Why Young Students Have To Take On So Many Subjects

by Trailerman Sam

If one teacher alone cannot teach all the subjects, why and how is one student going to learn all of them?

I get “stabbed” by my tuition centre students numerous times over this question.

Sometimes I’d reply with a bizarre retort like: is it possible for a fruit vendor to know all the varieties of fruit he’s selling? Or “is there a tree that can bear all types of fruit?”

You can’t blame the students for asking but I sense a glint of humour in them. If you’ve spent enough time mingling with them, you might be able to see the lighter side of their personalities.

But I often tell them: If a teacher teaches only one subject, it doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t able to teach several subjects. And I’d venture to say it’s better for a teacher, who’s imparting knowledge, to master a certain subject or two so that students can get the best out of them.

There are instances, especially in remote places of the world, where one teacher teaches almost all subjects.

Youngsters at the start of their educational journey are expected to learn a bit of everything. Including a strong dose of common sense. On entering high school, their desire to gain in-depth knowledge even increases.

As an English language teacher, I find that one needs to understand reading, writing, grammar as well as research into the language in great depth. You’ve to make quick decisions on what your students need and don’t.

Students come in many forms and sizes. And of different mannerisms and attitudes. It’s our responsibility as teachers to get the best out of them so that they become useful citizens one day.

I’d like to illustrate about four of my students from two different batches to show how I had harnessed their interest for learning or pursue their dreams. The ultimate aim? To get them be successful in time to come.

Santhiya just loves English a lot. She plans to take up a course that will equip her to teach English in due course after her SPM. She even shows a lot of enthusiasm on how English is properly spoken. Has even dreamt to read English at prestigious Oxford. So, what do I do? I often provide her with enough doses of encouragement.

The same for cute Aina Nadirah, the real girl next door, who came for her tuition class when she was only 12. An all-rounder, she recently excelled in her SPM. Perhaps majoring in Computer Science would suit her well. Or just becoming Cikgu Aina.

Rhintiya is a wizard in Tik-Tok videos. I dare say she creates content with 99.99 percent perfection. Her daydreams centre on the Ministry of Education introducing video creation in the school syllabus or even as an SPM subject!

As a reality check, Rhintiya has taken up Mechatronics, something that gets her hands greasy at the end of the day. But she knows she’ll be in great demand once she completes her course. Never mind the dirt and grime for the time being, I told her.

Nishok sounds somewhat different. At a very young age while still in school, he was already trained to deal with sound systems. It sparked a passion in him to be a sound engineer one day. My role? I made sure I gave him sound advice.

As teachers, it’s our responsibility to nurture our students’ creativity and encourage them to study hard and smart so that they can pursue their dreams beneficially.

Trailerman Sam is a popular tuition teacher in Penang. If he is not teaching, he is writing, drinking plenty of coffee and probably star or planet gazing. He can be reached at trailer17@hotmail.com

The views expressed here are that of the writer’s and not necessarily that of Weekly Echo’s.