Trisha Reloaded

Dedicated to Trisha, as always. Dedicated also to L, my source of inspiration, and the reason why I choose to see the bright side of teaching.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I teach because

It didn’t seem like so long ago that I wrote this, and today, 8 months later, I see my students in the same classroom, heads bowed low in full concentration as they wrote their English essays for the preliminary exams.

I walked down the rows of tables, and I looked at each one of them, youngsters whom I had spent much time with the last 2 years, and I knew, with a sudden pang, that they would leave this school soon. How do I explain the wave of melancholy that swept over me, as well as the slight anxiety as I peered over their shoulders to glimpse at what they had written?

I wished I had telepathic powers, as I frantically sent thought signals to each one of my different charges. Please watch your tenses! Punctuate your dialogues properly! Don’t put a comma there!

How is it that, even as I face many daily frustrations in my job, my heart surges with anticipation and hope the minute I step into the classroom and as I look at the 41 pairs of eyes, I know, with absolute clarity, why I am still teaching?

The other day, a student SMSed me, the student whose hairdo I had botched up, and he said, “(sniff) Thank you for the 2 years of guidance. I will remember you forever.” My eyes welled up, and I was too embarrassed to explain to my husband why an SMS from a student can turn me to such mush.

Tomorrow the school celebrates Teachers’ Day. For some reasons, I don’t wish to be there. I am quite uncomfortable about the outpouring of gratitude and appreciation from my students, an avalanche of thanksgiving all in one day that seems rather unnatural. I feel very pai seh to receive gifts from students. In any case, I have a whole year of memories of wonderful moments with my students to savour. And a simple, heartfelt SMS from a student when I least expect it, is enough reward to last me for this lifetime.

11 Comments:

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Ensui said...

"I wished I had telepathic powers, as I frantically sent thought signals to each one of my different charges. Please watch your tenses! Punctuate your dialogues properly! Don’t put a comma there!"

nice piece of prose! i can really imagine your state of mind and your anxiety. :)

"My eyes welled up, and I was too embarrassed to explain to my husband why an SMS from a student can turn me to such mush."

heh. i dun think you should be embarrassed to be turn into mush after a student's SMS. its due to such highlights that make a teacher's job all the more worthwhile and rewarding. :)

keep up the good work and please allow yourself to feel that you deserve the "outpouring of gratitude and appreciation" from your students. i, for one, certainly feel that you deserve it. :)

 
At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Ganga said...


My wife is a teacher as well. Every aspect of Singapore has become an element of a corporation - Singapore Inc. Singapore is being run like a profit-centred organization rather than a country, hence, the social necessities of the country are dependent on the charity of the working professionals. Teachers teach well not because they are given the opportunity to but because they feel they need to - above and beyond all the obstacles laid out by the system. These obstacles are, in fact, purely related to the showcase of efficiency - facts and figures, flamboyant facade etc. - which in no way contribute to the education of students.

I am attaching my comments to this post rather than your other 'popular' one to avoid being 'one of many blabberings'. From the way you express yourself, I would deduce that you are an above-average English teacher. Take care and all the best.

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger jeffyen said...

Happy Teacher's Day Trisha! Hopefully more folks, especially those at the top, gets to read your rants... no need paiseh to receive gift lah... you deserve them! :)

 
At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

End of it all, it's still worth it, Right? Happy Teacher's Day!

 
At 10:43 PM, Blogger sÞ¡ηηєє said...

you gave me another insight into a teacher's thought.

will drop by for more ;)

 
At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Piper said...

I wish I have telepathic powers too! :D

Happy Teacher's Day.

 
At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i share your sentiments about not wanting to be there. wrote about it on my blog. cheers.

I want you kids to know that it is you who make teaching worthwhile and the paperwork bearable. I want you to know that it is not what you do on that one day of the year but rather the friendship and comradeship that develops in the classroom, in the canteen, over ideas, issues and cups of coffee that matters more than anything else. And those memories are worth infinitely more than anything else in the world. So yes, thank you all so much for making this job a meaningful one and thank you for making it all worthwhile for me. :) Even though I’m a grouchy old bastard most days. :)

 
At 4:43 AM, Blogger singaporeteach said...

Link me up please.
Read my latest entry too... My boys were really sweet... Let's work hard for the deserving children...

 
At 10:08 AM, Anonymous anonymousnoises said...

Sorry, left out my link earlier.

i share your sentiments about not wanting to be there. wrote about it on my blog. cheers.

I want you kids to know that it is you who make teaching worthwhile and the paperwork bearable. I want you to know that it is not what you do on that one day of the year but rather the friendship and comradeship that develops in the classroom, in the canteen, over ideas, issues and cups of coffee that matters more than anything else. And those memories are worth infinitely more than anything else in the world. So yes, thank you all so much for making this job a meaningful one and thank you for making it all worthwhile for me. :) Even though I’m a grouchy old bastard most days. :)

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger trisha said...

Singaporeteach & anonymousnoises:

I share your sentiments. It is the students that make me continue in my job. I may have lots of frustrations with the system in school, but I will teach anyway because the students are what make my day.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger John Riemann Soong said...

oh hey anonymousnoises, what a small world this is (a teacher of some of my friends).

I wish I had the privilege of being able to SMS my teachers, anyhow. It sounds quite the cordiality.

 

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