Teaching is definitely not a walk in the park because one would have to deal with all sorts of monkey business in the classroom. However, not all students are troublemakers, some just want to stay in their own world and avoid contact with everyone else.
This was what Amy Mistika, a teacher in SMK Puchong Utama faced when she first entered the classroom, and she posted on Twitter about her effort in reaching out to one quiet student.
“I have a Chinese student who is very quiet and shy, it’s very difficult just to get him to speak. His name is Yip Kah Shzen.”
“When I first entered 4Einstein class, I didn’t notice this student at all because he was too quiet, and his class was chaotically noisy.”
“Then I started asking each student’s name. When it was his turn, he just kept quiet and looked at the table. I asked him multiple times but he didn’t answer.”
“His friend said, ‘teacher, he is a shy person’, so I got his name from his friend instead.”
“Then, I took the initiative to switch up the seating arrangement in the class, and placed Kah Shzen to sit in front so I can monitor him.”
“Since then, I’ve made a jar to punish those who didn’t bring their books or calculators, and I checked every student each time.”
When it came to Kah Shzen’s turn, he would still look at his table. Other classmates told Amy that the other teachers would just let him be, because no matter what, he will not speak up. Curious about him, Amy spoke to the class teacher who was also his former Mathematics teacher.
“There’s nothing we can do about it, just let him be,” the class teacher said.
“I don’t think that’s fair, so I spoke to him in Mandarin thinking that he probably doesn’t understand Malay (language).”
It turns out that Kah Shzen really didn’t have a book or calculator. Hence, Amy felt guilty if she were to fine him because he is probably not financially well off. At the same time, it’s not fair for others if he received special treatment.
So, Amy went to borrow some books and calculator for him to use during class.
“One day, when I checked his exercise book, it turns out that all this while, he has been copying everything I’ve written on the whiteboard.”
“Ever since he had the book, he has been passing up his homework; meaning he’s not lazy, it’s just that he didn’t have the materials.”
Amy’s effort to connect with him finally bore fruit when Kah Shzen sent her a WhatsApp message asking for his lost ruler.
“I always make a note on his exercise book asking him to smile, because it’s just so difficult to see him open his mouth and smile.”
Sadly, Amy had to leave the school and before she exited the class, Kah Shzen asked his friend to pass Amy a note.
“I opened the note and he wrote only one sentence – ‘Thank you, teacher’. The sentence is simple, but it meant the world to me.”
“When taking pictures during the farewell party, I asked him to smile for me as it was my last day here. He tried.”
Amy’s passion for helping Kah Shzen has melted netizens’ hearts as many praised her for not giving up on her student. Her thread has also been retweeted over 37,000 times in just two days.
Kah Shzen is not a problematic student, he just needs someone who can understand and guide him, like Amy. For the full story as told by Amy, you can visit her Twitter account.
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