PARENTING a child is arguably one of the hardest things to do in the world.
As the saying goes: “You don’t know how many buttons you have that can be pushed until you have children.”
So what could possibly be harder than parenting?
It is being “foster parents” to children who come in a multitude of colourful characters and attitudes - a difficult task all teachers face on a daily basis.
Not only does the responsibility of imparting knowledge fall on teachers, they also act as second parents to large classes of schooling children over long hours each day to ensure the would-be future leaders of the country turn out to be decent, educated, disciplined, high-functioning individuals with positive attitudes and values instilled in them.
For SMK Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam, student Sworna Veena G. Balan, 16, teachers became her confidants when she hit a low point in life.
“I used to get bullied a lot (emotionally, mentally, and physically) from Form One to Form Two.
“The bullies led me to believe that no one liked me because of my race.
“I confided in two of my teachers, but didn’t tell my parents. My teachers - Puan Lim Wei Wei and Puan Shabitha - sought out the bullies, set them straight and helped me gain back self-confidence,” she said.
Teachers should be celebrated for their efforts, she added.
“Teachers Day is for students who usually don’t know how to express themselves and show appreciation towards teachers, to tell them that they actually do appreciate them, no matter how loving or strict they may be,” said the Form Four student who prepared a homemade traditional Indian dish to distribute to teachers during the school’s Teachers Day celebration held last month.
Themed “What I could be if I wasn’t a teacher”, SMK Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam, celebrated Teachers Day in an endearing manner. It was a day filled with fun and interactive games that both students and teachers took part in.
Teachers, who dressed up according to the theme, could be seen as police and army personnel, contractors, engineers, flight attendants, pilots, lawyers, farmers and more.
Students cheered the teachers on as they entered the assembly ground, where they renewed their vows as educators. Meor Hamizan Meor Mohammad Fared, 16, dedicated a special place in his heart to his form teacher Nurhaliza.
“I was shy and quiet, with low self confidence when I entered Form One here. I didn’t dare join any activities because I thought I wasn’t good enough.
“It was my teacher who raised my confidence by constantly encouraging and advising me not to give up on things that I’m interested in.
“Now, I am able to do public speaking, represent my school as part of the football team, and join the marching band because of the positive encouragement I receive from Puan Nurhaliza,” he said, adding that all teachers deserve more credit and recognition than they are given.
“Teachers play a big role in students’ life. We respect them everyday but Teachers Day is an extra special day where we appreciate them even more.
“I believe that all teachers do their best to produce the future leaders of our country,” said Meor Hamizan.
Dressed in her husband’s army uniform, SMK Kota Kemuning senior assistant (academics) Norli Mokhtar said she was proud to contribute to the nation as a teacher.
“My proudest moment would be when I bump into former students outside and they tell me they have made a name for themselves in whichever field they ventured into.
“It is heartwarming to know that they remember me after leaving school so many years ago and still call me cikgu,” said the English teacher who has served in education for 29 years.
With a twinkle in her eyes, Norli who is part of the Girl Guides, revealed that her beloved students are her motivation to keep teaching.
“They keep us young at heart! It is also my passion which keeps me going. I come from a family of teachers, both my parents were teachers while my sister is also a teacher,” said Norli, adding that Teachers Day was a special day for educators.
“Teachers Day is a proud day for us because the whole country celebrates it together with us,” said the veteran educator who is in her fifties.
Moral Studies and Design and Technology teacher Kavitha Choli, 38, said it was fun to dress up as a policewoman - a role which she plays in school.
Being the disciplinarian in school, she said, it is highly satisfying to know that students actually are aware that teachers always have their best interests at heart.
“Although this wasn’t the ambition I wanted at first, being a teacher brings a lot of satisfaction especially when students acknowledge our efforts and contributions.
“I cherish the simple wishes I get from my students, especially the naughty ones, because it means they don’t resent me for disciplining them and know that I am looking out for them,” said the discipline teacher who has 16 years of experience.
“It is my aim to produce well-mannered youth with good attitudes.
“Good academic results will not get you far if your attitude towards life is bad,” she said.
In his opening speech, SMK Kota Kemuning principal Shamsul Yusli Mohamad Yusop said it was important to celebrate Teachers Day to show appreciation towards teachers.
Teachers, he said, put in countless effort and time to ensure students are not left behind.
“They instil good values in students. We must make sure teachers are appreciated,” he said.