Monday, 14 April 2008

The Downside of Success

It has been quite sometime now that I last wrote something non-political. So I am not even going to mention that word in this post.

What is one main folly of being young and inexperienced? To me it has got to be the fact that one do not have much experience in life to use as guidance when one does something. Let me relate to you one experience of mine where I kind of succeed in resolving an issue but in the process created another.

I started teaching at the age of 20 years and 7 months. Quite young by any standards. I was already hefty then though about 60 pounds lighter than I am now. Maybe I have a fierce looking face or what but even in college, being relatively young, I was opted into the discipline committee during orientation week where I did most of the work though I was not exactly the secretary.

Well in Kelantan in my first year as a teacher in 1977, I was in the afternoon session teaching English, Geography and PJK. I was co-opted into the discipline committee. I was really very strict as a teacher and would not accept any nonsense from my students. They use to call me 'sir bekeng'. I was happy with the way things were, because I got things done easily because my students feared me.

In Kelantan, at that time, when you are an outsider, you have to sort of toe the line and not be too outspoken or even conspicuous. One day I walked into the prefects room and saw a senior teacher interrogating a student suspected of smoking. Oh, yes, back then things were kind of Gestapo like, unlike the present where you are supposed to use psychology, where the rotan is looked upon as a weapon of mass destruction. He was not only a Kelantanese, he was also much senior to me and a local kampung boy who is respected by the villagers.

The boy was a form two student who was quite notorious. Word was that even his father was a gedebe (samseng like. The teacher was having a hard time getting the boy to confess. I was only watching the show, partly because being in my first year, I could not really comprehend what was going on because of the Kelantanese dialect being used. Then the teacher turned to me and told me what had happened. It seemed that he was trying to get the boy to confess for about half an hour. I stood up and banged the table in front of me and shouted at the boy and asked if he did smoke in school. Stunned, the boy confessed, just like that.

I was elated that I managed to get him to confess so fast but when I turned to the teacher, I could see him gritting his teeth, fuming with anger, probably lost of face, because I did it with just one bang of the table. He started shouting abuse at the boy because the boy wasted half an hour of his time. It still did not sink into me that I had hurt a senior teacher's feelings until I got to the staffroom. The teacher was exceedingly quite and kept a distant from me. It was only after a week that another teacher told me that that teacher was embarrassed with what had happened, but he accepted it and things did not deteriorate any further.

Maybe my next reminisce would be the time we tried to get a form two girl to confess letting in her uncle and his friend into her room when her grandmother was in the surau.


cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

This is indeed a refreshing entry! I like it a lot as it gives further insight to the man. Keep it coming :)

tokasid said...

Salam che'gu:

The senior's ego was bruised that day. He wasted half an hour trying to show who is more gedebe et this Nazir jan with one bang most probably made that kid piss in the pants.

It just proved that Nazir jan is the gedebeist in the school.

But do that now and you'll find the parents and the YB breathing on your neck.
And we wonder why kids now are so korang ajaq!

More of your early experiences please.

monsterball said...

Interesting story of your life life as a teacher.
One can feel you love children....thus what you did was what a professional teacher will do. Most teachers treat teaching as a job.
Born with the personality that makes students sit up and listen to you...also help.
That poor guy....who cannot get the student to confess...should not be angry with you.........but learn..the art..realizing his weaknesses...converting strengths. Only he can help succeed you.
But I do not envy you... being a government employee....that succeeds by ...playing race and religion every government departments.
That is many smart ..real excellent teachers ...migrated to Australia...and elsewhere.
Now after 50 years...the racialist UMNO government...have divided...and created ..the haves and have nots.....of their own playing race politics.
Many malays do not feel comfortable to be Malaysians....because of UMNO.
An to deal with UMNO what's the big deal of a student with a samseng father?? Who cares...was your right attitude.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Insyaallah saya akan selang seli post political dengan yang lebih peribadi. It's refresshing to talk about something else once in a while.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I admit in my younger days I was quite a terror as a disciplinary teacher. Nowadays, I engage my students in a different manner. I am still quite strict in class but not like before. This is where all previous experience come into play.

Kata Tak Nak said...

In some posts I just do not want to touch on politics at all and this is one of them.

monsterball said...

kata tak nak....As much as I respect you wish to leave education out of politics.....which is infect....very much a serous political issue.
I wish you put back hantutelur's challenge message to me....and my reply. This is serious stuffs....for all Malaysians!! Why delete them??
After all...we want readers to learn too....don't we ....kata tak nak??
I sincerely will allow true democratic messages in you blog.
You can delete quarrels...but not on Education. is your blog.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

i knew it! cikgu nazir ni orang dia garang....hehehehe...

trust me cikgu, i've had some fair share of experience, only that obviously i was at the receiving end. no rotan nor any psychological approach can make me to spill it. their last resort tho, would send shivers down my spine; calling in my parents!

agak2 bila nak break from politics tu, sambung la cite pasai budak pompuan tu.

thanks for sharing.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I am not talking about education per se, I am talking about my experience as a teacher and I want to keep politics completely out of it.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Ah, the teaser works. My next post would be on her. 2moro

hantutelur said...

The message from KTN is clear, Monty. You are entitled to your own opinion, but don't make yourself sound like a fool. I missed your reply, I wish I have seen it, so that I can tell your level of IQ. You accuse a certain quarter of being racist, but by doing so you yourself sound like one.

I liken this blog to a gentlemen's club, so if you can restrain yourself from saying things that can offend other visitors, I really appreciate it.

KTN has some posts that are sharp and stinging. But they are presented in a fun way. A good teacher he is, I'm learning lots from here.

monsterball said...

Yes...hantutelur..this is a gentleman's blog...but your idiotic message to me.. was replied.
And since kata tak nak...have said so clearly...what he wants on this site..perhaps you could repeat what you said at Anwar or Elizabeth blog.
You have been proven over ad over idiot,trying so hard to battle me on know next to nothing.
You are no doubt.. a only a racialist can talk like you.
After all...most UMNO members are why deny??

Kata Tak Nak said...

Hantu and Monty,
Please gentlemen, lets end this feud here. I beg you, please.

muteaudio said...

I bet u have lotsa stories to tell. Evryone can tell tales of their school years as a student but how many can tell as a teacher? This is interesting!

Zawi said...

I missed this one. This is really interesting. Agree fully with muteaudio that we dont have many stories from a teachers perspective. Yours is the only one that I know of. Give us more especially on your experience in Kelantan. Don't worry about offending my fellow Kelantanese as we know they are the truths and some maybe hurt by it.
My wife is a teacher and she too has her many stories about parents who sided with their children when it involved their discipline. Its not all a glossy world in teaching.
Keep em coming.


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