3 years it has been since I first started my first foray into the educational field. And the assumptions of people who don’t know me thinking that I am this “fresh graduate” from SPM holder or a ‘Maktab’ product has yet to change. As classic cliche, they found it hard to accept that I am already reaching 28 years old and my first job was a bank executive in AFFIN Islamic and I did KPLI for a year just to get my license to teach. Hahaha, no matter. I don’t live with strangers’ perception.
Since 2010, I have gained quite experiences in maturing myself in the canvas of life as a Malaysian teacher. I’ve tasted the wrath of political polemics and bureaucracies; I’ve experienced the colours of platonic relationships with colleagues; I’ve been drenched with few backlashes from parents who are simply TOO ignorant and TOO clouded by the loves to their children and rejected the disciplining intentions; and many more. With all these commotions fuelled, I sometimes question myself :
“Did I choose the RIGHT profession? Did I make the RIGHT decision of quitting banking world and jumped into this education-of-Government world? Did I make the RIGHT decision to dump the corporate lifestyle where people regard as glamorous and resort as this underrated-by-public-eyes career as TEACHER?”
It is a self-disclosure argument that I can’t restrain myself from pondering. But of course, dealing and being surrounded with the kids are the best. I love my career as a teacher and I always feel grateful for having the opportunity to teach. Being with the kids and conveying and imparting knowledge is my forte and a bless from God. Knowing them to flourish with what you feed and conveyed is a Heaven-Sent grace you can;t describe with words; Alhamdulillah.
BUT, with all the bureaucracies and documentation shenanigan which lead TEACHING AS SECOND NATURE to our job; where do we go from here?
Government and Ministry always introduce new ideas to Malaysian educational arena. Of course, these are sugar-coated as “innovation and improvement” to our education line so that we could be on par with the rest of the countries in the world. Nevertheless, sad to say, all these are concocted merely to portray good image to the public. The society these days keep pushing the Ministry to DO THIS and to DO THAT; so in order to alleviate that, Ministry concocts various ideas and plans (most of which are actually ridiculous) just to appease the public. Besides that, Ministry feels the pressure when Malaysians who study abroad and expatriates began to cite cultures practised by Western countries and pressure the Ministry to infuse the cultures into the local education arena. These vehement comparisons always resulting to unsatisfactory result. *Sigh*
Recently, Ministry has make it compulsory that schools in Malaysia are to exercise the concept of “Guru Penyayang”. This concept targets teachers to be lovable figures;and most importantly, disciplinary actions are merely psychological; physical disciplining IS PROHIBITED. “Rotan” or cane IS PROHIBITED at all. Teachers are only to scold pupils WITHOUT physical contacts no matter how RUDE the pupils are.
This concept of “Guru Penyayang” emphasizes pupils as the clientele. Teachers, especially Disiciplinary Teachers (including me, of course as I am Discipline Teacher for Year 5) are made COMPULSORY to wait at the gates for the pupils, welcoming them graciously with smile and greet them with “SELAMAT DATANG”(welcome). My colleagues and I have been doing that lately and whether we like it or not, we have to fix our fake smile and welcoming the pupils like clowns. Sarcastic smiles from parents are inevitable but, what to do?
Next, teachers in class HAVE to be alert with pupils. That is, we have to make them feel welcomed to school via :
- We have to ASK WHOSE BIRTHDAY everyday so that the pupils are ‘eager to come to school’;
- We have to frequently THANKED THE PUPILS for coming to school everyday;
- We have to give UNCONDITIONAL ATTENTIONS TO EACH PUPILS (usually 30-40 pupils in class) INCLUDING THOSE WHO ARE PASSIVE;
- We are PROHIBITED TO USE CANE, RULER OR PHYSICAL CONTACT TO DISCIPLINE PUPILS; ONLY WORDS; although the pupils can be the rudest type they could be;
- We have to LINE-UP with pupils and BID FAREWELL BY GESTURING THE “BYE-BYE” hand signs to the pupils.
I am sure we the teachers do that subconsciously because the instinct as teachers is to instantaneously love the pupils. BUT, with all these actions described in decree and being instructed as mandatory, it makes us all suffocated!
When teachers lament these ridiculous decrees set upon to the public, the society mocks at teachers; claiming teachers ‘deserve’ all these as Government now is paying more attention to teachers and has been raising up the salary of teachers. The mentality is yet to be changed, sadly. On the other hands, the Ministry keeps pushing the teachers to straightening up their instructions-made-mandatory; but have ever the parents blame the Upper Parties? NO, they blame the teachers although they know teachers are only the executioners of the decrees; NOT the planners of the decrees. *Sad*
As teacher, teaching and imparting knowledge to children is the best gift and satisfaction. But, with all these political interventions and bureaucracies, becoming teacher in Malaysia is like “hands handcuffed, legs tied; mouths shut”. We are merely to EXECUTE what the Upper Parties instruct. We have no right to defy or object the Upper Parties. We are always the slaves of the civil services, the lowest in the educational hierarchy in Malaysian education. After all, we are always the “Saya Menurut Perintah”…….