The Lion Who Needed a Heart

on Saturday, 30 January 2010
I still remember it pretty clearly... It was a very productive day. Not only was it a very productive day, students were paying full attention. They were so interested in the topic (it was about sex, so of course they were interested) and were completely engaged in questioning, giving out their opinions (mostly in their native tongue, unfortunately) and more importantly, they were learning about something new. Medical Marvels - Form 4.

For about 15 minutes, I was enthusiastically explaining to them about the beauty of modern medicine and how invitro fertilization has helped millions of people who were struggling to get children to finally conceive. It was not a miraculous accident. I told them how modern scientists and doctors strive hard everyday to come up with something new to help humankind in health, longevity, and quality of life. Awed by the idea of such medical possibilities, the students inquired so many questions about the causes of infertility, the effects to different sexes, and how it affects family planning. What a wonderful classroom scenario right?

"Ugghhhhh ughggggghhhhhh hARRRggGGGgGGGGGHHHHH!!! WAAAaahAHHHHHHH!"

.... wondering what that was eh? It's a distant scream from 2 blocks away. A girl went hysterical again. Not hysterical funny hysterical. Hysteria.

Immediately, my 15 year old students gazed out the window in horror. It's not something new. This has happened since 2009 and it was many times worse than the conditions we're facing now. Everyday, lessons are interrupted by wailing and screaming of these so-called possessed students and the actions of these girls are even more distracting. Kicking, flailing of the arms, body contorting, erratic behaviour, and frantically running are just one of the few mild things these girls do during the so called hysteria.

I'll be honest with you. Kids are scared. OF COURSE they are scared. They don't know any better. When they see their friends acting abnormally and involuntarily, they immediately put up a defensive-hostile reaction and become panicked and emotional. If I am 13 years old and I hear a girl screaming from a distance, I'd probably be a bit nervous and wonder if everything is out of control.

A teacher cannot lose control of their classes focus. It isn't easy at all and in fact, I had to take my time off my subject matter to calm the students down and make sure that management is still under control. Not only must I command and take a general-esque position, I must show a strong and fearless persona. Students who are nervous immediately seek for adult protection. It does not necessarily warrant a form of action i.e. brute force to fight off enemies, it comes in the form of an image. When they see that the adult is calm, they see that the adult is in control, they naturally feel like it's eventually going to calm the fuck (yeah, I said it) down.

We cannot afford to have teachers who are afraid to deal with it. We need teachers who immediately take charge and wield their magic wands to make all these disappear. Not the case of hysteria, but the fear of those observing it.

We cannot afford to have teachers who do not inform the students about it. It is wrong to assume that the kids know what is going on, they know what it is all about and know how to deal with it. The teacher has to take charge and feed back confidence among the students. Not by the power of discipline action; through the power of knowledge.

I took at least 30 minutes in each of my classes I went into to describe the case of hysteria. By telling them it's about stress, it's psychological, it is medically recognised as a common symptom among young girls who are mentally disrupted or to a more severe degree - epileptic. Whatever it was, I made sure I informed them. I educated them about the symptoms, possible therapy or help, and even drive through moral values into their heads. If you need more references, just use Google. I'm pretty sure it just takes a little bit to know so much more.

I told them how their friends who are having hysteria are in a lot of pain. Some of them might be under a lot of stress. Being a student is tough right? All the pressure of exams, peers, and just the idea of being a girl in our modern times could drive me into lunacy. Remember that this is all in your heads. How you deal with stress, pain, sorrow, happiness, and fun is going to affect your sanity. I had to drive into their minds that the only thing that could go wrong is for them to get too nervous and in the end, become hysterical themselves. If we cheer up and look at things differently, even the worst of things can become beautiful (which incidentally is the tone and theme for the poem In The Midst of Hardship - Latiff Mohidin. Form 4 literature component).

"Do not be afraid of your friends. They are your friends, right? When they get panicked and stressed out to such a violent extent, don't isolate them, hug them tightly and tell them how many people love them. In the moment of their hysteria, shower them with hugs and love. Do not control their movements as if you're trying to drop-down a bull, but restrain them with their safety in mind. When you surround people with so much isolation and hostility, the condition is only going to get worse. Let us give them love and joy; with that being the best cure to our problems."

With that being said, the nervousness and fear seem to have disappeared in their eyes. I don't know if it is absolutely working, but I know that at least a few of them are feeling better. After that week of pep talk about hysteria, my class shows less fear and nervousness when they hear a distant scream. In fact, when they do, they cheer loudly, clap loudly, become more active and laugh loudly (with me cheering them on) because they now know that sometimes...

... it's just all in your head.


Post a Comment