I have a dream

I’m such a lousy blogger!!!!

I posted this on my Facebook eons ago but here it is! I really like this post because it gives me so much hope, and it makes me love my kids more each day.

——-

My journey as a teacher is a massive roller-coaster experience. Some days I feel like I’m wasting my time with these kids, but some days I truly feel so contented that I feel like I can do this forever. Thankfully, today is one of those days that trumps a million of the other bad days 🙂

I taught my Form 3 class about Martin Luther King a few days ago and told them about his “I have a dream” speech. I was supposed to move along the syllabus since I have to finish it by July but decided to screw it and took both periods today to get them to learn more about MLK instead. I watched his speech again the night before and got goosebumps all over, and thought I could inspire my kids with it as well.

In class, I wrote out quotes from his speech and pasted them all over the room. I briefly spoke about what some of those quotes meant and the kids got more and more excited about MLK. I think listening to stories beat doing more grammar exercises and writing boring essays anytime!

“I have a dream that one day, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as brothers and sisters”

I spoke about how bad the slavery condition was in America and how blacks couldn’t even board the same bus, use the same toilet or the same water fountains as whites. The kids were appalled and got riled up about it. They couldn’t believe how bad racism can get and we discussed the importance of civil rights and equality.

We then read out my favourite MLK quote: “I have a dream that one day, we will live in a nation where we will not be judged by the colour of our skin but by the content of our character”.

Before we watched the speech, I got the kids to write out their own dreams. They could write about anything they want, as long as those dreams are big enough that they seem impossible.

Then they pasted their dreams next to their tracker and we watched the speech together. They watched a few minutes of it, noisily commented on everything, before telling me that they couldn’t understand much of what MLK said.

I was a little sad that they couldn’t experience the same goosebumps I had but after the video ended, I asked if they would like to hear my dream now.

“I have a dream that one day, all 31 of you will be sitting in your university dorm room one day and will remember this moment. Then, you will go on youtube to rewatch this speech but this time, this time you’ll be able to understand every word in MLK’s speech and will be inspired by those words as well. I have a dream that one day, you too will fight for something you believe in, just like how MLK fought for his own rights”

Wah suddenly I’m like MLK hahaha.

I choked midway while saying that because I was so emotional about it, so emotional about the thought of my kids achieving that dream. The class was silent for a while, and one boy quietly said “Teacher, I want that dream to come true too..”

While they worked on their work after that, I read all their post-its in awe.

“I have a dream that one day, people who are stupid like me can be geniuses too”

“I have a dream that one day, I will fight for poor people like me and help change their fate forever”

“I have a dream that one day, everyone in this class will own expensive cars like Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, McLaren…” (he listed down like ten different cars, obviously written by a boy hahaha)

“I have a dream that one day, I can burn Rosmah’s ugly hair” (seriously…. a kid wrote this -____-, before I told her that her dream has to be beneficial to someone, so she changed it)

“I have a dream that one day, my village will be proud of me and will not look down on me or my family for being poor anymore”

“I have a dream that one day, Malaysia will be the best country in the world”

“I have a dream that one day, everyone in this class will be astronauts and we can live on the moon together”

One after another, big dreams, wonderful dreams, inspiring dreams.

We then spent a few minutes reading about the guy who shot MLK and the kids got extremely angry at him, which made me really happy because it shows how affected they are by what happened.

I’m thinking back at this moment and I realized that I don’t know if I will ever feel such a strong rewarding and fulfilling feeling again. You know how people use the term “once in a lifetime”? Why go bungee jumping, why go climb mount everest, why do a million other things that you can do once in a lifetime when you can teach, once in your lifetime? When you can change lives, once in your lifetime? When you can get kids to dream big, to want to achieve more, to want to succeed, once in your lifetime?

I have a dream that one day, …

 

235 comments

  1. HiLo says:

    Very uplifting. When we forgot our dreams or stop dreaming, life becomes dreary and boring.

    Yes, Cikgu, yr post is very timely as i am getting a bit tired of what i am doing. 15 months working without a day off and on call 24/7.

    Dreams get us excited. Once in a lifetime to make a difference.

  2. Felicia says:

    It’s so true that once we stop to dream, we stop living. Your lesson is very effective and your passion really shines 🙂 thanks for representing us, and showing others that there are teachers who do not view teaching as a last option and strives to make a difference in the lives of our kids! Once again, thanks!

  3. strawberry says:

    Fucking hell your dream gave ME the goosebumps! I feel ashamed that my dream is to be Mrs Takeshi Kaneshiro. You tell me, how shallow can I be?

    Ok I change.

    Now my dream is to be Mrs Ryan Gosling. America. Ang moh. More ambitious hahahahahah.

    And that burn Rosmah’s hair one super funny HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAH I laughed out loud HAHAHHAHAHAH poor Rosmah HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAA

  4. leeern says:

    hahahaha burning rosmah’s hair is the most epic ever!!! That kid totally made my day 😀

    Suet, you’re doing such a great job! To inspire them and give them hope to be someone better 😉 I’m sure one day when they become successful, they’ll thank you for inspiring them. Keep up the good work! I really like this post!!

  5. Amanda says:

    :’) i’ve read that post on Facebook. Made me smile and i had tears in my eyes as i read it. even when im reading it again now, it brought tears to my eyes. lol your student so cute eh. ““I have a dream that one day, I can burn Rosmah’s ugly hair” LOLOLOL! i hope that dream comes true 😛

    • sweatlee says:

      sorry late reply! i track all the students’ test results and ask them to write their goals for their next test so they can monitor their own progress too!

  6. penangwolf says:

    I have been following your blog for few years now – since your university years. Initially it is just for free-time reading and cute faces watching. Never in my mind life will leads you to where and who you are now. You inspire me. You really do.

    I have a dream that one day….. my children, and other Malaysian children will grow up having a great teacher like you.

  7. jovan says:

    it is awesome what you are doing. money can’t buy this sort of personal gratification. reminds me of my parents (who are teachers) & former teachers

    i have a dream that one day, i can contribute more than just taxes to this country

  8. loserkid says:

    I know don’t say this often but damn girl…. you are such an inspiring person/teacher… we definitely more cikgu suet li here….

    now i’m off to find myself a dream… used to want to be a pilot when i was a kid… too late for that dream now… I’m heading toward a different direction these day… I’m going to make that short film that i always wanted to… hey maybe U can act in it hehehehehehehe

  9. Loren says:

    Most of my time listening to any music is at work, and this is a great song for when I need to get a lot of annoying repetitive tasks done.
    Which features a frame with a completely Flat top, as the name suggests
    (think that 80s hair style). Was Disney able to revitalize a 20-year-old classic.

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