Going the extra mile

Amy Mistika

NO STUDENT will be left behind as far as this former trainee teacher is concerned.

Not even one who refuses to utter a single word during class and shies away from everyone when approached.

But with sheer determination and lots of patience, Amy Mistika Salim, 24, managed to form a bond with her former student Yip Kah Shzen and get him to respond to her.

Better known as Cikgu Orked in the social media sphere, her story of Kah Shzen went viral when she tweeted about her time teaching him Mathematics in 2017.

“Kah Shzen was a very quiet student and I did not know what was wrong when I was teaching him.

“He always kept his head down and when I talked to him, he just continued to stare at the table,” she said.

All this happened while she was doing her four-months practical training at SMK Puchong Utama (1) teaching Mathematics to a Form Four class.

She said the class had a fair mix of 39 students, all with different personalities and attitudes.

“The previous Mathematics teacher told me that we could not do anything much about Kah Shzen.”

It took almost all of her four months there but as Amy Mistika continued to give him extra attention in class, Kah Shzen slowly opened up.

She said she was determined to help him because helping every student become better through education is her goal as a teacher.

“He started to respond and gave one or two-word answers.

“For example, if I asked him if he finished yesterday’s homework, he would just answer with ‘siap’ (finished). That’s all he would say.”

Amy Mistika said she would also ask him why he did not have a book or a calculator but would not get any response.

“I normally punish students who do not bring these things but he was special and I knew that punishing him would be useless.”

She gave him an exercise book and would lend him her calculator during lessons.

She said she noticed that he would actively take extra notes and do exercises on his own initiative.

An indication, she added, that he could and wanted to learn.

“His answers are almost always correct but he was just extremely introverted.”

She said the first time he communicated with her was through Whatsapp when he asked if he had left his ruler in class.

Amy Mistika found this surprising because he could not speak in Bahasa Malaysia.

When she asked him how he could type in Bahasa Malaysia, he said he had used Google Translate.

She was proud of this little detail because it showed that he was making an effort.

She added that she would conduct her class in a mixture of Bahasa Malaysia, English and a little bit of Mandarin, which she learnt when she was in primary school.

“I was touched when he gave me a note saying ‘thank you teacher’ before I ended my practical training at that school,” she said.

Although that note was sent through his friend, she was still very happy that she had helped him become a better student.

Amy Mistika said she always wanted to be a teacher and had worked in numerous teaching jobs between finishing her SPM and entering university.

She added that teaching Kah Shzen has taught her to be patient with students as everyone will have their own personalities, some good, some challenging.

“I want to prove that every student can actually succeed.”

Kah Shzen could not be reached for comment.

RHB Bank Group Chief Marketing Officer Abdul Sani Abdul Murad said the video that the bank created was inspired by the true story of Amy Mistika who went the extra mile to overcome the language barrier between her and student, Kah Szhen.

“RHB is a champion for all and we wanted to show that progress can come in many forms.

“We found that Amy Mistika’s story showcasing her determination to break down the communication barrier with a student, embodies what the RHB brand stands for.

“She could have taken the easy route and made it someone else’s problem but it was her challenger spirit that made her go the extra mile,” he said.

To continue seeking the common point of goodness in everyone’s differences embodies what RHB believes in, he said, adding that it is precisely what “Together We Progress” means.

“The video titled ‘Breaking Barriers’ was launched on May 16 in conjunction with Teachers Day, and has since garnered more than 4.5 million views with over 13,000 likes on Facebook and YouTube.

“Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik also shared the video on his Facebook page,” he said.

The video can be viewed via the RHB Group Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHBGroup/videos/2248811598691522/.

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