Every year around this time, as a teacher, I looked forward to a new academic year. During the end of school year holidays I had about selected the school under15 team and was waiting for the inter-school football season to begin. But most of all I looked forward to a new set of students that will spend most of their waking hours with me more than with their parents! BTW that was what my late Pa told me when I chose to be a teacher. Daunting? Of course, it is. As a teacher, how your kids progress depends on YOU and not the parents! But I encountered little problem in this area as I tried my utmost during my 19 years as an educator to emulate the great teachers I had during my schooldays. It was also by choice that I chose Karen as my life partner, because she was a teacher, and a great one she turned out to be. We were strict? Of course, more than strict. But today our closest buddies are still our former students.
Doctors want their child to become a doctor. The engineer wants his child to become an engineer. Businessmen want their wards to become CEOs. BUT a teacher wants his child to become one ot the above! Nobody wants to become a teacher BY CHOICE. Very sad but that’s the truth! So amongst us teachers, we have the good, the bad and the ugly, which is also the truth.
As a teacher over the years, I have come to see the work of a teacher inside and out. And I know that it takes a lot of heart and mind to do the stuff we teachers do. We have to be okay inside because who WE are is what we GIVE.
Earlier I said I had great teachers. Mr Tan Teik Hooi used to throw books at me to read. I need not have to go to the library. The books came in quick succession always accompanied with a reprimand that I was taking too long to finish the last book. When I told him that I want to be a teacher like him, he wrote on my autograph book:
"If a seed of a lettuce will not grow, we do not blame the lettuce. Instead, the fault lies with us for not having nourished the seed properly." - Buddhist proverb
Chegu, that is how special you have to be!
Do follow me thru this episode:
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued:
"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
To stress his point he said to another guest;
"You're a teacher, Boon. Be honest. What do you make?"
Teacher Boon, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,
"You want to know what I make?
(She paused for a second, then began...)
"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like he was a Medal of Honor winner.Then I give a reassuring pat on the shoulder of another because he showed improvement. He had only two red marks over the last monthly test in which he had three red marks!
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 min. without an I Pod or a Game Cube.
You want to know what I make?
(She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)
I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them how to write and then I make them write.
Keyboarding isn't everything.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my Malay, Chinese and Indian students learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they
were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life
( Boon paused one last time and then continued.)
Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ALL YOUR LIVES, EDUCATING KIDS AND PREPARING THEM TO BECOME CEO's, AND DOCTORS AND ENGINEERS..........
What do you make Mr. CEO?
His jaw dropped; he went silent.
NOW CHEGU YOU REALIZE HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE!
Now GO make 2012 the most special year for you and your charges.