Thursday, June 7, 2012

A tribute to teachers


One teacher can make a change but a succession of dedicated teachers can change a nation.

To thank only a single teacher for shaping us into wonderful personalities would be tantamount to blatant disregard for blessings in the form of teachers.

Throughout our school lives, we come across various personalities imparting knowledge in unique ways. Whatever uniqueness they possess, an outstanding teacher’s dedication can be clearly seen from afar.

Although it has been years since I left school, I would like to thank a few teachers from Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) Sitiawan who made a change in my life.

First and foremost is my class teacher in primary school, Mr Ching Eu Pang. His tireless efforts in piling a tonne of homework on us every single school day has been an unbeaten record.

I owe my neat handwriting to him simply because the first thing he did every morning was to check our handwriting before collecting our homework. Those with bad handwriting had to redo their homework. No wonder the whole class ended up with good handwriting.

Then came Encik Zakaria who showed us the wonders of having confidence in a subject.

He made Bahasa Malaysia so exciting that we longed for more. He also took the trouble to improve our Jawi writing skills which remains an asset treasured till today.

The commerce master who introduced ledgers and journals into my life was none other than the late Encik Ibrahim. His teachings have been useful in everyday life and his desire to impart knowledge was impressive.

For three years in lower secondary, I was blessed to learn Home Science under the strict guidance of Mrs Ding.

She was a perfectionist who demanded the best. I am proud to have learnt cooking and sewing from one of the best in the field.

Out of fear of having to redo our mistakes in the Home Science and cookery rooms, we slowly bloomed into talented beings.

She even taught us to crochet after the final exams and opened our eyes to a whole new world of wonders. All these skills remain as part of me and Mrs Ding’s guidance will be forever treasured.

Mr Patrick Fernandez was another colourful character in the school. He was my English and Geography master whose knowledge for these two subjects was second to none.

Although we dared not whisper during his lessons for fear of being admonished, his classes were lively as he always had tricks up his sleeves that left us in stitches.

We learnt about countries on every continent, right down to tiny details such as the presence of elephant grass in Africa.

Our map drawing skills improved by leaps and bounds. Our vocabulary improved too through his pop quizzes which taught us that English was certainly an unquenchable language.

The one who instilled a love for Mathematics in my life was none other than my tutor, Mrs K. Nagarajah. She had a way with Maths that benefited many children in Sitiawan. She had been bestowed with the Midas touch and through simplicity and precision, could shape anyone into a mathematician.

The Additional Mathematics maestro in school was none other than Mr Song. During his lessons, only his voice was heard as the entire class was in full concentration. He showed us that the subject was not difficult through daily exercises.

Physics too became a fun subject under the carefree guidance of Encik Salleh Abood. He made Physics so exciting that nobody saw it as a dull subject.

His concept of starting from simplicity before diversity would have certainly produced many future Newtons.

These are only a handful of wonderful teachers in ACS Sitiawan who made a difference in my life more than 30 years ago.

As Teachers Day is celebrated every year, many of us would reminisce about our glorious school days and the people who made a difference in our lives.

To all the dedicated teachers in Malaysia, you are truly the unsung heroes of the nation and your work will forever be etched in the hearts of your students.

As Mark Twain quoted, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”. A teacher’s kindness will be remembered for years to come as you are the ones left to mould young ones into mature beings.

This is the power endowed to teachers all over. Let’s celebrate all the teachers who have toiled to create people with hearts and knowledge.

V. T. ARASOO

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