What makes a good Teacher?

Despite my crazy schedule, teachers’ day is always a significant event in our yearly calendar, and I make time to mark this day. Teachers are such a big part of my children’s lives, and besides the heartfelt words of thanks throughout the year, this is one day we can formally show our appreciation to these very special people.

The flurry of activity started the day before in our kitchen as #3 and her bff spent the whole afternoon making cake pops. This year, I decided to use a fairly simple chocolate chip recipe to bake cookies for Kate’s teachers so that she could do most of the steps with minimal assistance from me.

It was dinnertime by the time the last batch of cookies were done and she packed them into little boxes and used her name stickers to seal them. All set!

In the morning, I taught her to hand the boxes to each of her teachers and she giggled and gave them hugs while wishing them.

I can bake!

After depositing her in school, the hubs and I prepared to go over to #2’s school as she was performing a solo item! Unfortunately, before her act, the hubs had to rush off to pick Kate up. That’s how it’s like when you have too many kids.

We were extremely proud of her for the courage to want to go up on stage to sing on teachers’ day. It wouldn’t have been possible if the teacher in charge did not back them up, allow them this opportunity, and give them words of encouragement as their nerves took over.

Despite the hurdles of not having rooms approved for her, the pianist and the drummer to practice together, and of being in the middle of prelims, they pressed on and did a good show to wild screams from their peers.

It didn’t matter that the singing wasn’t spectacular, but such spirit! One seemingly small step of a student going up on stage to sing. But the message was strong. Nothing is impossible. Dare to dream. Have the strength to persevere. I’m sure they will remember this for a long time to come.

And who knows? Many may have been inspired to step out of their comfort zone and rise up to challenges as they leave this school and embark on the next phase of their lives.

As part of the parents’ support group, we were invited to the teachers’ day celebrations where we showed our appreciation on behalf of all the parents by handing over the gifts we made, and thanking the teachers for their hard work.

Together, we prayed a beautiful prayer for teachers,

May our gift of teaching;
Awaken minds to new ideas, and expand hearts beyond boundaries.

May our love of learning;
Lead students to awe and wonder at their participation in our sacred universe.

May our story-telling inspire imagination and creativity;
And our example lead those we teach to be generous and noble.

May your desire to educate;
Evoke the unique gifts of each student, and the deep desires of each heart

And, as you bless your students on their way;
May you delight at the gift your life offers to the future.

What struck us mummies was that teachers’ day celebrations in school are a far cry from what we had in our day.

Students from the media CCA groups came up with video montages and the young teachers gamely posed, danced and lip-synced to the delight of their students.

They also had a fun segment where awards were given out to teachers amidst much cheering, and it was heartwarming to see the camaraderie between the teachers, students, Principal and VPs.

We had a late lunch with their friends before coming back to the other kids.

#4 related an oral practice session they had in class and the topic was “What makes a good teacher?”

Given how much I had been hearing about their teachers piling them with homework prior to the PSLE countdown, I half expected things like, “A good teacher is someone who doesn’t scold us” or “Someone who gives us less homework.”

However, I was surprised how matured these 12-year olds were.

These were the top 8 traits they listed, ranked in order.

1. Someone who is patient.

2. Someone with the ability to make lessons interesting.

3. Someone who is understanding.

4. Someone who is fair to all.

5. Someone who is approachable.

6. Someone who is helpful.

7. Someone who is kind.

8. (She couldn’t recall what the eighth trait was).

My faith has been renewed in children! We tend to think of children collectively as being from a spoilt, ‘me-first’ generation.

It probably takes a saint to have all of those traits all of the time!

To all teachers, we wish you a very Happy Teachers’ Day! Enjoy the long weekend with your family and loved ones. We appreciate the good work that you do, day in day out.

And now that I run an enrichment centre, I have a team of teachers!

Let us never forget the why behind what we are doing, and besides enjoying teaching the easy and teachable kids, when the going gets tough, when the children are challenging, may we remember that it is a calling to be an educator, a responsibility as much as a privilege that we must never take lightly.

And not only is it the job of educators, but we parents are our children’s first teachers. I leave you with this prayer, which we ended the teachers’ day celebration with:

Enable me to teach with wisdom for I help to shape the mind.
Equip me to teach with truth for I help to shape the conscience.
Encourage me to teach with vision for I help to shape the future.
Empower me to teach with love for I help to shape the world.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

My first attempt at baking for Teacher’s Day

Every year, the older girls will invite their friends over and have a massive teacher’s day bake. Somehow, they manage to make delicious cookies and muffins, much to my surprise. I mean, home-baked goodies from students? Um…

This year is the first time Kate is celebrating Teacher’s Day and I wanted to show my appreciation to her teachers who have taken such good care of her these past 8 months.

