What I like about Friday is the closure and the promise of the weekend. What I hate about school on Saturday is the fact that this pleasure is taken away from me. If I have plans to go back home, I actually look forward to the long drive. Even if I don't go anywhere, I can rest easy. Otherwise Friday feels like Thursday, and that bites. Friday TV is boring anyway - a lot of shows do that weird Monday to Thursday thing. That's just mean - what the heck is there for me to watch on Friday?
Some kids have recently been making it obvious that they hate me. My name's been scribbled on the bathroom walls so often they might as well rename the facility. My car's been scratched with all sorts of beautiful patterns. And yet I haven't killed anyone yet. Those who know me well enough would be surprised at this. How can this be? How can I stay silent? I'm the super garang teacher. I'm their volcano. But why didn't I erupt? This is something only those who really know me need not ask. Since there are many not lucky enough to be under this category, I shall endeavour to explain with bits and pieces taken from a recent conversation with an anonymous student (I write this in Malay because you never know - the perpetrator might be reading this and I suspect he/she only understands Malay and far be it for me to deny him/her the satisfaction - or not - of seeing my response).
Cikgu, saya pun geram tengok. Kenapa Cikgu tak marah? Dalam kelas punya lah garang...
Cikgu nak marah siapa, sayang? Kita tak ada bukti. Lagipun tak ada gunanya marah, lagi baik kita bersabar. Kita ada agama, bukan macam orang tu. Kita percaya pada Tuhan kan?
Apa kena-mengenanya Cikgu?
Ye lah. Kalau kita percaya pada Tuhan, kita yakin Tuhan akan memberi semua orang balasan yang patut diterimanya. Kalau selama ni kita buat baik, Tuhan balas dengan yang baik. Kalau kita buat jahat, Tuhan balas dengan yang kurang baik. Allah Maha Besar. Tuhan tahu lah nak bagi apa kat kawan tu.
Betul Cikgu, tapi saya masih tak puas hati!
Kenapa pulak? Semua yang berlaku mesti ada sebab. Mungkin benda ni berlaku sebab Tuhan nak ingatkan kita sesuatu. Kalau banyak sangat yang kita kena fikir, banyak yang kita lupa. Manusia mana ada yang perfect. Mungkin Cikgu terlalu kasar dengan budak tu. Mungkin Cikgu cuai dengan keselamatan Cikgu sendiri. Mungkin sembahyang Cikgu belum cukup sempurna. Mungkin juga Cikgu lupa ada banyak lagi sebab Cikgu patut bersyukur. Nyawa insyaallah masih lagi panjang. Kereta dicalar alhamdulillah masih lagi boleh bergerak. Segala pencapaian Cikgu setakat ini masih laku. Tak dapat straight As pun tak ada juga yang gagal. Dapat juga degree, insyaallah akan diikuti master. Keluarga Cikgu tak pernah kaya tapi tak pernah miskin. Cikgu tak pernah lapar, sejuk, panas sampai betul-betul mati. Semua keperluan Cikgu ada. Kita anggap semua itu macam biasa tapi ramai juga orang yang keperluannya tidak dipenuhi. Susah mana pun, Cikgu tetap happy. Siapa tak dengki tengok orang yang nampaknya sentiasa gembira?
So Cikgu tak nak cuba cari orang tu?
Awak ingat dia nak mengaku? Biar je lah. Ingat je apa yang Cikgu cakap. Tuhan Maha Mengetahui. Tulisan dia boleh dipadam tapi dosa tangannya memfitnah orang lain tetap dicatat. Apapun, Cikgu sentiasa mencari kebaikan. Tengoklah; budak-budak yang selama ni tak pernah ambil kisah Cikgu semua tanya "Cikgu, Cikgu okay tak?" Tiba-tiba, ramai yang ambil berat - siap tolong padamkan tulisan kat bilik air lagi. Ada juga yang selama ni senyap, tiba-tiba berkawan dengan Cikgu. Dia kata, "Cikgu, saya tak faham. Cikgu punya lah baik tapi ada juga yang nak buat macam ni." Orang tu nak kata apapun, ada juga yang pandai menghargai jasa seorang guru. Semua ni, Cikgu anggap sebagai ujian dan ingatan. Budak tu hanya berjaya mengingatkan Cikgu bahawa Tuhan sentiasa menyayangi dan menguji umatNya. Dan kalau Tuhan menguji Cikgu, alhamdulillah, itu tanda Tuhan masih lagi sayang Cikgu. Yang penting, kita selalu ingat pada Tuhan.
Cikgu maafkan dia?
Kenapa pula tak maafkan? Semua orang buat silap. Kalau kita tak boleh nak maafkan orang, macam mana kita nak harapkan kemaafan orang lain bila kita sendiri buat silap? Lagi pun, kemaafan manusia tak seberapa di akhirat nanti - keampunan Tuhan yang lagi penting.
"Therefore be patient in spite of what they say, and celebrate the Praises of your Lord before sunrise and before sunset, and glorify Him (also) during night hours and at noon, that you may be satisfied." - Surah Ta Ha, Ayat 130.
Lately I've been so focused on school and the kids that I've forgotten one very important thing: Myself. I'm not eating as much as I used to and I've lost a lost of weight. My days are filled with work and even my personal time for myself revolves around work. I used to read a lot at night but now the only reading I get at night is marking essays. And if it wasn't for the rugby team I probably wouldn't even get any fresh air.
But the worst part is that my dreams, my reasons for living, have taken a backseat. I haven't been able to work on my novel in months and I have no idea what's going to become of it. And where is that Master's degree? All this educating other people and sacrificing my own education with almost nobody being grateful for that sacrifice. Sometimes the things you want are actually the things you need. I'm young and unmarried and there's no better time for me to do my Masters than right now.
Thankfully, the fact that it's been more than a year of all this work means I'm that much closer to confirmation. We've already done our BTN and Kursus Induksi and we've been interviewed so now all we have to do is wait for the college to give the necessary information to KPM so we can get our certificates and pass them to school admin to process and wait for our confirmation. Bureaucracy is a beautiful thing, no?
That done, I can do my Masters full-time. I asked my principal and he told me to go ahead and apply for it. Once I'm accepted we can write to KPM for a green light. I'm getting him and my former lecturer to write the reference reports. I'm fortunate to have so many supporting me in this. My PK Koku supports me too but she was a bit sad when I told her I'm hoping to start my Masters at the end of this year. We work well together. She's also wondering where she's going to get another teacher for the rugby team.
I've applied online and prepared all the necessary documents and stuff. Just waiting for the references and then it's just a whole lot of prayers until I get some good news. My principal said it's usually easier for English teachers because English is a critical subject. Funny how not many people agree. You'd be surprised at the number of people who could still ask, "Why learn English? What's the point?" Worse still for Literature.
I'm really eager to go back to university. I know a candle is not dimmed by lighting another but for some strange reason I sometimes feel as if my brain is quickly turning to mush from a lack of mental stimulus. Thank God for all the arguments with my boyfriend - that's some serious intellectual challenge right there.