Why Do I Love Being a Teacher? #1

Because one phase in your life will never cease no matter what, and that's what I've coined as 'schoolhood'.

Today I invigilated an examination for the first time in my whole entire life. Yes, this sort of 'first' finally came in my life. It was kind of peculiar, really. First, being on the other side of the assembly. Then being on the other side of the classroom.

And now, being on the other side of the examination hall.

When I first stepped into the restricted examination room to pick up the question papers, I realized one thing: I was no more the one sitting in the examination hall anticipating the questions that would come out. No longer felt suffocating, wondering whether all the sleepless nights would pay off when I laid my panda eyes on a sheet of paper before me. No longer violently and hastily scribbled my way on a piece of answering paper, like I were in some do-or-die scuffle with the damned paper.

Conversely, I was the one holding the questions paper close to my chest while heading towards the assigned classroom. I was the one anticipated by the students. Giving instructions. Clearing doubts. Explaining ambiguous questions. Setting the students to start writing. Yelling on top of my lungs to command them to drop their pens and stop writing.

The one with responsibilities. Huge and weighty.

So while I was distributing the question papers to my students, one of the lads looked up to me, eyes wide open. He then shifted his gaze to the question paper before him, eyes narrowed and he looked up to me, yet again. He finally spoke up.

"Sir, dulu Sir belajar pun macam ni, yerk? 6 kali exam setahun?"

I can't recall what my responses were to this impromptu curiosity at the moment, yet I remember I turned on my heels and sat on the absent student's chair, precisely in the heart of the class, and I invigilated the exam right from there, when I could have easily rested myself on the teacher's chair which was far more impressive and fluffy.

I did not know why.

But now, as I am writing this post, I finally know why.

Because I wanted to revive my 'schoolhood'. I wanted to feel the pressure again as a 16, 17-year old school boy, sitting in the examination hall, running along with the clock to the finish line. I wanted to be invigilated through a pair of distrusting eyes. I wanted to feel mental block, when what I had read the night before could not come to my disposal at this moment when I commanded it to.

Peeping at my friends on left, right and center to miraculously find the answers - and to feel relived upon knowing that they had not progressed as much, too. That they were clueless and helpless, too. Do you, too, miss the good old days as fondly as I do?

I think I should have answered the boy this way "Been there. Done that. Now stop whining and start writing". That could have been an award-winning response, too.

In all honesty, it does feel like only yesterday I left my school as a 17-year old kiddie, feeling big enough to take on the world. And today I was surrounded by 17-year old school kids, sitting in a classroom for an examination.

Question papers distributed. They were then flipped open in unison upon my command. Pens hoisted above the paper for a few seconds - and my kids began writing.

I have never really left school.

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Ibrahim said...

I was moved by your writing, really.. the memories were there, and deep inside, it's touched.

Aziz said...

There are some things in life that we remember better because they are shared.
One of them is our 'schoolhood', and I am glad upon knowing that we all shared (and felt) that at one point in our life =)

Adam Arshad said...

Invigilated an exam too today, in fact it was English Paper 1. Frankly writing, I was extremely sad looking at the kids trying to navigate their ways during the exam. They had no idea of whatsoever what were they answering. They were literally lost. I pitied them, some were scribbling random pictures, some were making unnecessary circles on their question papers. I tried helping some of them by explaining and sometimes purposely pointed them the answers. It's unmoving to see that they didn't have that passion in English, most of my students are like that so bringing English to life is a tad struggle for me. Everyday I have to think of the most interactive ways to engage them in the lesson and yes sometimes, I do feel hopeless. The flame to aid them better sometimes has been wiped off.

Aziz said...

How coincident, Acad. Me too, invigilated English paper today, and surprisingly, my own class. Yet, I only started taking over the invigilating duty less than 30 minutes before the paper ended. When I entered the class, all my students literally beamed upon seeing me,a relieved look was plain to see in each of them.

I know them very well, and the questions were difficult for most of them. After the previous invigilator went out (and she was my Penolong Kanan, mind you. No wonder my kids were so muted), I announced to the class that should they encounter any unfamiliar words, they were allowed to ask me. And needless to say, hands were shot right up in the air barely a second later. I pitied them. I almost cried, in fact. They are my kids, and I won't leave the school unless they have made progressed and shown enthusiasm towards English. I love my kids, and I won't stop believing that one day, through my own perpetual effort, they will be a better person as a whole and as a person, not only for English.

And I suppose you should not lose hope, too.

Azie Nazri said...

I feel you!
Havent been in an exam situation yet but the simple2 things, like how I see the girls giggling when talking about their crushes, how a boy tries to make this girl notice her, how the kids line up at the canteen, the marching practices.
Oh! It's just too unbearable sometimes. I miss my school and my friends.
I, too, have totally not left school. And somehow, I dont plan too.

Aziz said...

Kan, Azie?
Before this, all I thought about was to pursue Masters once I've finished my contract with KPM.
And now, meeting all these kids, teaching them, guiding them, inspiring them, I suppose this is the ultimate joy of all. And me, too, don't plan to leave school =)

Gnola Miden said...

"I can't recall what my responses were to this impromptu curiosity at the moment, yet I remember I turned on my heels..."

Aziz, are u wearing heels to school? hahaha...kidding!
It's the other meaning...i knw it...
u r so good in describing and retelling something...so damn good! i like to read ur story.unfortunately, it makes me feel lazier to update mind. Reading others blog is just another pleasure of being a human lately...huhu... miss u so much! take care...

Aziz said...

Fahmi, you're such a sweet talker! Hahaha. Miss you, too! :)