Moist banana cake

They have gone beyond their duty of imparting knowledge to her, and have guided her closely in shaping her character and values as well, while being attuned to her emotional needs.

Day in, day out, they handle the little tikes with infinite patience and professionalism, never once raising their voices, yet managing to keep them within firm boundaries. I really can’t ask for more in her dedicated educators.

I decided that the only fitting gift I could give them is something home-made with sincerity. Her teacher buys fruit for the kids to share during snack time and it would be lovely if I could bake them something yummy for this special day at school.

Fresh from the oven

One of our yoga mummies is a consummate baker and brought a fragrant banana cake for my birthday celebration. It was heavenly, and I’ve been longing for another slice of it since then. So freshly baked banana cake it was going to be.

My girls looked quizzically at me, “Mum, you sure you want to bake for Kate’s teachers?” My past few cookie attempts failed pretty miserably because I tried to substitute too many ingredients with what I had on hand.

Amazingly, this turned out well, and ours vanished in the blink of an eye. Here’s the recipe if you are keen to try it out!

I would like to wish all teachers, not only school teachers, but teachers in every capacity, a very Happy Teacher’s Day!

May you continue to touch lives and inspire others with what you do.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

A tribute to all the Extraordinary Teachers

I had a call from #5’s Chinese teacher, Huang Laoshi. I was just thinking to myself how lovely it was that I have not heard from her the whole year and it’s already August. Things must be under control. Alas. It was not to be.

She started by telling me that he had failed the recent mini test. She sounded rather apologetic, and said that in primary 2, the speed is picking up and as he has a weak foundation in Chinese, he is not able to cope. She feels that he has reached a point where he is almost giving up and she has no choice but to inform me so that we can work this out together.

I told her that I was actually very surprised that I’ve not heard from her until now, as last year, his Chinese teacher was actively whatsapp-ing me every other week to get me on-board in ensuring his homework was completed and tests revised. Huang Laoshi explained to me that at the start of the year, she had already spoken to their P1 Chinese teacher and found out who were the weaker students. She has been monitoring him and providing him with extra guidance as she heard that I had quite a few kids and figured I was too busy to coach him.

She told me that when she allows him to bring home his unfinished homework, it never comes back. She has taken to printing extra sets of worksheets for him and when he says that he has lost it, she whips out a new piece and gets him to do it there and then. Wow. I was touched. Most teachers would spend time berating him, punishing him or getting him to go home and look for it, but she is totally unfazed and concentrates on working around his problem.

With my 4 older girls, I have never had any issues with them regarding their homework and they are all on auto-pilot. With #5, every time I ask him if there’s any homework, he will blatantly answer “Nothing!” or “I don’t know”. Now I know what my friends with boys mean when they tell me it’s a headache dealing with them everyday.

There is really not much more I can ask of a teacher and I truly admire Huang Laoshi’s perseverance and love for her students. She tells me that with such a shaky foundation, it will be an uphill battle in the coming years and she is very worried for him. I can hear her passion and concern for #5 and I honestly think she is more worried for his Chinese than I am!

Macaroons for their teachers this year.. yum yum
So on this special day which we set aside to remember and show our appreciation, I would like to say a sincere, resounding THANK YOU to all the teachers and tutors who have taught and touched my children in one way or another. It was never about the grades but the journey. About the little things you taught them along the way about life. About the young minds you have ignited and inspired as you went about your very challenging tasks of educating them in this millennium.

No box? No prob. #2 to the rescue

This year, besides being grateful for Huang Laoshi, we would also like to specially thank 5 other teachers.

To Mrs K, their English tutor, for not only teaching them English, but also imparting values along the way. And for making the effort to learn their likes and dislikes so that she can tailor the lessons to them and make them enjoyable.

To Mrs Lachman, #3’s English and Science teacher, who is always motivating them to do better so that they can reach their full potential. She is a very tough task master who never accepts anything but their best. #3 disliked her immensely in the beginning of the year as she is extremely strict and stern. However, through her remarkable efforts in teaching them, she managed to pull #3 up from 20/100 to an A for Science. And along the way, she managed to earn her students’ respect and cooperation. She is now #3’s favourite teacher.

To Mrs T, #1’s ‘A Math’ teacher, for opening her house to them on a Sunday to give them some extra help in preparation for their ‘O’ level exams.

To #2’s relief teacher, Mr Lim, who was the only teacher who ever allowed them to eat during his lessons (the food they cooked at home econs class) so that it wouldn’t go bad by the time they reached home. It’s simple things like that which made the students realise that we can be kind and humane even within constrains.

And a very, very special thanks to their aunt, who has been tutoring the 3 of them in their PSLE year (and 3 more to come!). She willingly accepts such a tough job and gives of her time and best efforts, yet refusing any payment.

So once again, from all of us here, 

Thank you for coming into our lives

Have a fabulous Teacher’s Day!

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~