DESPITE being physical challenged, Zawati Yusoff, fondly known as Cikgu Zawati, never fails to give her best.
The Islamic education teacher at SMK Pengkalan Chepa 2 in Kota Baru, Kelantan, ventured into teaching special needs students 21 years ago.
In fact, Zawati, 52, believes her disability has helped her to have a deep understanding of the different needs of her students.
“Teaching special children is a huge responsibility as they have different learning needs.
“Having a lot of patience is among the reasons I’m able to overcome the challenges in teaching students from various categories, including those with Down Syndrome, slow learners and the hyperactive,” she said when met at her home in Kampung Chekok, Jalan Rambutan Rendang in Kota Baru.
The mother of an eight-year-old son admitted that it was not easy being a disabled teacher.
“I often experience leg cramps when walking long distances or standing for a long period of time.
“However, I never use this as an excuse to take my teaching career lightly,” she said.
Zawati, who graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said she wanted her disabled students to achieve success and be on par with normal students.
“It makes me happy to see my students living independently with their normal friends.
“They will have a brighter future if they receive a good education.”
Zawati’s tireless efforts have been recognised with several awards, including the Outstanding PwD Teacher Award (Education) in 2010, 2016 and 2019, as well as the Tokoh Zinnirah award from the state last year. — Bernama