Ten years back, oblivious to what I was getting myself into, I entered a fully residential school or SBP. During the first few weeks there, I was called by the school counselor to discuss some issues. He told me to sit in front of him and the first question he asked me was,
"What's your ambition, 'Azieyati?"
"I want to be a teacher."
"A teacher? And teaching what?"
"English. I want to be an English teacher."
And what came out of his mouth afterwards was so simple yet so significant to me for it to be remembered till now. He asked,
"Then why are you here? Why are you in a Science school? You should go to a normal school."
I remember looking at his face and say, "Well, I'm here already. I'll do my best."
I have always wanted to be an English teacher. For as long as I remember. I think it was when I was still in primary school that my mom introduced me to the word, TESL. And ever since, TESL has been my aim. I've never imagined myself wanting to do anything else than teach. It was in that Science school where I realized I was different. First, the counselor made it obvious. Then, in class when my friends and I were told to introduce ourselves and tell our ambitions, I realized that most of them wanted to be doctors or engineers. And me, as usual, with a surprise face, the teachers would ask the same question, "English teacher?"
My school days were okay. I was never on the top list. But as much as I was surrounded with amazingly brilliant friends who I have always admired for owning the ability to solve equations like it was a fun crossword puzzle and actually like learning chemistry, I was.. well, different. I cringed at the thought of having to endure three hours of chemistry and physics (I actually liked biology). And add maths? Let's not even go there. But, English. Well, English made me smile. I love everything about it. And Allah being as fair as He always is, made me have that specialty. I could offer no academic assistance whatsoever to my genius friends except for English. And I loved doing it. I loved checking their essays and explaining to them how they could improve. I loved being the walking dictionary. I loved being good at something I love. I loved being special. Teaching English made me feel that way.
And so when I left the Science school and was actually given the chance by UiTM to pursue my studies in TESL, it actually felt like I was dreaming. I remember back in UiTM Melaka where I did my pre-degree in TESL and it was writing class, we got our writing text book. And flipping through the pages, I was actually beaming with excitement. "I am going to learn writing. Writing!" And then, there was speaking class, reading class, and my friends actually spoke in English with me! I get to present in English! I get to read novels, poems and even write them myself! No more science and maths! It was, for the past five years, an amazing experience.
Looking at my description here on the right, "Final year B.Ed TESL student who could write for hours as long as it's from her heart." I feel sad and relieved at the same time. Although classes have ended back in April, I've been reluctant to change it as I was afraid that my results wouldn't allow me to graduate. But alhamdulillah, Thank You Allah, last night UiTM sent good news and I must say the speedy email method is very impressive! Although it does feel sad to leave UiTM Shah Alam and my life as an undergraduate behind, life goes on. And so will the description of me.
Studying English and teaching has always been my dream and though there were ups and downs throughout the years, there has not been one second that I regret doing it. Day by day, the lecturers and the classes that I go through, not to forget the friends who have always been my side, have made me fallen deeper and deeper in love with teaching English. The knowledge, experiences and hardship have shaped me to be the English educator that I am today. I'm not sure if I'm good at it yet, since it's all so new. But am I happy? Yes, passionately happy. I'm living my dream. How could I not?