Today is a Saturday, but there are a few things I wanted to update here.
Dr. Melor called Sun to tell her that she will not be able to enter our classes on Monday, after all. She has a very important urgent meeting to attend.
Truth be told, I was a little devastated. Sure, I was extremely nervous about Dr. coming on Monday, so soon, but in a way, I wanted it to be over and done with. I’d prepared my lesson the best I could, and I was even beginning to look forward to it. Besides, after Monday, who knows what our timetable will be like? Because apparently, the teacher who was on maternity leave, Pn. Shahril, will be back that Monday. And that will ultimately result in a change of our current timetables. Sun might possibly teach Form 4, and I might stick to lower secondary, but I may not teach my 1 Best and 2 Gem anymore.
I am a little sad about that, actually. Yes, they are a problematic bunch, both of them, but I had just gotten to know them, and I am familiarizing myself with teaching them, after 3 weeks. And now, I might have to “get to know” and “familiarize” myself with a brand new class, all over again! Oh, dear.
So, that also means that when Dr. wants to come to observe, it might be in a brand new class where I’m still trying to figure out my footing in the classroom. Oh gosh, I don’t know what it will be like. But it somehow doesn’t seem like too positive a thing. 😦
Anyway, another matter I wanted to talk about is one of my students. Today, I was marking the few journals books that were handed in to me from 1 Best. I came across one student’s journal. Again, to protect their identity, I’ll give her a pseudonym. Hm, let’s call her *Aina. Now, I am ashamed to say that when I read the name on the cover, it took me a while to be able to place a face to that name. I suddenly remembered, she was one of those girls whose mid-term paper I was still keeping because she had been absent for the past week.
I started reading her journal, correcting grammar mistakes here and there. She wrote much much more than the minimum number of entries I had asked of them, so I was quite happy. Then the content of her journal began to trigger some alarm bells in my head.
She talked about how she had no friends, how lonely she felt. That because of that she had created her own group of imaginary friends to keep her company, from a fantasy world which she said she wished they would come and take her away to. She said that she had a “boring and stupid” life, one that she couldn’t take anymore, and how she just wished that she could just “die, not in a horrible way, but a peaceful way.” That she didn’t want to live in this world anymore, that every day she questioned why she was even born into this world. According to her, her mother blames her for everything, and her siblings do not respect her. And it appears that they are from a poor family, since she says she does not have money to buy books for school, and often makes excuses to teachers. She also talked about how she hates school, how it’s like her own “prison and punishment place”. She says she is “a loser and a failure” because she is not good at any class subjects like Maths, BM, Eng etc. but can only draw anime and comics to make herself happy. Many times, she mentions wanting to die, wanting to be taken away from this world.
I am very disturbed by this. Her journal is covered in drawings of anime characters (whom she says are her imaginary friends). They are all very well-drawn—this girl certainly has a talent. But the message these pictures seem to convey are all very dark and disturbing. More than once there has been drawings of hands with their wrists slit, knives with blood on them. Tear-filled eyes.
One drawing in particular, scared me, terribly. It was a drawing of a teddy bear, with mirrors on both its left and ride sides. The mirror on the right is labeled Fantasy World and reflects an image of a smiling teddy bear with beautiful blooming flowers. The one on the left, however, is labeled Reality World and reflects an image of a torn and broken teddy bear with wilting flowers and fallen dead petals.
How disturbing is that? @.@
And this is from the journal of a young Form One girl.
Frankly, I am terrified. I am very disturbed by what she has written, as well as drawn. I have no idea how to deal with this. I am afraid of what might happen. I feel this is way above my head—wayyyyy above what I am trained and experienced enough to handle. At the same time, I cannot just leave her be. She desperately needs help, and a friend. A confidant perhaps. I do not know if I should refer her to a counselor, or if I should deal with this personally, because I do not want to betray her trust. I am lost. I really don’t know what to do, what to say. As a teacher, I know I need to help this poor lost girl, but am unable to relate to how she feels. How can I help her?
But I do take comfort in the fact that she has written how she truly feels, so painfully and scarily honest, which tells me that she is almost screaming for someone to notice, to understand.
Maybe she just needs someone to talk to.
So I wrote in her journal, after the last entry, that I would like her to come see me after her recess in the staff room. I know that much is necessary. But I have not exactly worked out what I should say to her yet. How do I speak with her so that I do not sound like an uncaring know-it-all adult, but rather a concerned um, older friend? I don’t want to say the wrong thing and lose her trust completely. She may never write honestly anymore. I do not know.
I think I need to ask God for His guidance. I guess it is in this kind of situation that a caring teacher can make all the difference in a young person’s life. I hope I can be that kind of teacher. I hope I can do that, for her. For Aina.