Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Beloved Students

Carrie Chuah, Amudah, Alyssa

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I received a response to one of my articles. It is from Elissa Chan, one of my friends from Hongkah North Toastmasters Club. It reads as follows :-

"One of the greatest rewards in being a school teacher is, even after many, many years, the students still remember you.

My identical twin is a primary school teacher. Yet, many a time some teenagers would approach me and asked " Miss Tan, can you still remember me? I am so and so". Politely I have to smile and say, "oh, you must be referring to my twin sister".

Jane, my identical twin sister (we were borne 30 minutes apart) has been a school teacher all her life - from day one when she started working. This is her first job and likely to remain till her retirement. Although I also aspired to be a school teacher at that time (it was the most respected job in the 1960s), I could not get a teaching job as I did not have a credit in English. When I resat the following year and qualified (I got Div One ) the education system has changed. You see, sometimes things are not meant to be and I have to content to be a Jill of All Trades till I find my calling. I realised that I enjoy meeting people and it was a challenge especially you have sales targets to meet. Today,I believe my skin is probably 2 inches thick. I can strike up a conversation easily (thanks to toastmasters) with any strangers."

How true! Sometimes I would be having a meal in a cafe, and someone would come up to me and say, "Hi! Ms. Kam! Remember me? I'm one of your students!"

What a joy to see your "kids" growing up! And often, what a transformation! A transformation beyond my recognition! Many have become more good looking with an air of confidence and sophistication. It is generally easier for the students to recognise the teachers.

Recently, it was a happy get-to-gether with two of my ex-students from River Valley High School , Choon Mui aka Carrie and Yue Hua aka Alyssa, when we were invited by Carrie to celebrate hers and her boyfriend, Simon's birthday. Choon Mui is now doing her own business with Simon and she is also a property agent. She is still as bubbly and cheerful as ever, her trade mark.

Yue Hua is now practising law. She has her own legal firm. She has an aura of gentleness and coyness, but beneath all that, she is a lady of tenacity and courage! She studied law even as she was a full time nurse. I always take my hat off to those who are able to study and work and the same time. Ah! Ah! Pas moi! (Not me!) After completing her bar exams and internship and working in four reputable law firms, Yue Hua decided to set up her own firm. Yue Hua shared with me some of her tough cases, and gave glory to God for her success. Her motto is to stand firmly on the truth, and nothing but the truth. She will always do her best and leave God to do the rest.

Amudah is an avid learner. Though illiterate, she is able to speak excellent English and now I am encouraging her to learn to read. When she was working with me in my restaurant, I taught her to prepare many dishes eg. Caesar Salad, Tiramisu, Pasta and Pizza. Amu committed everything to memory, and sometimes tried to recognise some of the words in the menu. At present, although she is no longer working with me, I am teaching her to read as we meet quite often. She in turn teaches me spoken Tamil.

As a teacher, I have always realised that there is only that much that I could do, and always pray for my students' safety, success and happiness in life.
Gan Chau

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