Today is the 1st day in school for most Standard 1 students (excluding Orientation Day and those who started class on Sunday). Do you still remember your first day?
Mine was quite uneventful. I was the kind of kid who doesn’t cry to part with my parents for 6 hours. All my siblings were. My brother even asked our parents (in my case, my mom escorted me) to go home. I don’t think I asked my mom to go home, but I did ignore her. I think she went back after 10 minutes.
Yesterday, in the news, there was this father chasing his daughter who was running away from school. Then a mother seen chasing her son. It was so cute a sight! I could imagine the chaos of parents trying to persuade their children to stay in school. All the crying, all the wrestling to get away from the teachers, all the confusion, all the mess.
I remembered being confused as to why everybody was so afraid. I was the type who asked to go to a boarding school in standard 4 (or was it standard 2?), and did go of to various boarding schools (Yayasan Selangor, Matriks, and far off to the Pearl of the South China Sea Island for my tertiary education – 9 years all in all).
The teachers, as I remembered, tried their best to be as friendly as possible. But with the children’s parents hovering at the window, they seemed to be helpless when the children start to run to their parents. Some of us already know each other. As for me, none of those in my neighbourhood was in the same class.
We were taught, of course, the basics of being in school. How to greet teachers, and how to say if you need to go to the loo. I got lost once, trying to search for the loo, and I end up peeing behind the building. I made a wrong turn, it seems.
A teacher would have to accompany his/her class throughout the day. I can’t remember when did other teacher start to teach us, maybe it was within the first week, or after. She would then be the best teacher to the students, at that time. Don’t flare up since I used female pronouns here, as since most of those in the teaching profession are female, it’s easier to use ‘she’ instead of ‘the teacher’.
We would then assigned to our seats and that seat will remain for the whole year. Our immediate neighbours would be your 1st be our first friends (provided we do not have any in the same class), and may be our best. Then comes the ice breaking session, and suddenly, we got a whole lot of friends. (my class used to have 40+ students, I don’t know about now).
Then come the election part. We were to elect the ‘Ketua Darjah‘ (class monitor) and the assistant. In some places, they even have elaborate positions such as Ketua Kebersihan (Head of Class Cleanliness) and Ketua Disiplin (Head of Class Discipline). Usually we would simply choose our friends not because we know they could do the job, but to annoy them.
The Ketua Darjah would have to order the students to raise and wish the teachers upon arrival and departure of teachers. He would also need to report any disciplinary problem to the teachers (him or the Ketua Disiplin, if any). He would either have to write names of the naughty students on the blackboard, or jot it down in a notebook. Doesn’t always work, so he would have to scream at them to ask them to be quiet. “Diaaaaaammm!!!…Kalau tak kita tulis nama!” (Quiet!!…If not i’ll write your name (and pass it to the teacher)!).
One of the perks of being a Ketua darjah (or Ketua Kebersihan) was the Duty Roster. This is simply because a Ketua Darjah would either be exempt from doing the chores or getting the least work. After all, they are the ones usually doing the roster. Another perk was the awards at the end of the year. Colour (color) pencils and books are the norm if the awards were in form of prizes.
Speaking of duty rosters, the chores are usually the same. There would be sweeping, cleaning the blackboard, washing the windows, arranging the tables and some not-so-standard chores like arranging the class library or the class display. Usually the whole class will be doing their job everyday, with alternating chores. This is done before the daily assembly.
School Assembly (SA) would be on every Monday (or Sunday in certain places). everybody would have to line up according to their class, lead by the class monitor. The lines are usually in alphabetical order, so those in front, behind and beside you are always the same fellow. The usual ‘show’ would be the singing of the National and State Anthem followed by the School songs (that always sound almost the same for every school), and some other patriotic songs such as Sejahtera Malaysia and Malaysia Merdeka. Then the Rukunegara would be recited and the Doa (prayer). next in line is the speeches, by the HM, and others. after the assembly, the students will disperse into their respective class one line by one line, usually.
On normal days, there would be the Class Assembly, or better known as simply ‘Beratur‘ (line up). Essentially a smaller version of the SA, usually the songs sung during the SA will be heard at this time. There’s also the “angkat tangan, turun tangan, senang diri, jaga sedia” (raise hands (on shoulder), lower hands, attention, at ease) commands blurted out by the Class Monitors, and the students cheekily follow.
The recess was much awaited apart from the going home time. It was time to eat, and most importantly to us back then was to play. There was a lot of games played all around the school, from batu seremban, to kejar-kejar or polis sentri (cops and thieves). some may even play football (soccer) or take their time to go to the library. I used to join a sort of fight club before. didn’t last tlong though, after one of them got nosebleed from me. That’s the advantage of being bony all over.
Then the next best thing was going back time. I don’t know why, but everybody will just run to the gate. once or twice I got scratches from falling down when running, ouch!
The most awaited subject was, of course, Physical Education, or PE, (also known as PJK, PJ and many other names). This is the subject where you can just go and play at the field. Not many teachers managed to teach anything for this subject. Here’s a better potrayal of this all-time favourite subject. Click here.
This post has actually gotten sidetracked. But I hope you’d enjoy the reminiscence. How was your school days? How was your 1st day of school? Come and share it.