Monday, October 08, 2007

The broken heart of a teacher

The best gift that a teacher can ever receive is when they know that they have made a difference in the lives of their students. One of those most memorable program that I facilitated was produced into a video and uploaded on youtube. Each time I revisit this video, dust gets in my eye.

1. A Service Learning project that went through so much from conceptualisation to preparation and 'painfully' implemented. Yet, it reaped many sweet returns with intangible lessons learnt. It really made such a big difference in many, including mine. I enjoyed seeing how a class of very intelligent students driven to get the As transformed to be caring, creative and responsible individuals. This too was one reason that held me back from resigning in Oct 2005.

2. A reflection of much heart break: these two videos were mostly filmed, edited and produced by one single kid. Yet, in 2006 this kid was sent to a home for thief and several other crimes. In one instance, he had even stolen a laptop from school and had it sold at the cash-mart. I know him. A clever boy. A kind hearted child deeply gentle within. A very tech savvy boy. Yet, it saddened me tremendously to hear of his misdeeds. I counselled him when his parents broke up in 2005. His dad abused him. His mum from a foreign land knew not how to manage him further but to eventually report him to the police... because she loved him. He knew not her love for him. While he left school and ran about doing odd jobs, I tried to look for him. Each time he promised to turn over a new leave, it became yet another broken promise. I too was at my wits ends. I pondered, how can society give this 17 year old boy another chance. Can't we use his talents and make him a better man... Pehaps I failed him as a teacher.
Perhaps I did.

The broken hearted teacher,


Ivan Chew said...

Seems to me it's where the teacher's job has to be passed to the criminal reform system. I mean, the personality of the boy aside -- a crime is a crime. I guess we now have to trust the system and see what he makes out of it.

Chuansen said...

Mr yeo. You're really a good teacher (:

Ms. Randall said...

John, although this video was captured almost a year ago, there is no doubt in my mind that you were and still are a great teacher! And eventhough I only spent part of a day with you at the TechValley Summer Institute, I know this from my heart as I learned more from you in a few hours than my professors taught over many years. Watching this video and reading this blog entry also brought "dust to my eyes." May God continue to bless you and your family and all those fortunate enough to have met you. Stephanie Randall

John Yeo said...

Hi Stephanie...
thanks so much for the lovely encouragement. U have reminded me once again why I wanted to become a teacher. To touch and impact lives. Have you heard of the Starfish story? Of a little boy picking up starfishes and throwing back into the sea. Then came along a man who thought that his action was silly as there were too many starfishes drying up on the beach. The boy simply replied that as long as he could save another starfish he would continue doing so. Today, I hope that I could continue to inspire the teachers that I work with and hopefully that they could too discover for themselves the mission of our job- making a difference by touching lives.

Yes, the video is more than 2 years old .... but one action I would do when I return back to Singapore would be to follow up with that student. I pray that you too may continue to enjoy this wonderful job! God bless you.

Keep in touch!