Friday, June 26, 2009

The Power of Memory

A text by Lee Lee, my childhood friend







I was asked to write something to thank the teacher who has left an impact in my life. Almost immediately i am reminded of 曾玉清师, my primary school teacher who has thought us for 6 years, from Standard 1 to standard 6.

曾玉清师 was my favorite teacher, whatever she thought is still engraved in my mind. 6 years in the primary school wasn't that long, but i have fond memories of the school and this teachers.

When a primary classmate of ours, Kim Fong came back from US, dropped by to visit, with another friend Kooi Heng, then we got to know that 曾玉清师 had suffered from cancer. I was very sad.

I wanted to pay her a visit, but somehow, procrestination got a better hold of me. By the time i received the late teacher's news few months later, my favorite teacher had passed away. I regretted my procrestination and I was deeply sadden myself for not making effort to just visit her.

The above was a gist of what was written by Lee Lee, in remembrance of her favorite teacher who has thought her 6 years in the primary school.

It was our planned effort to make the teacher happy, unknowingly Lee Lee has churned out her deepest thought, and a sincere confession which comes with some degree of regret and guilt.

Lee Lee, i appreciate your openness, i thank you for sharing.

While Lee lee has excellent memories of what the teacher has thought her 40 years ago, personally I experienced something quite the opposite, not with 曾玉清师 but my primary school's Maths teacher.

Up to today, I puzzled at this particular teacher, who was my Maths teacher for 6 years in the primary school, why he hated me so much by picking fault with me, and find many ways to punish me during the Maths lesson. I still shivers at the thought of my knuckles being hit so hard with rulers, irregardless of how hard I tried to please him by doing all the works given.

For no apparent reason that I knew, the Maths teacher, before the starting of class, would call me up, isolated me to stand in front of the class, while he carried on with his lesson, the entire 30 minutes, if it was one period, and sometimes more if it was two periods. I stood there like an idiot, wondering what was done that has caused his wrath to unleash his anger towards me, but unable to escape from the humiliation & embarassment that I was subjected to.

I was hurting and hated to be treated in such mean ways, I didn't know what to do but endured the Maths teacher's abusive behavior. The unspoken fears did have an impact in my life then.

Growing up, I have a deep rooted hatred towards the Maths teacher, so much so it affected my learning of Maths in secondary school.

One thing I am sure now, I dislike pain-enhanced teaching, if at all it achieved the objective of learning.

For this Maths teacher,
I will say he doesn't deserve my respect of him.

And so.............., TEACHER/S......, do have a heart for the children that is put under your care.

Many many years down the road, someone may put up your picture while they blog, and listed down all the crimes you committed against humanity

The Maths teacher that I dislike most, with lousy teaching.This is Xu

Lao shi ( Xu lao shu )

or just call you up to say, hei my dear teacher, how are you ? have time for lunch or dinner ?

or during the Teacher's Day, someone you unexpected may call you to say, you are my favorite teacher,

I appreciate you.

Surely there is a value that ties up with childhood memories.


Anonymous said...

I live with a teacher, and am also a qualified teacher. Your tribute to teachers is very sweet and thoughtful. Teachers' wield a disproportionately large influence because they play a significant role during the most vulnerable period of a person's life (childhood being a very impressionable period of time in anybody's life).

The actions of a teacher are magnified because it is on impressionalble children.

Having said that, teaching methods and principles have changed dramatically over the years. It used to be primitive, unenlightened and even cruel(slamming heads into desks, caning, slapping etc). The teachers who practiced those methods did not know any better. I suspect a lot of us, if we were brought up as teachers in those decades, would have done the same thing.

So I say, despise the method, but forgive the man (Xu). Forgive him for he knew not what he did. The teachers' training colleges of today would have done a better job of training him than the TTC of his decade. He was a product of his time.

We are so much a product of our environment and the times we are born in.

Shalom and peace.

The trekker, agnes said...

hi Adirya, thanks for highlighting the past and the present methods of teaching, teacher does plays an important role in children's life.