I woke up to the sound of a rooster crowing and was partially confused, still thinking I was in my room back in KL. Still half asleep, I checked my phone and realised it was 5.35a.m., and instead of my room, I was staring at the ceiling of Shane’s (the teacher whose house we were living in) wooden house. Despite the lack of sleep, knowing that the standard 6 students would be waiting in their classrooms at half past 6 motivated me to get out of bed and get ready for our morning class.
As per the other days, we entere the classrooms an hour before school starts for a brief review or motivation session with our students. Today, instead of going over Math, I thought that it would be nice to find out more about the 5 children I was assigned to, be it about their ambition, hobbies, or family members. From our conversation, 2 of them aim to be teachers, 2 to be policemen and the other wants to be a firefighter. When I asked them if they ever thought of going to university, here were a few of their responses.
Student 1: Cikgu, kalau saya fail UPSR, papa saya kata x payah belajar dah, kerja saja lebih senang
Student 2: Cikgu, kita orang miskin, mana mampu nak pergi jauh jauh untuk belajar kat universiti
The above responses struck me and that was when I realised that their perception of higher education was something beyond the term “achievable”, especially with the lack of resources and support from their family. That was when I truly felt that our presence (a group of Malaysian students who made it to university) could serve as a form of motivation to persevere in their quest for education. I then had the chance to share on the importance of education and the various opportunities such as scholarships available. It was surprising to see the look on their faces as if they were never exposed to such an idea before.
After morning class, the students proceeded with normal school hours and we continued our day with P&P slots for the other classes (excluding standard 6). After lunch, we had our extra class sessions and although it was only day 4, it feels like we’ve known the children for weeks as we call each other through personalised nicknames.
We continued the day with the student’s favourite sports and riadah session. After being deprived of sports for the past 2 days, the children were so so so excited. We played captain ball, volleyball, rebut tiang, football and even Batu Seremban! There was practically a sport or game everyone was involved in (even the volunteers)! The students (and us) had so much fun. The sports session did indeed serve as a motivation for the children to pull through the extra class during the night session. My students were more attentive as I taught them a new Math topic and could apply them (although with guidance) to several questions, it actually surprised me!
As usual, after the night class session, the students either headed back to the asrama for supper or went home. The volunteers as usual, had our supper and headed home for our usual cold shower, reflection/ ranting + bonding session over snacks!
Here’s to the end of day 4! One day closer to home but a day closer to parting with the children!