Together with about a thousand guests at the Chancellor's Hall at UBD, we watched His Majesty signed the plaque to commemorate 50 years of teacher training in Brunei. The noble institution which started as Brunei Teacher Training Centre and today, as the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education has trained so many of our teachers and with them the future of Brunei Darussalam. I have said enough about the nobility of the profession when I posted an entry about Teachers in Brunei Society not that long ago. Of course His Majesty has said the same thing more eloquently yesterday. But one of the issue that he pointed out is the need to return the honour back to the teaching profession:
"...We must glorify it forever because teaching is not easy and not all can shoulder (the responsibilities that come with it). It is a difficult task and needs the right qualities and qualifications."
Another point raised in His Majesty's titah was the need to restructure the teachers' scheme of service. That I agree entirely and a topic for another day.
Today I would just like to bring up some of the comments that were written earlier when I wrote that entry and I dedicate today's entry to all the teachers out there. Thank you so much.
-13- noted: "I too believe that teachers are, I quote, sculptors of the young minds. And yes, teachers do stay for a long time in one's memory when very much appreciated. I know some who look down on this career path and it upsets me to hear that. Thank you for posting this up, for voicing out what needs to be heard."
Fishes agreed on teaching being a noble profession: "Teaching is indeed an honourable profession. Most teachers have one appealing quality that is their passion of teaching : palpable and a valuable asset which money can't buy."
Obi-chan noted on the dedication of teachers: "Some of my close friends have by now been well immersed in the teaching profession. One of them is absolutely appalled at his Form 1 students still being incapable of forming a proper simple sentence in English, and has been persevering on his own initiative to make his classes more interesting, using an assortment of toys."
Di agreed: "...teaching really is a noble profession. there aren't many jobs where you can truly make a difference in others lives. it's just a shame that not many young people realise this."
Di also pointed out that: "...a lot of graduates who are bonded under the MOE scholarship are offered jobs and teachers, but unfortunately, they simply see the teaching profession as a stepping stone to "something better". and even sadder are ubd graduates, who spend 4 years getting a degree in education, complaining when they are asked to teach and desperately searching for "a better job"..."
Perhaps this may all change with a better scheme of service?
The young but wise Akatsuki have changed her mind about the teaching profession: "I remember at one point in my life, I've grown arrogant that I looked down on teaching profession. I saw people who could become nuclear scientists or math genius chose teaching as a career. I was shocked, thinking of how their talents would be wasted. But now I know that being a teacher is one way of passing knowledge and wisdom. Teachers reach out for the youth, they can be the most influential people in the students' adolescent lives. Think of a teacher who not only teaches his/her subject to the students, but also make them feel understood, make them feel heard and make them feel that they have a place in this world. Teachers who give hope, who inspires and befriends."
A teacher calling himself/herself "Mads" agreed: "...it's my CALLING..."
A very experienced "Jen" also voiced his/her opinion: "...very inspiring comments from Mr. BR on the teaching profession, from a teacher who is passionate about her chosen vocation and loves, not so much teaching per se but more so (dare i say it} the moulding?/ grooming?/ challenging? of young minds to go beyond and take the path less trodden. Success is seeing your students become young accomplished individuals living meaningful lives and contributing back to society. 30 years in education and I am merely a senior education officer, yet my belief that the teaching profession is the cornerstone of a nation's progress and success, is more firmly entrenched than ever. The existing set-up in the teaching profession is not infallible and hopefully under our able leaders we will strive to go beyond the mundane and nurture the unique individual in each and every child in our beloved country. CONGRATULATIONS! to all teachers. YOU have chosen to be a teacher because YOU can see the child in each individual student. Viva la Brunei!"
Though an anonymous did not agree with everything I posted but I don't blame him or her, there are aspects of the education career that may be lacking (think of a better scheme of service for instance) and he/she said: "Yeah,yeah. I've heard it again and again. Teaching is a noble thing. Bla, bla, bla! But org Brunei cakap tidak serupa bikin. Do we get a lot of respect? No! It's just plain talk! Only few appreciate us. Why don't you work as a teacher and see the real situation." And feeling regreful later apologises: "Sorry if my comment seemed harsh but your view about teaching in brunei is one-sided." No apology needed my friend, I agree, not everything is as rosy as people say.
Thank you to all my teachers at the long list of institutions that I have attended in the past - Sekolah Melayu Bukit Bendera Tutong, Sekolah Melayu Datu Mahawangsa Lambak, Brunei Prep School Lambak, Brunei Prep School Bangar, Berakas English School, Teluk Kurau Secondary School Singapore, Queenstown Secondary Technical School Singapore, Anglo-Chinese Junior College Singapore, St Andrews Junior College Singapore, Keele University England, Harvard University USA, Heriot Watt University Scotland and Universiti Brunei Darussalam and not forgetting my religous schools - Sekolah Ugama Lambak, Sekolah Ugama Madrasah BSB (including the overflow classes at Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien) and Sekolah Ugama BPS Bandar. Thank you, thank you and may the Al-Mighty bless you all.