Thank you. But No, Thank You.

At the end of a semester, I know parents will look for me due to their children's chemistry result. I know, because I gave them those marks. Not a beautiful ones, I can tell you, therefore I can predict there will be unsatisfied parents.

No less than 5 parents, that day. And every one of them must be satisfied for what's there: the record of their children's work for the whole semester. Every homework, quiz, task, assessment, name it, in a plain worksheet. They can see I didn't do anything wrong with the count.

Disappointments, I could see that. What's left to say was to remind the child to work better.

When I was about to go home, a student came to me, handed over an envelope. Beautiful red envelope, reminds me of Japanese papers. I thought it was a souvenir from some trip to other country, so I accepted it delightedly without any further thought.

As I got home, I recalled the envelope and I was very surprised to see what's inside. Some money. Not a very big amount, but enough to make me uneasy. Call me naive, but I have never got that kind of gift before so… yes, it was unexpected.

I was so sure it's not a bribery, since I know a bit about the family who's able to offer Macbook Pro for that purpose (maybe hehehe… I once made a joke about it) and the amount of the money is not wisely comparable to that.

Anyway, I'm still bothered. Uncomfortable. Yes, I could use that money for some needs. But no, I'm not that desperate that my paycheck can cover the same amount very well. To make things more uncomfortable, I will still be a teacher for the next year for this particular student. I can make stupid decisions just because of a thought of this money. It might weaken me.

Supported by my husband, I decided to return the gift. Padded in a sealed envelope, I gave it to the student on the very first day after holiday. She questioned, I just smiled and said, "Open it at home, dear".

Not long, even before I got home, the parent called but unfortunately I missed it. I got a message, though.

Please don't misjudge my intention in giving it to you. It is just a thank you gift with our respect to xx's (student's name) teacher. [Yes, the parent use very good English in the text message]

I replied that I don't doubt the intention. It's just me and my weakness. I'm afraid my poor heart won't stand the test and got weakened toward the student which I must not. It would be unfair and definitely a lost, not a benefit for being a student whose teacher can't act fair.

The parent replied with a very nice prayer. And I said amen.

Written on the envelope returned:

I can not accept this. Thank you, but no, thank you.

Dear my students' humble parents, I thank you for every good wishes and kind attentions. I apologize that I may not be able to return the same favour in a kindest way. My only wish is that your children can see that I have been doing all that for their own good sake.

I may not be able to make every student loves chemistry. But I do hope students can see chemistry in a different angle. The one that's closest to their lives. The real chemistry which makes their lives. To use chemistry in simple daily choices. To apply it.

Just to hear "Thank you for being my chemistry teacher" is very wonderful. Not to ask for a thank you, though. But a gift is beyond my wish 🙂 I may receive it, if the person's no longer my student. But I may still not, if my complicated mind can't deal with it :p Pardon my troublesome.

And what makes me happier now is, this particular student has been showing good improvements regarding to the last year. I am so glad. So glad that I made the right choice. So glad that I took the risk of being hated. But they don't hate me, seemingly.

Keep pushing your edges, my students. Reach to your goal. Walk through. Run with me. As long as you have achievements to make, I will accompany you. I will help you. See you in chemistry class. Let's make (our life's) history better 🙂


  1. dewi

    August 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Hehe…menyentuh jeng.
    Salut deh ah.

    Mudah-mudahan cepet dapet rejeki yang lebih berkah daripada isi amplop itu.

    semangat translate!
    (udang dibalik batu nih hihihi…)

  2. “Thank you. But No, Thank You.”

