KRriiing! Shrills the school bell. Oh no..Flashback! I cringed when I heard the sound. I went to visit my son's future school today and I was instantly transported back to my past. Tiny feets clamouring all over the place, rushing to squeeze themselves into the same door at the exact same time. Trying to push each other unsuccesfully through that one hole while others can be seen queuing up by the field for their morning assembly. Some in high spirits, others couldn't give a shit. Raging hormones everywhere. In the past, by now, the front gates would have already been locked up. If you were to be late, better to stay at home or face the music. What were you like as a student? I remember being more like the water that fits and follows the shape of my container, secretly wishing I was the river that flows into the ocean instead. How frustrating.
When I was a prefect, there were times when I'll end up missing the first period of class as my duty was to standby outside the gates, execute demerit points and take down the names of the late comers. Oh! How they hate me. Being a class monitor is especially difficult when you have to tell your own best friends to behave. The invincible power bestowed upon you can sometimes go to your head. It can make you feel super smart and overly confident. If you are not careful and if you are unable to catch up, you will be overwhelmed. Laziness and procrastination will eventually get the better of you. The thing is at that moment in time, you do not know why you were chosen in the first place. What makes you so special compared to the rest? Is it because you were one of the best and they know that you'll be able to handle the added responsibility or is it because they felt that by giving you such a role, you will learn to perform better and strive to be a shining example to others. Whatever it is, I now feel somewhat used. I missed out on a lot of lessons, due to doing the chores that were meant to ease the teachers' burdens and was alienated by many for being the eyes and ears of the 'law' when my main role back then as a student was to just blend in and study. On the good side, I learned the art of delegation, working in a team towards a common goal, and carrying out my duties with extreme diligence. What no one taught me was how to be an effective and good leader. How to walk the talk. What to do when you fail? That, I had to learn through my own mistakes, my own awakening and by observing the way how people I like, live their lives.
Being one of the first to walk as a baby does not guarantee that one will be an Olympic champion as an adult and just because one could read the ABC's younger than usual, does not make one a genius or a successful person in the future. Many of my friends from primary to highschool, who were nobody back then are now somebody today. What are we doing wrong here? I wonder. The ones that scored straight A's are having mental breakdowns as we speak and the ones whom the teachers themselves thought to be lost causes, are now making deep impact on society and proving the same people who failed them wrong. As much as I would love to gloat over such a fact, the pain that some have been put through, to get there, has somewhat dampened my enthusiasm. Some do not and will never fully understand the agony and mental torture that their actions have caused others. It's weird when you realize how difficult it is for teachers to be trained to become who they are, to only fail to carry out what they were send out to do in the first place. Educate. It took them years to get the certificates and yet till today many have yet to grasp the easy stuff, such as how to make children laugh or how to make them know that you love and care for them.
I have a love hate relationship with teachers and school. There was a time when it was a safe haven for me to explore, so much so that I didn't want the schooling days to end, before it turned into a prison of sorts that I had to breakaway from. Teachers, a group of people that I idolize and respect, the way I do my parents, became a group of mean creatures that I despise the most. How does one explain that? Who failed whom? Was it the adults fault or was it the child's own doing? Where I am concerned, it was a hard lesson, one big enough to last me a lifetime. A story meant for another day.
School is where I learned about the ways of the world. How one is able to fool others by the way
one dresses or behaves in public. Apple polishing is encouraged. You also get points and priviIeges
for making life easier for the teachers, for being a good student in class, for concentrating and
understanding your subjects well and for being the cream of the crop. You win favors by telling on
someone else, or for keeping the teachers abreast with the ' underground news '. The staff room is full of back stabbers and gossiping is everybody's favourite past time. It doesn't matter whether you lie to
your parents, teachers or yourselves as long as no one knows that you have a hickey under your
'tudung', if no one catches you smoking or snogging behind the corridors or in the toilets, no one will
think badly of you. Most have become experts at it. The stricter the upbringing, the better the liars.
As far as everyone's concerned, conform and you'll be safe. Confrontations are a pain in the ass. What scares the hell out of them is when you are not afraid to be you. The real you. The you that needs no
explanation or no cover ups. That is when all hell will break loose. They will gang up on you,
teachers and students alike, either secretly or openly to break you down. No one is allowed to be
different. It is unheard of. Something one should be ashamed of. It doesn't matter if you know what
you are doing is right, or deep down they know that you haven't done anything wrong. If you have
your family's backing, that is worse, far worst. Then, you are considered a smart Alec. One who
needs to be put badly in his or her place! If they themselves were taught that it is wrong, then it must
not be right. They were not encouraged to think for themselves and to the ones who teach, lessons are meant to be understood by the way it is explained. No questions are welcomed. " To question me, means you are being insolent. It is my way or the highway." That is how arrogant some of them can be. When I was a little girl, I did not see it that way. To me, it was the most horrible form of rejection and I felt unloved.
From then on, I have come to accept the fact, that in life, you will always face adversity. You can't please everyone and you can't force them to love you either. No point fighting over differing
opinions. It is there for a reason. My view is that it is an option for you to choose which direction
you'd prefer to go, as a stop sign for you to think what would be the best way to proceed, as
entertainment to keep your journey interesting and as a test to strengthen you further. There will
always be opposition and arguments. It is because no one really knows what is best. Sometimes,
when you want the truth, you got to seek for it on your own. Getting lost is sometimes the fastest way for you to find yourself. It is not always that someone is wrong and you are always right and by
accepting that, as well as acknowledging your weaknesses, that is when we grow. Remember what it
was like when you first learned how to read? There are those who memorize the words, there are
some who understands the story and a few who will learn a lesson or two behind it. It all depends on
how we were introduce to the world of reading in the first place. Some hates it, others immerse
themselves into a world of endless imagination. Along the way, the lovers will grow up to read it to
their own children, write their very own stories and perhaps share a part of themselves with the
world. This can only happen when you are exposed to the right environment, are brave enough to
think for yourself and decide on what's best for you. School never taught me that. Life did. So please
stop judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree. It'll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.