The Sun Does Not Shine on Teachers’ Day

In a matter of speaking, the sun rarely does shine during Teachers’ Day. For one, it always rains heavily on August afternoons here in Singapore, and for another, the name “Teachers’ Day” can really be taken literally. From my point of view, it is not a “school revisit day”, as some people may see it.

It’s very simple: when I was transferred to Coral Secondary School upon completion of the Primary School Leaving Examination, I didn’t know what to expect. The school, as well as its faculty, are complete strangers to me. Then, as the four years went by, I started to know more about the teachers; their quirks, their teaching style, everything except their personal life…and that’s perfectly all right. I’m but a student being taught under them. I have no right to delve into their personal space.

My teachers are the ones who taught me, not the school. They taught me because it was their job, and yet, because they taught me very well, I started to get used to the school itself.

However, in order for me to feel the need to revisit my secondary school yearly, they have to be there, because they are the core foundation of my sense of belonging to the school.

And this is the problem. At the start of 2008, just after my cohort completed the General Certificate of Education “Ordinary” Level Examinations, there was a major shake-up in the school’s staff. A good number of teachers who taught me, whom I admired greatly, are no longer working there. My Mathematics teacher, whom I admired the most among all the teachers who taught me, has resigned. While her resignation is beyond my control, what irks me is that the school did not mention it. At the Prize Presentation and Speech Day Ceremony earlier this year, I saw many familiar faces, but I did not see her. It was only when I asked my English teacher that I realised that she had resigned, whereas he, along with one of my Chemistry teachers, has been transferred to another school.

If they had remained in Coral Secondary School, I would be more than willing to pay them a visit on the weekday before 1 September every year. I would still feel a sense of belonging in the school because they are there. The problem is that they are not teaching there any more. With their departure from the school, my sense of belonging to the school has been severely diminished. I’ve been there before a few times over the course of this year, and yet I found myself feeling as if I was not supposed to be there.

When I first came to Coral Secondary School, I felt like a stranger, but the place became a sort of “second home” simply because the teachers who taught me went beyond what they were supposed to do. Not only did they teach, they actually cared about my welfare, as well as the welfare of all the other students they taught during their tenure with the school. If they didn’t care, I won’t be posting this right now. I’d probably be doing something else.

Even after eight months, I still sit here and wonder why the wind sucks.

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