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Saturday, March 01, 2014

When I Wish I Was So Much Better..

There's something I need to get off my chest..

4 weeks ago, a student came to my class asking me something. He was mumbling and I dismissed it as a normal teenage grunt students use to seem cool. After asking him to repeat his question a few times, I felt I was embarassing the both of us so I sent him off to the Additional Maths class (also Form 4)..

..with hindsight, I guess the boy must have been terrified to be in that class for 2 hours :'(

You see, the class schedule is a bit muddled up where two Form 4 classes clash with each other, my Modern Mathematics class with Additional Mathematics class. And knowing Form 4 students, they usually only want to take Add Maths coz Modern Maths are easy peasy compared to Add Maths. Pastu bile masuk Form 5, kelam kabut la kan korang sbb rupenye tak master pun Form 4 punye syllabus!!

Anyway, the next week, the same boy came up to me mumbling about Maths class. I showed him to the class he attended the previous week but after a few more mumblings, I realized he was MY student.

That first day with him, I noticed he was very quiet but studiously tried to answer the exercises I gave them. Since all other students were also like that, I didn't actually give more attention to him. It was only after discussing the answers (with a minute till the end of the class) did I noticed he got most of his answers wrong.

So last week, I paid extra attention to him.. and that was when it hit me. He wasn't mumbling when I first met him. He actually did have a problem with speech. I was so embarrassed and ashamed with my first impression of him on that first week when I sent him to the Add Maths class.

This led me to another suspicion which has been confirmed by my roomate in uni just now, the boy was a special needs kid.

Once again I felt ashamed of myself. Why?

Because in class just now, we were revising Sets. I'd already finished with that topic a few weeks ago but most of my students were having a test on Sets in school so they asked me to bring extra questions for them to try.

I wasn't quite well today so it was a relief when they wanted to do this type of exercise as it required less teacher in front and more one-to-one correcting (where I could limit my talking.. what with my throat feeling as if it had gone through a shredder)

When I noticed the other boys avoiding him (I don't think it was intentional.. they, like me, just could not understand something different), I went up to him and noticed, though he was trying very hard to answer the questions I had handed out, he got all of them wrong.

In the end, I asked him to sit in front with me (I was feeling exhausted from the feeling-unwell thingey) so I could give him some one-on-one coaching.

Only now did it occur to me: Did I embarrass him?!

I really did not mean to. I just didn't want to keep walking to and fro in the class but now I fell so stupid for doing that.

What broke my heart was he really tried to listen. Tried to understand what I was explaining to him. In the end, the reason he couldn't answer was because he did not remember his algebra and linear equation. And I just learnt from Dayah, special need students usually cram all three years of study in their 3rd Form because they had other skills they needed to learn and master.

Now I really wanted to cry. Why?

I have normal students who'd rather play around in class without even having the decency to PRETEND they were trying to answer my questions!

My own school years, though nothing was easy (except Maths and English), nothing was hard either. I could ask whenever I didn't understand and communicate almost-perfectly with my teachers.

I never had to struggle hard to acquire the basic skills I needed in life.. and I could talk the ear off anybody if I wanted to.

And here I had a boy who was trying really hard, struggling all the way, even for the basic Maths concept (I could only talk about his Maths skills, but Dayah told me, he had to go to speech therapy his whole childhood)

Times like these, I wish I was a better teacher :'(

What I really want right now is to help boost his confidence. To help him go through his SPM much more easier (I do not kid myself by saying I could help him sail through without any problems, but I DO wish to help ease his burden)

I haven't been able to stop thinking of him and I really hope to be able to help him but I just don't know how to. I have never been patient as a teacher (the reason why I wasn't feeling well.. I shouted in my Monday and Tuesday class.. and did a bit of shouting on Thursday too.. though I also like to think that I'm quick to laugh too) and I'm so afraid if I'll scare him one day. Luckily, these Form 4 students are well behaved (maybe because there are less than 10 of them?!) so I haven't shouted to them.. yet.

I'm afraid I might do something wrong. Dayah agrees (she handles the special needs students in her school) that this boy has a very high spirit in learning, thats why he is one of the 6 special needs students taking SPM next year. I'm terrified if I might unknowingly demotivate him when at this very moment, I really want him to succeed.

Ya Allah.. Why am I not a better teacher? I really hope to be one.. and help those who really need my help.

Ya Allah.. please help me to help him. I can't stop thinking about the look on his face as he tried to find the meaning behind the exercise I gave them just now. How he tries so hard to remember that an A' set means he should use his finger to hide set A and all the other elements around his finger are the ones he needs. I really, really want to help him, make him feel more confident for his SPM which will make him more confident in his life. Please Ya Allah.. help me..

But for right now, I really hope I didn't scare him off. Please make him come back next week, and please guide me to help him in the best way for him. Please Ya Allah, make it easier for him.. and thank you Ya Allah, for bringing someone into my life who has made me realize I'm not as humble as I always thought I was. I may not seem to complain much on the outside, but You know, deep inside, I'm dissatisfied with so many things. So thank you, for showing me how much better a person I could be on the inside.

And please Ya Allah.. guide me.. I really need that now..