We all like to be blessed. The annual blessing ceremony is part of the exam students’ motivation programme. It is something new to me, being a co-ed student. I never went through any blessing ceremony before my examination, be it school-based or public examinations. What I had was my mother’s ‘blessing’ in the form of chicken essence and the prayer I learned from the church. Sometimes, I get the blessing from my pastor in the church during Sunday service, but never the one like I experienced a while ago in my current school and the previous religious school (SMK Agama).
The motivation programme is run by the Counselling Unit of the school. In the past we have it stretched out the whole day. There are different slots, mostly encouragements and advises from teachers – form teachers and subject teachers, the Principal and Senior Assistants. The students listen to advises, ranging from personal experiences to result analysis, all aiming to keep them focus in doing well in the public examination. At the end of the programme, we usually hold a blessing ceremony, where students are engaged in a prayer (Christian or non-Christian, Muslim students say their prayers too) followed by a 1-t0-1 blessing from each of the teachers to each of the students. And usually this is the time where most students will cry into a river. The teachers are stronger, they seldom shed a tear, maybe they have gotten used to it. I think this is the slot that inject some meaning to the public exam where the students are going to face. It is not just about studying hard for the glory of the school’s name, for the excellent result, but because they are blessed.
In my past years of service in this missionary all girls school, I used to escape the session. Pardon me, because I know I am a cry baby. My colleagues know me well so they never force me to join, even my Principal. Another reason that enables me to go MIA is that I am not a form teacher, thus allowing me to slightly hold up a wall in between, so that things don’t get too personal. Of course, I must admit I broke a lot of my students’ heart, because they would like to hug me and say thanks to me (according to them). I responded to that by asking them to do it some other time.
This year, unfortunately, I am a form teacher and I have no excuse to not say a few words to encourage the students – they are from the last class. I have never had cold feet when speaking in front of public, but I was nervous that day. The ideas played in my mind, but I just can’t address them properly during my speech. It is the first time that I actually experienced stage fright. And then, when some students hugged me tightly and said “Sorry Miss, I did not do well in the trial”, my heart just went shattered into pieces. And when they wiped off my tears, I was so touched that I couldn’t even say a word. It also saddened me when some expressed how stressed they are, telling me they really can’t do it. I don’t know what we have expected of them is right after all…
Here are the things that I actually wanted to tell my girls:
When you are discouraged by the comments or critics of the teachers, never think that your teachers have regretted by being your teachers or to encounter you in their lives. When your teachers have not given up hope on you, you have no rights at all in giving up yourself. The road to success is never easy, it often comes with sacrifice and pains. When you toil through it, and finally come to rest under the shade of success, you will find that all your hard work have actually paid off.
We crossed path in this life for a purpose. There is a reason why you attended my class and I, being your teacher. If you are stressed, don’t forget that I have also been given a task by my Father, a great responsibility to guide you and to be your teacher. There is not one time that I have thought of giving up on you. To me, you are all great students.
Every student is supposed to graduate from this school doing better than me, because our time is evolving. Every generation is always better than the one before. When we keep on telling you to put in more effort, it doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge the amount of hard work you have put in. It is our job to keep you aiming high. However, at the end of the day, if you have tried your best, whatever you receive is what you deserve. There should not be a question that you have failed us or anyone beside yourself.
Go with peace and strive hard for your exam, as this is your one and only priority in life for now. You have all my blessings and my prayer will always be for you.
All the best and God bless.