Budaya Salim

Kiss the Teacher’s Hand: Not Only a Culture, but also a Need

Tentrem Fitriana walked into the gate of SMA Nasional Malang (SMANAS). That day, this X grade student of science 1 was wearing a red batik uniform of SMANAS, a white veil, and a white skirt. Many other students walk in front of and behind her wearing the same uniform, but it is different for the male students who are wearing pants. Carrying their bags containing books and stationery, they walked up the stairs. In the SMANAS lobby, the teachers who also wearing batik were lined up neatly.

Tentrem and other students, one by one took the hands of the teachers. The hands were also welcomed and followed by the smiles of the teachers. They shake hands. Students kiss hands to the teachers. After that, they walked to their classes. That kind of scene can be seen every morning at SMANAS. The culture of shaking hands and kissing that is done by the students to the teachers has been going on since the beginning of the leadership of Drs. Rusdi, M.Si. as the headmaster.

Around 2012, SMANAS was known as the worst school, and its students did not respect their teachers. In fact, the teacher is not considered important to them. Since his first year in office, Mr. Rusdi started the culture of shaking hands with the teacher, and doing lecture in the morning before the lesson begins. He hold on to the religion, that God will bless the success of people if there is pleasure from their parents. “In the Book of Ihya Ulumuddin, the so-called parents there are three categories,” said the head of SMANAS who is also a preacher. “The three categories, namely (1) people who give birth and have blood relations, (2) people who maintain and there is no blood relations, and (3) people who lead to the path of truth. In this third category, teachers and ustadz are included,” said Mr. Rusdi.

According to Mr. Rusdi, these three people not only came to their prayer, but also brought happiness. “If we make people happy, there will be seven angels praying for us, people who make other people happy,” said the man born in Sumenep. This was felt by M. Fitra Aditia, the 12th grade student of Language class. Adit claimed, before becoming a student of SMANAS, for him, shaking hands is only a sign of respect. However, when he was a high school student, the principal explained that shaking hands can also wash away sins. Since then, Adit voluntarily shook and kissed every teacher’s hands he met. “When shaking hands with the teacher, I feel cool, calm, and happy, different from shaking hands with friends,” said this student who likes music. In fact, Adit admitted that when we often do shaking hands, then it will became a matter of reflex, without being aware of it immediately.

Not only in the lobby, shaking and kissing hands are always done by the students of SMANAS both outside and in the school environment, but also in the classroom, in the canteen, in the classroom corridor, in the parking lot, and wherever students meet the teachers. Fifty times a day students run into a teacher, fifty times a student shakes hands with a teacher. In fact, the athlete class students shake hands and kiss the teacher’s hand when they are in the field. These actions often get the attention of people around. Before and after competing for example, athletes can be sure to shake hands and kiss the hands of the teachers who present in the field. Yogi Amirul Masrukin admitted that it was not strange to shake hands and kiss the teacher’s hand when in the field. “For me, it is a form of respect for his presence and support,” said one of the SMANAS volleyball athletes.

In line with Adit and Yogi, Maret Tika Wulandari admitted that she shook hands and kissed the teacher’s hand to get blessing. Maret believes that shaking hands with parents can give you blessing. “Parents’ blessing brings God’s blessing, and teachers are parents at school,” said this 10th grade student of social 2.

Mr. Rusdi explained that shaking hands is one of the indicators of compliance. “Obeying God, obeying parents, and the belief that shaking hands is a powerful medium to achieve success,” he explained. Shaking hands with the teacher and success have a parallel relationship. The more shake hands with the teacher, the higher the chance of success because volunteerism, joy, happiness, and the prayers of the seven angels who were present as students shook hands with the teacher could lead them to success.

The culture of shaking and kissing the hands of SMANAS students received a good response from Nur Hayati, S.Pd., M.Ed., A lecturer in English Literature, Universitas Negeri Malang. At that time, Mrs. Nur was doing a research on evaluating material to make books. Along the walk from the gate to room of 12th grade students of Science 2, the students who passed her must have served and kissed her hand in turn. “The children here are very polite because everyone always shakes hands when they meet,” she said. Mrs. Nur claimed to be impressed because not only when she came, when she returned home, the SMANAS students still shook hands with her.

Mr. Rusdi realized that the shaking hands activity when viewed from a disturbed aspect would certainly be disturbing. There are times when a student or teacher was so busy working on something, but must stop the activity to shake hands. However, the essence is not interrupting or not disturbing. He analogizes with prayer. In prayer, the one who needs is not God, but humans. It comes also for shaking hands. The one who needs is not the teacher, but the students. He hopes that SMANAS teachers do not feel fed up with being mistreated by students because it is their investment towards success. “Because of these beliefs, shaking hands is not only culture, but needs,” he stressed.

Mr. Rusdi’s wishes were welcomed by the teachers of SMANAS, one of them was Evien Hikmawati, S.Pd. This Mathematics teacher admitted that all this time she had never been disturbed if a student had shaken and kissed her hand. Precisely by shaking hands, she can wish students success. “Every time they kiss our hands, there is a prayer for their success,” said Mrs. Evien. (bya)

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