May 16, 2011. I celebrated my first ever Teacher’s Day as a real teacher today. It was a very colourful day, filled with laughter and games and well, food (not that I care about food). I spent the day going around taking photos of pretty much everything to commemorate my first celebration (as well as to fill my virtually empty folio with something more colourful although nobody needs to know how empty it actually is -_-), changing into a pair of slacks and t-shirt just before the morning session was taken over by mini-games. Sukaneka, of course. Timeless classics such as the musical chair and taking turns to fill bottles with water were present. Teachers who took part were very enthusiastic. I had fun watching them giggle and fight for the chairs until the very last.
It felt different. Celebrating Teacher’s Day as a teacher, that is. The celebration was completely organised by students – hall decorations, gifts, programmes… I can’t remember if I was ever that efficient when I was their age. From the moment I got off my car, the air of celebration was already set up, injected with elements of fun from colourful decorations here and there. I wonder how I felt when I was a student.
Today, I celebrated Teacher’s Day from an elevated viewpoint. When I was a student, I was very excited to give presents to all of my subject teachers. I wanted them to feel happy and appreciated. Now that I’m teaching, I found myself struggling to find words to say to students who came to tell me “Teacher, I’m sorry I don’t have money to give you anything. Can I give you something next week?” It was very touching. I realised that as a teacher, I don’t expect my students to give me anything. I’m very touched when a few students who come from very low financial backgrounds wrapped freshly picked flowers from home and bars of soaps to give as presents.
I used to feel bad when I couldn’t give nice gifts to my teachers. Now that I’m teaching, I don’t want them to feel like I did back then. Students feel pride when teachers accept their offerings, so I told the ‘grieving’ children who didn’t bring any gift to not feel sad. I told them to give me the best present they could give me, but one that they cannot buy with money -a good grade. Nothing makes me happier than hearing my students speak in a complete sentence. At least ONE complete sentence. The sense of accomplishment is way different from receiving gifts.
To my students, thank you for all the colourful gifts. I appreciate each and every one of them. There is no need for you to feel ashamed or down because for me, a gift is a gift even if you give me a box of white chalks or a single pencil. It’s the thought that counts. Teacher’s Day is a day for teachers, so make your teachers happy by coming to school and wishing them a Happy Teacher’s Day with a bright, sincere smile on your face =)
Until next year.