A few days ago, I was watching this horror movie called "Drag Me to Hell" with my son. It is about this loan officer named Christine who was approached by a Mrs. Ganush asking for another extension on her house loan. As Christine was eyeing this Assistant Manager position, she tried to impress her boss by handling the case and decided to turn down Mrs. Ganush's request for the 3rd extension. By doing so, Mrs. Ganush is now faced with eviction and out of desperation, knelt and begged for the extension much to her disappointment. And the plot escalates when Christine, hounded by Mrs. Ganush at the parking lot after working hours, was cursed that after three days of escalating torment, she would be plunged into the depths of Hell.
Watching this movie compelled me to think about my past decisions that I became disturbed by one I made a couple of years ago. As the Form 4 coordinator of my school, I was in charge of placing students into suitable streams based on their PMR result. As usual, most of these students, upon knowing which classes they are put into would throw hissy fits just because they either did not get the stream they wanted or that they were separated from their BFFs.
It is difficult during registration because these former Form 3 students aren't what they used to be. Entering Form 4, with their PMR results in hand, be it a commendable one or not, they have somehow grasped some form of cockiness thinking that they know which class is right for them. What they fail to understand is, even after 2 or 3 three times of us (my assistant and I) explaining to them, that during the first 2 or 3 months of the year, they are actually being put into temporary classes because when some students go off to other schools, there will be reshuffling and as a result, some would get to be where they want to be and even if they did not, the answer is obviously simple..they are just not suitable for it.
Nor, as I will call her here, is one of those students who I had turned down. She was put into a class she refused to be in because :
1. She felt that she was in one of those "kelas bong" (a class that students perceive as where the students are of lower IQ levels)
2. She wants to take accountancy as opposed to economy.
Taking her Mathematics result into consideration which was a weak credit, no, she is not a preferable candidate but if you take her determination, then obviously she is eligible..with some elbow grease, she might just make it to the top!
But that's the problem! You can't just simply place a student because you know she is hard working and diligent..there are many others who are just alike her! If I were to use this reason, then how fair would it be to others who scored a 7 for Maths, had the same diligence but are refused entry to classes of their choice? On the other hand, if I were to treat each and every student equally, then, you would have 400 students all in the same class!
I turned her down, despite her tears and pleas..time and time again although my heart was for her and not against. In turn, I pleaded to her to have some patience for who knows, in the first week of school itself there would be some students who would just not turn up and it usually happens. I assured her that she is on top of my list and even told her not to pay her school fees in full yet, even told her that it normally happens that in the first week there would be an empty spot, even told her that since I would be doing the streaming myself that I would put her name in, she refused!
She refused, being the head-strong girl she is, and even threatened to not show up for school. I called my superior, who shared the same opinion with me that she would just have to wait and upon hearing this, she brought in her mother, a frail looking lady, old enough to be my mother, or maybe younger but aged by hardship. Her mother came to us; my superior, my assistant and I with tears trickling down her cheeks, pleading that we would allow her daughter into the class she was desperately wanting. We all turned them down but it was my voice that did the "deed".
What more could I do..there were other students with the same request waiting to see me! And words travel faster than lightning..Had I allowed her, I would then have to face this battalion in front of me, just waiting to scrutinize me and put me in the same ordeal! Most of these students don't want to be in the class that they are first assigned in.
I think that was the very first time in my 4 years of experience as a Form 4 coordinator, that I literally killed a soul. Her mother understood my reasoning and my request for Nor to wait but it was Nor who wouldn't. She shot me a piercing glance and I sensed and felt the hatred she had intended for me. She left, with her mother, both of them crying. As I went to them, away from the registration booth, in that little privacy I had managed to gain, I assured them again and again that I will put Nor in 4PA but it is definitely difficult to mend a broken heart!
Indeed, a week after school had started, there was reshuffling. Nor managed to get into 4PA as I had tried to convince her. But it was the week prior to her entering the class that had hurt me the most. Every single time that she would bump into me, she would either turn her head away or look down at the pavement avoiding any eye contact with me. She just hated me that much!!! And even after that..her cold treatment did not subside..although she would look at me but it was just at that..even to the last day I spent in that school, she no longer smiled to me.
Today, after 2 years, she sent a request on my FB account. Whether that is a sign of truce or not, I have yet to see. I do hope that now she realizes what my predicaments were 2 years ago..
It is tough making decisions..very tough..even as little as saying "yes" or "no"..!