Stories from the Classroom: Farihah


Farihah, a Political Science and International Development Studies graduate from McGill University, is a new Sejarah teacher in Kamunting, Perak. Here, she explains why she chose to Teach For Malaysia and how she hopes to help her students do more than they ever dreamt they could.

Wan Farihah Ahmad Fahmy, TFM 2013 Fellow

Student:

Cikgu, kenapa cikgu nak masuk mengajar kelas kami? Kan orang kata kami ni tak ada masa depan.

Me:

Siapa kata awak tak ada masa depan? 

Student:

Semua orang. Cuba cikgu tengok eh, cikgu sorang je yang akan tunggu lima minit awal kat luar kelas kami sebelum masa cikgu. Orang lain tak kisah pun pasal kami.

Me:

Kenapa kamu rasa orang lain tak kisah pasal kamu semua?

Student:

Tengokla kami ni kelas mana, cikgu. K2 kot. Orang ingat kami ni bodoh.

Me:

Itu orang kata. Cikgu kata, kamu semua pandai-pandai. Tak ada beza pun dengan kelas-kelas yang lain melainkan usaha kamu dalam kelas. Adakah kamu nak termakan dengan kata-kata orang? Nak percaya tanggapan orang? Tu dia punya hal. Yang penting, kamu dengar cakap cikgu. Kalau kamu tak pandai, cikgu takkan suruh kamu belajar. Sebab cikgu tau kamu pandai la cikgu push kamu dengan lebih kuat. Sebab cikgu yakin yang kamu boleh buat. Ikut cakap cikgu. Lepas tu, usaha sendiri. Insya Allah kamu akan berjaya. Okay, pergi rehat. Nanti kita sambung.

As the other students leave, three stay behind. “Cikgu, cikgu bagi extra class boleh? Kami nak belajar.”

They excitedly file out of class, and I hear one talking to a boy outside. That boy walks in 2 minutes later saying, “Cikgu, mana nak tulis nama untuk kelas tambahan?”

Some days, it feels like I am living in one of the Malay novel berilmiah I read as a child. You know, the ones with a cikgu who motivates. My heart soars and breaks in equal measures. To believe at 16 that you have no future is a travesty. I don’t buy the idea that they are incapable of doing well. I will push myself, and them, to prove naysayers wrong. Because these kids deserve so much more than what they’ve been dealt. Because they deserve opportunities.