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LETTER | To sir and madam, with love

LETTER | May 16 was Teachers Day in Malaysia. I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate every single teacher who has been doing his and her best in teaching their students, both about knowledge and in becoming a better person, especially during this hard time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most students, even parents, do not know how much work a teacher has to go through every day. A good teacher, in my point of view, has to dedicate their time and attention to prepare for class, put a smile on their face in class no matter how hard is it, and lastly, give students comfort, support, and knowledge. 

I think being a teacher is one of the most underappreciated professions in Malaysia.

I believe some of my teachers have even built a legacy. They showed students empathy and kindness. Teachers are the ones that have the power to spark curiosity and shape the minds of future generations. 

Teachers can even motivate students to do things that they thought was impossible to do. My love and appreciation for arts came from my Form 3 homeroom teacher, Puan Chan, who just retired last year. Teachers have the power to shape a student’s future.

I always had classmates who asked me, how do I get decent grades during exams? I insisted that I never studied for exams but they would never believe me. I wondered for a very long time, why did they study so hard, but still end up with subpar results? 

I believe that I found the answer when watching the late Rita Pierson’s Ted Education talk, “Every Kid Needs A Champion”.

James P Comer said, “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” 

I have come to realise that the fact that I immerse myself in the class by engaging and having an open heart to absorb whatever the teacher teaches, allows me to learn efficiently. 

A significant relationship between the class materials and environment with the student has the potential to allow the students to learn more, and a good teacher can do just that.

I acknowledge that not all teachers are great. We all know from a recent event where a teacher made a rape joke. I hope teachers like these learn decency and get to be a better person one day. 

Students deserve to feel safe at school and get protection from adults. The Education Ministry should maintain the quality of teachers. Quality education is something every child should get and is a crucial investment for the growth of the country.

I am very grateful that the school I was in was filled with caring and loving teachers and staff. 

One of the greatest Nobel laureates I looked up to, Richard P Feynman once said: “So I find that teaching and the students keep life going, and I would never accept any position in which somebody has invented a happy situation for me where I don't have to teach. Never.” 

I believe teaching is a very tough job that plays a very important role, but it is also a very satisfying job. That’s why we must be thankful when we have great teachers teaching us.

This might be my very last time me being able to wish my teachers as a secondary school student, a very happy Teachers' Day!

(P.S. The above photo is of my classmates and homeroom teacher during pre-Covid days)


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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