Teachers who inspire — Amar-Singh HSS
OCTOBER 28 — We often hear about teachers who lack vocation, who teach just as a “job,” especially when it comes to children with disabilities. However we do meet teachers who inspire us, who either take effort beyond expectation or see the child before the disability. On behalf of the Malaysian Partnership for Children with Disabilities (MPcwd) I would like to share stories about two such teachers.
The MPcwd is a recently formed network of organisations and persons who support and work with families of children with disabilities. We hope to help raise the voices of children with disabilities to create a more inclusive society. The MPcwd comprises many NGOs, governmental organisations, family support groups, UNICEF, etc.
The first teacher is a young Chinese lady working in a Chinese school in Temoh, Perak. She came to see me with a seven-year-old Orang Asli boy who obviously had learning difficulties. To have a disability is tough; to have a disability and be Orang Asli is extremely challenging. The parents were not able to come so she brought the boy herself. The parents had “given up” and suggested that the child not go to school but this teacher was very positive. I was informed that the headmaster would personally drive in to the village to pick up the boy. This teacher had been given the task to help educate this boy on a one to one basis. I was amazed at the level of dedication form the HM and this young lady. They could very easily have said “nothing much we can do” but they choose to see the potential in this young boy and give him, his parents and me much hope.
The second teacher is working at another rural school in Malim Nawar, Perak. This Malay teacher is a “Guru Permulihan Linus” (remedial class teacher) and was supporting a seven-year-old Malay girl I was seeing for learning problems. One of the thousands of children who have a normal IQ, but have difficulty with reading and writing. They are currently so poorly served in our schools. The parents told me that this teacher was interested in their daughter and has tried very hard to support her. I use a Parent Held Record (PHR) to communicate with teachers and other therapists. In the PHR this teacher had written a detailed 3 page report of the child’s progress. She ended by saying “This girl is a hardworking pupil. Even though she is not a perfect person due to her problems but her efforts, spirit and passion in learning makes everyone like her so much. What she needs is support from everyone that surrounds her.” I was delighted to hear about such a kind and supportive teacher.
The Malaysian Partnership for Children with Disabilities highlights these teachers to show that much can be done if teachers show concern. The support given to these two children will enable them to express their true abilities and assist them in achieving their full potential in life.
We hope more teachers will rise to the challenge of supporting children with disabilities.
* Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS wrote that on behalf of the Malaysian Partnership for Children with Disabilities.
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