It hasn’t been too long since my practicum ended. Yes, my practicum was finally over, about three weeks ago. Now I am juggling with proposal to come up with thesis and it’s very challenging for me. Probably because it involves writing, combines ideas and facts so I find it so difficult, above my head. The part that petrifies me the most is constructing sentences correctly without any errors, that's rather tough as I am not good at it.
"God, please help me! Help me! Help me!".
“Ani, listen here, keep away from hopelessness and pessimism, be optimistic. Think well of your God and wait all the goodness and grace from him, you got it Ani! That's what said by Dr Aid Abdullah Al-Qarni, your favourite author, did you remember the book “La Tahzan” you have read? yeah, that one! Don’t say No dear, hey, read again, go! Go through it again. You must!”.
"Okay, I left the book at my parents-in-law’s house, need to take it back".
Most of experiences during my three-month-practicum were not exposed here since I have been so busy with workloads lately. I needed to update my portfolio, filled any gaps left in my record book and completed my teaching-and-learning-material file. It was all done already. I was grateful, thankful, and able to heave a sigh of relief! This semester is going to finish, that means, one more semester ahead to hold the scroll with the robe, and graduation cap on the top of my head! All right, I am dreaming too far, not yet to come. Hang on Ani!! Hey, that’s how I comfort myself whenever I feel it seems too long to wait for the day. I just cannot wait any longer! I guess that was how my seniors felt during their time, the same feeling as me.
Though my practicum was already over, my heart still fills with grief every time I revive my memory about my last day at the school.
Everything seemed so new the moment I embarked on my practicum, weird feeling stirred up negative acuity, I was terribly afraid if I might not be able to adapt myself with the surroundings. Loads of questions raised before starting my practicum, mix of feelings blended within a second, caused me anxious. What if people does not like me? Will they ignore me? What if the students being rude towards me? What if I fail my practicum? What if my lesson plan cannot be carried out? Oh God, I don’t want to fail my practicum! I have been spending almost five years to complete my degree so that I will become a teacher; teacher is the career which has never been my ambition since I was young. Time changed my mind to jump into teaching profession because of my deep concern towards my future, my child’s future (though I don’t have kids yet, coming soon, after settle down from undergraduate course, I hope so), most importantly, fate made it happen (my favourite line). I have gone through ups and down through those years to reach this stage, and it was not easy to survive. I remember my parents smiled from ear to ear knowing that I was going to be a teacher, but, did they know I couldn’t even smile actually? It's okay mama, it's okay abah,
"but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you, Allah SWT knoweth, you know not" (Al-Baqarah, 216)
Long days I went through as a practicum teacher did not seem too long by the time I had to bid farewell to my students.
On that day….
I was tremendously pleased as I woke up early in the morning knowing I would finally be leaving my naughty students, I thought they would be contented not to see me again and they could not wait for my leave-taking. I had been waiting for this moment to arrive. That day was the perfect day for me to go away. During three months of practicum, it felt like time glided away very slow that I felt like wanting to take an MC every day. I did hope I would fall sick so that I would not be able to get into their class and deal with their unexpected antics; it was such a big challenge to control almost 80 students! It was so helpless! High and dry! God granted me with a pink of health, fit as a fiddle that I found no pretext to make myself present at school (except for a few days that I’d been suspected of having dengue, underwent blood test for seven times! Phew). I just hated the feeling of teaching in front of a crowded class but no one were actually inside, I was out of breath all the time as I was actually talking all alone! The same thing repeated all over again till I became extremely fed up. They don't like English, that's a problem, should I blame them for this? I was also once like them, English was something alien to me when I was at their age, I did not even expect I'd be teaching English, yet, like I said earlier, fate made it happen.
Having done group-work activity during the lesson would only turn me into an angry dragon; thank god I did not have the power to blow the fire-ball out of my jaws! Otherwise, they would get shattered! Did I sound brutal enough? Did I? I held my anger just like a rice cooker with boiling rice inside, it just remained hot there, refused to pour out. I had to get down to them, let myself get into hot water.
