heart is in the Japanese drama, Gokusen 3.

Love this post!! =)


"Naughty pupil" - synonymous to myself in primary school..LOL - Somehow i didnt turned out to be a teacher (Born on teacher's day!!)

Alexandra Wong said...

I'm sure 'Sharmila' will be very pleased to know her story had such impact. Dei, woman are you listening? *gives Sharmila a painful poke in the ribs*

Thanks for making my day, and hers, I'm sure :)

bluerose said...

I've just read your article, Bunny ;) and it really touched the core of my being. I'm a teacher too..though i don't teach at the moment (got transferred to the office but still have to deal with teachers). It sadden me sometimes to realize that there's quite a number of teachers who are...well, you know.. tagged as the 'cikgu 25hb' type out there. I don't want to elaborate on that for it's such an insult to this noble profession. Our challenging world of education today needs more educators like Sharmila. An ordinary person with extraordinary human touch :)

Somehow i've experienced about the same you said..the next best thing :) I have this BFF who's kinda like Sharmila..only that this superwoman friend didn't end up as a teacher.. literally. She does more than that. Doing accounts at night as the main job, working in her nursery during the day and taking care of her kids as well..i don't know where she got all the energy from... really amazing!! She does her job well, takes care & teaches the kids at the nursery even better and raises her own children wonderfully. When asked about how she has changed..and manages to make a difference.. she always said that "it's payback time! I had too much sleep & play back then".

Truth to the saying, 'experience is the best teacher', she nailed it!

Alexandra Wong said...

What your friend said about payback... Sharmila said the same thing herself hehe. Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words, Blue Rose :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails