By Leow Si Wan
THEY both joined Bedok Green Secondary School in the same year - one a fresh-faced teacher in her first job and the other a somewhat jaded student who scored 186 in her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
Flash forward four years and Yuhanis Kadis emerged yesterday as one of the top three N-level scorers in the country.
The 16-year-old who achieved a perfect score - Grade 1 for all six subjects - said: 'I have been working very hard so this is a dream come true. I am very grateful to my family and all my teachers who have helped and supported me in their own ways.'
One teacher in particular, she said, as she hugged Madam Nur Hazwah.
Yuhanis, who also enjoys sports such as netball and tennis, said she used to find mathematics tough.
'Madam Hazwah, who was my form teacher and maths teacher in Secondary 1 and 2, brought the subject alive and made me want to find out as much as I can. Slowly, I realised the joy of learning.'
Madam Hazwah, she said, held quizzes and played maths games so the energy level in the classroom was always high.
Her lessons were always visual - for instance, using paper cut-outs to teach the concept of volume.
Yuhanis added: 'Madam Hazwah doesn't wait for us to approach her when we make mistakes. She approaches us instead and ensures we don't hesitate to ask questions.'
Recalling her first days on the job, Madam Hazwah, 27, who now teaches science, said: 'When I first saw Yuhanis, I just thought she was a very chirpy girl. Her class was well-behaved but many were weak in maths and did not like it.
'The challenge back then was to make it fun. But as I continued teaching, I realised that beyond fun, I also had to help them achieve good results.'
Her methods did not always work and she got disheartened when students did not do as well as she thought they could.
'But now, I understand how one student doing well can make all the difference,' she said.
Madam Hazwah put in extra hours after class to coach Yuhanis and other students, and worked on building rapport with them.
'I play netball as well so there is a common topic. That is probably why she felt comfortable enough to continue consulting me though I was no longer teaching her in Secondary 3 and 4,' she added.
Yuhanis' mother, housewife Rohani Samat, 45, said: 'I could see her working very hard but I was thinking there may be a lot of other people who are even better. Of course, I am very happy now.'
Yuhanis, who has two sisters aged 12 and 19, plans to take the O levels at Bedok Green next year, go on to a junior college and be a maths teacher.
'I really enjoyed my lessons and one day I want to help others enjoy math as much as I did.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.