TEACHERS – TEACH US

I was just pointing out that the word teachers sounds a lot like ”Teach us” Haha. Anyway, lameness aside, I have been let down by so many teaching position people in my very short life..I am 23 so far.

  It all started in high school..*I wish i kept a constant journal while growing up, sad to say, i didn’t. Hence, everything i write is just a fragment of my memory, which is really short term.*

High school. I did not like that place, neither did i dislike it entirely, Some teachers were bearable, some were REALLY not meant to teach for a living. Anyhow, I excelled at school, if I do say so myself. I made friends but only a few close ones whom I still keep in contact with now. And I found favour in the teacher’s eyes because I was a ‘good girl’.

It was towards the end of Form 4 which is when we are 16 years old and it was the last semester of the year, before the final exams. I remember leaving the classroom and walking to the teacher’s lounge. I had to walk past 2 blocks and a badminton court, and I was carrying the hall pass; it was Bright pink which could be seen from a distance by any teacher or the discipline teacher. (i found him always prowling about school like a lion looking for mice. And should he chance upon any unfortunate student walking about without the hall pass during class hours, their fate would be severe.)

Anyway, there i was walking about, leaping up the flight of stairs two at a time and placing my hand on the teacher’s lounge doors when I heard them talking inside, quite near the door in fact. Now I don’t usually do this, but for some reason I did, that day. (I can almost see my hand on the door in my mind’s eye now as I’m typing this) I glanced around quickly and checked that there was no one around so i peeked through the crack left by the old and rusted door hinge which always made that particular door slightly lopsided and open and i eavesdropped.

”I ingat sem ni, kak akan dapat bonus lagi ya,” one teacher was praising the other (usually teachers only got bonuses when students get A for the subject they taught.)

”Uh, tak pasti lah, mugkin tak juga. Pelajar-pelajar smakin malas.” my science teacher said in reply.

Then a third voice joined them, my Moral teacher, Miss Liu. ”Well, xxx is in your class. You just have to encourage her a little bit and she’ll do it. I’m sure we’ll get our bonuses.”

The bunch of them laughed and they went on to criticise the lower classes and complained that if only all their students got A they would…(I don’t even want to say it BUT,) they would be rich and not need to work so hard. They all laughed again like it was a good joke.

  I could not believe what I’d just heard. So all that good treatment I received was because i got good grades? It was not because the teachers and I had become good friends? Some of them weren’t that old and I treated them like a wiser, older sister. Especially Ms Liu, i adored her! I even gave her my evanescence CD I’d won in a radio contest. I wondered what they would treat me like if i started to get bad grades. I was rooted to the spot and so caught up in my hurt that i didn’t notice a teacher had come out of the other door ahead of the one i was standing outside of. I dropped to my knees to fake tie my already tied shoelace and bent my head to hide my sadness. I told myself it was not true, that I’d heard wrongly. I turned away from the teacher’s lounge already forgetting the errand I had come out on. To this day, I cannot remember why I went there that day. It was such a shock to me, to hear that conversation. I’m not sorry I eavesdropped. If i didn’t, I would have been the dumb one, to continue to believe in their lies and their fictitious behaviors. I would not have guessed it myself, in fact I would have slammed anyone who slammed my beloved teachers.

I almost forgot the whole incident, until the next day at science class, at the laboratory. The teacher, I really liked her, nay I adored her, she was so kind and nice. She sidled up to me while the class and i were writing out the answers to the textbook activities after she had taught the day’s lesson. She smiled at me, and i immediately smiled back at her. She asked me about classes for a bit then said, ”So, do you think you can do well in the finals? ‘A’ boleh tak? She smiled encouragingly again. I felt sick. So that conversation was real. It DID happen. I wanted to shout at her, ”Do you only think of money when you look at me?” Inside i was crying and i so mad at her. I forced a smile and teased her, ”Ey, cikgu boleh bagi reward jika I dapat A tak?” I thought grudgingly that I was the one who was studying for the exam and if I got the ‘A’, I should get my share right?

Her smile faltered and she said, ”Cikgu government servant je, mana ada duit? It’s okay xxx, just do your best.” She smiled again, only this time I knew it was fake, I knew it was a lie and I knew she was just using me. (If you’re a govt servant, shouldn’t you have set an example to students instead of being all fake like and only treating us well because of our grades??She should have been nice to everyone regardless of our grade.)

