Thursday, July 16, 2009

Whosoever Sows, He Reaps

The boys standing in front of their madrasah building.

For readers who have followed me since forever, you may remember that I took Big H out of the madrasah that had a teacher who was not very good with children and had actually hit the children if they didn't read correctly. Poor Big H was one of the victims of that teacher's impatience. He was so traumatised by his experience at that madrasah that he refused to attend the classes and in the end I had to pull him out from them even though we've paid the fees in full.

I decided to enrol him into another madrasah last September,
one that was a bit further away from our house but was highly recommended by some friends. I have been teaching both the boys at home but I haven't given up on the idea of a formal Islamic education for my children. Big H had rejected the idea at first but I gently persuaded him and somehow, he had relented.

Anyway, this time Big H wasn't alone - Little H was old enough to join the classes and many of their school friends also go to the same madrasah so I think he had really enjoyed the classes from the beginning - sebab ada kawan. Even now, when the madrasah is taking a long break for the summer holidays, both Big H and Little H keep on asking - when will they be going back to madrasah??

And has been good. The boys just...fell in love with the Quran. They recite the surah by themselves and help each other before they go to bed! Little H said, "Mama, I can't stop thinking about the Quran!" Imagine that? And I know he really meant what he said.

I've been told by the other mums who send their boys to the same place that most of the teachers (muallim) who teach in the madrasah have been teaching there for a long time. I'm not sure if this is true but they are indeed very good at what they do - the kids learn really fast - they can memorize the long surahs without much difficulty and the muallim(s) are teachers who seem to naturally like children (in fact, they are truly amazing with the children!). The muallims are Algerians
I think and according to the mums who speak Arabic, the Arabic Language of the teachers is refined and tak kasar and this is what they're teaching the children.


(FYI, besides Arabic, the children also memorize the Quran, starting from Juzu' Amma, of course and they learn Hadeeths, Fiqh, Tauhid as well. The teachers speak English and Arabic in class.)

Little H got a remote control tank that can climb up walls for getting number 4 in class :)
Pic was taken with Big H's bike while he was still on the camping trip.

Last Friday was their prize and cert giving day.

Parents were asked to bring food to the madrasah and everyone was so generous. I saw a dad bring 5 big boxes of cream cakes, a mum with SIX types of dishes and someone also brought in briyani! Samosas and kebabs were aplenty, of course! I myself made 1 bowl of tiramisu topped with lotsa juicy strawberries - I think the presentation made up for the fact that I only brought ONE thing (I hope!) although sadly, at the end of the event, when I asked for my bowl back, I found that it was still pristine and uneaten because the muallims had put the bowl in the fridge and had forgotten all about it!!

Actually, when the muallim opened the fridge, I saw other dishes in the fridge that were still untouched as well - there were too much food brought in by the parents! Too bad I had to take my plate back, if I had made the tiramisu in a disposable bowl then maybe the teachers could have eaten it later on...

(But no matter, I had sedekah the tiramisu to a Malaysian family anyway after that since that was my intention in the first place - sedekah!)

To top it all up this year at the prize giving event, the madrasah gave boys who got number 1, 2, 3
in their classes bikes for prizes. BIKES!

Big H was happy to see the bike but he wanted to see his result slip first before riding it!

There were 6 classes in all I think, so all those kids who got the bikes went home happily wheeling their new bikes. I wasn't surprised when on the board, I saw Big H's result. He got number one during the first term and from the way he recites his Quran, (carefully and without mistakes) I was expecting about the same...yup, Big H got number 1 again. Little H, who was in a different class than Big H but nevertheless were amongst children who were 1-2 years older than him got number 4, which to me was so amazing considering his competition (and mostly depa ni anak2 arab pun..).

At first, I didn't know about the bikes so I was surprised to see the teacher wheeling a bike towards me that I was a little speechless - but my shocked expression no doubt turned into a wide grin when he told me about the prize. Big H was actually absent from the event - he was away at a scout's campsite near Southend, enjoying himself on a camping trip with his classmates on that day - so Mama had to do the 'wheeling home' instead!

Mr S and I already decided to give the children the thing that they've been begging us for for a while now - a Nintendo DS each - if they do well in their madrasah exams.
We had already bought them actually, without waiting for the results, together with some games to start them off with and had carefully hidden them in Mr S's clothes cupboard in the master bedroom.

Mr S and I knew that the boys have worked hard for their exams and will probably do well (we thought kalau Little H tak dapat no 1 pun takpe because he's only 5 anyway and he's worked hard for his exams too) but what we wanted
to do was to instill in the boys that if they do well in their madrasah that it's a BIG THING, something to be really proud of. And we needed them to understand the fact that their religious education is very, very important.

Hence the 'big prize'.

Little did we know that the madrasah itself would be giving away even better prizes to encourage the children!

What an incentive for them to do well, huh?

Just wonderful. Simply wonderful.