【Reflection】Take the stage and shine for yourself
This was first written and shared on Blogger - 12 October 2015.
"Take the stage, go on. You can do it, Kenneth."
There was a thunderous applause coming from the ground. The class were cheering for Kenneth, after his teacher made him go up on stage. The teacher looked right into his eyes, all focused. He smiled. He knew that he has made the right choice the moment Kenneth went up on stage.
The spot lights shone on him, rather menacingly.
There was a moment of silence as he walked up the stage. Secretly, he trembled a little. He fidgeted a little in his unusually well-ironed uniform just for today. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Some of his classmates gasped. They panicked a little and silently muttered under their breathe. "Go on, Kenneth. Go on." The class knew how hard Kenneth worked for this competition. They were all so proud of him. Others who were in the hall waited for him to speak, with those eyes that could have probably killed him there and then.
Kenneth took a deep breathe. He composed himself. And he took the first step.
"Good morning, Teachers and my fellow schoolmates. I am Kenneth Lim from Primary 5I." It was a close shave - he made no mistakes and he did not say anything bad so far. PHEW. Pauses were appropriate and he maintained eye contact with the crowd. It was a good start. His classmates all heaved a sigh of relief.
"Today, I represent my class 5I in this Story- Telling Competition." He paused. "I shall now begin my story." Kenneth said earnestly yet carefully, as he made eye contact with the judges seated right in front of him. One of the judged gave him a nod and he begun.
A teacher quietly stood by the pillar and observed Kenneth's every move and every word. His eyes, they didn't blink even for a second. He was totally charmed by Kenneth and his little story - every word; every gesture and movement.
Towards the end of his story, he paused and he said: "Thank you for your kind attention. I would also like to thank Mr Choo for being the best Teacher I could ever ask for." A thunderous applause was heard and everyone was clapping for Kenneth. For the first time in his life - in 11 years.
He never felt so proud of himself before. He never felt like crying but this time he did. He cried, but those were tears of joy. He has changed for a better person. Someone he was proud of, matured and all grown up.
For everyone in school knew that Kenneth was once notorious for being such a rebel who only could spew vulgarities every sentence he said.
His English was poor.
His Chinese was barely passing.
His Mathematics was always in red anyway.
His Science had never seen the light, figuratively and literally.
He was usually deemed as "notorious", "beyond redemption" and even "hopeless".
He accepted nobody's help. He was simply cruising in life with no goals, no dreams and all he did was to disturb everyone and anyone. And make them annoyed. That was what gives him joy in life. To attract attention that seemingly makes him feel better about himself?
Yet only Mr Choo believed in him.
He knew that Kenneth was good. He believed that Kenneth was special and just needed the correct guidance in life. Although Kenneth refused to accept Mr Choo in his initial efforts to help him, they built up a good rapport after three months.
Mr Choo just stood a distance away from Kenneth and observed him every single day. Until Kenneth gave up feeling so "followed" and "wary of his presence".
Mr Choo - Kenneth's Form - Teacher as well as English Teacher was standing there observing Kenneth again. This time, Mr Choo was observing Kenneth as he stood on stage to tell a story. A touching and beautiful story.
Mr Choo has been coaching Kenneth on speaking in good English, then later on he taught him some public speaking skills. Every week after school, they would be seen staying behind after class ended, for three hours. It was more than a month of practice and hardwork.
Indeed, nobody could feel more for Kenneth than Mr Choo does. For when nobody believed in Kenneth, he did. And all it took was that faith in Kenneth, for him to help Kenneth overcome all the doubts that everyone had about him.
The encouragement; the believe and the leap of faith to prove himself to the world. Maybe it was not proving himself for the world, but more of proving himself for himself.
Just like what Mr Choo always said to Kenneth;
"Prove yourself not for anyone. But you. For Yourself."
Kenneth did not win the competition. Maybe he was still green in storytelling as compared to the other contestants. But Kenneth managed to win everyone's trust and faith in him - that he was able to accomplish anything as long as he sets his heart to do it. He was not just any rebel in school. He was one who could stand on stage and speak with confidence. He could do anything as long as he wanted.
For he he special, just the way he was.
- The End - On a side note, this story was written based on a true story. :)
Thank you for taking time to read this post as I embark on this journey to document these little moments which I observe in my daily life while teaching in school. This could perhaps be a meaningful and heartwarming way to watch our children grow up through pictures which speak a thousand words. You could look back and be reminded of those days when you grow up too. :)