    August 3, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    […] Original BananaTalk – Lita Marianaâ […]

  3. kirana

    August 4, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    ooohhh jadi mending ditimpuk macbook pro timbang mentahnya yah…=))

  4. kenji

    August 4, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    some people (a lot of) think and act money as a way to express gratitude

    its a pity, but we can not say its wrong. in many industry, people use that way, so if we don’t send money, we will black listed us as some ignorant people who can’t thanks at all…

    maybe they are part of those people who live too long in that kind environment.

    anyway, thats only my opinion and I do really hope I have a wrong perception about this…

  5. Kiky

    August 5, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Standing applause. Bagus lit….jangan terima,payah tuh kalo ada guru lain mau terima….trus gosip2x di belakang,orang tua si a si b si c nggak pernah ngasih apa apa, ortu si d ngasih ini itu.
    *soalnya gue juga paling males kasih kado/bingkisan ke guru anak2x gue,hhahahahahha*

    Teaching is their job anyaway….
    Yah…gue juga pernah
    di tawari “amplop”, tapi kalo jumlahnya ngga 1 milyar…males kayaknya ya….hahhaha dasar matre,bercanda kok.

    Daripada ada conflict of interest dikemudian hari,memang baiknya jangan diterima.kita juga yang susah entar….

  6. Lita

    August 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    @ Dewi
    Aaamiiiinnnn *mengamini kenceng-kenceng*
    Haduh udang di balik batu yang inih… hahahaha….

    @ Kirceh
    Kalo dikasih Macbook pro, dipikirinnya lebih lama, kali *ngakak*
    Ngga, jumlahnya ngga sampe sepersepuluh harga MBP, tuh. Jadi bukan ‘mentahnya’ juga :mrgreen:

    @ Kenji
    Exactly, that’s what I thought too. I don’t blame them. But it should also be OK if I refuse, right? 🙂

    The parent’s will to meet me is already a good sign for caring the child. And the way the parent appreciated my explanation is also a good sign of being grateful. Thus I never thought of ‘ada udang di balik batu’ about the gift 🙂
    Can’t really blame them, eh?

    @ Kiky
    Err… sebetulnya dari hasil tanya-tanya, orangtua yang ini memang seringnya memberi hadiah yang seperti itu, mbak. Dan… aku ngga tau siapa aja yang dikasih & siapa yang menolak, tapi aku tau siapa yang pasti menerima (karena satu orang cerita ke aku). Katanya, “Emang dari dulu begitu”.

    Karena dikasih judul hadiah dan tidak bersyarat, statusnya cenderung ke halal, ya. Tapi… kami sekeluarga ngga sreg aja. Aku terlalu lemah sama kebaikan orang lain 🙂
    Daripada repot, dikembalikan saja lah. Khawatir si konflik yang mbak katakan itu. Doakan aku yaaaaaa… 🙂

  7. Uwi

    August 5, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Wow, heibaaat Lit. Salute. *ga bisa ngomong banyak, cuma bisa melongo*

  8. nova

    August 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    you’ve showed me many thing WAY BEYOND chemistry: the power of sincere teaching and sisterhood 😉

    – mengenang sore2 yang telah lalu di balkon al-irfan 😉

    1. nova

      August 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm

      btw.. ni komen grammatically salah yak :))

      1. Lita

        August 27, 2008 at 9:16 pm

        Mananya? :mrgreen:
        Aaaaaah…. aku jadi kangeeeeennnnnn *weks, ga mungkin balik ke umur SMA lagi la yau*

  9. hitri

    August 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Indonesia butuh orang orang kayak lita. Kok ada ya ortu nyuap guru……ngeri amat mental nyuap pake uang kayak gitu ya

  10. andreas

    September 6, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    hadiah untuk ibu guru yang baik

    hikayat bulan adalah hikayat yang mengalir
    di arus waktu yang perlahan, tenang dan teduh
    seperti percakapan dan narasi kasih bunda
    jelang upik dan buyung tertidur

    percakapan dan narasi kasih yang tak henti bertumbuh
    dalam jiwa ketika harapan bermekaran atau patah

    salam hangat


    October 21, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Ibu Guru … somehow I googled ‘MacBook pro’ and it showed me this blog … btw, salut untuk keteguhan sikapnya … isteri aku juga pernah mengalaminya (dia dosen), dan kita kembalikan lagi ke or-tu si mahasiswa …

    Eh, ada 2 persamaan Ibu Guru dan aku … (1) fans-nya Apple, lalu (2) suka pisang …. ha ha ha ….


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