MR. DEVANANTHAN KERASENAN
( TEACHER ADVISOR)
After being part of teaching for more than two decades, it never occured to me that a simple thought or a moment could change they way I looked at teaching. Teaching can be anything from teaching little kids to tie their shoelaces and make up their ties and right up to inculcation of values and morality among the members of the younger generation. I was born and raised in Ipoh, the city of all trades and wonders whether it's hidden or out there in the limelight.
A teenage passion for Geography and years of experience in the teaching sector gradually brought me to this mind boggling idea and the timing could never have been more perfect. When my principle handed me the secular from the education department, I volunteered myself, to take part in this event. With my hands already full with so many tasks and events and I knew I am just a teacher but today being teacher it means to have at least forty professions at the same time. I sat down, fatigued and feeling nauseous. I had little birds circling my head. Questions flew through my brain. "How am I going to manage this?" "Who's going to help me out?" "What am I going to do?" Honestly, it took me a few days before I could digest the idea and of course it was the same boring fatigue tiring teaching job that motivated me, to once again change my routine with whatever ability I have. And that ability would be teaching, and that initiative would be to be a part of the Toyota Eco Youth competition. I held on to the secular and called my soldiers over for a meeting. The school's Nature Lovers Club gathered, and it was in, that conceptions were born. My soldiers were put to work, and we collaborated and spoke and discussed for hours and days, and we stood together in the end. We prepared a proposal theme 'environment' and sent it to the organiser. We were in cloud nine when our school was selected for the final and we are suppose to attend The Toyota Eco Youth workshop at Concorde Hotel, Shah Alam.
My students were extremely excited. My school going to represent Perak to National Level competition, among the 13 other schools. The workshop was full of informative and it was very grand. It was attended by officers from Ministry of Education and several medias. Photo session...interviews...everything were very new for my students. Times they were struggling to answer the questions by the reporter. I stood up next to them to make sure they are in the right track. Everything went on so well.I thought the competition has ended, but I was wrong, it doesn't end there. More to come, more to prepare and more to struggle.
After back to Ipoh, we sat down, clueless and sometimes we argued and in the process I did become a teenager who argued and quarreled and angered but we grew together. The challenges in the process of winning the competition were not a bed of roses, it was a bed of poisonous thorns, but we never gave up. There been dark moments, but that's when I put my teaching ability to uplift their spirits. We marched forward.One fine morning, we were in my car, all covered in sweat and dirt and as surprising as it was, for the very first time, we were going after the garbage truck in Lim Garden. It was a moment that still tickles my bones till today. We sped and swerved through traffic behind them slow but steadily committed garbage truck. My students as enthusiastic, shouted and screamed and made sure we caught the truck. When we finally stopped them, the workers laughed at us, for all we wanted is to snap some for photos for our evidence. This was just one comical incident of the many magical moments we built together as a team.
While building our eco themed park at the Lim Garden's playground, we found ourselves in dirt and mud, but we laughed at each other. Everytime we did something as part of the project, I witnessed how my children grew into becoming better people. We are no superheroes but we were doing something to change the world, to make it a better place all the more. And, the bigger picture is the conceptualization of how we can save the environment in creative ways. Saving the environment is not a boring thing at all because we discovered that along the process of saving the Mother Nature over and over again. Winning the competition was the primary reason that motivated us to join the competition, but in the process we won many things, we won the hearts of people who truly want to see a cleaner Ipoh, a greener Ipoh.
All in all, I may have taught for about two decades, and of course I have achieved many things along the way but this year was a year that took me a step higher. It changed me for the best and it proved me that sometimes, all it takes is a tiny though and a small amount of effort to start something. The Toyota Eco Youth competition had helped me rediscover my passion for teaching and inspiring. Just a piece of advice to my beloved students, be focused in whatever activities you involved. You will never master if you take part in too many activities, because Jack of all trades, master of none. Thank you for the wonderful experience...