If you're not a teacher then you may not know how I feel when any of my students passed their exams. Especially when you know some of them really work their asses for it.
One of them is ZAbA.
He entered 'my life' in 1995... he was in Form 1 then. Me, just started teaching.
anyway, i taught him & his friends all the way to Form 5 (except when they were in Form 3).
in a way, they 'grew up' right in-front of my eyes.
Simply put, i knew their 'perangai' like i knew the back of my hand.
why am i concentrating on ZAbA alone?
because, he's the living epitome of 'if you really work for it, you'll get it'.
he's actually a bright student...except for English.
it's laughable...and THAT freaked me out.
fast-forward to that fateful late afternoon.
i was doing my rounds (I was a warden back then)
...checking the classes to make sure no students were doing anything fishy.
and i found him sitting at the back of his class musing over something.
so i went over and started a conversation with him.
again, fast forward.... he sheepishly showed me something that made my eyes watered.
his own 'dictionary'.
any words that he didn't understand, he’ll write it in that log-book and later try to find their meanings. Many of the words even have sample sentences!!
and when i looked at his effort with the 'dictionary',
I promised myself to do whatever I can to help him improve his English.
At the same time, I made him promised never to give up in his quest to improve his English.
I knew he kept his side of the promise...he really worked his ass off.
He may be a bit quiet in class, but outside class, he never stopped asking me whenever he can.
Fast-forward again... the day SPM 1999 results were announced.
I saw him standing next to a car parked in front one of the academic buildings, smiling from ear to ear. And his face was as bright as a star... like a kid receiving his dream toy.
And when I finally stood in front of him, he excitedly showed me his result slip and said,
“Teacher, I got A2 for English!”
If he were a girl, I would have hugged & kissed him right there & then.
It’s been 10 years now and we still keep-in-touch. Throughout the years he has always sent me Teacher’s Day cards & Raya cards. And recently, his wedding invitation card (11th Oct. 2009).
I have met many students like ZAbA in later years but I will always remember him as ‘one of the naughtiest boys of his batch’ who managed to change his life by working hard.
To ZAbA, for what you’ve achieved... I’m so damned proud of you. You made me the proudest teacher in Malaysia on that particular day.
And you will always have a special place in my heart for eternity.