I got first place all throughout that year, but though the battle was won, I had lost the will to fight the war. I wondered, if teachers can lie to us students, who else can we trust? I never thought that the teachers would treat me this way, that they would have an ulterior motive. Now i knew why teachers only focused on the good students but hardly took time to teach the bad students. When it should have been the other way around.

But still, i loved science too much to do badly in it, I thought i would teach her a lesson, but i didn’t. Maybe it was also because she was pregnant Again, that I thought maybe my A grade would help her in her expenses. She didn’t come to class much and I who never really paid much attention in class anyway even from the start of Form 4. I relied on my external science books to score and kept that up until SPM.

I ended up teaching my moral teacher a lesson instead. (oh the irony)

The next year I purposely neglected my moral studies. I dropped from an A grade student in that subject to a C grade student, in a year, well, less than a year; that is after the mid term exams. I wanted my report card to show a very obvious decline in my grade. I purposely used the wrong words but with similar meanings in the definition and some answers, I even left blank, which was quite unheard of for a student like me. I dropped from an A2 to a C5 in 3 months. It was planned. But i worried before the results came out if I’d made myself fail, but luckily i didn’t. It was so alarming that Ms Liu talked to me privately about it. (I noticed that after my grade for her subject dropped her demeanor towards me changed, it was like i had magically been labelled a ‘bad girl’ in her books. She paid less attention to me in class, and did not even smile at me when I saw her in the hallway, as compared to how she used to when I got good grades. So this was the treatment the bad students received. And i was not her ‘friend’ after all and neither was she gonna ‘help me through my problems should i be facing any’. Disappointment in her was an understatement.)  But i wasn’t really listening to her and acted like i was, I acted disappointed but really I was triumphant. If she could be fake, so could i. I know, I really was not the better man, after all at that time, i was still a minor and my thinking wasn’t matured. She, on the other hand was an adult and had been an adult for a very long time. The only thing i disliked was that my GPA dropped a Lot and i placed 3rd in class that semester. I received flack for that from my family and so i rose back to an A2 in the next sem.

Anyhow, this was the beginning of my distrust in teachers. Teachers were those precious gems i’d still believed in, other than my parents. At age 8, i started hating the authorities and didn’t trust people in general. But TEACHERS, i loved you all. It was hard to let go, but i did eventually. At age 16, i stopped believing in teachers.

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RESULTS

RESULTS DAY. 5 YEARS AGO. 18.

MY EYES SCANNED EVERY INCH OF MY FACE FOR BLEMISHES OR EVEN, WAIT, ARE THOSE DARK CIRCLES I SEE? UGH, I LOOK LIKE A PANDA. BUT THE PANDA LOOK IS KIND OF IN NOW, I THINK. AH, WHATEVER. EVERYONE WHO IS HARDWORKING HAS PANDA EYES. SO, IT ISSSSS A GOOD THING. I CALLED MUM TO HURRY UP AND SEND ME, WE WERE ALREADY RUNNING LATE. SHE EYED MY SKIRT AND ASKED ME IF I WAS SURE I WANTED TO WEAR A SHORT SKIRT TO SCHOOL. YESSSSS MUM, ITS NOT THAT SHORT, I MEAN LIKE IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE WHAT THE OTHER KIDS WORE -.- BUT INSTEAD OF SAYING THAT, I SAID DEMURELY, ”ITS JUST A SHORT WHILE TO GET MY RESULTS, I WON’T TAKE 10 MINUTES.” SHE PURSED HER LIPS AND SAID NOTHING. 

WE REACHED SCHOOL IN RECORD TIME, 7 MINUTES! NOT BAD..I SEARCHED THE CROWD OF PEOPLE FOR MY EX-CLASSMATES, SOME PEOPLE WERE ALREADY HERE. SU, JASON, SARA..BUT WHERE WAS JENA? HMM, MY IRRITATION CLEARLY SHONE ON MY FACE BECAUSE SOMEONE TAPPED ME ON THE SHOULDER AND JOKINGLY SAID, ”WOKE UP ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED?” I TURNED AROUND ONLY TO GIVE A SARCASTIC, ”HA HA.” AS I WHACKED MY BESTIE EUJIN. HE WAVED HIS RESULTS IN MY FACE. THE FLIMSY PIECE OF PAPER SOUNDED LIKE IT WAS LAUGHING AT MY IRRITATION. 

