Long time ago, when I started teaching, I had to take over a class from another lecturer.
I believed my method of teaching was totally different from his. I wanted their report to be submitted on time, I wanted them to prove that the works were of their own.. So comparing myself to their previous lecturer, I was like Cindrella's stepmother ;p
So, once.. when I was doing some work in my room, a student came to me, took a chair sat in front of me and came out with a statement that left me stunned for abot an hour, "Ma'm, I think you're annoying."
What could you say to a statement like that?
"I am so stressed to come to your class." He continued. Then, thanked me and left.
Though it haunt me, I did not tell anyone of that incident until after the mid term came.
This student was a brilliant student, dean's list every semester.
But, he was blank during the mid term.
After everyone gone, he came to me and said, "Ma'm, I don't know what happened to me, but I went blank.. I know exactly how to do that before, but I just went blank."
I looked at his answer script, it was blank. He wrote his answers somewhere else, and he did not submit that paper. He did not even answer the simplest theory questions. I asked, "You went blank for this part also ke?"
He looked shocked. "OMG!! I did not see this page at all while answering!" He went pale with eyes all teary.
Since I got so kesian already, and he looked so sincere, I told him, "K.. I give you one minute to answer just one question from this page."
Quickly took his pen that was working just now. No ink. Took his pencil, no lead. Borrowed my pen that I just used, no ink.
At that point, the technician passed us by, I quickly borrowed her pen, the student took the pen from me and put it down. He went down to his knees and looked straight into my eyes, with some tears in his eyes..
"Ma'm, did I hurt you in anyway? If I did, I am soooooo verrryyyyyy sorry. I must have hurt your feeling because I've never been this blank. And all the pens and pencils seem not to work when I used them, I must have hurt you. I truly deeply am sorry."
At this point, I tried holding back my own tears and felt a pang of guilt. Did i not forgive this guy until it had come this far?
So I said, "I really forgive you. And I'm sorry if I did annoy you in anyway, I wanted the best for you guys."
He took the pen, answer that question and left.
He did not get an A in my class just because of the mid term. But he did not get that bad either. He scored excellently in the rest of the assesment.
And we have been good friends ever since.
I've learned the most important lesson that day; not to hold grudges on my students.
And while we laughed about the incident this morning, I think we both knew that this incident is one that will never be forgotten.