The spark to make the grade

What low-achieving students need is guidance and motivation to address their weaknesses and tap their strengths.

TEACHER, I want to go to USA but my parents don’t have the money,” said my student Amir*.

“That’s okay,” I said. “In four years, you will sit for your SPM. You will get excellent results, and then you can apply for a scholarship to study in the United States (US) for free. You can go to Harvard or Yale, if you work hard.”

His eyes shone at the mention of Harvard. “Yes, teacher, I want to go there. Isn’t that where Helen Keller (deaf and blind author, political activist and lecturer) received an honorary degree?”

Then he said, “I want to be like Thomas Edison. I want to go around and write my lee-gan-cy.”

Lee-gan-cy?” I asked. “Can you write it down for me?” I handed him a pencil. He wrote — ‘legancy’. I smiled.

“Yes, you will leave your legacy. You said you want to be a professor? You can do your PhD, then you will be known as Dr Amir*,” I said.

“But – I don’t want to be a doctor. I don’t want to stay in the US. I want to come back and write my legacy, like Thomas Edison. I want to give (back) to the country.”

“Which country?” I asked, just to confirm.

“My country – Malaysia!” he proudly said.

by Charis Ding.

Read more @

Comments are closed.