This post is really long, but if you are interested to know about this favourite kid of mine, do take your time to read up (:
I still remember the first time we met. The first thing the daddy said was, “Salam your teacher”. I was shocked because I thought they were Chinese, which made me automatically judge that they weren’t Muslims. Turned out, the mummy was a Muslim and thus, they’re Muslims. I was really happy, knowing that this cute little innocent kid is a Muslim. Alhamdulillah. And that was the first time he salam me.
Given his cute looks and really white skin, no doubt he was the apple of everyone’s eyes! But, after he started to settle down, his true colours began to show. He was a kid with really bad temperament, on top of that, he wasn’t able to speak nor understand what’s being said. Whenever he didn’t get he wanted, he’ll throw a tantrum. He pushed down all the chair or spilled water all over the floor, slammed the door, ran out of the class, pulled out his friend’s hair, pushed them to the ground, he won’t eat during lunch, won’t sleep during nap time, don’t even sit in lessons and many more! When we tried to calm him down he’d keep banging his head against us. I’ve had blue blacks because of that. He once pushed a teacher and she literally fell on the ground. Imagine the strength that he had and the pain his friends felt when he’d smack them.
It was already half way through the year, a normal kid would have been cooled down by then, but he didn’t. My Laoshi and I were really at our wits end. We’ve tried everything, even with visual aids and tips from a psychologist. It all didn’t work. The other children started complaining to their parents and of course parents are worried and gave feedback about this kid. There was nothing we could do, this kid, is different.
When we tried talking to him, he’d just cry out loud. He didn’t understand what is right and what is wrong, what hurts and what doesn’t. He didn’t know his own feelings, then how can he manage his own emotions? How am I, as his teacher going to help him? Everytime he did something wrong, I was told to grab him and be firm with him. It really broke my heart when I did that, especially when I could see it in his teary eyes the confusion he faced.
Ya Allah, I can never forget the look in his eyes. It was as though he was begging me to help him. I couldn’t take it any longer. I am his teacher. I have the rights to manage them the way I want to. I began to tackle the situation with another approach, which I am more similar with, the soft approach. I’ve been told to be firm, be firm, be firm. I am so sick of feeling the heart break when I was firm with him. How can I be firm with him, when he couldn’t understand what he did is wrong?
Then, I called the parents up for a meeting. From there, I found out that it entirely wasn’t his fault for acting the way he did. Both his parents are stewards, so most of the time, his grandmother would take care of him when they flew. Whenever his grandmother gets angry, she’d smack him. Thus, to him, throwing a ruckus and hitting his friends were ideal ways to show anger, to manage his emotion. Knowing that very important piece of information, I finally knew what I had to do.
I needed to show him another way of expressing his emotions. I had to be a role model for him. I used a lot of positive reinforcement, and while implementing this strategy, I was really pushed to my limits, but I remained patient and gave him all the hug that he needs. Slowly, there was a change in him. He was able to eat more, sleep during naptime and sat down with his friends during lesson. Soon after, he was all calm. He was able to understand his emotions better. He even put in effort to speak. Through out the process, his parents kept updating me with his progress. The parents played a major role in his change. I am grateful that the parents are supportive.
After seeing the slight positive change, it was then, that I knew, it’s time to take it to a new level. Now that he finally understood his own emotion, it was time to show him what it meant by doing something right or wrong. It was easier to manage him by then. When he did something right, he gets a praise or a hug. But if he upsets someone or threw things, he’d get the angry face and an explanation to why it is wrong. Things worked out really well, Alhamdulillah. By the end of the year, he became so much better.
Without realising, my love for him grew really deep and strong. Despite the trying times, he was as sweet as ever. He’d shout, “Hi Mih Iyah!” (meaning Hi Miss Irah) every morning. He never fails to come to school with a smile on his face. Now that he’s in another class, I never get the morning greetings anymore ): But no worries, I still get to hug and kiss him every single day. When he sees me, he’d run to me and hug me. When I try to kiss him he’d try to move his cheek! So cute! Sometimes when I walk pass him, he’d stretch out his hands, then I’d hug him. He gives me the strength to pull through each tasking day. I love him so very much. Even when I leave my workplace, I have intentions to keep in contact with his family, InshaaAllah.
My love for him will never fade away. May Allah bless you and your family whoever you may be (: May Allah bless this kid with much love ❤