A Teacher for All Seasons
A teacher is like Spring,
Who nurtures new green sprouts,
Encourages and leads them,
Whenever they have doubts.
A teacher is like Summer,
Whose sunny temperament
Makes studying a pleasure,
A teacher is like Fall,
With methods crisp and clear,
Lessons of bright colors
And a happy atmosphere.
A teacher is like Winter,
While it’s snowing hard outside,
Keeping students comfortable,
As a warm and helpful guide.
Teacher, you do all these things,
With a pleasant attitude;
You’re a teacher for all seasons,
And you have my gratitude!
By Joanna Fuchs
Slice of definition
How I wish words could stream out of my finger tips just like how it looks so easy and natural for the author of the beautiful poem on teachers’ appreciation above. Teachers are not limited to just teachers in school, though generally tied to school settings, teachers are anybody who have moved/changed/altered your sense of appreciation of the world be it through structure academic, mentoring and introducing you to the knowledge which you never had, or have had but needs some extra polishing. Well, my slice of definition !
Back then, to most of us I believe, a school setting is fun just because we had cool friends and awesome teachers (and that we’re away from our parents). Teehee ! But little did we realise how much of an impact the chemistry between a whole class/individual student with a teacher — be it from the student-teacher relationship aspect or the actual appreciation of a teacher’s teaching, can have on our livelihoods– you know, the things which shape the way we are who we are right now.
I had the privilege becoming student to many great teachers –apparently by looking at the list of schools which my mum has sent me ! Well, my first school after kindy was Convent Bukit Nanas (SRK CBN (2)). CBN 1 was like our rival though back then though in actual fact the only thing which separated us were our class locations,set of friends, and of course, teachers ! I was in CBN an all girls school, from 1989-1993. Next, was abruptly sent to a new school in 1994 where I stayed on for 3 years before moving to another school (form 3) in Pahang. I think I was already getting the rhythm by then. Luckily I had great friends, teachers and support through my 1 year plus stay there before…again, being transferred to yet another city (Seremban) to attend an all girls school, Tunku Kurshiah College. My last 2 years of secondary were spent here. My pool of friends, teachers and mentors could only increase as I moved on to pre-u, and later on, uni. I fumbled and stumbled as a med student, before finally assuring myself to start fresh in a degree in human sciences majoring in Psychology.
Despite the many ‘changes’ which I’ve experienced as a formal student for *takes deep breath* 20 years, one thing remains. That attachment and connection which I share with my favourite teachers. I will list them below, not in order or ranking, but simply in acknowledgement of their existence in my life :-
Arwah Ustazah Hasnah (Masjid Negara/Pusat Islam)
Puan Mahanom (CBN)
Puan Zaini (CBN)
Pn Charles Mohan (CBN)
Ms Ng Ah Lan (CBN)
Pn Zubaidah (CBN)
Arwah Pn Fatimah Mastan (CBN)
Datin Hajah Gayah (Sri Utama)
Encik Aiza Rizal (Sri Utama)
Pn Nornilawati (Sekolah Menengah Abdul Rahman Talib)
Pn Azizah Musa (Tunku Kurshiah College)
Dr Ungku Chulan (International Islamic University Malaysia)
Prof Naznin (International Islamic University Malaysia)
Prof Nasar (International Islamic University Malaysia)
Prof Syukran (International Islamic University Malaysia)
Tuan Wari (International Islamic University Malaysia)
The supporting hands
My teachers are all beautiful souls who have touched my life, directly or indirectly. I needed educational and moral support, and they were there for me. They may not like being called parents outside the family, but some just turned out to be like one. In them we do find comfort, in them we find positive and objective assurance– so honest and so pure.
Fast forward 10-15 years, some of us would (I hope) still be in touch with our teachers, actively or passively. Some names have been forgotten (its okay, no need to feel so guilty lah..it happens all the time!), while some stick to you like a permanent glue. With the rate of communication technology are laid in front of us, the means of establishing re-connection spikes. But how many of us really do take time to build and foster a relationship which have been left far behind.
April 16, 2014
I am talking about myself really.. A dear ustazah of mine was terminally ill, and I managed to visit her only…twice before she passed on. Nothing compared to her hundreds perhaps thousands of visits and hours at my family home, teaching my whole family how to read the Holy Qur’an.. I managed to bid her farewell one last time as her jenazah was lowered down into her final resting place on the 16th April 2014. I remembered getting the news from my mom.. I cried…and cried… but why? Did I do anything wrong to her..? Did I owe her money..? No..! Its that line called.. ‘I wish…’…
There’s so much to grab on, hold on and endure in our short busy lives. Yet so little attention to the people and things which really and actually matters in the end. I’ve told myself multiple times before, my life is shaped by the people who surrounds me, by those who are dear to me– and yet, this is the way I treated those who really meant a lot to me?
