Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ramadan 1433

In the days before Ramadan, I was in a state of physical exhaustion and spiritual lethargy. I was completely unproductive and was distracted by a lot of things.

Ramadan is said to be a period when we recharge our Iman, but I was already running on fumes a week before reaching the fuel station.

I hadn't made much preparation for this year's Ramadan. So when it arrived, it sort of caught me off guard; I haven't written down my resolutions, haven't figured out my daily routine, etc.

But Allah has mercy on us even when we do not have mercy on ourselves.

Even when we self-destruct and make things complicated for ourselves, He is there to give us yet another chance :')

On the first night of Ramadan, I found myself in Masjid Wilayah (due to unforeseen circumstances). Listening to the beautiful recitation of the Quran, I grew conscious of how, despite my transgressions, Allah showers innumerable blessings on me.

And one of the biggest blessings is that I get to make the most out of this blessed month again.

I always thought of Ramadan as the bonus mode in Digger. I don't think many are familiar with the game but my siblings and I were addicted to it when we were kids. This was before PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox came along.

In the bonus mode, you get a free reign to achieve your purpose because the "monsters" run away from you rather than towards you for 15 seconds.

Similarly, Ramadan affords you a chance to better yourselves in 30 days with minimal interference.

So, will we grab that chance or let it pass us by?

Like a friend of mine wrote; the only thing that stands between you and “a better you” is: YOU!

Having said that, please go easy on yourself if/when you slip up. Don't mentally abuse yourself; acknowledge that human beings aren't perfect. Thus, nobody can be infallible throughout the entire month. So just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again :)
That's one of the things I learnt from the lecture below:

May Allah be pleased with our endeavours and may we be stronger and better Muslims by the end of the fasting month. Ameen...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Teachers Make

In the previous post, a student of mine gave me a link to the video below. I loved it so much that I thought I'd share it here:

 The whole poem can be found at taylormali.com but my favourite bits are these:

You want to know what I make?
-I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
-I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor
and an A­‐ feel like a slap in the face.
-I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?
-I make kids wonder.
-I make them question.
-I make them criticize.
-I make them apologize and mean it.
-I make them write.
-I make them read, read, read.

Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn DIFFERENCE! Now what about you?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I’m making copies for good

One of the TV programmes that I follow is Fairly Legal. In the second episode of Season 2, Ben Grogan, the new partner of Reed & Reed, starts planting his roots in his new office. He doesn't have a PA yet so he orders Leo around, much to Leo's chagrin. After many subtle hints which go unheeded, Leo finally tells it to him straight:

"The thing is, Mr Grogan, Ben. The essential thing that I’ve been trying to communicate to you is that I don’t work for you. I work for Kate Reed. And that might seem like a subtle distinction to you but to me, it is huge. Because Kate does meaningful, positive things in this world and I know, in my own way, that when I’m making copies for Kate Reed, I’m making copies for good. I’m xeroxing for a better America. And that’s why I work for her and not you. And if you have a problem with that, then you can fire me. Oh! Wait! You can’t! Because I work for Kate Reed!"

I like the part when he says: "...when I’m making copies for Kate Reed, I’m making copies for good. I’m xeroxing for a better America."

Though we all work so that we get paid at the end of the month; so that we can use that money to pay our bills and do whatever we want with what's left of it, we do hope that our work enables us to contribute positively to our communities. We want our work to carry some MEANING.

If Leo feels like he's xeroxing for a better America when he makes copies for his boss, likewise, as teachers, I feel we're contributing to a better Malaysia when:
we make copies of handouts for our students
we sacrifice our weekends to send them to competitions
we stay back after school for extra-curricular activities
we give free tuition
we listen to their family troubles/relationship problems and give advice accordingly
we drive them around and absorb the cost of petrol & tolls

Thus, our job satisfaction is derived from this notion that we're serving a higher purpose.
That's why I teach for Malaysia :)

What about you?