“Cher! He disturb me!” Those were the words that Yatiem often shouted at his primary school teachers. He was constantly in trouble and uninterested in his studies. Observing his behaviour, his mother, Madam Salbiah Othman, was worried and had a hard time trying to help him.
Growing up, Yatiem had problems socialising with his classmates. He found it difficult to manage his anger and would retaliate aggressively when “disturbed” by his peers.
“Yatiem needed anger management classes. Once, he felt provoked, he punched a fellow classmate,” said Madam Salbiah. “He was also poor in his studies and did badly for his examinations,” she added.
Everything seemed to be on a downward spiral for Yatiem, but it was his form teacher in Primary 4, Madam Fazida Mohd Alim Khan, who went the extra mile and transformed him.
Reinforcing a New Behaviour
Madam Fazida tried several methods to help Yatiem. She gave him extra responsibilities through a buddy system, which helped him to learn about teamwork. He learned how to help his classmates and had more opportunities to interact with them. As a result, it helped to boost his self-confidence and self-esteem.
“He took the challenge well. From being reserved, he was able to communicate with his buddy,” said Madam Fazida.
Madam Fazida’s constant motivation and encouragement inspired Yatiem to overcome his shyness, control his anger and he eventually improved in his studies. Both his mum and teacher were extremely pleased when Yatiem did well in his PSLE.
“Parents shouldn’t be too discouraged by setbacks; don’t give up on the child as they are able to change,” said Madam Fazida.
Parent –Teacher Communication
Madam Salbiah was constantly updated on Yatiem’s progress. During Parent-Teacher Meetings, teachers would highlight the areas that needed extra attention. She believed that it was the teacher’s firm hand and motherly touch that really made a difference in connecting with her son.
“Madam Fazida showered Yatiem with care and concern. She called me after school hours and assured me that I was able to reach out to her even after school hours, if I needed help. Yatiem improved gradually and he learned how to respect the situation and environment he’s in” she said.
Madam Fazida advised parents to make an effort to understand their child’s behaviour. She stressed that “sometimes a hard approach might not work as the child might retaliate and give up. Parents should have a friendly chat with their children and set goals.”
Madam Fazida also shared that implementing a reward system can help to amend a student’s negative behaviour. Explain the right behaviour to them and reward them accordingly.
“Intrinsic motivation like praises and words of encouragement will help to boost their confidence. For extrinsic motivation, sometimes a tiny candy will do the job!” said Madam Fazida laughingly.
“I’ll treat him by taking him out to the movies,” said Madam Salbiah whenever Yatiem does well for his studies.
Now, Yatiem is in Secondary 4. He continues to do well in his studies and inspires to take on leadership roles in his CCA. He said, “Thank you Madam Fazida for your constant motivation and encouragement. You have taught me one of the most valuable lessons in life – anger does not solve anything.”