When my family was still residing in Woodlands, it was just common for me to be greeted by parents whenever they see me. Of course it made proud for I used it as a gauge on how effective I was as a teacher and in my relationships with the children and with their parents.
My husband’s auntie who spent a month’s vacation with us could not believe that parents would greet me even when we were in a hawker centre or in Causeway Point. Having the perception that Singaporeans are unfriendly people and that they tend to look down on a person of my race for obvious reason that most of the Filipinas here are domestic helpers, she always did ask me if the one who greeted was really a Singaporean. She could not believe that a Singaporean could be so appreciative of me.
Well, my husband’s auntie may have given the reason for others to look down at her too, because she herself had this perception that it was unrealistic for other races to accept us as persons or even as a teacher at that. How could she forget that we, Filipinos are as educated as others?
I accept the truth that at first, parents may be reluctant to accept me as their children’s teacher. That was why I did my part. I showed them that I was not just a teacher from another country but a teacher who has a passion for teaching. In my own ways, I proved to them that teaching and learning is universal.
And so whenever somebody greets me in places, I humbly reason that they were just fruits of my labour. They were just consolation and a joy in my person that no money can buy.
But over here in Yew Tee, I got no parents to greet me. I am now working in another place and of course, nobody knows me here. At times, I really miss Woodlands. For over there, there were smiling faces that made my day easier and happy. How would you react if the hawker would every time give you more but cheaper food because she had known you to be a teacher? Ohh, how I miss Woodlands!
I was thinking that way this early morning when a mother with her son greeted me and said: “You are Ms. Luchie, right?” I looked at her son’s uniform and saw his name Kenneth Kh…”Oh my! You are so big now!” and hugged him.
Imagine that! It was seven years ago and they still remember me. I was so happy, really happy. And I am proud that Kenneth is now studying in a very good school, ACS.
So, I may not be earning that much but I am earning respect, recognition and love from children and parents. That is a consolation that is incomparable. What do you think?