Eagerness. Placidness. Consternation. Enthusiasm.
All are emotions which J1s wear on their faces as they embark on their journey in VJC. As varied as they can be, years in the teaching industry have made these emotions a common sight for life-long educator Ms Ek. Like gum which has been chewed one too many times, a new batch of students does not promise the breath of fresh air students did years ago.
A VJC principal for 3 years, River Valley principal for 7, and an economics teacher for 13, she has become a veteran of hellos and goodbyes, witnessing the passing of a multitude of cohorts.
Before her address to the J1s, Ms Ek stood outside the PT, waiting for the new batch to stream in, and that was when our curious reporters approached her. What was she thinking about? As she stood there, she couldn’t help but start to admire the different promotional art pieces pasted onto the surrounding walls. Ranging from the serene farmers to the fiery gladiators, the wall outside the PT was adorned with a myriad of different pieces of art by each OG, each trying to catch the attention of passers-by. Most students will only consider the visual aspects of these creations, but Ms Ek looked at the wall of art in a very pragmatic light.
“Will the paint on the wall come off if we take these down? Are these stuck on with bluetack?”
She then went forward to inspect the drawings stuck onto the wall, below the board of SC presidents. She gently pulled back one of the pieces of paper and saw that a thin layer of paint had come out. Turning to our reporters, she joked that she would give a paintbrush to students and have them repaint the wall.
Chuckling to herself, she started examining the wall for other signs of weatheredness. That’s when her attention was drawn towards the board of past SC presidents and scholarship recipients. With faint nostalgia, she started naming off her old students, all of which left an impression on the coast of her mind.
“1987, that’s my first batch of students,” she mumbled as she ambled past the plaques.
Ms Ek started to list off student after student, even adding how old they were and what their current job is, all off the top of her head. Curious, we asked her how she knew all their jobs in such great detail, especially since they all graduated long ago. Ms Ek gave a small chuckle and explained that they are her current colleagues and that her oldest student is 45 years old now. After close to three decades, student-teacher bonds still hold true.
The board of SC presidents and scholarship recipients serve as goals for students of VJC. For those listed on the boards, it provides a level of glory and distinction, to honour them for their achievements. But for Ms Ek, and many other senior teachers in VJC, it serves as a window to the past. Glancing at the board ushers back memories formed many years ago, igniting a warm, homely feeling inside each of their hearts.
As current students of VJC, we started to wonder whether we would remember our teachers 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Would they remember us?
Snapping back to the present, Ms Ek proceeded to the Performance Theatre to give her speech to a whole new batch of Victorians, many years younger than the students she taught before.
This brief encounter with Ms Ek, actually made us feel a little bit insignificant. Across a teacher’s career, a whole spectrum of students are met. Different shapes and sizes, thoughts and ideas, histories and futures. When students eventually graduate from VJC, some leave their photos in the yearbook, some leave their graffiti in the treehouse, some leave their name on the board of honours. But is that all they will remember us by?
What will YOU be remembered by?
Zhan Hao, 15S49
Mark Cheng, 15S48