As back to school is coming near, I am quietly rejoicing. I had a lovely summer with my kids and spent lots of time with them, but it is time for them to go back to learning and most of all, it is time for me to regain some structure in life. I pray that my kids will have good teachers this year. I know what good teachers can do to one's life. I had a few of those in my lifetime, who really inspired and influenced me to become who I am today.
When I was 5, my parents sent my siblings and me to Hong Kong to start school. At that time, we lived in the flat that my parents had purchased and my older cousins would babysit us during the weeknights. For the most part, I was missing my parents so much and my Grade 1 homeroom teacher took notice of the distress that I was facing as I would quietly sob at my desk. Now this teacher was in her 60s at that time and was known for being strict and old fashioned. What she did next impacted me in a way that I didn't even know until recently.
At the beginning of each academic year, the teacher would pick 2 class leaders (a girl and a boy) and a class assistant. I was amongst the youngest in the class, but she assigned me to be the class assistant for the year. I would be responsible to assist the teachers and the class leaders in distributing material and cleaning up classrooms and art supplies when needed. Within a short time, I developed a close friendship with the class leader as we prep the room each morning before everyone comes in. I remember days when we would walk to the nearby 7/11 before the school bell rings. She was definitely the right choice to be the class leader because she was calm, firm and most of all, kind.
Months later, I became more confident and adjusted to life a little. My teacher also took noticed that I had a bit of artistic talent and she encouraged me to put my mind to it. Although there was no award system back then, my little artwork had always being chosen as the best in class. From then on, I had decided to be an artist when I grow up. The road had not been easy or straight forward or what I had expected, but it always leads back to where the heart chooses to go.
My Grade 1 teacher taught me 2 valuable lessons - 1) help someone redirect their energy into something positive and watch them grow; 2) help others uncover their potential even though they might not know it. I have this teacher to thank. Her empathy and kindness had planted a seed of compassion in me. Only until recently, I understood why I enjoyed helping others and making them gain a different perspective on their situations in life. She had greatly impacted my life and I wish I can do the same for my kids and people around me. The credit goes back to her!