If you can teach the ‘last lesson of the afternoon’ while all about you is apathy and organised chaos;
If you leave the school with hope and trust in Allah’s blessing for a better tomorrow while others will come the next day to bring the day of salaries closer;
If you can make every lesson the best lesson and trust in your own unique authority over your subjects (pupils) and your subject while others care only about themselves;
If you can hold your career as a vocation of life and not let children get to you – because children will be children;
If you can accept that you have done your job to the best of your human ability and that the DoE is but your facilitator;
If you can meet success and failure as two people who will never be friends but, need each other to understand that life is entrenched in trials and tribulations;
If you can meet and engage your colleagues with trust and respect everyday and to never doubt your trust and respect;
If you can love every child enough to want him/her to enter Paradise even though they would rile your nerves; or make you scream in hopelessness, or make you cry, curse and tear and;
If you take can take that hurt that every child or class gives you and forgive as how you expect Allah to forgive you for your darkest deeds which, if known to your children you teach; they would not even spit in your direction.
If you can dream to be the best teacher – and not make your lessons a bedtime story;
If you can make pupils refined in their speech – and not make vulgarity your hallmark; If you make pupils appreciate life – and not make your life a misery because you bring your ‘baggage’ to the class and make it their business.
If you can fathom and empathise with the ‘baggage’ children suffer and still teach with a smile;
If you can face the parents with a smile because you have an eye in their home through their child but sincerely show your interest is only the child’s holistic development; If you can work without complaint, be refined in speech, neat in attire and clean in appearance and lofty in ideals keeping arrogance and aloofness as avowed enemies to your soul;
If you can bear patience when by a drop of a hat pupils throw their loyalty to the wind;
If you can accept that the tutor will be oft-quoted over your endeavors in class and still hold true to your work as the mantle of your success;
If you can teach with vigour and virtuosity until the marrow in your bones are sapped and your nerves are shot because you care so much and feel that humanity will lose out if you don’t walk the talk,
IF you can do your best and never steal time from the pupils’ time and be honest with them for even the slightest err of judgment and never victimise a child for been honest about your shortcomings of character;
If after all this, you still prostrate before Allah at the accepted hour when all around you are asleep and pray for each child by name pleading for his/her guidance and forgiving them all unconditionally. Then dear teacher, then and only then you will live in the example of greatest teacher, Nabi Muhammed (s) who ‘taught men that which he knew not’ and taught them how to ‘read in the name of the Lord’. If you fathom this or when the penny drops here know…
Dear teacher know that you have earned Allah’s favour and ‘Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a refined human, an esteemed teacher!
IF… (inspired and adapted from Rudyard’s Kipling’s poem IF)