Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Day I Broke the Classroom Broom

     It's Saturday, I have nothing much in my to-do list, so right after I finish writing an article as a favour for a friend, I decide to catch up on my reading. So off to the book shelf I go...

     Then I see the large, bulky file. It has been sitting there on the rack, accumulating dust, and I have ignored it all these years. Somehow, today, I have a strong urgent feeling that I should take it down and open it.

     Message from up above? Nah. I'm just bored. So let's take a look at this file and see what the contents are. I have forgotten what file it is. I bet it is filled with unimportant, outdated documents that I wanted to throw away a long time ago but did not have the heart to. I believe there is a word to describe a person like me, the one who keeps everything and never throw anything away. Is it 'hoarder'? Yeah, I believe it is. I am Cynthia, and I am a hoarder (a mild one).

     Well, it turns out to be my Practicum Portfolio. No divine messages in it, but opening it is a treat. It is filled with bits and pieces and snippets and treasures of my practicum year at St John Primary School, Tuaran. What gets me 'engrossed' is the weekly journals that I had written. God, how far have I come!

    This is an excerpt of my entry dated July 30th, 2004 (Friday):
...Today, I have an English Class with my 4K pupils. The pupils were noisy, uncontrollable and indescribable. I was teaching, or trying to teach, and nobody paid attention. The pupils were reading comic books, playing cards on the floor, the boys at the back were shouting at each other and one boy was punching another boy's ear. In my attempt to get some attention, I tried to frown, shout and finally bang the chalkboard with my fist. None worked. Finally I lost my temper. I took a broom and hit a desk over and over again. Then I kicked the desk and it fell onto the floor. It was like a wrestling match. The pupils became silent and each returned to his or her own seat, each staring at me, each pair of eyes wide with shock and amazement...
...I did not mean to lose my temper and destroy the class' only broom. I did not mean to make the children cry. It just happened...

     Gosh, what was that? I thought I have totally forgotten about the incident, until today.

     What happened after that? Well, apparently the story ended with me telling the pupils what I felt, telling them how I wanted them to be good and clever, reminding them of their parents at home and how much they had sacrificed so that the children could have a good education.

     And then, apparently after that I ask the children to close their eyes as I did my rendition of  Ronan Keating's 'If tomorrow never comes' with my little guitar, and apparently, according to my journal, the whole class cried.

     Wow. It's all coming back to me now. It was truly a magical moment.

     So did the children turned over a new leaf because of the 'touching' moment that I had created? Nah. I did not record it in my weekly practicum journal, but I remember the children got back to their usual behaviour just three days after the 'magical incident'.

     It seemed I struggled a lot with classroom control during my early years of teaching. Well, to be honest, I still struggle with it today, though not as much.

     The entry ended like this:
...I am going to buy a new broom for the class. I also need to apologise to them. I need to tell them that what I did was wrong and that they should never, ever follow it. And I will tell them that from now on we are going to open a new book and start over...
...I have never known being a teacher could be this stressful. Lord, help me...


     Perhaps there is a divine message in it after all.

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