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The alarm rings. Got to get ready for school. o This is the way I get up from bed, get up from bede this is the way I brush my teethe comb my haire walk to schoole walk to school, e and so onp Mrs. Ho taught me that nursery rhyme. ; o When you cross the road, look to both sides of the road, even on a one way streetp said Mr. Lim, my civics teacher. As I put the bun in my mouth, I , remembered, o chew your food thirty-two times before swallowingp Puan ; Malathi, the science teacher. This morning Enche Adnan, showed us how to replace a damaged electric switch. My next class is m physical educationn my favorite class; Enche Safri, the ; sports master, has promised to show us the right way to do a head stand, which the health science teacher, Mrs. Chan, said is good for brain growth! Every now and then I read in the papers about how teachers have helped students to score umpteen m s; helped disadvantaged children to pass exams; An help athletes to do well in their sports, etc. They highlight the dedication shown by teachers, not only in Malaysia, but also all over the world, towards their students; sometimes at great expense to their personal lives. Besides those great things that teachers do, I never fail to think of the little things, things of daily life, that my teachers have taught me, sometimes just in passing; but things that help us to simply m . liven I have great teachers at home too r my parents, my sister, my friendsnparents and other friends and relatives. They have an interest in me for being related, for being friends and for wanting to see me succeed them in future; and I know they will be by my side for a long time, helping me along. But, my teachers in school are not my relatives, and not my m friendsnin the actual sense. They are m simply doing their jobn What is it that makes them . m , I wonder. Why should they want to see me do well in this and that; why tickn should they want to teach me how to cross the road? My parents would do that. Why should they want to take time off from their family to give us that extra hour of a subject that we can read up at home anyway? My parents want

me to be successful in life, but what is to my teacher whether I succeed in future or not? Would I not be m of their handsnby then? They could just out m follow the syllabusnand leave us at that, go home to their family and collect their paycheck at the end of the month. I think teachers have an unwritten oath, perhaps like the m Hippocratic Oathnof doctors. Teachers take it upon themselves to m educaten rather than m , teachn to ; share their knowledge, rather than be stingy with it; avoid m worknfor the sake of work, and instead work effectively with meaning, to their students; to teach with warmth and understanding, instead of simply reading off the book, or parroting out multiple-choice questions. I am sure teachers realize the enormous responsibility of possibly making a student good, or bad, merely by the way they handle the student, and his or her problems. I do not mean to offend my good school teachers, whose dedication I do not question, but I would very much like to say a little something about an exteacher who has helped me with science and math. I am Indian. She is Chinese. My mum got to know her through a mutual friend. I went to her for science tuition. I was a little apprehensive that she might run a m slownclass depending on the slowest student of the class. She did not do that. She patiently spent time with each of her students and matched their individual paces individually; helping to understand the subject, and providing plenty of questions derived from many sources, including from foreign countries. When she had completed the science syllabus, she gave out math questions freely to anyone who wanted them. She would give extra classes at no extra cost, before my exams. She would replace classes I missed due to extra curricular activities, without complaining. She does not teach anymore, but will call occasionally to find out how I am doing; how I did in my exams, or debates, or games. Whenever her son, a university student, came home for holidays, she would call me to ask if I wanted any help with my school subjects. She would call to talk about scholarships on offer; or about some math or science competition that is going on in town. Sometimes she will call simply to ask if I need some advice on which other tuition teacher I should approach for various subjects.

I cannot understand. Who or what am I to her? As far as I am concerned, I am no more her student. She is not even a tuition teacher anymore. She is not my relative. She is not my or my mumn friend. She is not even my race. She simply s wants me to do well in life because she was my teacher, and I was her student. Only, I did not know it was going to be a positive lifetime bond. After a few years of not being her student, I went to her home recently, to give her sweets for Deepavali, and I could see her face brighten up with happiness, and I am sure it was not at the sight of the sweets. I was not tearing, but my mum was. One day I might understand such dedication. For today, I can only say, o thank you teacherp to every one of my teachers. ,