THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Giving talks...

I was going through the Buddies’ Annual Report for 2007 and as I was reading the diary of events for the year, I noticed… hey, the first activity for last year was a talk on HIV/AIDS which I gave to students of a secondary school here in Ipoh.

Oooh… I remember that talk alright. It was a co-ed school and it was only the second day of school after the long holidays. The students were still in holiday mood, proper classes had not started yet (otherwise I’m sure the students would be glad to get a break from their classes) and even worse, the whole week the students had to endure talks, talks, and more talks organized by their teachers.

My talk was supposed to start at 10.30am. Before mine, there was another talk which started at 8.30 am. The talks were held at classes on the 2nd floor of the school building. I was still at the ground floor when I heard the noise coming from the classes where the first talk was held. Oh dear, I thought… what was I getting myself into?!

When I got to the classes (they opened up a few classes for the talks), it was obvious the students were not listening at all. The poor speaker and her colleagues were having a hard time getting their attention. And to think that the speakers were actually trained for this sort of things while for me, it was only my second time at giving such a talk, particularly on the topic of HIV/AIDS. I had been involved in debates waaaay back during my school days, but that was it. Nothing more.

The first talk I gave was in 2006 and it went smoothly as it was held some time in the middle of the year and the girls actually welcomed the break from their usual classes. And since it was an all-girls school, they were not shy to ask questions. The interaction was great despite it being quite a big crowd.

But for this second talk, I knew I was in for a hard time. If the more experienced speakers for the talk on the earlier topic were having problems, it would even be harder for me as I was alone without anyone to assist me. And the students were... ROWDY!!

By the time the microphone was handed to me for the talk on HIV/AIDS, the students were totally restless. Even the presence of their stern looking headmaster couldn’t shut them up. I had no choice but to just continue with the talk even though I knew only those who purposely sat at the front row were interested enough to listen. I actually had to shout to be heard even with the microphone. Otherwise even those at the front row wouldn’t be able to hear my voice – the students were making so much noise. They were not only talking, some were even shouting to each other (otherwise they couldn’t hear themselves too I guess!).

The teacher in charge and the headmaster apologized to me after the talk as they themselves were not able to control their students.

Thank goodness it wasn’t my first time giving a talk. If it was, then I probably would not want to give another talk again, ever!

I was not prepared to deal with a rowdy and restless bunch of about 200 - 300 students, really. If they were just bored and yawning away, I probably could have still come up with something to wake them up a bit. But when they were not even bothered to listen at all and the noise was just like at a pasar malam, I simply didn’t know what else to do. I think I’d need more training to equip myself with “ammunitions” to get the attention of rowdy students. Like an M16 maybe? ;)

But having said that, I do hope that any schools wishing to organize talks, would consider NOT making it compulsory for the students to listen to one talk after another – unless it’s for a small group which is easier to control. Having to listen to too many talks in a day, I would be bored too if I were them – although I would only be yawning away without making any disturbing noise lah… I good girl… not rowdy one… :)

6 comments:

Akmal said...

Kak Pi,
Personally, I am OK with talk, not TALKS, especially 3/4/5 consecutive talks. Giving talk is tiresome, but listening to talks is tiresome too!
I guess the best approach would be talks only to those who are interested, but generally in midschools, things might turn up no one come over...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Pi,

That is sad...After all, HIV/AIDS has got relevance to everyone...

The problem is when one is a teenager, one has this belief called the 'personal fable'...One thinks 'bad things' will never happen to oneself (after all, one is destined for great things!)...

That is why most students probably couldnt care less about HIV/AIDS cos they feel it will never affect them...

Personally, I think the first time the topic of HIV/AIDS really, really hit me was when I was a volunteer in the hospital...

But I agree with Akmal...Talks and talks in a row can be killing...

Pi Bani said...

Akmal:
Tu lah pasal... when I went to the school, I didn't know there were so many talks organised by the school for the students. Memang I sendiri tak tahan if I got to listen to one talk after another. I'd surely fall asleep!

Pi Bani said...

Daphne:
I don't think the "refusal to listen" was because of the topic HIV/AIDS. The talk before mine was on a totally different topic - if I'm not mistaken, it was on choice of careers or something like that. They still didn't bother to listen.

That's why lah if nak make it compulsory for the students, the timing must be right and NEVER organise too many talks in a row! Mental torture!

Mat Salo said...

Whoa.. wait a minute, miss. M16? Fight fire with fire, eh? Isn't that overkill? We don't want another Columbine or Virginia tech here, no ma'am not here in sunny Malaysia. Besides, you need a permit for dem things.

Hmmm, ammo? I was gonna suggest you sharpen your repertoire of attention grabbing skills - and I'm not suggested you dress like Ms. Knowles, though that might help. I mean more on the lines of joke telling or opening with song. That'll grab 'em. Perhaps Miss Accica can help you there. Then, just then you'll have 'em eating out of yer hands.

It's a problem, miss. I too have a teenaged nightmare in F3 who's brought up on a diet of PS2, mice and RPG's (NOT rocket-propelled-grenades but role-playing games). He's got the attention span of rodent, and that's being generous. I've actually spied his class and shook my head in disgust. Teachers these days have a hard time controlling dem kids.

Not like in our time where teachers are sometimes scarier than Dad and that overbearing uncle. Glad to know you too slept in class. Was that add maths or PI, Pi?

But shoulder on you must, ma'am - and we applaud you for it. SOMEBODY needs to do it. And that somebody is best be you. Always you.

:)

Pi Bani said...

Mat Salo:
A toy machine gun which SOUNDS like an M16 would have certainly grabbed their attention, wouldn't it? ;)

And starting with a song may help if it's someone else doing the singing la, definitely not me. I don't want to get the missiles coming my way la brader!

Slept in class? Ah well, not only add maths la... history worst still. But at least not as bad as one of my friends who not only slept in class, member siap MENGIGAU lagi siang-siang hari tu much to the amusement to the rest of the class. But the teacher was so cool she just told my friend to go wash her face. Ni masa history class lah...