Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teacher’s Day 2010

Honoring who remain steadfast to the goals

Teacher in action

In many cultures, a teacher is placed in a very high pedestal. In fact they are next to our parents in the hierarchy of influence and homage in our lives. Various honorific names are given to them -Teacher, Master, Guru, and Sir and so on.

The Annual Tokoh Guru Award

As Malaysians we too regard our teachers with great esteem. Every time we meet an old classmate, we spend hours talking about the greatness and peculiarities of our old teachers. We always end up by concluding that today’s teachers cannot be compared to those of the yesteryears.

Our nation just celebrated Teachers’ Day on 16 May 2010. The government for its part conferred the national-level Tokoh Guru Awards to the deserving teachers. Yes, these recipients are the unsung heroes of our classrooms and there is no doubt that they deserve this recognition as educators who have worked hard to ensure that their students succeed.

While honoring the few selected teachers for these awards, we must not forget the vast majority of wonderful teachers serving all over the country, from the most remote areas to the busiest cities.

There are many of them out there in the “wilderness” working with full dedication without any complaints. Man

y of them are simple and politically “unconnected” but continue to serve despite the unfriendly and sometimes unjust administrators. These silent and unassuming character molders are the real “Tokoh Gurus” who need to be equally if not more honoured for their relentless services to the nation.

A proud moment

Many Malaysians concur that our present day teachers are not as good or dedicated as those in the fifties and sixties when life was much simpler. This may be due to the prevailing socio-political system today that favor favoritism, nepotism and ‘get-rich quickly’ mentality.

Despite society today is driven by consumerism, it is gratifying to note that are still many teachers, though the numbers may be dwindling, dedicated to their profession. We must pay homage to these men and women who have placed the interest of students above theirs.

We must not forget the teachers of the past, many may have retired, others seriously ill or mentally and physically incapacitated and some might have even died. It was their services in educating us that had made us what we are today. Their sacrifices were major factors that contributed to the development of the nation and to bring to the present respectable stage in the world.

It is only fitting and right for us to recall their contributions to our success and express our gratitude to them in some way or another.

We still remember the joy and pride of our school teachers when we returned to see them after gaining admission into the university. They did not hide their pride when we visited them after our graduation, when they introduced us to their colleagues as “He was my student, now a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, CEO of company or a minister …..”.Many of us may be in much higher position than them, but that was a source of pride not jealousy.

Many years ago, as a young doctor, I can still remember an old teacher of mine, a very fierce one, when he came to seek treatment in the hospital. I could still picture the joy in his face when I introduced myself as his former student. Even today there are still a few teachers, now in their sixties and seventies, who still make it a point to attend every of our reunion dinners even if they have to travel miles to do so.

As we wish our teachers a very happy Teachers’Day, we hope that our teachers of the past be an inspiration for those of the present. To those who have retired we wish and pray they have many more years of healthy and happy lives with their families. To those still in service we wish the Lord grant them not just the knowledge but also the wisdom to guide our children to a safe, sane and prosperous future.

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches." - Karl Menninger

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