Social media channels have been abuzz the past few days with a story told by a trainee teacher about her quiet, introverted student
Many netizens were moved after reading Twitter user @amymistika's story, as her heartwarming thread has received a staggering 67,000 retweets at the time of writing.
The tweets follow her story about a student named Yip Kah Shzen, whom she taught while she was working as a trainee teacher at a school for a tenure of four months.
"The first time I entered the 4Einstein class, I did not notice this student at all. He was so quiet while the rest of the students in the class were so noisy," she said in a tweet.
Amy went around asking students to introduce themselves, and it was only then she took notice of Kah Shzen
When she asked for his name, the young student kept quiet and did not say a word.
"He sat down, looking at the table. Motionless."
Even after prompting him several times, Kah Shzen still did not answer and Amy only got to know his name after asking one of his friends.
One of his classmates told her, "Teacher, he's shy."
In the next class, while most students were noisy, she observed and found out that Kah Shzen often stared at his table. She decided to do something about it.
She decided to shift his seating position, moving him to the front of the classroom so that it would be easier for her to closely monitor him.
Amy also established a class fund, in which students will contribute to if they fail to bring their books and calculator.
When she discovered that Kah Shzen had no calculator or work book with him, she questioned him but once again, he was unresponsive.
Curious about how other teachers would teach him, Amy asked his deskmate, who said, "Other teachers just let him be because he will not say a word. He will just stare at his desk."
Soon, she learned that most teachers who taught Kah Shzen had already ran out of ideas on how to reach out to the reserved boy
Amy figured that it would be unfair for the student to be left out and decided to speak in Mandarin, in her suspicions that perhaps her student was not proficient in Bahasa.
"I asked, where is the book with calculator. He shook his head. I asked if he did not bring it or he did not have one. He answered slowly, with the phrase "don't have'."
She felt sorry if she had to punish Kah Shzen because he might have some financial problems but on the other hand, she understands that it would be unfair if he did not face any consequences. Amy then decided to lend him the books and calculator she obtained from the school.
Things went on as usual and Amy tried to approach him whenever she could. She later discovered that the teenager actually paid close attention in her classes, to her own surprise.
"One day, I checked his book. Turns out, all these while he has jotted down and copied everything I've written on the white board. Every single item."
Amy saw how Kah Shzen started making progress and improving in his studies after he gotten his books – he managed to finish his homework on time and answered 80% of her questions correctly.
"He's not useless. He just needed extra attention. And I continued giving him my attention," she revealed.
Determined to help Kah Shzen discover his potentials, Amy kept writing messages to motivate him, often encouraging him to speak up and smile.
The resilient teacher's efforts were not in vain as Kah Shzen started opening up to her
Amy was delighted with the simplest progress she made with the student.
There was once when Kah Shzen's ruler was missing and the student took courage to ask her about it, despite his limitations.
The message was written in Bahasa, and out of curiosity, Amy asked if he had written it to which he answered, "Google translate".
"I don't care if he Googled it. As long as I see his effort. He is not useless," Amy relayed.
When it was the last week of teaching at the school, Amy received the most meaningful gift she could ever get from Kah Shzen
"Before I left the class, his friend handed me a piece of paper saying that it was from Kah Shzen. I looked at him and said, 'xie xie (thank you).' He immediately looked down.
"I unfolded the piece of paper. He only wrote a sentence. 'Thank you, teacher'. Allahu, although it was such a simple sentence but it's a big deal to me."
Then during the farewell party, Amy was even more delighted because it was the first time she saw Kah Shzen smiling and mingling comfortably with his friends.
"Thank you Yip Kah Shzen and 4Einstein for this valuable and meaningful experience in my life! Will miss you all so much."
We all need someone who is willing to be there for us, even if he or she does not fully understand what is going on. Kudos, teacher!