Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Teachers I remember

I guess it's pretty safe to write about them now that I've left school for more than 20 years. Well, what I am today, as I've said, good or bad, was partly shaped by these characters.

My primary teachers were all mostly very nice, maybe cos I was a pretty good student, good as in attentive. When I went to secondary school, distractions in one form or another caused me to probably be quite a challenge to teachers. Picking up from a comment I made in the previous post, these are the teachers I remember from my schooling days.

Mr W: This guy taught us Moral or Social Studies (oh oh it's called Civics), can't remember the name of the subject. He was a bit loco. He'd stand at the front of the classroom, mumbling his instructions the entire period. None of us could hear a word. Poor guy, he even talked to himself, I'm getting an image of him in my mind now. I was in Form 1, he rode a scooter to school with those watermelon-shaped (longish) helment.

Mr L: This young, single guy attracted quite a following in our all-girls convent. He taught us commerce in lower secondary. He was tall, pretty good-looking with tiny eyes (quite a popular look these days right?), and very very funny and witty. A really good teacher. I think all the girls had a crush on him, though many (including me) didn't admit to it. He coached the volleyball team and was particularly close to a very pretty senior of ours. He left for another school I heard, and years later, married this very girl! Scandalous eh? Well, last I heard, they are both teaching at my old school and have a few kids of their own.

Mr L2: My lower secondary science teacher. We all found him a bit odd, he had bulgy eyes, as if he had thyroid. And was a bit cheong hei. My friends claimed I was his pet, and I remember him giving me brand-new assessment books that he had received from publishers maybe. I always felt bad cos my friends would make fun of him, the way he walked, the things he said etc, and they'd look at me expecting me to join in. I would laugh along, told you guys I was a wimp.

Mrs T: Oh, my gorgeous Biology teacher who had two gorgeous boys. She was also the teacher in charge of girlguides and prefects and would take her kids to our meetings. They must have been 2-4 then. Very very sadly, the younger one, with the cutest curls on his head, passed away from leukemia when he was about 4 I think. I bumped into her once when I was back in Malacca, she went on to have 3 more boys. She was a very good teacher, very funny too. She even talked to us about skincare, and advised us on BGR.

Mrs C: Okay, her surname is Chee and gosh I hated this woman. One of my friends who is Cantonese, would make fun of her name, okay it's too crude but think in Hokkien while saying Bye to this lady. She was loaded and drove luxury cars to school. Her idea of teaching Geography was to sit on her gorgeous butt (no doubt she was good looking), and dictate the textbook while we wrote every word down. Our homework was tracing maps and colouring it beautifully, I detested doing this, just hate colouring, are we in kindy or what? She disliked me immensely too.

Mr C: My Additional Math and Modern Math teacher. I knew I was his favourite. He was well-known to be an ogre but he always had a ready smile for me. My friends teased me that he was my father-in-law! He was such a nice man, at least to me he was; my good friend Irene was terrified of him haha. Whenever the class got stuck with a problem, he'd get me to give the answer. Okay, I wasn't in a good school lah so no competition here.

Mr T: My Physics teacher who hated me, gawwwddd, he was boring as hell. I wouldn't pay attention in class and he'd stare at me with his lips all pursed. And he was well-known for flicking his boogers, our seniors warned us not to sit on the front row at the lab, we nicknamed him Pei Si Tan!

Mr AB: Then there was this cikopek Malay teacher who thinks he's quite the stud (already in his 40s probably), I always got caught reading Silhoutte Romance books during his very boring Bahasa Malaysia lessons.

Mr K: When I went to a boys' school for my Form 6 (A levels), there was a baldy who killed any interest I had in Accounts. No one except the superbrilliant understood him. He was the most snide, most sarcastic, pain in the a*se ever, even the boys in that school hated him. When there were parties/gatherings, a standard gag was to drive out past his house and shout, "BOTAK KANG!" That's his surname, may his rest in peace.