They wanted to stay with their clique just like birds of a feather flock together. Chinese stick to Chinese. Malay attached to Malay group while Indian gathered among them. That was the reality. That was why I love one thing about Yasmin Ahmad’s film regardless controversial issues relating to certain scenes that I disagree with, still, being alert to take a look at a positive part of it which emphasizes the beauty of living in multicultural environment like here in Malaysia, delivered the message that we should not be bias and prejudice regarding races. When I separated them and forced them to mix with others without concerning what colour they are, they threw a look of reluctance. I was almost scolded them but I just could not do it. I was like raring to raise my voice but then I felt it was so not me by any means that I almost sobbed to see myself was almost transforming to someone I hate. To make matter worst, they did not even feel guilty, in fact, not frightened by my fierce looking face. I think my face was not vicious enough to make them feel fearful and obedient.
Out of the blue, believe or not, I completely miss all these things!
I knew I have to leave something for my students, something to show how I really appreciate the presence of them in my life. So, I went to Tesco, bought some energy Milo bars and Oreo as a small gift to be given to each of my students. I have also created almost 80 pieces of bookmarks containing Motivational Quotes and everyone got a different one. I just wanted to make them feel special. They were so excited to receive my small gift and said thank you. Some of girls met me before I left, drops of tears glowed and I could not help but cried along with them.
During my final lesson of my practicum, I spent a few minutes to say my last words, to bid farewell. My voice was trembling while saying sorry if I had ever hurt their feeling or made any mistakes. I did not really remember exactly what advice I have told them because I was too emotional that my advices became lengthy. All I really remember, several tens of eyes planted on me, their eyes met my tearful eyes, they begged me not to cry which did not really help me, yet I felt like to cry more. The scene turned out slightly dramatic that I did not expect it would be so melancholic like a drama. They immediately turned their face when they spotted tears were about to fall down, refused to see their baby-crying teacher (Blushing). I gave my last hugs and every girl shook hands with me.
My mentor teacher was waiting for me in her room to say good bye a few minutes before school was off. I left a card on her table. I knew she has already delved into it, inside of it, I expressed my true feeling, the feeling I kept for myself for all this while.
I wanted to thank you for guiding me throughout my practicum. I don’t think you ever knew, but I felt so bad to cope with everything new in this school, I planned to give up. Everything in my life seemed so bad, and I did not know what to do. As I have gone through difficult time, I kept reflecting myself all the time, and eventually made me realize a lot of things about myself that were good. I should have told you that some of soothing words you mentioned to me really helped though you might not realize. You have once said, “Don’t worry, life must be enjoyed!”. I know I’ll have hard time, but I also know I’ll get through the hard times. I am very thankful that you became my mentor teacher. I am sorry if I have made any mistakes. You know, there’s one thing I have learnt from my experience of being a teacher, “Teaching, with sincerity, is that which can give the most without demanding anything in return”
Ainul Ilyani Abdul Aziz
Jihan (practicum partner, a good friend of mine), Mentor teacher (Madam Zakiah Zainol) you see, she looks lovely! And, yeah, the garish- pink one is me.
She gave me a paper bag, instantly I burrowed it shortly after I came back home. There were a latest style of elastic scarf, which you just need to put on your head without ironing and it will perfectly curve according to the shape of your face, glittering brooch covered with stones, a small book of key chain and a piece of card. I took out the card from its envelope, flicked through it, she replied my card, short and simple,
Good luck and best wishes are being sent to you, to hope that you’ll be happy in everything you do. Remember, life is not just bed of roses, there’ll be thorns too. So, do your best, enjoy what you are doing, don’t force yourself to like something that you don’t and be miserable later. Take care, I’ll miss you and do keep in touch. Da……
I got a free lunch and a number of presents as a sign of farewell. I did not really care about the presents; all I care was they accepted my apology and our love was deeply instilled deep inside each other’s heart. Though I was the teacher who taught the students but they taught me a lot of things that are priceless. After all, they taught me the meaning of life. Thank you for coming into my life though just for a while. They will never know how much it meant to me. Goodbye SMK Tunku Ismail. Till we meet again!