Saturday, 23 May 2015

by Evelyn Loh and Natasha Tan, Sophomore 2 Terra, Class of 2017. 

This is the month of gratitude - and on one particularly special day each year, we thank the people who ask us to memorize the first twenty elements of the Periodic Table, assign us frighteningly high piles of homework, give us those dreaded topical tests and most importantly: inspire learning. We celebrate Teachers' Day in honour of our beloved mentors: the unsung heroes of Cempaka who put up with us frustrating students on a (close to) daily basis. 

 Our teachers cast away their own tiredness to finish keying in our marks or coming up with those dreaded exam questions, working until the late hours of the night to finish marking our homework and papers - the very same endless piles of homework and tests that we were so hesitant to do and study for. You would think that by now, they’d much rather give us up and storm off into the Hawaiian paradise and relax, very much like they deserve to!

Ms Luna, the teacher known for changing hairstyles more times than we could keep track - and successfully rocking each and every one of her new looks!
Sometimes, we just have to know our teachers a little bit better to understand and appreciate the amount of work they put in for us. I'm sure we all know that Mr Sheat is quite possibly the most obsessively detailed teacher to have ever graced our school - His mantra "Memorize OR DIE" “Put an asterisk before Must Memorize!”, “double underline this, single underline that” is renowned around the school, even to those who have not personally been taught by him. You probably even know that Mr Ghafur has a lot (like, a lot) of Louis Vuitton collections, and have seen Puan Nurra carry around a cute little handbag-shaped money box for the sale of the 'Annie' Production merchandise. However, we aren't just talking about the figure we see in the classrooms - we mean to scratch below the surface, read between the lines and go a little deeper

  For example, did you know that Encik Dzamir completely adores Nasi Ayam - and that he spent a year living in the jungle doing research, because of his passion for wildlife? Have you ever come across the Facebook photos that Puan Jamaliah posted of her garden, and wondered about the care and effort she put into maintaining it? 

Our Head Prefect, Ruhaani Mahadeva with the beloved Maths Teacher (Spot the calculator!)
The Sports Department also has their share of paradoxes; We recently found out that Encik Salleh is scared of balloons - which is quite ironic, considering the bundle of balloons each year for Sports Day. And who would have thought that Encik Fairuz of all people would be afraid of cockroaches?

Ms Jasmine is in fact the shortest member of her family - We can only imagine how tall the rest of her relatives must be....
Admittedly, we students are so busy and caught up with the thought that our teachers only want to bury us under more homework - which is quite simply part of their job - that we tend to forget that they are ordinary people like us, with their own share of quirks and passions. It goes without saying that there is no other better way for us to be able to repay our teachers besides putting in effort into our schoolwork and exams. However, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to give them the respect they most certainly deserve outside of the classroom!

Who said that a student's gratitude and affection towards their teachers should be limited to just one day of a year? 

by Unknown 18:23 17 comments


  1. My career as a teacher has spanned more than 10 years (though before that was providing logic homework help) - with students from primary levels through graduate school, and one of the things I've learned along the way is that teaching is complicated (DUH!)

    What may work wonderfully with one student may not work at all for another. So, realistically, we teach to the largest number of students who learn in a similar way. Good, bad, or in-between, that's reality.

    Another reality is that many times, students with special needs require a disproportionate amount of time compared to other students who may be able to learn with less guidance - another reality - good, bad, or otherwise.

    I've also learned that adding money to education programs is not the only - or often the best - strategy. Smaller class sizes or class loads, more equitable distribution of resources, adequate materials (not necessarily fancy ones), and less-stressed teachers are among the many, many factors affecting a classroom environment.

    Another fact I've encountered is that a large number of people in education are not suited – or suitable - for their jobs - administrators, counselors, and teachers. Good teachers do not become so by virtue of their job choice. But the demand for excellence far exceeds the supply.

    How can this be addressed? I think we already know, and I've got some good ideas myself.... but complicated situations need complex responses over an extended time, not just "This year's new thing."

    A well-worn, soapbox to be sure; I’ll stop now.

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