"Durians In The Classroom" And 11 Cute Memories Malaysian Teachers Had With Their Students
1. "I would leave the classroom all spent, but with a huge smile and a parched throat from laughing too much"
"Even though it was just for 10 weeks, my time teaching these Form 4 boys was filled with great memories. They were always full of jokes, pranks, curious questions, and unique statements. They had such zest in them and so many interesting things to say, it would be a shame to not listen to them. The best thing was being able to go to bed each night feeling happy, fulfilled, and excited to see the boys again the next day."
- Sharifah Munirah, SMK La Salle PJ
2. "It all started with a ring on my finger"
"I had just gotten married over the December school break. When we got back to class, a kid noticed the ring on my finger and asked, "MS JOLINA!! YOU'RE MARRIED?!"—to which the other kids stood up to have a peek.
Before I could say anything, another kid nudged her and whispered, "SHH, she's MISS Jolina, maybe she's divorced." "But she's wearing her rings!!" The whole class IMMEDIATELY broke into a brainstorming session. If you're a teacher, you'll pray for that to happen at each lesson! I was so fascinated by their curiosity and energy.
As I quietened them down, a boy raised his hand. I acknowledged him assuming it was urgent. He stood up and uttered these words, "Maybe she's divorced and she misses her husband, so she's still wearing the ring."
- Jolina Chang, SJKC Tsun Jin Kuala Lumpur
3. "Nothing means more to me than to see my students come out of their shell and bask in the ambience of their hard-earned success"
"After being the teacher in charge of the school's Performing Arts Club for the past four years, I have met so many students from different cultural backgrounds, different social classes as well as having different abilities. One thing they all have in common – the hunger to take centre stage and deliver spectacular performances.
From acapella groups and busking bands, to modern dance crews and even a full-blown musical show with 32 performances in a night, I've seen students making their vision and imaginations a reality on stage. Students who never thought they were fit for the task outdid not only what others expected, but also their own expectations. In the end, the looks on their faces and the faces of their loved ones were priceless."
- Peisha, SMK Sulaiman
4. "My students complained my classes felt like tadika"
"I had these transfer students who loved to joke around. They'd show off in class when I was teaching how to spell and pronounce syllables, saying it felt like tadika. But when they were called to spell in front of the class, they'd be unable to do it and felt really ashamed afterwards. Thankfully, that was only when they first started, now I'm proud to say they've advanced far enough to even write their own essays."
- Nasyitah Binti Abdul Halim, SMK Zon R1 Wangsa Maju
5. "I climbed a volcanic mountain with these four girls"
"I had the privilege of bringing four of my brightest girls on a trip to Korea for an international forum. One of the most memorable experiences was hiking up the volcanic mountain Sabyeol Oreum! We weren't mentally prepared to climb up this steep volcano with no handrails, but somehow we made it to the top for a breathtaking view.
Throughout the trip, it was heartwarming to see these girls step up during the forum, making friends with other international students, and just enjoying themselves. To be told your girls stand out among the rest—that's the most rewarding thing a teacher can hear."
- Teacher from Methodist Girls' School Penang
6. "I smelt something familiar walking into the classroom"
"I taught in a few schools in my younger days, and had a knack for dealing with the more problematic students. On multiple occasions, I caught my students smoking, fighting, but I've also seen the funny side of things. Like the day I walked into class and a group of students was just casually opening and eating durians. Just as I was about to reprimand them, they asked, "Sir, you want some?"
- Yeoh Guan Hock
7. "I led the debate team to the burger treat of their lives"
"I was a teacher-advisor to our school's debate team that won the very first English debate competition involving all primary schools in the Petaling District. I worked tirelessly together with the students, as we researched and discussed points relating to the debate topics.
The headmistress promised the students a burger treat if they won the competition (burgers were a big deal at that time), and indeed they won it! The students were elated just tucking into their well-deserved burgers, and as their teacher-advisor I felt a satisfaction no burger could ever buy."
- Pauline Lai, Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Assunta (1)
8. "You never know who they'll grow up to be"
"I had this Form 2 boy who was always late for math class. One day, I got really angry and sent him out. He made a scene, stomping out and slamming the door as he went out. That made my anger boil even more, and I reported him to the discipline teacher.
I wasn't sure what transpired, but after that incident, every time I came into class, he would automatically walk out. Later, I found out he had to go to the discipline room during my class to face the wall and reflect his wrongdoings. "Good for him," I thought.
One day, his friends pleaded with me to forgive him, because that would be the only way he could come back into the classroom. I said, "If he really wants it, ask him to tell me himself." And as if on cue, his head popped out from behind the door. He sheepishly said sorry and I let him back in.
A few years later, I saw this boy again at Coffee Bean. Surprisingly, instead of ignoring me, he came right up to say hi. Despite being a problematic boy in school, he'd turned out becoming a capable young man. This reminded me it's always worth giving my boys a second chance."
- Lee Hui Chee, Chung Ling High School
9. "It's funny how students believe everything we say"
"It was a co-curricular camp, and there was a zipline the students had to take from the top of the mountain to the bottom of a waterfall. We teachers told the students that the water at the bottom was really deep, and since they couldn't see the waterfall, they took our word for it.
The students were very scared but had to do it anyway, so when they went down they were screaming all the way. But when they reached the bottom, it turned out to be shallow water where they could actually stand in it, and everybody had a good laugh."
- Danny Tan, SMK Sri Permata
10. "Sometimes, it's the simplest things that make us happy"
"Some teachers may have big ambitions for their students, but sometimes, just seeing them being able to read and write is already an accomplishment. I had this Japanese boy in class, but he had difficulties learning to read and write. Nevertheless, thanks to his motivation and innate ability to learn English, he managed to pick it up with much practice. To me, seeing my kids being achieving that is enough to make me happy."
- Nur Intan Syafina, SJKC KUAN CHENG 2
11. "I had to be more than a teacher. I had to become their brother, their father, the person they could count on."
"Being appointed as the student hostel warden was an unforgettable experience. Besides teaching the students, I had to make sure of their health, safety, and wellbeing. One time, all the students were at solat subuh, except for one boy who was still in a daze as he ran towards the surau. Unaware of the sliding door in front of him, he crashed into it, shattering the glass.
I had to bring this student to the hospital to get treated, and thankfully he turned out to be alright. Whatever the case, a teacher has to be ready as the person his or her students can count on."
- Muhamad Hafiz bin Hassan, MRSM Imtiaz YT Ketengah
12. "My boys loved their moustaches and goatees"
"I've come across students with unkempt hair, long nails, and improper attire. But nothing beats the time I asked some boys to shave their moustaches and goatees off. They responded by saying that shaving would cause them to "lose their manhood", but they promised to shave before SPM began.
That didn't get them off the hook. Instead, they were given shavers and had to call their parents to take them home."
- Teacher from SMK Bandar Utama Damansara 2