Tag

teachers

Browsing

Photo Courtesy: https://s22.postimg.org

Warning: This is going to be a long one 😉

Everyone can agree that Madrasas make up almost the biggest part of our great childhood memories or perhaps the worst. This is where we got shaped and molded into the characters we are today. How we were shaped however, is a different story. They say, the end justifies the means… or does it? If anything, Madrasas are the best example of this phrase.

Back down the memory lane, most families had neglected the Madrasas. Secular education was given the priority giving minimal time for the children to adopt Madrasa teachings. This in turn made the children consider Madrasa as ‘not-so-serious’ a place. It was like the damp spot where parents would take them on weekends so that they don’t bother people back home.

If you ask anyone about their Madrasa days they’ll mention a lot of punishments where students were subjected to individually or as a group. First mistake would always be ‘getting late’ because hey! It’s weekend! The entire family is going for a wedding somewhere and you spent an entire hour crying why you are being left behind while they’ll be enjoying some good biryani with roasted chicken. So you get to the gate, eyes red and swollen and you find a whole group standing aside while the assembly is going on. You become a bit relieved that you are not alone. However, once the assembly is over and the teacher on duty confronts you, he surprises you all by checking the uniform instead or whether your nails are clipped. So you end up with double punishment. But it never ends there does it? You somehow end up in the noisemakers list in class and the ustadh gives you ‘THAT look’ of ‘Too many mistakes in one morning young boy’!

There was always a lot of fun associated with all the mischief which involved incomplete assignments and ending up doing the assignment at the corridor, making fun of other students or rhythmic and loud reading during classes; which more often than not irritated the teachers, a lot of skiving where one or a collective group would go out for lunch break and decide not to come back because you decided that your family will not go for that wedding without you, a lot of ‘tell your parent to come tomorrow’ because let’s face it the teachers were having up to their necks dealing with stubborn kids.

Coming back to class late was a norm because you got caught up in the games you were playing or were waiting in line for your potatoes and other snacks to be prepared; and so when you reach the class you know what’s waiting inside so you all stand by the door deciding who was bold enough to ask for permission to get in. Then there were those days we’d be sent home because we had applied henna on Eid day despite it being against madrasa rules or for the lack of payment of fees on time…yeah the list is endless!

In attempt to change the ‘relaxed-mode’ children had on madrasa, the teachers always opted to cane the naughty children, especially with the famous kikoto (A local type of cane commonly made in Coastal region by use of Reeds.)


KE Gif Ge 720X300

When it came to the need for students to learn, caning only brought fear into them making them memorize things they don’t understand in the least bit. My mother tells me of how when they were young, they’d go to madrasa sit in straight lines and start singing what they’ve been taught, swinging themselves frontward and backward. How they’d put small pieces of kashatas between the mashaf pages then come back and start eating them piece by piece while the ustadh is not looking. They’d then quickly go back to chorusing with the rest, turning their oily mashaf pages. It seemed all merry when the whole class was chorusing like that…but now many years later, she confesses that then, she, and many others did not even know what they were saying. The caning only prompted them to cram something so that whenever the teacher asks a question, they had an answer. Nonetheless, the caning was fruitful when it came to hifdhul qur’an (memorization of the holy qur’an).

So basically, punishments differed on 3 factors: The teacher himself, the personality of the student and the kind of mistake done.

We all had some experience with the ‘bad news’ ustadh who you’d carefully avoid on the way even if you’ve done nothing wrong. He is always ready to cane; always ready to strike; always armed with his kikoto. Yet others would go for other less violent kind of punishments like making the students kneel, making them stand the whole session, pinching, sweeping, squatting, washing the washrooms, cleaning corridors, extra assignments, calling of the parent or being detained from going to tea/lunch break.

This however also differed according to the child in question. For some children just the mere mention of ‘I’ll cane you’ is enough to scare them and make them do the right thing. They’d weep like no one’s business if you even jokingly mention that you’ll summon the parent. Yet another child is so used to the canning that it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s routine now and thus, doesn’t mould them in anyway. Sometimes, it even made the students become more rebellious and beating them was as useless as screaming on their faces. But this same naughty child if detained from going to have lunch, he tends to settle down. A lazy child would detest being given extra assignment and that would be the perfect punishment for him/her.

When it comes to collective mistake i.e. the whole class making noise, or late comers, the teacher would ask them to sweep the classroom or wash the loos for the older students. For some children, telling them to go out of the class as punishment acts as the best thing for them. It turns out to be ‘free-class-to-have-fun’ oh yeah, and to make more mischief. So the child’s personal character always factored in the kind of punishment.

