My children love listening to yarns about my school days. They always listen in rapt attention when the topic of my school days crop up.
Sometimes I get the sense that they envy me. They tell me that it must have been such an exciting and stimulating and mostly fun time at school for me back then. It sure was. But I tell them that there was a lot of learning in case they think it's all a picnic.
For one thing -- the friends that I made back then are still in touch with me and we get to meet in our reunions..
My intimate knowledge of school in the 90s came about when my own kids started primary school.
I think it was a shock for me to see a different school environment, life as well as the syllabi of the subjects offered.
Have times changed, I thought.
Of course, everything was in Malay.
It meant that I wasn't able to help them with maths & science. And even the Bahasa Malaysia at standard 5 was incredibly complicated to me. I realised it was not about the proficiency of your BM but how you answered the questions. There seemed to be a format of some sort.
And then, Sports Day was so downplayed that it did not matter whether or not you participated in it. In fact, sports day was an internal affair. There were several years that I didn't know the school was having a sports day because parents were not invited.
The annual school concerts too. Tame & generally lame. I know that in secondary school, the main item was the school choir performance.
How different it was in my time. But that is just my children's school. Other schools might have had less conservative principals ...
In secondary school (at least in my children's), English Literature was not offered because there was no teacher for that subject. So my children had to take external classes for it.
But, well, that is a story for another day.
For now, I shall rattle some names - Mrs Wong, Mrs Podesta, Mrs Rahim, Mrs SH Tan and Mrs OK Chan.. These are my primary school class teachers. I know there's one whose name I cannot remember. And in this list, only one teacher I despised. And we shall leave it at that.
Our school principals (Assunta Primary had 2 sessions) were Miss Chow and Sister Ellyn. I remember Miss Chow as a dignified and an elegant person and was so in awe of her. She never taught me, though.
Sister Ellyn taught us music, I think.
In secondary school, there were Mrs Chng, Mrs Lau, Mrs Siva, Mrs Raj, Miss Thomas, Mrs Simmons, Cik Tek, Puan Siti Hawa, Mrs Thambyrajah, Mrs Wong & the ever fit PE (physical education) teacher Miss Sze Tho.
And of course, the larger than life -- Sister Enda Ryan, our secondary school principal.
In case you think they spoilt us silly -- no... they did not. They were firm as you can imagine a teacher should be. They were strict when they needed to be which was most times but I never remembered them as cruel or brutal or whatever.
So, here's a BIG THANK YOU to them all...
I can't begin to tell you how fun school was those days. A lot of learning, a lot of playing, a lot of activities for our concert & sports as well extra-curricular.
I was active in sports and dance. Because it was "public knowledge" in school that I was a ballet student, I was always picked for dance performances for our sports day and annual concerts.
It shaped me monumentally.
Although I don't play any sports now, I am passionate about fitness. And of course, no one can keep me away from dance & dancing.
I can talk endlessly about teachers of my time, in my school. I'm sure there were horror stories that I never knew about. Today, you know of horror stories about school and teachers because there is the internet and social media.
But let me tell you there many more good and dedicated teachers.
I can go on and on ... so I'll stop here.
Let me just say - HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY.