Writing early in the morning when I actually have some time dedicated to my blog is nice. This week as well as the previous has been quite busy. Preparing exam questions and well gearing them up in how to answer the questions really took much of my time. Although I am in a small school and you might say that there is more focus and attention in the teacher-pupil ratio compared to schools in the urban areas, it is exactly that much allocated teacher-pupil ratio given to us that gives more worry and wrinkles.
They really are weak and every day is a new day for them. As such, I try to help as much as I can to do at least something for them. When I am torn between teaching them to become a person and to teach for the test, I try to find a balance. This is the reality. As much as we think we want to make something out of a child, there come many factors that add to the scene. But such is our predicament. And being so, we choose to make the best out of it. And while some quickly subject to it and adapt themselves, others simply rebel and a few choose to ignore such sad divisions.
So yesterday, I got really mad!
And yes, to those of you who have been reading, this is a continuation for the story I wrote once on Gold.
Yes. I got really mad with Gold.
And now, you will ask why.
In my defense, it was only being human.
It was just like any other lesson. I prepared exercises that were similar to the ones that will be tested in the examinations (which is next week). Gold, as I told you is really weak. Gold cannot read well (both in Malay and English. Gold’s English is even worse than Malay). Not only that, Gold doesn’t even understand what Gold reads except for really similar common words like “saya”, “nama” etc. If you ask why is Gold so weak, let me tell you that even in Mandarin lessons, Gold experiences major problems in not being able to read or even identify most characters. Mathematics become even more challenging. In Gold’s age, others are doing multiplication and division involving six to seven numbers, where there is balance and all. But to Gold, simple addition and subtraction involving three to four numbers is already a huge challenge.
Such is Gold.
And why did I get mad?
Well, two incidents lead to that. Mostly it was the second incident. LOL.
So, today I introduced four action verbs (I’m teaching them Malay, so it is Kata Kerja) to them (mind you, there is only two of them in Gold’s class; Gold and another person who is better in most aspects than Gold). In wanting them to understand better what those verbs meant, I got them to show me actions of the verbs. You see, Gold’s other classmate is better and can at least do most of your work and follow your lesson. So, Gold here ALWAYS follows this classmate. From anything what this person says, answers and do, Gold simply does it. and it is a beauty that this classmate doesn’t quite mind it, sometimes even helping me to teach Gold certain things.
But then, I had not wanted Gold to always follow the really helpful classmate. How long can we actually depend on a friend, partner, person or someone? We have to learn ourselves one day and stand on our feet. So in wanting them to act out the verbs I introduced, I had them facing back to back, so as both will not be able to see one another. And Gold here, from what I reflected, got terrified. Gold just got thrown into the cold harsh reality.
So as I verbalized each word, one by one, the classmate managed to do most of it. And there Gold stood. Staring back at me, I encouraged Gold to do. Nothing but just standing there, looking at me and down at somewhere else, Gold just froze to Gold’s own thoughts. And as I further pushed Gold, Gold finally came out. Gold’s eyes filled with tears. As Gold tried to hold onto it while I was trying to get Gold to do it by motivating Gold, this person just stood there. And no I was not mad about this. I mean, I was surprised that Gold did tear. It was my first time after being with them for more than a month now. So I gave it up and got them back to their seats. And slowly Gold said something in Mandarin which I soon got a teacher to translate that simply meant Gold did not want to compete. In other words Gold did not want to compete with Gold’s only other classmate.
Does Gold really know that being totally dependent on Gold’s other classmate, Gold is really weak and did not know so many things pupils in Gold’s age would?
Or has Gold grown to accept reality that Gold will remain such and hence chooses to avoid direct confrontations on matters of testing, abilities and challenges?
Somehow, thinking about it now as I write saddens me. It could be true that Gold knows of what Gold is and not capable of. It could be true that Gold has accepted what Gold is. I really do not know, but it really will be painful to know if my assumptions were true.
And so, I decided to stop the so-called acting game and commenced the lesson. I prepared some exercises related to the test and there came a part of which I have taught them on. And little Gold, as I asked, forgot all about it. Oh dear, this soon ticked me little by little. I had to recall Gold of what I had taken two days to teach. And there Gold could not provide me an answer.
I am not sure if Gold really forgot or got confused in the process of me drilling Gold. I got so furious and felt that whatever I had taught had done nothing. And as angry as I could get, I still restrained myself from scolding or yelling at Gold, because in between the anger, there came a slight consciousness.
Maybe it is Gold who could not really process such information. Being an extremely slow learner, I wrong to be angry at him. And after the class, I felt sad. I felt sad that I got angry. Although I never really showed my angry at Gold, that is if you count on raising my normal tone of questionings, to be harsh.
But you see, I am just human. And so is Gold. And being human puts us in different categories, forms, types and differences. Gold, I noticed, when going down the stairs, takes one step at a time. One feet down, and the other joining the same step before the first leg moving on to the next step. Gold does have considerate motor skills though. Eye hand coordination is a little off seeing the way Gold plays badminton. Gold’s mood changes quickly too, from being just Gold to suddenly quiet and then smiling occasionally or so Gold tries. And before you ask, no Gold is not mad or even down syndrome.
Gold is well, just being Gold.
And for me to be getting mad was something very wrong indeed. Fortunately I realized this much sooner before causing more damage.
In the afternoon however, when I finally got myself to ask Gold of the questions he was not able to answer in the morning, Gold somehow managed to give me the answers.
Now what happened?
Fairy-god Mother came and swirled her wand?
Thankful as I was, I do hope Gold will have more of where that came from.
Still, I am sorry. But I am also thankful that I got mad.