Sunday March 10, 2013
A teacher is a teacher for life
By DYLAN TAN REN WEI
An educatorís passion for her career touched many lives.
WHEN my dad, brother and I (my sister was at work and couldnít take the day off) went to my motherís school last Wednesday, it brought back memories which have stayed with me all these years.
I remember the times when I used to follow my mum to school and just sit at her desk, doodling away on empty sheets of paper.
Other memories included how I used to look at my mum and just admired the very way she did her job and how she just loved teaching.
My motherís name is Pauline Lai, and she used to be a school teacher Ė the Head Assistant of Curriculum to be exact Ė at SK Sri Petaling in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
My mumís dream job was to be a teacher and she was always ever ready to share her knowledge and educate. She absolutely loved her job and this is clearly shown on her expression every day. On the day of her retirement, I saw how much my mumís job in her school had impacted students, colleagues and even parents alike.
A few parents and former teachers travelled all the way from other states to attend the ceremony, and former students took a day off just to wish my mum a simple Happy Retirement and Happy Birthday.
When my mum gave her well-prepared speech, the round of applause that followed was overwhelming and she even received a standing ovation.
As I snapped away on my camera, I managed to capture moments that showed just how passionate her students were through their performances for my mum.
My mumís colleagues, all dressed in pink (because it was my mumís favourite colour), went on stage to sing her favourite song, Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin (The Moon Represents My Heart).
It was heartening to see how all her colleagues came prepared in their pink clothes, and planned the event so well. It showed just how much they wanted my mumís retirement to be an unforgettable one. Soon after her colleagues came down from the stage, a short video clip of my mum was presented sharing her story. It showed pictures of her during her younger days, and personal wishes from students and colleagues.
To me, the best part was at the end of the ceremony when her students came up one by one to give my mum parting gifts, wishes and hugs. Every hug showed the special bond they had with my mum and the presents were an indication of just how much they appreciated her.
Some gave simple boxes of biscuits, fruits and there was even a RM5 note wrapped with a page of exercise book paper!
That touched my heart. It truly brought home the meaning of the phrase, ďitís the thought that countsĒ.
After that, my mother shook hands with each and every colleague Ė some broke down in tears thanking my mum for her immense amount of care. I also captured some pictures of a few students who were shedding tears as my mum left and said her goodbyes. Even when in the car driving out, her students were close by as if wanting my mum to stay longer. Alas, like every storybook, each chapter has an end.
Some people might now call my mother a retired teacher. I, on the other hand, have always thought of my mum as once a teacher, always a teacher till the end. She has always loved teaching, and the good news for her is, that her kind job will never really end.
She has been a teacher since she was young. When my siblings and I were born, she taught us how to walk, talk, eat solids and live life to the fullest.
She taught her students and colleagues valuable lessons and she taught me life lessons I will never forget. She might be strict in certain aspects, but I know itís just her way of teaching us to be disciplined and I thank her for making me the person I am today.
Today, my sister is a proud foreign affairs diplomat, my brother is pursuing his masters degree in chemistry and Iím in college. Her passion for teaching will never die. That is why people say, find a job that you love doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life. My mother loves teaching, and thatís why to her, itís not a chore to share knowledge and she doesnít see it as a job.
My dearest mum, happy birthday and happy retirement. You have always been my teacher and always will be.
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