”WHERE’S YOUR RESULTS?”

”I HAVEN’T COLLECTED IT..”

”WHAT? WHY? SCARED IS IT?”

I STARED AT HIM WITH A  -___- EXPRESSION. IF I WAS SCARED, I WOULDN’T HAVE COME TODAY TO COLLECT IT, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF. ”TSK, SHADDAP LA YOU..I’M WAITING FOR JENA. WHAT DID YOU GET?”

”HUH.. OH, JUST GET IT FIRST, SHE WON’T MIND.”

I TRIED TO SNATCH HIS PAPER AWAY FROM HIM, BUT HE LIFTED IT UP AND BACKWARDS AWAY FROM ME. JUST THEN, THE OTHER GUYS FROM EUJIN’S CLASS WITH THEIR RESULT SLIPS GATHERED AROUND US ALL SHOUTING AND LAUGHING AND THUMPING EACH OTHER ON THEIR BACKS. I ROLLED MY EYES AND WALKED TO THE BENCH. AS I SAT THERE TEXTING JENA, A CALL CAME THROUGH AND IT WAS MUM ASKING IF I WAS DONE. SHE DECIDED THAT SHE WOULD PICK ME UP ON THE WAY HOME LATER ON. JUST AS I HUNG UP THE PHONE WITH HER, JENA STEPPED INTO MY VIEW. 

I JUMPED UP AND HUGGED HER, ”YOU CAME!” SHE LOOKED LIKE SHE WOULD HAVE RATHER STAYED AT HOME AND SIMPLY NODDED. WE WENT TO OUR CLASS’ RESULTS COLLECTION TABLE AND SHOWED OUR IDENTIFICATIONS TO THE RELEASE SLIP TEACHER IN CHARGE. I SAW MINE BRIEFLY AND SMILED AT JENA WHOSE EXPRESSION CLOUDED WHEN SHE SAW HERS. 

”SO?”

”SO, WHAT?”

”HOW IS IT, YOUR RESULTS?”

”BETTER THAN I EXPECTED. 3 A’S THE REST B’S, C’S D’S.”

I NODDED. SHE LOOKED AT ME EXPECTANTLY WITH A LITTLE BORED EXPRESSION TOO. ”I DID WORST THAN I EXPECTED, BUT, I AM GRATEFUL.7 A’S 2 B’S 1 C,” MY VOICE HARDENING A LITTLE AT THE MENTION OF MY C.

THEN JENA SAID SOMETHING TOTALLY UNEXPECTED, ”YOU GUYS WHO ALWAYS DO WELL ACADEMICALLY ALWAYS SEEM TO BE SO SAD WHENEVER YOU GET ONE MARK/ HOWEVER MANY MARKS LESS THAN WHAT YOU GET. I MEAN, IF IT WAS ME GETTING YOUR RESULTS, I’D BE DAMN HAPPY ALREADY.” 

UNEXPECTED BECAUSE, ALTHOUGH JENA WAS MY CLOSEST GIRL FRIEND IN HIGH SCHOOL, SHE ALWAYS STRUCK ME AS SOMEONE VERY BRIGHT AND KNOWLEDGEABLE JUST NOT STUDIOUS OR INTERESTED TO EXCEL ACADEMICALLY. WHILE I ON THE OTHER HAND, NOT VERY BRIGHT BUT WORKED MY ASS OFF TO GET GOOD GRADES. I MULLED OVER HER WORDS FOR THE REST OF THAT DAY, TO ME, IT FELT LIKE A REMINDER THAT RESULTS ARE JUST RESULTS OF PAST DILIGENCE; NOTHING MORE. 

In my asian culture, results are everything. And now, where there are no grades in my professional papers; whether you get a pass or a fail is everything. And society today is consumed by how many pieces of papers, uh, i mean certifications one can get to deem you more ‘fit’ for a job. It is not everything, it is just a form of idiotic measurement scholastic institutions use to write a person’s worth down on paper; to somewhat immortalise that part of a person, while knowing full well that time is fleeting and the human brain is one that cannot store up information for long periods of time.

For we are mortal. And so are results.  


I am consumed with the pressure to pass, to not let my family down, but pride comes before a fall, and it looks like i have fallen. 

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