I REFER to Tuesday's letter by Joven Liew, 'Student's lament', on a student's account about rallying classmates to visit their former primary school teachers.
On behalf of the teachers, I think I should thank this student for showing appreciation to teachers. As a teacher myself, I agree that the presence of former students visiting their teachers on Teachers' Day means more than the gifts they bring. Also, appreciation should not stop when the teacher no longer teaches the student that year, or the student or teacher leaves the school.
I guess students may no longer visit teachers for several reasons.
If the teachers have been posted to another school, they may not see a need to visit them any more. However, if they have the 'heart', they can contact their alma mater in order to locate their teachers and visit them in their new school. Showing appreciation should not be limited to their former school where the teachers taught, but some students have the mindset that when the teacher is transferred, the student-teacher friendship and appreciation ends.
There may be security imposed by schools to ensure the safety of students. Students from my previous school contacted me via the Internet to tell me about a fight that took place there last year. The principal had to order all ex-students to leave the school immediately. The appreciation to teachers on Teachers' Day had led to a fight due to a staring incident among ex-students. This year, they had to make an appointment with the teacher they wanted to see before they were allowed to enter the school.
I still keep in touch with my teachers, regardless of where they teach now. I have a close friendship with the teachers I keep in touch with (especially those who encouraged me), and there is no longer a teacher-student gap. We continue to keep in touch with e-mail messages and we meet occasionally at conferences and workshops. As their ex-student, I never fail to send them my best wishes, not only on Teachers' Day but also on the festivals we celebrate.
Of course, appreciation from current and ex-students will motivate us teachers to continue to lead, care and inspire towards holistic education, preparing our students for the world.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.