As I’ve said earlier, the transition phase from primary school to secondary school was immense. The pressure and stress dramatically increased. Curriculum was much harder than before. More things to complete, but time stays at twenty four hours a day. Sometimes I wonder why couldn’t I be like Hiro Nakamura? Why work so hard? To survive I guess. In this increasingly competitive society, it’s hard to gain a foothold with an ordinary “A” level cert, or a polytechnic diploma. Certs from Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford are all so common nowadays. The strain on the current generation is tremendous, titanic. Not to mention the next.
It has been a long four hard years in Fuhua. Especially after Secondary one, where we had a new principal, Mdm Oen Siew Yock. Our founding principal, Mr Ong Kian Choon, had left us to take charge of another school. It was another daunting period for us students, as we had to get used to a new environment, new teachers and a new principal. Mr Yeo Guan Heng had taken over Mrs. Cheryl Chan, who had left us after her pregnancy. No offence to Mr. Yeo, but at times, you’re pathetic! It may well have been because of you, that my science grades are so disastrous to date! But to be fair to you, I’ve seen worse teachers around. But you’ve got to be among them.
We had a large strength of teachers in Fuhua. With over fifty staff, teaching various subjects from math to science, from design and technology to food and nutrition. Most of the teachers were dedicated, capable mentors. But nothing is perfect in this world, there are bound to be some bad apples around, aren’t there? Mr Yeo was one, while Ms Betty Lee and Mdm Vijaya were also contenders for that “bad apple” title. Ms Lee Ling Horng was also another, but she had a slightly different case. It wasn’t that she didn’t teach, which was what the others just did, but under Ms Lee, none of us could see our chemistry grades improving. Weird.
Nevertheless, Mr Yeo, Ms Betty Lee and Mdm Vijaya, all three of them will have to beat each other for the title of worst teacher in town. A 33.33333% of winning for each of them, this is one title I would never want to be associated with. But you have got to understand this fact. Mr Yeo was a teacher who always tried to be cool, but wasn’t. Ms Betty Lee would rather teach Latin, French, German, Italian, instead of English, in class. Not to mention she actually showed off her bra during one of her lessons! And what’s the point of appointing a teacher who had to go on leave every other day? That’s Mdm Vijaya for you.
Nevertheless, Fuhua does boast some of the best teachers in the business. Just to name a few, the evergreen Mrs. Tay, Ms Kho, Mrs. Tai, Mrs. Bala and Mr Chia Chun Teck (How could we forget him!). Mrs. Tay, needless to say, has got to be one of the most dedicated teachers around. Ms Kho, with her “weaponry”, keeps the class active during lessons. The chemistry results have been improving steadily under her guidance, that’s the impact she had on us. Mrs. Tai, where can one ever find a teacher that allowed us to talk back at her while she finds some way to rebuke you? She loves these duels, especially with Sham, Cheng Yong and Lam, doesn’t she? She does earn us students, our respect. Always willing to hear our thoughts, yet still fully devoted to her job. Mrs. Bala, Okay, honestly speaking, I didn’t quite like her at first. She was a nagger. Half her lessons would be spent on nagging, and her teachings were sometimes really outright boring. (She teaches history) But it was until we had Mdm Vijaya, that we sort of missed Mrs. Bala. Our results suffered under Mdm Vijaya, especially when she turns up only every other day! It was now, that I realized that in spite of Mrs. Bala’s boring teaching methods, it actually works! To date, I’m still following some of her learning styles and that’s how I managed to kind of stay in touch with the elite in school.
Okay, now for the champ, Mr Chia Chun Teck. I mean, who can be more dedicated and devoted to the job other than Mr. Chia himself? He makes sure that everyone in class understands the topic before moving on to the next concept, something that I highly appreciate. One can call him anytime, even after school hours to ask him anything from math to personal matters. He would even personally call parents of students if he thinks something amiss is happening. He does magic tricks in class to relief our stress and boredom. He scolds us whenever we let him down. He throws books whenever we disappoint him. He gives us birthday cards on our birthdays. He was not only a teacher, but was also a friend, a mentor, a confidant. Too bad I didn’t enjoy much of the special treatment Kok Leong relishes with him. The two of them seem more like brothers, rather than a teacher – student relationship. It may have been bad, it may have been good. But it is no doubt that Mr Chia is the best teacher I’ve ever encountered. And to think such a loving and caring teacher is the commanding officer of our school’s NCC!