Tomorrow Never Dies

on Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Today, I was rejected.

That's right. 


Rejected because a student was not willing to participate in a dialogue. Not only was he not interested in participating, he was almost aggressively hostile when rejecting my order to try out a few lines. It ain't difficult, it's just 2 lines for each student. Very reluctantly and almost fiercely he stood up to speak out those lines after some hustling (quite aggressively on my part). 

2 things I realised. He did not want to reject my encouragement and he did not want to speak out too. There was like a small argument going on in his mind while he was being very reluctant and unwilling to participate when told to. I realised that at that point in time, persuasion was not going to work. I told him blatantly that if he ever acted out like that again, not only will it make me furious, it'll only make me more interested in going after him for these scenarios all the time in classes.

He knows he can't get away with it. He knows that eventually he'll have to cave in. He even knows how much of a losing battle he is fighting when it comes to not wanting to participate in my classroom. He isn't a bad student (of course, this whole class is a weaker class) but just poor in proficiency.

After the class, very sternly I said in front of the class:

Pumpkin (not his real name), see me outside.

I wrapped my hands around his shoulder, he was already starting to tear up while I started talking, and asked him what was his problem. He started to say how embarrassed he feels because he is so weak in English (he is, but that's not my worry) and doesn't want to make a fool out of himself in front of the whole class. 

Malu cikgu, kawan ketawakan nanti.
                            ... his words.

I told him how proud I am with him that he was willing to tell me this. Not only did I need to encourage him, I told him that things are not going to change if he just sat at a corner and hoped that I wouldn't notice him. I said that his friends aren't worthy to judge him at all. I, being the teacher was the perfect person to tell him if he's good or not. He seemed to give in a little bit and started saying that he was going to try to be a little bit braver the next time. I had to make it clear that I didn't resent him as a student. I only resented his action of rejecting my offer to try to improve.

Of course, throughout this conversation, English was minimal.

However, getting the message across this time was important. I needed him to know that whether he liked it or not, he'll have to face the fact that everyone's opinion about his proficiency aren't important. At least, not more important than me trying to make him become better in English. 

Tomorrow will come and I'll once again call him out to practise English. 

Tomorrow will come and he'll have to stand up and try his best to speak out or do exercises that I give him without fear of embarrassment and failure. 

Tomorrow will always be there for me to challenge him again and again till he becomes good or better than what he is now.

He can't run from it.

I'll always catch up.


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