How the child/children are punished depended on the kind of mistake too. For a mistake like late-coming, the punishment would be lesser than the ones who got into a fight. Or noise-makers compared to the ones skiving classes.

The teachers would always use the small punishment methods and only when things really escalated is when the parent is summoned.


KE Gif Ge 720X300

It’s no secret that Madrasa punishment is better than school (before the anti-punishment law came in). Yet still, there were/are parents who still go to complain once their children are canned or in the least, touched at all. The parents would sometimes respond to complaints from the Madrasa by transferring their child to another institution which ends up making the child always half-baked with information and sometimes in character too.

We all have experienced or at least witnessed the dramatic parents who are always so protective and just at the slightest caning of their child, they’d appear at the institution and start shouting to whoever they can throw words to, threatening to report to the police if their children are canned again yet they are in the first place responsible for the negligence the children have on Madrasa. If the parents showed the children how important Madrasa is, the mischief would be less and they’d be more serious on Madrasa education.

Punishment systems have changed over the years. This could be because the teachers realized that they are using the wrong approach in the desperate need of making students prioritize Madrasa studies. Nowadays, there is less caning. We can’t say it has stopped completely but teachers are more and more adopting the alternative punishment systems like giving them extra assignments or sweeping classes and corridors amongst other methods. Different Madrasas have also tried different ways to make Madrasa more interesting for children i.e. including extra-curricular activities and trips too. They also involve the parents a lot more than before on the issues of their children.

The best move Madrasa systems have taken, however, is ensuring that their teachers undergo teachers’ training before stepping into class. This is unlike before whereby anyone with the knowledge could teach regardless of whether they knew how to handle the mentality of children or not. Some Madrasas would let the older kids teach the younger ones just because they had a little more knowledge than the little ones, or the smarter kids would teach the other kids when a teacher was not around. So now we have better teachers who have studied psychology of the children and are able to deal with them in the right way.

The punishments have been the better evil for many of us. Apart from the notorious students whom we’d tell ‘haskii la mwadhini wala mteka maji mskitini’ to, many owe their good discipline to the Madrasa teachers who ensured they behave. Many of us wouldn’t even know how to recite Surat Fatiha if not for the canning. The punishments done in Madrasa have mostly been moderate apart from a few cases and they seem necessary in order to straighten the children up.

Apart from that, we got the many memories from these days; the days we did mistakes and cried even before the teacher raised the cane, or the days we knelt down until our knees ached, or when we were late and were sent back home; half happy half miserable, or those days when someone stole and we’d have soot applied on his face (someone mentioned this and couldn’t help but imagine and laugh). As much as we as a community have undermined the Madrasa for so long, we have to admit that we learnt good lessons and became better people from what we learnt back then.

I know some really hate the memories they have of back then or of the entire madrasa system, and some would enthusiastically want to debate this whole punishment issue, nonetheless, I guess at the end of the day it is only each one of us who can judge and perceive those days as they will. Everyone is entitled to their opinion after all.

In my opinion, there is improvement and gradual process in the Madrasa systems which hopefully will make more students serious on the deen education which has been comprised for so long. As for the punishments (the moderate reasonable ones that is), I hope they still stay in the system until the later generations. In the current dark world, we need a system that will still humble us and mold us to be better individuals.

Photo Credit: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

There are many people in this world who are successful, who have been successful, who know the taste of success yet just a few know the taste of progress, consistency and prosperity. You have become the doctor the always wanted to become now what next? You have always wanted to own your own business, now you do. Yes you have succeeded. But after that is there any progress? Is your dream bringing in goodies like you expected? You have passed university level with flying colours…but where is the job? It is therefore one thing to succeed and quite another to be blessed in what you do.

There is the famous saying that goes like, ‘it is the little things that matter.’ Yes, even in success, it is the little, small, tiny gestures of humanity, love and humility that keeps pushing us the ladder. Let me mention to you a few things that isn’t taught to us yet it should.

1.Your parents; they are your secret weapon, secret key to success of all kinds. Whether it is to pass your exams, get a job, get a promotion, get a good spouse, have a beautiful life here and the hereafter too…all lies in how you treat and deal with your parents. It may be something you don’t see directly; they are not the ones to literally grant you the promotion or miraculously make your exam results turn out great but it is all a matter of how pleased and happy they are with you. Yes, I mean it. Be a good child. Remember your parents all the time. Make them happy, not by showering them with money, but by giving them your quality time, by helping them, by loving them, by showing them that you care for them more than your phone or your corny girlfriend/boyfriend.

