Today, we celebrate Teacher’s Day. Featured in today’s papers are celebrities talking about their teachers. I feel the great teachers I am privileged to have known should also be credited publicly, and this is my little ways of honouring them.
Madam Chen Xiu Qi was my form teacher from primary three to primary six. She taught me Chinese throughout and craft in some years. I joined the extra curriculum she was in charged of, gardening, hence my love for gardening now. Where I used to weed mimosa out of cow grass in primary school, I now weed cow grass out of my carpet grass in my home. She was there with me when I pierced myself with a rusty needle while doing embroidery in primary three. She was there when I lost the $40 school bus fee, incurring the wrath from my parents, except that I hadn’t lost it. It was stolen by a fellow classmate.
She is the glue that binds the class together, so much so that the class gathered this year on our joint 50th birthday to pay her our tribute.
Most of my teachers in secondary school have passed on. I lost touch with my favourite literature teacher, Ms Michelle Lim. She ignited my love for literature. When I visited her a year after graduation, she told me, you are very lazy. You will go far if only you work harder. I always remember this parting line of hers. When I next visited the school, I was very disappointed to discover that she had left.
My youngest son Aaron paid a visit to our alma meta yesterday, something he does annually with his classmates. His favourite teacher, Mr Tan Eng Kiet, used to play soccer with them when the boys return to visit.
But the teacher who had left an impression on me is Lee Huang, Aaron’s teacher in primary one, because even when he was in primary four, he was still singing her praise. He told me that she was the kindest person he knew, which made me quite jealous, hearing it from my 9-year old son.
My oldest son Andreas was lucky to have favourite teachers who helped him develop interest in the subject. One is Mrs Lilian Sng, whom Andreas often talked about in primary school. I am always grateful for teachers who inspire, especially when Andreas was just a mediocre student in that subject.
I am also impressed with the young man who taught Andreas O’level Chinese. He spent a Sunday tutoring the weaker students before their O’levels Chinese at a noisy cafe before the whole group was invited home by my husband while we vacated the house for them.
There are some unfortunate ones among us who do not have a favourite teacher, like my second son Ivan. Try as I might, I cannot recall even a single one he liked, despite me asking him many times. But nevertheless, favourite or not, I am sure they had contributed to his learning journey. Teaching a class is hard. I know, because I did two months relief teaching after A’levels, to students who were almost my age.So thank you to all teachers for your hard work.
Happy Teacher’s Day.