Ms Isolde Hon Peisha
Dari SMK Sulaiman Bentong
Dicalonkan oleh Ronan Danial Bin Mohd Hafiz Chai
Passion. That is what drives me. That is what makes me who I am. Thinking about how I ended up with that conclusion, it's funny how someone truly special had to step into my life just to fulfill that purpose. “He was the one who played for Pahang right? His basketball skills are out of this world!”. “Wow, no wonder they say he is Bentong’s fastest sprint runner.” Athletes always receive all the attention. They are regarded as the cream of the crop in my previous school. I envied the attention received by the school’s athletes as to represent the school you literally have to be the best of the best. The competition was really high so there was no room for the average player, that includes me. Weren’t there any other contests other than sports? Well, sadly, there was little to none. I guess that my Lower-Form days can be likened to the Dark Ages of European history as there was little to no progress in terms of my high school career. There was no stage for me to show what I was made of nor there was a proper chance for me to do so. I personally considered 2017 as the most challenging year of high school. Not only it was my PT3 year, but it was also the year my grandmother breathed her last breath, saying goodbye to my family and I forever. To add salt to the huge emotional burden I had to bear, it is somewhat disappointing that nobody, not even my teachers, acknowledged the efforts my team and I had devoted to the one competition we entered that year, which was a robotics competition. It devastated me even more when my teacher told me my 5 months of preparation was unnecessary, claiming that she only wanted my team and I to ‘have fun’ and we shouldn't have aimed for first place anyway. Months after, as I stared at the lit Raya oil lamps out the window while awaiting the arrival of the guests, the flame of the burning wicks unintentionally evocates awful experiences that have happened throughout that year and still continued to haunt me from time to time. "Something must be done", I thought. The desire to change schools and start anew had never been greater. Being still deeply agitated, I humbled myself, picked up what was left of me, and tried my best to meet the requirements set by the local education office to at least stand a chance in changing schools. The day I got the news that my transferred has been approved truly felt like a dream come true. My friends and family were all happy for me. However, some people from my previous school considered my decision to be selfish because they see it as if I was running away from my problems or I did not care about my friends, but it was a necessary sacrifice. I can assure you they do not know nor understand how much I wanted it. During all that happiness, an eerie thought suddenly struck me. Realizing that I had just secured a place in one of the best schools in the state of Pahang, the pressure of needing to do well suddenly overwhelmed me. Arriving at SMK Sulaiman in 2018 resembling the likes of a refugee, I tried my best to look for a sense of recognition, home, family. I remember that it was till the extent that even the slightest drip of acceptance would satisfy my longing desire for it. The bigger issue was how was I to make myself at home? No friends, no special skills, lacking experience; it forced me to question myself, not just how to stand out? But also, was transferring schools actually a good idea? I was at rock bottom, thinking that maybe I should return to ‘where I belong’. Maybe they were right, it was a selfish and a naïve decision after all. Just when I was beginning to condone the fact that I wasn't fit for SMK Sulaiman, something miraculously happened. “Do you want to enter a public speaking contest? “asked Ms Peisha. It was completely out of the blue. Afraid that I wasn't fit for it, I rejected at first. “Public speaking? I can't public speak Ms Peisha, I'm a bit stiff and I've never done that before.” I said. In the end I still joined as she managed to persuade me by saying “I believe that you are more than what you think you are. We’ll work on this together no matter what”. Those were the reassuring words that separate my life as an everyday high school student from my life as the person I am today. Although we didn't achieve the results we hoped for that day, the exhilaration of representing SMK Sulaiman for the very first time will forever be etched in my memories. More importantly, it was the first time we established our everlasting student-teacher bond, the first time I was truly acknowledged by a teacher. It thrilled me even more that she continued supporting me in all that I would like to venture into or explore more for experience until today. Anyone who has spent some time in SMK Sulaiman would realize that Ms Peisha is not just your everyday English teacher. She is able to structure the students’ learning of the language, converting what may seem as a difficult process into a series of manageable steps primarily the more technical areas of English such as the grammar rules and writing formats. Thanks to her, even some of my friends who barely passed the English examination at the beginning of the year was able to achieve an ‘A’ in their SPM examination, which made them floating on cloud nine. Her caliber expands far beyond the walls of a classroom and I was able to witness it myself, especially during the annual musical show. 2018 was the first time I had ever been part of a musical show and I felt absolutely lucky to be her main assistant in preparing for it. It was my first official experience working with her side by side but to keep up with her rhythm is no easy task. She is able to do a thousand things in one time. That includes teaching and monitoring the performances, arranging the tentative of the night, checking the stage props and even making sure the Public Address systems are functioning. The results of her efforts paid off as the show was a smashing success with a turnout of over a thousand people, simultaneously proving that learning is not just chalk and talk. To say that Ms Peisha is an exceptionally multitalented English teacher who had successfully inspired countless students would be a terrible understatement. She is without a doubt the heart and soul of SMK Sulaiman. From winning a national public speaking competition to dancing in front of thousands as well as representing Pahang for NILAM, she has been through all my ups and downs. I might have resented the school and myself if it was not for her. She taught me the subtle art of sheer perseverance; to understand that sometimes a little rain is required to make rainbows. She is my lifetime friend, the catalyst for me to reach my biggest dreams; a life coach in that sense. Thus, I personally owe her a huge debt of gratitude for nurturing me to be who I am now, by igniting the ever-burning passion inside of me, as well as providing me the due recognition to do so. Part and parcel of being a high school student is that it will reach its inevitable end. Today, we still frequently hang out with each other like going out for dinner or to book fairs, but I call her Peipei now, based on her request to be less formal. For all that matters, the dreams of the students in SMK Sulaiman are certainly in safe hands as long as she is there to guide them. In the end, the world needs teachers like Ms Peisha. Teachers who care about helping the one student, as much as they care about helping the millions, which I am sure others will inevitably see that too. I hope to one day leave an impression on others similar to the one she has left on me.