Second day of school and I am proud to say my life is still on track. My lessons are still planned, my lunch is still on going and I even have time to apply a little lip gloss.

So today a peculiar thing happened. One class which was 70% Chinese, didn’t greet me properly. So I made them wish me, “good afternoon” for three times straight. After every greeting they bowed. The first time they did it, I wanted to burst out laughing. Second and third time, I wanted to run to each one of them and say, “Hey, you don’t have to do that. I am not a queen.” Nevertheless, I think it is a humbling and polite gesture that they choose to honour teachers by bowing in comparison to students who showed me a “middle finger.” last year.

So I want to tell you about the boy. In every class, there will be a boy or girl that will make you want to pull of all your hair from your head. Their main aim is to piss you off. More than often, they succeed. (If only they put that much effort in learning…..). And if this particular person  is absent, wow… the class is top notch. You can reach your objectives, everything goes according to plan and you will have a smile plastered on your face.

So today, this one boy from last year who made me cry and scream inside my head most of the time (I never cried over any boy this much) barge into my class and asked me, “cikgu, ajar kelas saya tak?”… I replied, “tak”.. He said, “yesss!”… and went of. Naturally, in front of my new students, I felt embarrassed.

Then I did something I shouldn’t have. The minute the boy left, I exclaimed, “YESSSS!” I was estatic that I wasn’t teaching him. But I shouldn’t have exclaimed it out loud. Indirectly, I am telling my other students, I do not like this student and that is not okay.

Yes, teachers are humans. But a student can never know that you do not like him or her. They can never know that you do not like to teach them, that you feel like squashing them with a fly bat. Why? Because it can be very damaging to a student. Believe me, they have feelings. They don’t show it but they hurt deeply when someone refuses to acknowledge their existence. Who doesn’t?

Our most difficult students are the ones that needs us the most. They need to hear kind words. They need to be loved tenderly. Why? Most probably the reason why they’re difficult, because everyone has been difficult towards them. So they learn to be as how they were treated.

So what do you do? A poker, calm face. When you feel a fire raging within, control it. Tone your voice. Tell them nicely.  Everyone has been shouting at them, throwing unkind words. So when they hear calmness and patient in your voice, they be shocked. But they will listen. If they don’t, they will soon begin too. Because kindness cures and rome wasn’t built in a day! Shaping behaviour takes time.



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