Have you ever seen an educated person with a good job yet is still miserable? Have you seen an intelligent, brilliant student yet they still struggle to pass? Well they could be having other troubles but trust me, when your parents are pleased with you, you will see how things will work out easily. You will see how God will shower you with blessings from all corners and you wonder how. Ever seen two siblings, one who has succeeded in their education and maybe is wealthy too yet the drop-out reaches a higher level of success and attainment of happiness? It doesn’t matter what your religion is, as a matter of fact, all faiths have always insisted about parents and how we should always be kind to them. So this is it. You want to succeed in this life and the next? Please your parents. Never underestimate their prayers for you or the smile that you put on their face. And by the way, the more difficult your parents are to please, the more blessed you become. Do it tirelessly. Help them sincerely with a lot of love. And when you do this, always put the intention that you want God to bless your life for your actions towards your parents. Try this out. I promise by God’s will, you will see a change in your life!

2.Your teachers, your lecturers, your tutors…you name it; they also play a big role to ensure your progress but only if you prove to them that you are worth it. Most of us when we get to high school level and university, we tend to believe that our teachers are useless. We mock them, give them ugly nicknames, judge them by how  they dress etc etc. It is usually all part of the ‘school fun’ as some would name it. But besides that all, your teacher deserves respect from you however mean, ugly, dirty, foolish, awkward they are. They deserve your respect for their title, ‘teacher’. You may not really get this but intelligence is not the secret to success trust me. Teachers are very observant and keen on every students’ behaviour. They appreciate hardworking students, humble and those who appreciate them too. Sometimes you may wonder why a teacher is close to a weak student in performance yet it is because this particular student is treating the teacher with respect and  appreciation. And this particular weak student is the same one you will meet years later driving a Mercedes and you remain mouth agape asking how!

Let me tell you how. The teacher saw the student’s potential plus the great respect, he ended up giving this student all the words of wisdom, the secret formulas, the way out of difficult situations, the empowerment he needed. And even years after this weak student has graduated, every single opportunity this teacher comes across, whom do you think will he contact? The arrogant intelligent student or the weak humble and hardworking student? I am not telling you to love them, talk to them 24/7, bring them gifts or visit them every weekend. I am saying, treat them well however stupid, mean, ugly they look. keep their contacts safely. Ask for their advise whenever you need it. Ask for help whenever you are stranded. Ask for their ideas, opinions and criticisms even after you are done with that level of education. Teachers appreciate being acknowledged by their students and I promise they will do the same for you. You will be the first person they call whenever a good opportunity arises. And this is one of the things I’ve never regretted. I have the phone numbers of different teachers from primary level to university. It has done nothing to me but good. You should try it!

3.Stop being narcissistic and believing that no one can do it better than you, that you are always right and that you   are your own mentor. Find inspiration from out there. There is always ALWAYS someone better than you in what you do or look or even think. So cut this drama of, ‘I am thee best.’ Sweetheart, thee best is definitely not you or anyone else. There is always going to be someone one step or ten steps ahead of you. Learn to be humble. Accept positive criticisms. Ask for help when stranded. Listen to other people’s opinions and thoughts. Learn from others. Accept your mistakes. Accept when someone else is right and not you. Seek and reach out to all kind of people. That is what makes the successful one become MORE progressive.

4.NEVER underestimate the dunderhead, the slow learner, the thick headed, the uneducated, the less educated than you are, the poor, the man seated on the street…just never underestimate anyone. We believe that education is not only the one that we learn and study in class, but there is the greater knowledge of life that none can comprehend better than these people who’ve known failure, hunger and struggle. The cobbler on the pavement of the street could give you a great idea about your business, your house help could have experience in something that you don’t, your child or younger ones could have brilliant thoughts that could help you. So always look out and listen keenly to anyone who has an idea, a thought, a suggestion, an opinion or criticisms. Never choose whom to listen to. Open up to everyone who can bring positive changes to your life. You don’t have to follow what everyone says but what do you lose if you listen to them all? All you have to do is listen then filter the important information and the unimportant, the great ideas from the lousy ones. There…did you lose anything? NO. So??

My friend, being successful is difficult, hard, a tough journey but being consistent and progressive is even tougher and it is by such small things in life that create the whole difference. So don’t just aim at being successful. Aim at being continuously successful; more success by the day.