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WHO WAS THE TEACHER THAT MADE AN IMPACT IN YOUR LIFE? HOW DID HE OR SHE INSPIRE YOU?
Daniel Chua: I have many wonderful memories of teachers from my school days. If I had to pick one who impacted me significantly, it would be my Kindergarten teacher. This story is from 55 years ago! Her name is Ms Tang and I will always remember her kindness and understanding. As a child, I had separation anxieties about going to school. My parents would send me to school in the morning and my routine was I needed to see them leave the school compound before I settled into the school day. Ms Tang observed this and each morning, before I arrived in class, she placed a chair by the window so that I could step on it to see my parents leave the compound. This chair was always in place before I arrived in the classroom.
As a young child with anxieties, this thoughtful act made a big difference. Having been inspired by such a caring teacher, I try to pay-it-forward by being kind to people I come across. I never had the chance to show my appreciation to Ms Tang. Wherever you are, Ms Tang, I would like to thank you for having a heart that understood the anxieties of that little boy, which enabled him to discover the joy of school and learning.
Phebe Kwek: I met Mr Loong during my Secondary School days. He was my Sec 3 and Sec 4 Principles of Accounting teacher. He was very engaging when he was teaching the class and was always sharing about his experiences in the finance sector before he was a teacher. It was those talks that piqued my interest in the finance industry. As such, I went on to pursue a banking and finance diploma and a banking and finance degree.
Vincent Ng: The teacher that made an impact in my life is Ms Lucy Oliver Fernandez, my English Literature teacher from 2007 - 2008 when I was in Sec 3 and Sec 4 in Catholic High School. Looking back, taking English Literature was the first decision I made where I followed my heart. Many of my friends took Geography and I had wanted to take it to be in the same class as them but deep down, I knew that I liked Literature better.
Through the different books, plays and poems she brought us through, she opened up a world of rich characters, stories and life lessons that have stayed with me ever since. She taught us to ask questions instead of only seeking answers and from her, I learnt the value of being curious. She taught me to be a person of integrity, to have empathy and to always look beneath the surface to uncover fresh perspectives.
In 2017, just before I graduated from University, I had co-authored a book with a friend and I managed to find Ms Fernandez again. She was no longer teaching at Catholic High, but had been assigned back to National Institute of Education to teach the next batch of teachers. I had lunch with her and passed her a copy of my book. I would not have developed a love of literature and for reading (and all the benefits that followed) if it weren't for her.
Denise Ong: "A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” I’ll never forget my secondary school form teacher, Ms Joanne. Thank you for helping me see the strength and the good in me. Thank you for inspiring me to be brave and be kind. Thank you for coming to class cheerfully. In your own spontaneous and caring ways, you made me excited to grow and embrace the different experiences in life to learn, to help, and to live. Happy Teachers’ Day!