I feel like writing but I don’t feel like editing. So this post will most likely be my raw thoughts i.e all over the place and grammatically wrong.
One of the things I’ve learnt after teaching for around 8 years now (oh wow?!) is that Allah grants people with different talents. Very different strengths and weaknesses. Rezeki orang lain-lain.
Take for example me and my best friend. I am good in maths, I got distinctions over the years, maths is something I am comfortable with, a subject that I dare speak up in class if the teacher is wrong.
But english, nope. That’s my best friend’s territory, that is her A1 subject (and my worst subject ever). Up until today, I must think hard whether to use has, have, had, has been or had been…. it does not come naturally for me.
You get what I mean?
And these differences in strengths and weaknesses is also a result of how we have been brought up.
I sometimes teach Quran. There were times I asked students to memorise the sujud tilawah prayer. I chose for them the shortest one I can find, which is around 6 words. As a madrasah student, I can memorise the prayer perhaps in less than a minute. Why? Because I was brought up in an environment where I need to memorise a lot and of course because I understand arabic.
I can tell you that my student can take up to 20 minutes just to memorise that line. Why? Because she don’t understand arabic and she was not trained to memorise things.
When I am teaching, I always need to know my students’ background, strengths and weaknesses.
If I don’t then I might accidentally blurt out things like ‘why are you so slow???’
Get it? We are all different and we are all trained differently.
I was perhaps trained to study. I literally enjoyed studying. And I am someone that had tuition for literally every subject since kindergarten up till PSLE. Students are usually sent to a weekday madrasah or a weekend madrasah during kindergarten, guess what, I was sent to both.
I rarely played sports. I hate getting my hair wet. I prefer books. And talking to random people I don’t know can freak me out.
Personally I think people don’t realise how much time I spend my life studying and not meeting people that talking to people can really take a toll on me.
Do outgoing people get it? Maybe some would. Or not. Why? Because it is ‘just talking to people’. If I were to use it to these people it will be like ‘it is just maths, why can’t you do completing the square? Really.’
My body was not trained to endure much physical training. Maybe you can let me sit for a 3-hours lecture and maybe I am still concentrating. But a half hour training? Maybe not. But maybe someone else can. But in the future, with the right training, can I endure it? InsyaAllah yes. But it might take time right?
Once I understand this, I have stopped expecting people to get the grades I have achieved. I began to understand how something that I enjoyed so much like maths can be torturous for some.
What teachers need to do is to acknowledge these strengths and weaknesses: Okay I know you are not good at this, but slowly okay, we can do this. And for some, it will take time, believe me it will.