Education line in Malaysia is not always bed of roses. The power of parents supersedes the teachers’; crippling teachers to be immobile to function as an educator. What we can do are only to TEACH. We can never EDUCATE. Never in Malaysia! Anyway, this week I have been given the chance by Allah SWT to taste what does it feels like to be a Malaysian teacher in a provincial town- a confluence geography between rural and urban; a hybrid lifestyle which makes the people here act like they are always in the righteous place; without realizing that it is actually does not make any sense.
The case began way before the 2 weeks school holidays (one month ago) I think. I was teaching my Science class 5 Dynamic when a class next-door, 5 Efficient was having a blast and fiesta of their lives! Pupils running and standing ON THE table nearing the ceiling fan and it was very noisy! As a teacher who thought of discipline empowerment and not to mention scared if anything bad would happened to the pupils; I went straight reprimanding the whole 5 Efficient class. Even monitor, assistant monitor and prefects were not doing their responsibilities! In the end, the whole class was punished. Everyone got a piece of spanking of ruler on their palms!
Anyway, on 21st July 2010, suddenly a mother of a pupil of that class came to the school making a scene at the school canteen; lurking and searching for Cikgu Shahrill! My Guru Penolong Kanan and Guru Kaunseling encouraged me not to go out from the Teachers’ Room as to avoid meeting the heated mother; which only to add fuel to the fire, right? When my GPK and Guru Kaunseling went down looking for the parent to reason out the motives, the mother went back.
So happen, that the parents were also living in the same neighbourhood with me at Kampung Seri Serendah. They already targeted my house. So, around 6 P.M. on the same day, there was a bang on my door. BANG! BANG! BANG! I was half-expecting the crazy parents would come so I opened the door. The mother (an Indonesian-descent) who was looking so emotionally dysfunctional, attacked me.
“Engko pe hal pukul anak aku? Weh, kalau ko tak puas hati ko datang jumpe aku! Aku tunggu ko lama tadi kat sekolah! Apehal ko pukul anak aku?!!!”
At first, I tried to sustain my credibility as a teacher. Trying to be diplomatic and cool.
“OK Cik. Dengar dulu penjelasan saya. Saya mengajar kat kelas 5D. Kelas 5E yang sebelah tu bising sampai ada yang berlari-lari, naik atas meja nak kena kipas. Saya risau la sebagai cikgu. Semua dalam kelas tu kena. Tak ada pengecualian……”
The mother who seemingly an uneducated snob didn’t let me finish my words because she just wanted to release her anger.
“Habis tu apa gunanya ketua darjah? Biarlah ketua darjah jaga!”
By this time since the mother raised her voice, I also raised my voice. I deliberately ignited the commotion outside my house near the main road; if anything were happening to me, there would be witnesses!
“Cik dengar dulu penjelasan saya!!!! Apa guna kalau datang serang tak bagi saya cakap??”
The mother lost words. So she advanced signal for the husband to join the argument. The husband, dressed with black jacket with that gung-ho “ambiance” strutted towards me.
“Skang ape masalahnye sampai ko pukul anak aku?”
“Saya takde niat membenci sebab tak ajar langsung pun anak cik. Saya cuma nak didik. Nak disiplinkan. Semua kena!”
“Cara didikan kau tu salah! Kau jangan main-main dengan aku! HISSSSSHHHH AKU LA…!!!
By this time, the father already clenched his fist and threaten to box me! I guess luckily there were few neighbours witnessing the commotion and were watching very cynically towards the parents because they know my job as a teacher is to discipline kids. Not simply terrorizing the kids! The arguments went on and I never quailed from the argument. I keep putting my voice tone higher when the mother trying to outwit my voice.
I guess it was because people around gathered and witnessing the commotion that the parents withdrew by leaving one last threat.
“Lepas ni aku taknak dengar lagi. Ko jangan sentuh/ denda anak aku lagi, faham????!!!”
“Saya pun tak teringin la cik. Niat nak disiplinkan tu je. Ikut suka lah”
The parents went off with their motorcycle; I guess they were satisfied because my Science Mentor, Kak Norsiah who happened to be the class teacher of 5 Efficient told me that the mother called her after the incident and said;
“OK, kes dengan Cikgu Shahrill dah settle. Kali saya bagi dia peluang.”
My mentor slammed the mother back through telephone.
“Awak tak sepatutnya bertindak begitu menyerang sampaidi rumah. Awak kata settle. Kalau dia report pada polis macam mana?”
The mother whose voice was high-pitched was dumbfounded when Kak Norsiah slammed her with that.
Anyway, today the school was in uproar upon hearing the story. Everyone was worried about my safety and the case was also known by GB. He asked Ustaz Kamaruzzaman, a respectable Ustaz whose networking is vastly connected in Serendah to escort me to Balai Polis Serendah to make a report; just for protection; so if there were anything to happen, police already have suspect in their surveillance. Thanks also to the policeman for offering his phone number apart from the Balai Polis’s number for me to contact if anything were to happen again!
Above all, I am very relieved that I’ve finally face-to-face with the parents and having supportive colleagues in school. They know I am doing my responsibility. Thanks a million also to my English Panel sisters (Kak Wahida, Kak Lin, Kak Aireen, Kak Shida), GPK Puan Norazian, Guru Disiplin Puan Isna and everyone. This is indeed a valuable experience and I hope it ends well.
I’ve also realize that these days, it is not “Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia”. It is “Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia.” We teachers in Malaysia are not to become ‘pendidik’ anymore. We only are allowed to become ‘pengajar’ only. We are never allowed. In this case to save my own-self, I think it’s better if from now on, I just teach the pupils. Not educating them. Meaning, if the pupils want to study, they study. If not, they can do whatever they want; go ahead. No wonder these days, there are a lot of social illness amongst kids.