Partings, unfortunately, are never the easiest things in the world to handle.
That was the case earlier today. I had to say my goodbyes to people whom I've grown accustomed to and love over the past two months or so.
Early in the morning, while I was enjoying a drink at the canteen, I thought to myself, "This is a repeat of my last day of Secondary 4". But as fate would have it, the roles have been reversed and I'm leaving as a teacher.
Somehow, I managed to work out a deal to see the 2 classes I had previously taught when their actual teacher was away for the longest time. And by the time the upper sec had their recess, my emotions started to kick in.
And this, after a colleague asked, "How emotional are you gonna get?"
Not knowing that I would be seeing them one last time, my Sec 3's presented me with a boarded cut-out of a helmet, painted in shades of green and black (thanks hor for reminding me about the army!). On the front was a wonderful little poem, which by the way, was totally unexpected. All these years, I was the one presenting poems to teachers alike and here I was receiving one. On the overleaf, there were encouraging messages from the rest of the class.
And then, I met them in class about an hour later. While I knew at some point I would break down, I never thought the same would happen for my students. We shared a mere 25 minutes and as the minutes ticked away, it came to a breaking point for some of them and tears were shared. I was genuinely moved by their sincere and heartfelt pleas to not leave the class. Somehow though, I managed to hold on to my tears, though it was obvious I could've broken anytime too.
I then went to my 2N class and was presented with a lovely surprise (sorry for the delay and had to keep y'all hiding under the sun). They had organised a mini party, stocked with some pizza, Coke, titbits and cakes! It was obvious everyone was both hungry and thirsty and everything was clean by the end of the first period. They spent the rest of the lesson watching the first part of The Maid. And oh, before I left, I was also presented with two cards, one from the boys and the other from the girls. Sweet and touching messages inside.
And as I was leaving, I got a note from another 2N student from the class which I had never taught but had invigilated for a week. By some weird force of nature, I grew fond of the class overtime and to get the note, thanking me and having kind words was again, truly unexpected.
The flood gates only opened when I went back to the office after school was officially out. What the teachers said and shared was the tip of the iceberg, and eventually, the catalyst to my tears. Mdm Fauziah summed it up beautifully as did Mrs Shankar when they said that I had made an impact in my students' lives despite the short time I had spent with them.
When I first stepped in as their teacher, I felt that I was there to prepare them for their exams. Never in my wildest imagination would I have predicted that I could make an impact on them. And I still find it hard to believe if I actually did.
And oh, to have a most encouraging and warm working environment with magnificent teachers who dedicate themselves to their work is truly inspiring.
To my dearest students and colleagues, should any of you chance upon this,
THANK YOU for a most enriching and enthralling experience all wrapped into one and in such a short span of time too. While it remains to be seen, I am encouraged to continue with this path when the next few chapters of my life open. Each and everyone of you have opened a world of feelings and emotions I never knew existed.
My parting thought will be the same as I had with my Sec 3s.
"Remember me the way I remember you"