Teaching in Jerantut, the apex of the Jengka Triangle, is very memorable. I shall relate in this blog an act of a parent who went all the way from the Jengka Felda Land Scheme to thank a teacher for rendering help to his son.
The school I taught in comprised two streams - English and Malay and so I had to teach Science in English and Malay. The boy, whose parent I mentioned above came to see me one day. He told me that he wanted to go back to Jengka Triangle to see his parents but had no money for the bus fare. As you see, students from the Malay stream usually stayed in hostels and were allowed to go back at weekends with special permission from the Hostel Warden. He asked me to lend him two ringgit and I obliged willingly although my salary at that time was a mere RM310 per month.
I did not expect to get back the money from the boy as I treated it as a form of financial aid to him. A month later, a Malay middle-aged man came to see me. He said he had purposely come to say 'thank you' to me for lending his son the bus fare to go home. I beamed at him, telling him that as a teacher I should help my students if I could. Then he dug his hand into his pocket and handed me two one-ringgit notes. Of course, I refused to accept them.
This incident showed that the Malay parent respected the teacher and was grateful. The fare that he had to pay was four ringgit for the to-and-fro journey. He could very well have asked his son to return the money to me. If I had accepted his money,he would have spent six ringgit, taking the trouble to thank me personally.
This is one of the many occasions when I feel that teaching pupils in the rural areas is worth my effort.
Below are candid shots of my students in the lab.
Don't let it drop. In case it drops, my hand is ready to check its fall.