Voices of Zhenghua

Growing Students

In February 2007 when I first stepped into Zhenghua Secondary for practicum, I was assigned to teach English in 1E4. They were a boisterous bunch, and many of them had little grounding in grammar and punctuation. Vocabulary that I supplied to my neighbour's Primary Five child seemed challenging to the majority of the class.

Three years down the road, I am still facing many of them. I taught them when they were in Sec 2 and followed them up to their Sec 3 year. I am now seeing them in their O-level year, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them in meeting the challenge of the national examination.

Some have improved by leaps and bounds in the language. One girl, whom I had to sit down and patiently explain the concept of tenses to, is now able to tell me why people write - not just for 'O' levels, but the purpose of learning to write.

A boy who used to give me disciplinary problems has matured into a responsible young man, willing to put in that extra mile when previously I had to threaten him with detention and phone calls before he would submit an assignment. Cheeky teenagers have grown into young adults, and not one of them would stand for rudeness or laziness.

These are good students. Not because of their grades, but because they have learned the real values of education: loyalty, honesty, friendship, respect and hard work.

It is truly humbling to witness their change. I find myself working harder, because they are willing to work harder.

They sincerely and truly believe that with honest effort come good results. They believe that the teachers are out to help them. They believe that they can make it - without being complacent. They believe that we as teachers know what we are doing, and so they trust us and allow us to guide them (all the while being noisy chatterboxes as they know how).

Here’s hoping they will do well.

Patricia Lee