To fellow teacher friends and myself. Hope you had a restful one, and pretended that your students didn’t exist for the day. :P
Who am I to kid – I’m surrounded by gifts, cards and a vanguard sized card that’s completely hard to ignore. Several small incidents took my breathe away and almost made me tear.
The epic threat that I gave my Sec 4 graduating class for this year, when I screamed at them (literally) about copying work. She added as a footnote, where she wondered if her homework would make great pigeon food.
Boys aged 16 never show emotions on their face. Unless it’s one of an attitude. Boys aged 16 are more concerned with computer games and soccer. Homework & studies are far far away from their minds. What made this commercialised card so special was – this was given by such boys. Boys who pretend that listening to lessons was a totally uncool act, and loved to act really smart (when in actual fact they are pretty brilliant, despite their laziness).
One of them is brilliant and superbly lazy. We both know that he’s good, and he picks up the concepts real quick. He promised me a A1 for his prelims but he didn’t get it (because he barely did revision).
The other, failed his EOY last year. I thought he just couldn’t pick up the concepts. All of a sudden, he aced his tests and submitted perfect work this year. I asked him if he had tuition. He said, no. I asked him, what changed. He said, I decided to pay attention this year. Bloody basket – he is quietly brilliant. He scored 69 for his prelims and I was so proud of him.
These two boys, scrambled quietly and blindsided me in the hall, amidst the chaos of settling the students down for the Teachers’ Day concert. They hurriedly passed me this card and a soft toy flower (oh woe the commercialised Teachers’ Day gifts) and ran back to their class, pretending what they did just 1 minute ago never happened.
I never saw this gift coming, and I was feeling all mushy inside.
This last gift almost made me tear. I usually don’t expect gifts from Sec 3s, from past years’ experience. So there I was, sitting in the hall enjoying the concert, when my Sec 3 came to me and told me to “wait for them outside the staffroom after the concert”. I was feeling suspicious, but of course I complied.
After the concert, I waited outside the staffroom and little of them showed. So I waited a while more and people started to gather. They didn’t come forward straight away – they lingered at the back. So I walked forward and then some came and stopped me. My Sec 3s started distracting me by commenting and talking about really odd things, some which I can’t repeat online. Then when I finally found someone to ask, they kept asking me to WAIT. So we waited. Soon everyone appeared (all 23 of them – this is the half class of Sec 3s, who chose to do POA over Bio – brilliant and super fun students) and they gathered around me. My suspicion rose higher and I was hoping inwardly that they wouldn’t make a huge scene.
Knowing kids, of course they love the attention. They basically yelled HAPPY TEACHERS DAY (all 23 of them) into my face and thrust the above HUGE card and the box of mooncakes into my hands. I stared at the mooncakes for a really long time. They took so long because they wanted to do it as a class, and to retrieve the box of mooncakes (probably from the canteen!). I couldn’t stop saying thankyou and my heart really melted.
Never have I been showered with so much love from a class before, and I think it can be seen from the picture that all 23 of them wrote messages on the card itself. The messages were truly lovely, ranging from the sweet ones from the girls and the really amusing ones from the boys. To think I was a little disappointed with the class a while back because of their CT scores where they didn’t perform up to my standards (I have extremely high standards for this class – they are really brilliant.).
The funniest bit happened after they shoved the gift into my hands. My POA rep actually said, “Ms Teo, 私事完了，輪到公事。” Then he put the collected homework (he collected it for me on Teachers’ Day celebrations!) into my hands, almost complete.
I really really felt so loved. Of course there were other messages and small gifts, and the compiled booklet of messages collated by Council made me realise that a fair number of students actually really look forward to my classes. These were just the more outstanding ones.
I can’t imagine what will happen to Graduation Day this year (my first form class graduating! SOBS) and next year. And probably more years after that.
I framed up the huge card and put it in my room, as a reminder to myself my passion for teaching, and how our students do appreciate us, even though they may not show it on a daily basis through their daily work and actions.
I can really read their messages over and over and over again. Do stop me if I attempt to share them with you. I don’t think you’d want to hear me go on and on about my students. Hurhur.