Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Teachers Day Retrospective

The following text is a posting to commemorate the Teacher's Day celebration at St. Michael's this Friday morning. I came to understand that this retrospective might be added to this year's school magazine which I am not sure whether it will be featured or not.

Let's assume that the content will be edited for the purpose of length constraints. Here is the completed text which I just finished just now.

For every student at the age of 12 - the younger the better - living in Ipoh, going to St. Michael's Institution is a dream that they would definitely want to achieve and a privilege. Through positive word of mouth that covers achievements in various fields, you name it academics, sports and so on - that's how St. Michael reaches its reputation as one of the best schools in Malaysia.

Starting day one in St. Michael's is like walking into an unchartered territory with you being on your own. From then on, you start to make friends, acquaintances. You start to know more about the school, who are the teachers that are in the morning / afternoon, the teachers that teach the class that you belong. With that, you get to be familiar with the school environment, the school's culture. You get to say that I am happy to be in such school as St. Michael's. But the biggest effect that a student will feel would be, that he will have some sort of emotional attachment with the teachers that might be teaching them until they finish school.

The truth is that when you step into St. Michael's you will never walk alone. The very first person that will help you to get use to the environment is always your class teacher.

Looking back after finishing school 5 years ago prompted me to recollect my years in the school. Of course life in school is like a daily family drama. There are moments of happiness, sadness and anger that no student can escape from it. You may not learn to appreciate the efforts of some teachers whose personality you hate most but when you move into the working world as I do, you will have a change of perception of your former teachers. It is through them that I learned things such as we go on, we cannot always depend on others to hold hands with you all the time. It is through them that I learned that you either take their word or you don't hear them. It is through them that you learn to be treated as an adult. As nature's law, a man tends to go wiser as he grows older. I could see from the other perspective that teachers had more things to do than a student would do. He / she has to prepare lessons, mark your homework, has to tend to their family and more misc. jobs. Imagine the amount of work your are' just a portion of what they have now!

See how fortunate you students are? Shouldn't we say thank you to them once for a while?

Like I've said just now, St. Michael's is more than a school. It is a place where there are annual moments in school that will inspire you to reach your potential. Everyday when I went for the morning assembly, the teachers and the principal would be talking about things that will try to inspire you and perhaps motivate you to do something that will benefit and give a boost of reputation to the school.

I was inspired by their words. I was also inspired by my seniors. That's why I set out to achieve things personally and for the school before I finished my time here. I won some sports awards (Special Achievements), I led a team of members performing stage crew work for 'Desert Song', I appeared in the newspaper twice - recalling that, now I realized that it was the teachers that inspired me to do so. At that time, I could feel that my time in there would be running out.

I came to understand that to this day some teachers still cannot understand the rebellious behavior of some students. The reasons are: students now have the kind of maturity that is not seen compared to the students 20 years ago. There are teachers that still go by the book - the book of the 1980s or even to exert their 'shut up and listen' influence. If they are to stick to those, you can never win the respect and appreciation of students. We are now in the new millennium, not in the 1980's. Thus teachers will have come out with something innovative to attract their interest. I watched the movie "I Am Not Stupid Too" and I came to realize that teachers will have embrace new approaches prove their ability to inspire students.

Secondly, the school will need to learn a new principle: flexibility. We cannot always depend on precision. Sometimes there are things unavoidable where we may end up a little late or early like recess, lessons. I am still surprised to see that this was hardly practiced in school. We are not robots that must be precise in everything!. We are humans that make mistakes in our lives. It is part of the life's parcel. Why aren't we doing this?

Recalling my times sitting in classroom during lessons, I believed through observation and psychology analysis that the enjoyment of learning actually comes from a teacher's magnetic personality. If he / she has the charisma that draws the attention of students, maybe a good sense of humor and the most important of all, creates the proper atmosphere / motivation, then the teacher has already won the respect of students. Sadly the number of those teachers - those ICON teachers - that has that kind of personality - dwindle as every year passes by. Were it not for them, I would not be writing this mail.

There are ICONIC teachers who inspired me - who eventually made me aware and understand life better as I move on. Who are they? They are:

1. Mr. S. Saminathan - my Form 2 class teacher - has the wonderful sense of humor that I enjoyed it a lot.
2. Mr. Louis Rozario - the principal - were it not for his true Michaelian style of leadership and motivation, I would have a different understanding and appreciation of life.
3. Mr. Zahari Badri - my Form 3 Living Skills teacher - he has that kind of curiosity that and things that inspired me to do better - I remembered he asked me other things about my electric project and even things like my life that I never asked.
4. Mr. Mohd Darus Daud - my Form 4 and 5 teacher - I really loved his personality and style.
5. Mr. V. Paltoray - At first he was strict, but I started to appreciate him and enjoyed his lessons very much
6. Mrs. Adeline Tan - My friend's mother and teacher. Lovely, but when she retired, I admit that the quality of school plays are degrading.
7. Ms. Tan Mee Hoong - taught me a few things in life that I have to tolerate and understand about
8. Mr. Lee Kem Siang - One of the ICON teachers that has that caring personality and wonderful character that I would appreciate eventually.
9. Mr. Koi Siew Chay - A larger than life figure which I respected him and we would have a good talk in years after I left school.
10. Mrs. Oo Phaik Tin - my Living Skills teacher, the best of all the three years I learnt L.S
11. Mr. See Thian Seng - used to help me through some things. Wonderful man, before he came the state assemblyman for Port Weld.

I am delighted to be given the chance to offer my retrospective of my school times and at the same time wishing my teachers a Happy Teachers day.

Melvin Mah

1 comment:

  1. Most of my teachers are typical Johorean-freaks! They shouldn't be allowed to teach in school - they should be in a circus. No fond memories... :(


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