The setting was the classroom and I was still the teacher. Well, I thought so. Until a strange feeling enveloped me as I looked at the beaming faces in front of me. I watched in awe at the last paper I dropped in the transparent ‘pocket’ as it fell on the floor. One of my students clapped and others followed suit. I was momentarily perplexed of what was happening- I WAS A STUDENT of grade one kids.
It was one of those 'teacher moments’ that I realized while reading a story entitled, ‘Two Pockets’, to my grade one students that they simply couldn’t understand. Despite of explaining some difficult words and showing visual aids, there’s this language barrier which somehow hinders them from being fully condensed by the message of the story. I felt a bit frustrated but I tried even harder by explaining difficult words and asking somebody to translate in Bahasa.
Thereafter, I saw the transparent ‘pockets’ sticking out of the clear folder. I grabbed two and turned my back then cut the bottom part of the other one. What happened next was way too fast. Students wrote bad things about their classmates; bully, noisy, mean, naughty and so on. Then another paper was passed this time for good things; kind, nice, honest, quiet, respectful and so on. I separated the two into two piles.
I dropped the first pile of the positive notes to Pocket A with no hole. They stayed right there. But, students still couldn’t get it. Then, I started dropping the second pile of negative notes to Pocket B with hole. One by one, the papers fell. The student with the most difficulty in English language started clapping his hands while others followed suit. He exclaimed with utmost innocence. “Oh, that. You keep the good things ya, Ms. Then, you throw the bad things?” I smiled and started picking the papers from the floor. I tore them into tiny pieces and said, “Yes, they belong to the trash bin.” Then, I threw them in.
So, tonight I utter a prayer of thanks for being a ‘student’ even just for a day. By keeping two pockets with a hole and one with none, I learned to let go of the bad things that came my way today. I've placed all the pains and disappointments in the pocket with a hole. That way, I only have the good things which are enough to keep me in deep slumber.