Teacher as Friend and Brother: A Personal Experience
To be a good friend of students is an honour for me. I even describe it as “the sweetest memory for me as a teacher”, thanks to my boss who not only affirm this fact, but also encourage me to go on with this principle. He has even taken this principle into practice when he was an ordinary teacher, years back.
What my school saw me with thirteen students (who are all my close comrades) is just one of my stories of friendship and brotherhood there. Frankly speaking, I never dream to meet, greet and befriend with them before, but they are all good, some of them represent what the school is. They don’t only exchange with me good advice, but also intensive care, wonderful idea, colourful experience and strong support.
Thanks to Allah SWT for bringing each of them in my personal and professional life. I choose them to be my close comrades not for their appearance, nor their academic and co-curricular performance, nor their key positions, nor their noble characteristics; it is because of Allah SWT. It is He who show me their hands, hearts and minds who have, in my honest opinion, attracted me to be their close comrade.
In fact, I don’t belong to those thirteen only; I belong to the whole school family. That’s the reason I don’t care to spend most of my times with the school, the same way I took when I was the College President in IIUM for two full years, to give the best to the people.
What the students saw me at the school entrance, every Wednesday and Thursday in the early morning, is just an example that demonstrate my commitment towards giving the best to the people and my role as friend and brother to all students—there are more. Each time I stand with other teachers there, I will welcome students upon their arrival and ensure their compliance towards the school dress code.
In the same time but on the other school days, I will meet and greet students and teachers wherever possible, usually at the Teachers’ Room where students come and consult their respective teacher before the start of the school day. Except when the School Assembly or a school activity takes place, I will meet and greet them at the designated place, usually at either the School Hall or the School Square.
When most of teachers offer ordinary gestures at the start and the end of class, I offer extraordinary ones. Every time I enter the class, I will be the first person to offer greetings to students; and every time before I leave the class, I will be shake male students’ hands to mark my friendship with the entire class. I hug male students in the class for sometimes, a gesture that I usually do outside the class.
Most of my times with the school were spent in the school hostel. My presence there, usually every Thursday and Friday, is not only to facilitate Islamic activities for resident students at the School Musolla, but also to support resident students’ needs and to provide supplementary consultations to student leaders residing in the Hostel—and I am happy that I was able to do them all.
More than that, I am happy that, even though I am just a teaching intern, instead of being a teacher, I am able to a brother, a friend and, for some students, a comrade. It is not teachers and students of such school who celebrated friendship and brotherhood with me; it is instead me whose teachers and students are celebrated as brothers, sisters and friends. The reasons are crystal clear: because love and care are parts of my service; and because friendship and brotherhood are among values of the Public Service.