Sunday, 21 June 2015

WATTOPERS Turn 50s: Celebrating 38 Years of Brotherhood - Part 2 (Homeroom and classes)

One of the student support systems implemented at that time was the Homeroom system. The idea was to group students into small family cells with teachers acting as advisors. My homeroom was Homeroom E and the advisor was Cikgu Nik Roseney Hayati, a graduate from the UK and my mathematics teacher as well. We were lucky to have Nik Roseney as our advisor as she was very passionate in helping us to adjust to our new live at the college. 

Homeroom E, 1978
Then, Cikgu Normaliah took over as our homeroom advisor. She invited us to her house for afternoon tea. I thought it was a normal invitation from a teacher. Only few year ago I was told by another former teacher that that was the first time Cikgu Normaliah cook for that many people and she was quite traumatic as she had to ask other teachers how to cater for her many homeroom students. While we could now laugh over it, this was an example of the closeness between us and our teachers.

Those days the world was different. The muslim community was not afraid of being influenced like what they are today. Our classes were named after various scientists such as Curie, Darwin, Mendeleev, Newton and Pasteur. I was in Darwin until form three. When I was in from four, I decided to take up history instead of geography, the only option that we had at that time. So we were group into Mendeleev. The class consisted the good, the bad and the ugly where we had the best such as Yeoh who had all A's including Pengajian Islam and the not so good students like Buntal in one group. 

The stars of Mendeleev Five
At present, the classes are named after Muslim scientists, which is not totally a bad idea. However, I would like to believe that I am now as committed to Islam as to those who went to religious schools. We had different exposures in knowledge and life but it did not mean that we were easily influenced by Western values just because our classes were named after Western scientists. What more when I was technically then a Darwinian!

In the first year at MRSM KB, there was no fixed classroom. We moved around from one room to another just like in universities. I am not sure whether there was any monitor for our classes (I need help here) and the teachers somehow would know whether any of us were absent as they were fairly regular in missing classes. From form four until form five our classroom was fixed at the new academic building. 

We love our lab sessions as we get to experiment and play with stuffs. When we were in form three, most get excited when the teacher covered the last part of the syllabus, about human reproductive science. Cikgu Fadzilah had to move on without showing her anxiety discussing about Helaian 6 Bahagian 9 with her all boys students.

When we were in form four the college introduced Quranic recitation lessons. The idea was to help us in improving our ability to read Quran. I could still remember one of the students who were serious about attending this classes was Yeoh. While he was reading in front of the teacher, many of the Malay boys went out from the class through the back window.

English was certainly a challenge to many of us especially for those who came from Kelantan. Our teacher tried many approaches in forcing us to master the language. Cikgu Nik Faridah will not speak to us other than in English, even after classes. When Cikgu Afzan joined the college to teach English, the interest in the subject when up the sky as the students were attracted to her pleasant look.

From left to right: Cikgu Norbibi, Cikgu Wan Nasihah, Cikgu Nik Faridah
I guess it was never easy to deal with this all boys batch but our teachers took that as their challenge. As mentioned earlier, they treated us like their own flesh and blood although they have to deal with our boyish and at times naughty behaviours as we learnt and grew. If we are judged by how successful we are now, the contribution by our teachers in nurturing these boys into individuals who are capable to be given high responsibilities could never be denied. 

Take Cikgu Zaki for example. He was our science teacher and the unique about him was he will always turned up with his turban and long shirt. Not withstanding that, he was loved by the students as he was very approachable and creative. Once he arranged for us to visit the airpot and we went into the plane that was on transit. He was active in sports and able to connect with us. I was told he died in the Philippines when he was there to preach the greatness of Islam.

Cikgu Matias tried very hard to get to be ready for the history subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations. He provided us with notes and sample questions and answers and we went though them vigorously. One of his favourite student was Sele, who liked to tease his teacher with interesting questions. 

Our teachers remained close to our hearts until today. I never miss visiting Cikgu Wan Nasihah on every second day of Hari Raya when I went back to Kota Bharu. Cikgu Norbibi was just like a mother to me. We met whenever we could until her passing away few years ago due to cancer. She was also a friend on Facebook.

It will be very difficult to us to recall all the stories with our teachers but certainly we would not be who we are today if not due to their commitments, love and affection towards us, the Wattopers.
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