“Se-la-mat Pa-gi Cik-gu!”

The age-old welcome you hear when a teacher enters a classroom of gleaming young faces, ready to learn about the world around them and the ways to succeed in life.

It’s a huge responsibility to ask of anyone — to nurture a budding mind and mould it into a productive member of society.

Let’s face it, teaching is not easy and all too often people take teachers for granted. It takes a huge amount of dedication to become one.

The Scoop got in touch with a few teachers from all four districts to understand what makes them tick — here are the top three things Bruneian teachers love about their job:

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1. YOU SUCCEED, WE SUCEED

“To see my students have fun while learning and knowing that they have gained knowledge that will help them in life,” Ahmad Waridi Hj Ahmad, a 33-year-old teacher who used to teach at the Piasau-Piasau Primary School in Temburong says.

He adds that it is heartwarming when parents come up to them to express appreciation, as it reaffirms their beliefs in becoming committed to the teaching profession.

“It’s a nice feeling knowing that we can help children have a brighter future.”

2. IT’S NEVER A BORING DAY AT WORK

No two days are ever the same. Imagine going to work not knowing what to expect – everyday there’s always something new, a teaching assistant at one of Brunei’s private schools says.

“It’s never boring at work, the kids always have something funny or something smart to say. I look forward each day to see how their mind works and to learn from them as well,” the kindergarten teacher says.

Khalisah Ismail laughingly recalls a funny incident which happened  recently: “One time, a student called out my name because he had forgotten his login password for the computer. I was busy reading to the other kids, so he came up to me and showed me his sand-timer (hourglass) and said, ‘All the sand has moved to the bottom, that’s how long I waited for you’.”

3. WE’RE LEARNING TOO

For a 34-year-old teacher based in Kg Penapar, Tutong, teaching has been an eye-opening experience, especially learning about students’ different backgrounds.

The teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, says that not all students’ needs are the same and he has learned a lot about teaching methods from them.

“When I first started teaching, I just assumed that at the primary level, most pupils would already how to count or recognise the alphabet. But this isn’t necessarily the case. So I have to learn from them how they want to study and adapt accordingly,” he says.

It’s never boring at work, the kids always have something funny or something smart to say.

For Bibi Khamimah Hj Rusli, a teacher from Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School, it is refreshing to see life from the perspective of those younger than her. “I love my job because it enables me to see my students’ creativity,” she says.

AND WHAT TEACHERS DON’T LIKE…

With the satisfaction of educating the young comes frustration — students not handing in their work on time and not concentrating in class are among the most cited pet peeves.

“Once while I was teaching, one of my students asked if I could stop because he wanted to talk to his fellow classmate,” Ahmad Waridi shares.

Although it annoyed him when it happened, in hindsight, he admits that it was a funny situation. It frustrated him because it shows that his students were not giving him their full attention, he says.

But, the number one pet peeve for most teachers is definitely students not handing in their homework on time.

“There’s a reason we want students to do their homework — it’s for their own good and it helps us identify their weaknesses,” a teacher from Kuala Belait who wished to remain anonymous says.

So, the next time you’re procrastinating homework, think about the heartache it will cause your teachers. Happy Teachers’ Day!