Teachers’ Day

Last week we celebrated Teachers’ Day here in Malaysia, and it was wonderful.

Now, while we celebrate teachers in the States, the holiday was taken to a whole new level here. There was singing, there were speeches, there was coconut bowling.

Some of my favorite parts of this happy day:

Matching batik baju kurung. A few teachers went to a meeting in Terengganu and brought back yards and yards of batik (hand-painted) fabric to make Teachers’ Day baju. One of the ladies in our school office is a talented seamstress, and she made mine. (It’s the first baju I’ve had tailored especially for me, so if I take one back to the States this will probably be it.) Each teacher accessorized her baju differently, and some even had sequins, beads, and piping sewn in. The male teachers all wore matching batik shirts.

Matching Baju

Student presentations and teacher awards. The students signed up in groups to sing songs, and we heard about ten adorable variations of the chart-topper “Terima Kasih Cikgu” or “Thank You Teacher.” The students had voted for spoof teacher awards like Best Smile, Most Stylish, Funniest, etc. and the head boy and girl prefects announced the winners. My mentor got “Most Sporting,” and I got “Most Creative.” I received a mug as a prize. (“For your coffee, Miss Hannah!” They know me so well.) The last part of our assembly in the hall involved the students handing out presents to the teachers and many, many salaams (students taking the teacher’s hand and touching it to their forehead as a gesture of respect.)

Teachers' Gifts

Watching everybody let loose. After the assembly in the hall, everyone changed into sports clothes and the games started. I participated in an extremely competitive female teachers’ handball match, and the male teachers had a futsol tournament. It had rained the night before and the field was more mud than grass, so all the teachers kept falling. This made it even more hilarious for the hundreds of students standing on the sidelines cheering us on.

Then came perhaps my favorite part of the whole day: coconut bowling. The students set up 1.5 liter bottles filled with water, and the teachers had to knock them down with coconuts. I learned that coconut bowling is not one of my gifts, but I was on a team of coco-bowling sharks and we won! It was great to see students, teachers, staff, and administration all out on the field having a blast together.

And I will leave you with this poem, written by one of my Standard 2 students.


Happy “Thechers Day,” indeed!


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