Rewards aplenty in the interior
By NITHYA SIDDHU
Instead of shying away from serving in rural schools, young teachers should take pride in nurturing and guiding their charges who look up to them as a source of inspiration and hope.
TEACHERS may be required to undergo three to five years of compulsory postings to rural areas and the interior, says the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a report published by The Star earlier this month.
When I read the details of the proposal, I thought it was high time this mandatory requirement was put into practice.
Young teachers must remember a few things – the day you choose to enter the profession, you ought to understand its first basic tenet, which is to SERVE the children of this nation.
No matter where they are, or of what race, gender or economic status, they need your attention.
Lest you think that I am talking through my nose, I must tell you that I have served in many rural schools in my 25 years of teaching.
Yes, children in these schools may sometimes wear uniforms that may reek of smells from the river water, or may barely have had breakfast before they trudge miles to school, or have no money to buy even a pen.
But, they are Malaysian children and they deserve a rightful place in schools, and they deserve our consideration and concern.
Please do not set their needs aside. Among them, I have found creative, intelligent and curious minds just waiting to be guided and encouraged to expand.
I have found them eager, interested and in need of attention and acknowledgment.
When I think of all the rural school students I have taught, what comes to my mind is the way they looked up to me for inspiration and hope.
When you teach them well, and show them you care, they, in return, will show their appreciation and enthusiasm in learning.
”With intention comes attention,” so says Oprah Winfrey. And I truly believe this — if you want a child to bloom and become aware of his full potential, it always begins with the right intention and a genuine degree of commitment on your part. Forget your prejudices and just serve.
Yes, I do agree that while you are in the interior, you may feel the lack of many of your home’s comforts and practical amenities, but don’t forget that many of the children you are entrusted to teach come from homes that are far less privileged.
Regular schooling and having teachers who care are the benefits of a good education for them.
You are the key to this. It is you who will open up their minds to allow them to envision a better future for themselves.
Even as you sigh, don’t lose sight of the fact that not only will you be paid a hardship allowance while you serve them, but remember, you are also one of those who belong to a profession that accords you many weeks of school holidays.
You can always go home during these breaks and get over your homesickness — but what chance do the kids you teach have of ever knowing a life other than what their little village offers them?
I think if new teachers are told right from the very beginning that they must do a rural stint, and that this stint is part and parcel of their teaching contract, then we can put an end once and for all to the many problems and “sob stories” that newly-graduated teachers come up with as to why they cannot be posted to places far away.
There are also many who buy themselves a ticket out of the kampungs they are sent to serve in, by getting married.
Imagine if soldiers or doctors refused to serve in the interior? Wouldn’t you think them selfish and concerned only about their own comfort at the expense of those who really need their services?
Come on, it’s sheer hypocrisy when thousands of young people fill in applications to be teachers every year, but start whining the minute they get their teaching posts.
When I think of this compulsory rural posting proposal, I’d like all new teachers to think of the services of Rotary Clubs.
I’m not a Rotarian, but as a teacher, I can appreciate the fact that Rotary Clubs are service clubs whose purpose is an altruistic one.
Like teachers, they are supposed to provide “humanitarian service”.
Rotary’s best-known motto is “Service above Self”, and its secondary motto is “They profit most who serve best”.
If you ever wondered why teaching is considered a noble profession, give some thought to these two mottos.
I strongly feel that teachers should be sent to rural outposts, but they should not be left to teach in these areas for a long time and then conveniently forgotten.
NUTP secretary-general Lok Yim Peng made it clear about this when she spoke on the subject recently.
Her request that the Education ministry has a fair rotation system when implementing rural service is not only timely, but also necessary and reassuring.
On a personal note, I must say that one of my best memories was in the early eighties when I was teaching in a quiet riverside town.
While travelling back home on a jeep through the rough laterite roads between Sandakan and Bukit Garam in Sabah, a villager suddenly appeared in the middle of the road and frantically waved at me to stop.
Not knowing what to expect, I cautiously pulled up my vehicle to the side and lowered the glass window, only to find the excited villager holding a large plastic bag of river prawns that he presented to me!
“Untuk Cikgu (for you teacher),” he said simply.
On the journey back, the live prawns twitched and writhed in the plastic bag, but my heart — it sang all the way home.
Yes, appreciation comes in different forms, and the rewards are aplenty when you serve in the backwaters.
source : The Star
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------well. this article encourage me to have more passion in this field. not just to teach the next generation i'm gonna teach, but educate them and be a good role model. and i know, currently, i am role model to my younger sister and younger-little brothers.
when i'm thinking about teaching primary school kids, my little brothers 'show' themselves in my mind. yada. it starts from home. it begins in me!
i have my own aim by throwing myself into this field. although i have other choices before, i still choose this path. yeah. quite half-hearted at the beginning, but i remind myself to do my best in everything. it will be asked for responsibility later, at 'there' the permanent world.
i have my own vision. i have my own mission. not that strange as all my sisters and brothers who are muslims also have the same vision. for this perfect way of life.
myself, all the best. keep praying and asking for the best. not just for myself, forget not the others. :)
i do love reading teacher talk and anything about teachers. ^.^