Another teacher who stood out in my early childhood was none other than Miss Ng Ah Lan. She was my Match teacher :) One of my personal favourite. As a young child, all energetic (and tak duduk diam), this particular colourful soul, could sit me down– and I’ll be there on my desk working out a math question. That memory of her walking into the class with a fast click-click pace thanks to her heels, straight to the teacher’s desk while announcing the first ‘congak’ question.. ‘Nombor 1…..’ ..and there we were, small kids squeezing our maths neurons out before ‘Nombor 2….’ was announced. Such passion and energy shown by an examplary teacher and mentor, and a quite cool enthusiasm shown by the class. Miss Ng just brings light and life wherever she goes. Being a small kid back then, I knew this was a teacher I would and will look up to.. We’re talking about memories of 2 decades cramped in a small paragraph here..
You see how combing for memories just brightens up you life? Would you like to have more beautiful memories which you can reflect on say 15-20 years from now? Simpler said than done, you just need to make yourself more available and reachable by everybody through your kindness, pleasureful presence and that honest extension of a helping hand. You will appreciate it, believe me.
So that 20++ years arrived yesterday (16 May 2015). I found myself in a small home (well, looks small at least from the front porch), where a beautiful lady lives. She is in her late 50s, and mentioned to me on the phone that a cleaner comes to her home occasionally to help her clean up her house. And there I was, in her house. More humbled than stunned. So here I was, finally— and there stood my childhood idol, mentor and teacher, Ms Ng Ah Lan, greeting and welcoming me m my daughter and a friend in. Ms Ng is living alone, and her life was basically dedicated to teaching. Like most teachers, I believe Ms Ng (she’s known as Madam Angie now as marked on her t-shirt when she came to guide me from a nearby 7-Eleven), has given more than a lot to so many, and it came down to this reality of witnessing what life it truly about– ya know.. I have to be honest, it took me a while to figure out how to continue off that sentence (in Italic).
I would like to believe Madam Angie (okay I still prefer to call you Ms Ng !! hehe), is happiest when she is teaching. Like learning and reading, teaching just keeps you alive. And I hope Miss Ng would continue to be happy even after her retirement which is about 3 years from now according to her).
We sat down and chatted for quite a bit, catching up on all those lost decades between us. My daughter was more interested to explore the house– lots of books, all lined up neatly in a few book shelves, and a pair of rubber boots which my daughter simply can’t help but put on ! Ms Ng showed me around her house– she just moved in 3-4 years ago. I saw that some of her items are still unpacked (since they are not being used). She even offered me her coffee set as she had so many of them. I had to decline as I have many unused sets of my own, LOL ! She eventually succeeded offering my little one a set of children books :) Will come back for your signature lah Ms Ng ! hehhe..
Offer didn’t end there, even offered to sit/teach/jaga my kid after her retirement. I mean, I’m humbled almost every second I was there in her home.. and there she was all jovial and really treating her guests well. She even offered me to join her for dinner, which again I had to decline as I’ve plans already with my family.
She continued saying Thank You to me ..when all I did was drop by to visit— compared to her years of teaching and the impact she has left for all her students. I can only swallow back my feelings. I am naturally an emotional person.. There were no tears when I hugged her goodbye. I guess, it was so much for me to absorb in such a short visit. She stood and waited for me to make a u-turn at the end of the alley. Scrolled the windows down as the car passed in front of her where she continued saying Thank You and putting her palms together.
A small note for you dear teacher
Ms Ng, I love you..This sounds pretty much like an open letter now– God knows what is happening behind the computer screen as the blogger writes this, and while (I hope) Ms Ng reads this. We’re constantly looking for figures which we can idolize and relate to. You are one of them. The bond was never lost, just needs to be reconnected, and I hope all of you reading this who have somebody in mind, teacher or mentor, make that first move before its too late. That ‘Message’ icon in your Facebook is screaming ‘Hit Me’ !!!
To all my teachers and mentors, I would like to wish you a Happy Teachers Day. All that you’ve given, shared and imparted so selflessly will always be appreciated and kept in mind. May God Bless all of you with a more happy and meaningful life herein and hereafter.
ps: Please share or click Like this post if you felt it has touched or moved you in any way. It will mean a lot to me, and all the teachers out there, to whom this post is dedicated to.
Jun 2011. Yes, its me Ms Ng !!!! Finally getting to reconnect after 21 odd years !
Munchkin presenting a bouquet of flowers to my Miss Ng ! :)
Memories made possible. Thanks Najwa for snapping this photo of us. And thanks Miss Ng for having us. Sure was a delight to see you again after soooo long !