My mind is buzzing at the moment … I just had a very heart-warming moment with one of my weaker lot of pupils. During his ceramics class, he’d asked me if he needed to glaze the side of the base of his soap dish and I said yes but just a touch for otherwise the glaze would melt and stick to the kiln shelf and would have to be smashed to be removed. Later on, the external instructor came up and said he needed to remove the glaze from the side of the base. He insisted that I had instructed him to do so indignantly. He threw his glaze brush in a tantrum and kept repeating that I had asked him to do so. Had I not stepped in, he would have probably proceeded to smash the bisque wares on the table.
What happened next could only be done with the years of experience I have under my belt. Had I been 10 years younger, I would have flared up right back in his face.
I took him out of the classroom and calmed him down and asked him to relate to me what would transpired. The only thing he could tell me was (with tears streaming down his face) “Why is it no teacher ever believes me? I know I’m from the last class! I know I’m stupid but when ever I try to explain myself, no one ever believes me! I’m always at fault! But I’m not always wrong, you know!”
I could only feel one thing … that this was an emotion suppressed over a long time. He had been taking it and taking it and taking it and he finally snapped.
I looked right at him and told him, “You’re NOT stupid and never let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, you have difficulties with your studies but I know your past, I was your form teacher for 2 years, remember? I’ve been your Art teacher for 5 years now! You told me nobody cares about your studies at home and you never get any kind of help with your work.
You just had a bad start but that doesn’t always mean you have to finish last!
Look at me. I teach Art, only Art. Other teachers look at me like I’m some kind of joke, a waste of breathable air in school. They forget that I have been a Form Teacher for 12 years before this. They think I’m stupid too, that’s why I don’t teach any major subjects.”
He blurted, “But you’re very good at what you do! You’re talented!”
“And so are you! You just haven’t found your passion yet … Art and teaching children have always been mine. I’m lucky.” I added.
What happened next was totally unexpected. He threw himself against me and hugged me tight, sobbing into my dirty apron. “Sir, you’re one of the few teachers who ever listens to me before answering. You’re not a joke, you’re very talented. I always try to do my best in your class. I’m not the best artist but you’ve never put me down about my work. I wish more adults were like you …”
I patted his shoulder, took a step back and looked him right in the face. “Sometimes, being an adult can also be very difficult. Promise me whatever difficulty you face in life, it will never make you a bad person but a better person. Now, enough already. Wash your face, freshen up and apologize to the instructor because firstly, she didn’t know of my instructions to you. Secondly, she’s not from the school and doesn’t know you very well and thirdly, be big enough to know that she is an adult and deserves your respect just as one day, you will deserve it from someone as well.” I stood there as everything I had asked him to do was carried out with a smile.
A few things ran through my head at that moment.
How many times have we, as adults, lost our temper because we had a bad day, at someone younger or even a child? Do we know what a child in Singapore has to go through these days? How many times have be brushed off a child JUST because he is a child? Have we ever listened to a child’s side of the story? Or do we immediately assume that a child is not capable of being honest or giving a true account of things? How many adults do we know of who would NOT embellish the truth to protect their own skin?
I’m just glad one child now know someone who will listen to him if he needs someone to do so.
Authored by Ian Johari Monteiro
This is such a moving story that we just have to share it. Kudos to Ian Johari Monteiro for writing this beautiful piece.
Parents should often listen to their child, pay attention to every detail, and offer your support, instead of screaming because not every child has the tendency to deal with yelling. The more you listen to your child, you will help your child to established a sense of connections with you, they will feel comfortable to express their feelings to you at anytime with no hesitation. Not saying it’s an easy process but it can be done if you only take a minute to just listen and you’ll be amaze to see how soon this child will start to have a closer relationship with you as a parent.
To those parents who are obsessed with success, here’s something you should think about from today onwards. Success can never be thought of as more important than moral values. The journey is actually more important than the destination and if no ethics were involved in the journey then the destination has no value at all. A person has to feel good about how they achieved their success in order to feel good about it.