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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Happy Teacher's Day

I remember when we used to have blackboards and coloured chalk in primary school. We used to decorate the classroom with home-made streamers that were made from meticulously-cut color paper. We'd spend the whole night 'gumming' strips of color paper into rings. Then we'd also make teacher's day cards. We'll get to school early in the morning to adorn the blackboard with a plethora of colors and caricatures of our teachers. Sometimes we depict certain teachers with feather-dusters or canes. Sometimes we draw flowers and trees and birds as filler material. In the end, the blackboard is a work of art. If only we had digital cameras then, I would have gladly taken photos of our combined efforts in producing this artpiece.

Now the blackboard is extinct in Singapore. I don't know if students still make streamers or blow up balloons to decorate the class. Heck, I don't even think students have the privilege of seeing their own teacher brandishing 'weapons of mass destruction' such as the feather duster, meter-long wooden ruler or rotan cane.

Today is Teacher's Day. I have many fond memories as a student back in the early 1980s. Some teachers have left a very positive influence on me. Some teachers are still the ultimate terrorists in my mind. Some teachers have since passed away - Bless their souls.

I might as well honour the teachers that have taught me through the years. I will honour them as much as I can remember...

In primary school, there were Liang laoshi (chinese and mathematics), Sun laoshi (chinese), Mdm Peng (english), Fu laoshi (chinese and bible knowledge in chinese!), Miss Cecilia Ng (english), Miss Stella Tan (cadet scout mistress), Mr Peter Tan (social studies), and Mrs Mary Goh (english).

Then in secondary school , I had Mr Chee Lian Kee who taught us English and English Literature in secondary 1 and 2. He was also my form teacher. Mr Chee used to smoke his pipe while he wasn't teaching us. I remember his crisp Queen's English pronunciation and his beautiful penmanship. He was the one who introduced us to Alex Haley's "Roots" and Anita Desai's "Village by the Sea". The two books opened my eyes to the lesser developed worlds. I also appreciated the black culture since then and learned about slavery. Mr Chee retired after we left secondary 2. If the retirement age was 60 at that time, he should be 76 by now. I wonder if he's still around.

Mr Timothy Lim Kim Seng taught us Geography. He was also our Scout Troop Master. My batch of Marist Scouts still keep in contact with him. I still recall the piles and piles and piles of notes he gave us. Last I heard, he's in ACS Independent and he's got a huge teddy bear collection.

Ms Grace "Rambo" Ho. Her smell still lingers in my head after all these years! We could tell when she was coming to class by her scent from miles away. She used to make us copy notes right out from our textbooks. We didn't understand the significance of it. We used to score terribly in our Geog exams because of her unorthodox teaching methods. In Sec 4, I stood up on behalf of the class to seek redress in our Geog prelims. After all, most of us had to rely on Geog as a humanities subject to enter junior college. She told me later that I would do well in geog and that I would appreciate geography later in life. She was right. Thanks Ms Ho.

Mr Foo Say Mu and Mr Poh taught us Physics and Chemistry respectively. Both were chinese-educated Nantah grads and they were traditionalists. Mr Poh would go around confiscating the class collection of porn magazines and giving us 'electrons' from his PVC wire casing. He was also Mr Fix-It. Students would approach him to repair their broken walkman players and radios and he'd fix them for us.

Mr John Teo was another English teacher who was very good at puns. He also taught me Bible Knowledge on the Gospels.

Then there were Low Poyen and Han laoshi who taught us Math and Chinese respectively. On hindsight, they didn't get any appreciation from us at all. It was terrible on our part. But hey, boys will be boys.

There was Ms Christina Lim who taught us Math in Sec 1. She was the babe of all teachers at that time. Talk about having crushes on teachers! And then she got married and she broke the hearts of at least half the school. She was also our Scout mistress.

Brother Anthony! He was our principal then, and he's still the principal now! He would go on canoeing trips with us and encourage us to be adventurous and excel in our ECAs. Subconsciously, he build us into all-rounders with compulsory swimming, canoeing and teakwondo.

In junior college, Mrs Low was the most influential teacher. Although she did not teach me (she was the vice-principal), she was a mother-figure to most of us in school. Even when I left school for NS, University and working life, she was there as a counsellor, teacher and friend.

I have so many teachers whom I like to mention but everything is just a blur. There are some things I can remember well, some things are vague. It would require me to write a novel! Whatever it is, teachers have molded me into the person I am today. I really appreciate all of them.

And here's also to the best teachers in my life - Dad and Mom who've guided me throughout my life. I've always believed that teaching is not always from the books, but teaching life skills and imparting knowledge as well.

Thank you to all my teachers! I love you all!


See Why said...

wow...sounds like the type of essay teachers would love to publish in those annual school gala magazines or something! yalor...u shld become a writer-cum-photographer. then again u already are, right?
Hmm...Teacher's Day. makes me think of those teachers at SNG. hated all of them, all except one. most of them are the discriminating type of teacher bunch...once they think you're a bad egg they will treat you like a bad egg all the way from sec 1 to sec 4 (due to all the super gossip about the kids in the staff room). so different from all the RJ teachers, for RJ, i can't think of any teacher that i dislike, all except one. = P

Geraldine Chee said...

Dear blogger,

I am Mr Chee's daughter, found your blog while doing a search online. Mr Chee just passed away on the 10th Feb 2011 at the age of 76. He always talks about all his beloved students in school and I am so glad to see you mention him. Thank you.

Geraldine Chee

Geraldine Chee said...

not 76, aged 78.. Typo error!