One of my favorite memories when I was teaching was dealing with my students’ endless questions. Perhaps, they see us, teachers, as a walking and talking encyclopedia or like google search engine who knows and provide them everything they want to know. Some asked silly and funny questions out of nowhere. And there were also some students asked serious and personal questions, asking for advice. They give their hundred percent trust on their teachers, sometimes more than the trust and faith they have given their family. And as for me, I appreciated it. I want to share one of my memorable experience being a teacher.
It was the start and first day of the school year when I asked my second grade students to introduce themselves one by one in the class, their names, what their parents do, how many siblings they have, their dreams, something like that. One boy caught my attention when he said that they are three siblings with three fathers and a mother working abroad and he had not seen his father since birth, and his dream was to find his father. The rest of the class laugh as they thought it was a joke, having different fathers. I asked them to stop laughing and told them that it happened sometimes.
After the introductory moment, as the whole class were quietly doing a seatwork, one of them raised his hands and asked questions. As I looked back, I wasn’t that surprised knowing who’s that student, the same one who shared to class that he doesn’t know his father. It was Sam, one of the youngest famous student in the school because of his sarcastic and naughty behavior. His past teachers complained about him so much. In fact, he was a frequent visitor in the guidance counselor office as early as kindergarten up to 1st grade. What really caught my attention was his innocent look while asking questions, “Teacher, why my father is different from my siblings’? Isn’t it unfair because they know who’s their father was but I didn’t know who’s mine? Why do you think my mom have three husbands, unlike others who have only one?” I was really surprised from that questions coming from a seven year old little boy, actually, I didn’t know how to react. I knew a little about his family background but not everything of course. The whole class were waiting for my response, but I was speechless for about a minute.
I called Sam to come closer and sit infront of me, and I asked the rest of the class to continue what they were doing. I told him if he asked her mom the same questions, because his mom is the perfect person to ask. He said he did asked already but his mom never answered and just scolded him whenever asked questions like that. He said he also asked his previous teachers the same questions but ignored him. That’s why he asked me too and because I am a teacher, he expected me to know the answers to all the questions in the world. He looked straight me in the eyes waiting for my answer. Yet, still no words coming from me. I need to think carefully what to answer, he’s just a kid and I know his faith towards me as his teacher is greater than anyone else. I didn’t want to disappoint him or ignore him, as he already experienced it many times. I just told him that having different fathers can happened sometimes and when he get matured, enough to understand everything about his family, he might get the right answers from his mom or by himself. I explained to him that for now, he just need to focus on his study and enjoy his life being a child without worrying too much about his family issue.
I didn’t know if I satisfy him with my answers as I saw him teary eyed looking outside the window. He looked at me again and asked if I hate him like his past teachers because of his behavior. I said no reason for me to hate him and that he’ll just need to behave and be good to others. He smiled and nod at me. He told me I was the first person who answered him nicely. That’s it I thought, I felt relieved. I overcome another difficult moment in my life as a teacher. I realized that Sam just needed more attention and appreciation, his negative behavior was because he seek attention from others.
Since then, Sam openly talked with me about his unknown father, that he will search for him when he grows up and that he’s not mad with his mom. And we were both happy when we met again after two years, as he became my student for the second time in 5th grade. He’s a bit mature, less naughty and smarter then, but he still asks me questions not an ordinary kid will ask. He was indeed one of my student I would never forget.