Happy Teacher’s Day

Ruins of St Paul's (Da San Ba). Macau. March 2007.


I like this candid photo alot. It was taken on the last day of class in April, before the students graduated and we went our separate ways. Just looking at my toothy grin is an effective reminder of the reason why I gave up my office job to be here. Because I really want to offer a listening ear, because I want to keep them in school, because I want them to know somebody cares, because I want to be here when they are lost.

Felia is right about culture shock. Since coming back from Laos I have had difficulty adjusting to the noisy students and have become quite dejected. But of course, there are other reasons to explain my listlessness.

I still have not recovered from the cold which began in July. And my most recent medical check-up revealed that I’m unable to efficiently absorb the medication I’m taking for thyroid deficiency, which explains why I constantly feel tired and fat. Basically, my hormones are quite all over the place.

So actually the past week had been quite tough, but yesterday evening, an angel made things better. You may remember Baoqiang, one of the boys who came to see me off at Changi when I left for Laos.


The big boy with tiny eyes and a tanned complexion had messaged me several times to get hold of me in the office. But I was busy in class the whole afternoon. Could it wait till tomorrow, I asked. No, was the answer. He had to see me yesterday.

When we finally met at 430pm, he said, “Teacher, tomorrow I going to Shanghai for one-month attachment so must give you this today.” He handed me a mug and a card. The sweet boy went through some effort to get hold of a picture of me and the Student Seminar kids in Hong Kong, and got it printed on a mug. The mug read “Happy Teacher’s Day.”

My eyes were moist when I read the card. “Thanks for looking after us for the past 6 months or so. Not just that, you left a piece of memory in me forever.”

When I recounted this to my mother, she as always, gave me words of advice and encouragement. “Such students make you want to go on. You can’t save them all. But even if only 1 student appreciates your effort, you have succeeded. The children, they know it if somebody treats them well with sincerity. And they will reciprocate your efforts .”

I never expected Baoqiang to be such a thoughtful boy. He hardly has any expressions, and seldom speaks. He looks like a tough guy who prefers to be alone. He hardly spoke to me while we were preparing for the Student Seminar. That was why his gesture came as a surprise. I didn’t know I had left such a good impression on this boy.

I only have 1 gift this Teacher’s Day. And this gift was enough to make my heart swell and dance, sending warm currents with each beat. I had a sense of fullness and contentment I have never experienced.

It was the only present I needed this year.

p.s. On this special day, I would like to pay tribute to 3 teachers who have impacted my lives. My mother, who after 30 years, still wants to give her best to the children, and who has become my mentor after I started teaching. My colleague, Ms CL, who has been in the college for over 20 years, who stills wants to be here for the kids even if it means working with people she hates. My Maths teacher in Primary School, Mrs Kwee, who is still with Maha Bodhi School 15 years after I left. I’m still using her formula to calculate percentages.

Thank you teachers. You are truly my inspiration.

That is the beauty of being a teacher. You never know how much impact you will leave on the kids, and how long it will last.

Explore posts in the same categories: Life, School

4 Comments on “Happy Teacher’s Day”

  1. MsCL Says:

    Thanks. Such compliments. I am honoured. By the way, I have no gifts … as usual but 2 cards; one from a girl from BST and the other from 18 boys from BST.

  2. shirleen Says:

    🙂 A beautiful seed planted in one life is enough for it to blossom into a fruitful tree.

  3. tintedglasses Says:

    Ms CL, the fact that you can get the BST boys to even prepare you a card is a miracle in itself!

  4. Mademoiselle Manman Says:

    Visit my new foodie blog :www.mademoiselle@blogespot.com

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