Simple Yet Significant: Birthdays

The First Batch: Dont look like much but smells good, tastes good &, most importantly,  students love it.
     I am always on the lookout for simple solutions to complex problems. Not because I'm lazy but because I want to be effective & efficient. I also realise that when it comes to people, complex problems require a combination of simple solutions.
     Are you a popular teacher: liked by many but followed by none? Are you a dreaded teacher: liked by none but followed by many? Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? I believe it is. One is only limited to one's imagination.

     I am a firm believer of Karmic law: reaping what I sow or investing for long term returns. As a Chief Warden, I constantly depend on the students to get things done: cleaning, gardening, studying, not destroying anything, et cetera. When a command exits a teacher's mouth, its ability to influence compliance can be measured by his/her ability to 'pull'.

     I can pull with threats of punishment. I can pull with promises of rewards. Both leaning heavily on how intense the punishment or reward & the credibility to execute.
     Another way is to pull their heart strings by pre-investing in them with no strings attached. How hypocritical! But, it's the best way to pull!

    Find a way that bypasses all defences & strikes right at the heart. One of the ways I gather 'pull' (like a resource) is by appreciating the students for what they are & what they have added to me. If you want to be appreciated, you need to appreciate your target FIRST.

     In my situation, I do this is by celebrating the constantly overlooked single most significant day in the lives of my students: birthdays.
     They live away from their families. They are mostly from the low-income group. They need love & attention. Nobody celebrates birthdays in the school.

     I saw an opportunity & I took it. Since February this year, I have been celebrating birthdays with my students once every fortnight. I gather them together according to birthday month & paid a member of the staff to bake simple RM2 cupcakes for each of them.

     We have around 450 students so it will cost me RM900 to celebrate all their birthdays. It might seem like a large sum of money but it's worth it. It equals 450 memories, 450 feeling that somebody remembers them, 450 lives touched &, hopefully, 450 lives transformed. If you want to get mathy, I spend RM2 to celebrate 1 day & motivate them to work for me for 365 days. On top of that, they have to satisfy my every whim & fancy on any of those 365 days. How is that for a return on investment?

     The celebrations are short & sweet. I gather them in the hall after the final self-study session at night. I distribute the cakes. I give a speech about how important they are to me & how I want them to be better than they were last year. We light the candles, sing, make a wish/prayer & blow out the candles at the count of 3.

November Babies
December Babies
January Babies
February Babies
March Babies
April Babies
     Like I said, simple yet significant. Anyone could do it. But why didn't anyone do it before?
     As an effect of a combination of such simple solutions, the students are ever increasingly under my 'pull'. I believe every teacher needs 'pull'. If the students are not drawn to you, they will not listen to you nor will they want to learn anything from you.
     I am constantly seeking simple yet significant ways to achieve my goals at school. Perhaps there is something similar you could do at your school/workplace?

Comments

  1. Nice cup cakes. Some teachers would get the classmates to sing the birthday song when somebody has a birthday...while others would take the trouble to remember and greet any that is celebrating. It's the thought that counts and little things do mean a lot...but sadly, most teachers would not be bothered either. Keep up the good work...specially considering that these days, some parents themselves do not even remember their own children's birthdays...much less celebrate for them.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed. The neglect of others is the gain of those with perception.

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  2. Haha... All students want affirmation that they are not just another number, but a person. I love leaving self made notes/cards with stickers or a tiny toy just to show and remind them how special they are to me. I spend a lot of time playing with them during lunch time or even catching up with the latest happenings around school or at home. It does give you that magical 'pull' that teachers crave for. Students are smart too. They know how to pull teacher's heart strings as well! I know this because I was one of them. :)

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    Replies
    1. Wow! You are really creative. I am totally hopeless when it comes to baking or making handicraft so I do the next best thing: hire someone. hahaha~~

      Anyway, students do know how to pull heart strings but I am aware of this & I only give in strategically. We need to give in order to take. Karmic Law.

      Delete
  3. it is so nice.. you are really a good teacher..
    I never get any cakes from my teacher...
    keep up the good work....

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    1. Imagine that your birthday was celebrated. Would it have made a difference in your life?

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  4. emmm....awesome...i would like to congratulate you for all the efforts that you've done for the students..the way you motivate them...thumbs up...glad to see some of my ex-prim students in your pic above...i wish them all the best...i wish i could send all of my students here to be with you there once they've finish their prim edu...hahaha...nowadays,quite hard to find a teacher who has the passion of an "educator". proud to be a teacher. keep updating your blog with more pics n latest news...really enjoy visiting your blog...to be honest, since a few months ago,i'm your blog 'stalker'. hahahaha....all the best bro.....sharing is caring...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Let's work together where we are stationed to make sure that we produce quality work for our students.
      It's good that you care enough about your students to read up on them. Develop that.

      Delete
  5. I havent try the cakes method but i will sing for them on each their birthdays. My reward, they surprised me with a birthday song choir outside of the class.

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    1. Awesome! You're doing something really great & should keep it up, it shows you care & it has really made a difference to the students. So much so that Primary kids organise a choir by themselves for you! How wonderful is that?

      Awesome, bro!
      Think about taking up blogging again?

      Delete
  6. Silent blog reader chain broken with this comment.

    Anyway, what you're doing is really cool. Keep up the awesome effort! Oh, it'll be the peak of their entire adolescence period.

    Any kid naughtily change their birthdays, for the 2nd ceremony? LOL.

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    1. Earlier this year I made a little elf compile a list of names kinda like Santa's with all their birthdays arranged according to month so no chance for anyone to get one over me! hahaha~~

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  7. this is so thoughtful of u!
    Doesnt matter whether it is short or small but as long as the intention is good, it will always be appreciated.

    keep it up...

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  8. Way to go, Jarod! I am sure the memories will be eternally embedded in their minds even after years leaving school. Keep it up :)

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    1. I dont mind being forgotten. My hope is that this will nudge them in the right direction so that they will be motivated to study & eventually end up as somebody useful to the community.

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  9. That is just sweet sir...if I were one of your students I would be more than happy to help and cooperate with whatever tasks/chores you made me to.

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    1. Yup! Just like many of them are now! =D

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  10. Anonymous1/5/13 13:36

    Thanks for sharing.

    I chance upon your blog and found it extremely inspiring, looking at that I myself have stepped into the field of education 2 years ago. I agree that the 'pull' is needed but even more so, the love for these children is important. It is love that builds, nurtures and spurs them on. Kudos to your work! GB!

    ReplyDelete

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