Mr N: Eeeks, this tubby guy taught us Malay Literature for STPM (A levels). He's Chinese but is apparently quite an expert in Malay. When he spoke, saliva would slowly but surely gather at each corner of his mouth...gross. He didn't like me at all, I was so bored in his class. He must have been shocked when I got an A for Malay, and a 1 (distinction) in his subject Malay Literature. That's a notoriously hard subject to ace and I may have been the only one to get a 1 in the school. All because I spotted the right question the night before the exams. Who needs to listen in class when one can rely on Lady Luck? This bad attitude would not serve me well in life :)

Mr G: This guy saved me, he took over our class for Economics when another teacher Miss T left the school. I didn't like Miss T one bit, and I'm sure the feeling was mutual. She bored me to tears. But once Mr G took over, I began to see the beauty of Economics. See how important teachers are to kids? That's my weakness, my interest in a subject can rise and flounder depending on the instruction I got.

Mr S: A sissy-fied Chinese teacher who taught Malay. He was very bitchy and didn't think I'd make it to university. This didn't happen when I was there, but the boys in this school were so naughty they once placed thumbtacks on his seat. His screams were said to reverberate through the whole school.

Oh, I can't remember his name now but there was a Malay teacher who would wear ties that flared out toward the bottom, like really lots broader below than the top, he was truly still lost in the 1970s. And yes, he wore bell-bottoms too, in 1988. He had the most atrocious English pronunciation, instead of Daphne, he'd call my friend "Dophin". hahahaahah.

That's about all I can remember. How did I ever survive Malaysian schooling :) What teacher stories do you guys have?


Alcovelet said...

Woman, your memory is amazing. Teachers and schools were institutions of DISCIPLINE. I still remember with a bit of trepidation, although I generally had a good time. Am I glad I don't have to go through it all again!!

Lilian said...

Yes I know. I have an amazing capacity in remembering the most inane, inconsequential, but usually funny, stuff. I remember things from Primary 1 about friends that they've long forgotten. But when it comes to important things, or things that really matter, my memory shuts down and often fails me @#$%^^&*.

monlim said...

you know, I was just thinking of writing a post on teachers a coupla days ago. NO KIDDING! great minds think alike huh? Teachers have so much influence on kids, some completely traumatized me...

NoelSolomon said...

wasn't the one that mispronounced daphne's name as dolphin that pengajian am tution teacher that we all droppped??
anyway all our malay teacher mispronounced most of our names LOL

Lilian said...

Hey all, say hi to my Form 6 buddy Noel! He has an amazing memory so he'll correct anything I got wrong. Smartest guy I know in school, aces exams without studying.

Noel, you mean Encik Rahim from High School? Nolah, I'm not talking about him, Lily will know who I'm talking about. It's this kampung looking Malay teacher, he has a perpetual grin on his face. Now I'm not sure if he taught Malay or Pengajian Am, our teachers kept changing that year. How the heck did we survive?

petite fleur said...

My god, how can you remember so many ? I can probably name no more than 5 & most likely all from varsity days. As for the rest, maybe I'd just blocked them out completely.

U.Lee said...

Hi, its always fun to bring back memories of school days.
I was every teacher's nightmare, not to mention the number of exercise books I used up having to write lines....
'I must not bring snakes to class', or' I must not let go snakes in class', ha ha.

Should have seem my teachers in cheong sums or sarongs scrambling up the table or out the dor when seeing a snake in class, ha ha.
Still ewondering how I managed to pass too, ha ha.
You keep well and have a nice day, Lee.

Lilian said...

Maybe we just had too much free time in Malaysia, school was never about preparing for exams and so we had lots of time and interaction with teachers, both during and after school. And school wasn't so huge like in Singapore, each cohort has probably 100+ students, everyone knew one another. Teachers also stay in a school for years and years.

OTOH, I don't remember that much about my uni lecturers, my interaction with them was sporadic at best, everything in faculty felt very impersonal. Most of my university memories is hostel-related.

Lilian said...

Hi u.lee, welcome aboard. Yikes, SNAKES! Where did you find them? Must have been a funny sight seeing your teachers scrambling off :)

bACk in GERMANY said...

Wow... your memory of your old school days are still so lucid...
After two pregnancies and many years of sleep deprivation, I find myself recalling the past less and less...

Tsu Lin + + said...

Lilian, this is cool and you are right, teachers and school shapes us who we are (for me, at least).

I do have fond memories - mostly fond because I am such a "good student" (ie, not a trouble maker).