Thursday, November 17, 2011

What makes an Inspirational Teacher/ Trainer?



During one of the meetings, I was presented this question. At one glance, I answered it loud and confident: An inspiring teacher is someone who can teach with so much passion and energy. Of course, along with that answer, came flashes of memories from those times I was still a student in Swiss Cottage Secondary School.

I remembered my Malay teacher. How lifeless was he. Do you know the meaning of layu? Layu in malay means lifeless, withering, about to die. Ironically, the malay people are called Melayu in malay. Melayu is just the secondary word to layu, as in walking is the secondary word to walk. So by technicality, Malays called themselves the race of withering and dying. My Malay teacher is the epitome of Melayu. He embodies every bit of the meaning to that word.

3pm, Malay lesson. I walked into class. He said,” Kelas, buka buku karangan dan tuliskan karangan berikut.” He wrote on the board. He said,” Selepas awak selesai, tukar buku karangan dengan kawan, dan berikan markah yang tepat pada kawan.” He walked over to the desk. He sat. He slept.

Next day, 3pm, Malay lesson. I walked into class. He said,” Kelas, buka buku karangan dan tuliskan karangan berikut.” He wrote on the board. He said,” Selepas awak selesai, tukar buku karangan dengan kawan, dan berikan markah yang tepat pada kawan.” He walked over to the desk. He sat. He slept.

The day after, 3pm, Malay lesson. I walked into class. He said,” Kelas, buka buku karangan dan tuliskan karangan berikut.” He wrote on the board. He said,” Selepas awak selesai, tukar buku karangan dengan kawan, dan berikan markah yang tepat pada kawan.” He walked over to the desk. He sat. He slept.

Put this on repeat for all five days, for 40 weeks in that year.

It’s a miracle that I managed to pass Malay with a distinction. Come to think of it, I always had a very strong Malay foundation in primary school. I was the only boy who took higher mother tongue. But that was beside the point.

The point is, that Malay teacher is the direct opposite of being inspirational.

On the other hand, my Maths teacher, Mrs Mano, her name, she is the angel. She turned my F9 into an A2 within 2 years. The amount of energy she has in class, the amount of passion and love she puts into her teachings. I remembered her standing at the school gate, cos I was trying to sneak out of her remedial class. I remembered the worry in her face, when I didn’t manage to grasp a certain concept. I remember her asking if I am okay, the next day I come back to school after one day MC. And I remember all the goodness in her, and I told myself, I wanna be like her.

But the most inspirational teacher, I ever had, was the boy called Aidil. He has imparted the wisdom of responsibility and integrity, impacted my life, and has inspired me to become the best drama trainer I could ever be, and I am still teary whenever I relate to how he turned my life around. It has been 3 years…