Wednesday, Aug 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00

Teacher Tay Mei Geok’s Selfless Efforts in Helping Her Students

Written by  Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Lee Ren Hui

Teacher Tay always cares for the needs of her students; and this has won her students’ love and respect. [Photograph byNg Saw Hua]

“Good morning, teacher!” Students would cordially and politely greet Teacher Tay Mei Geok. Always with a smile on her face, Teacher Tay would occasionally stop and greet her students warmly like a friend, putting her hand on their shoulder as she catches up with them on their recent life or encourages them to work harder. This scene can be seen daily at any corner in the school.


“Teacher Tay is a very successful counseling teacher, who would actively contact her students to try and understand their situation; and she has never given up any student,” praised Principal Khor Ching Ai. As a result of Teacher Tay’s hard work over the past three years, Principal Khor has confidently assigned her to be fully responsible for the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme.

In 2014, applicants of the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme of SJK(C) Ayer Keroh were nominated by each class teacher. Teacher Tay would also approach the school’s canteen operator to obtain additional information on the students, or approach parents to gain deeper understanding. Then, after screening, an application list will be compiled and evaluated in order to achieve the best results.

This year, 23 students from the school were successful applicants, much to the delight of Teacher Tay. She personally handed the letters of notification to all concerned, and reminded them to attend the Presentation Ceremony on November 2, 2014, at Tzu Chi Melaka.

Teacher and students work together

Principal Khor admitted that, “When we first started to roll out the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme, parents were unclear of its purposes, and had neglected their children’s learning situation at home. As a result, the changes experienced by their children could not be fully captured.” After three years of efforts, Principal Khor noticed the maturity and change in the students, particularly the improvement in their moral virtues. She also attributed this achievement to Teacher Tay for “taking an approach of love in everything she does, and fully dedicating herself while providing companionship”.

Teacher Tay was diligent in guiding the students to fill up the Tzu Chi Study & Award’s progress booklet (students’ daily assessment) and in reviewing them. For applicants from lower grades, who were unable to write their own experience and autobiography, she would first explain and seek assistance from senior students to help and give guidance. Although not fluent in Mandarin, she would still try her best to write down an appropriate phrase of Jing Si Aphorism on each student’s booklet, as encouragement, based on their learning ability, attendance, learning performance at home, and behaviour in school each month. She believes that no task is difficult, if one does not perceive it as difficult. This attribute of Teacher Tay is highly regarded by Principal Khor.

Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme has also established a closer rapport between the school, parents and students. Through her home visits, Teacher Tay has a good understanding on each student’s family situation, and this will enable the school to provide some timely assistance if needed. By upholding the principle that, “everyone has his/her own potential, and needs to be discovered with patience”, Teacher Tay’s insistence has enabled many students to feel the love of the school and teachers; and gradually, they will learn good behaviour and focus on their studies, and some may even unleash other hidden talents.

Excel oneself so that parents feel at ease

Ng Jin Hong is a Year 5 student, whose father is jobless after an accident at his workplace, and his mother was then left to bear the family’s financial burden, including her husband’s huge medical expenses. Jin Hong’s academic achievement had been less than satisfactory, however, to Teacher Tay’s surprise, he voluntarily checked the “Academic Progress Award” on the award application this year. Teacher Tay said, “His family really needs this study grant, and it is encouraging that he is willing to challenge himself to this end.”

Actually, it is Jin Hong’s filial heart that promoted him to study hard. He purposely checked the “Academic Progress Award” to motivate himself, and to make his mother happy. He confidently said, “This is because I want to study hard to improve my academic results.” He hopes to use the award to fund his father’s medical treatment. “Although his academic results did not improve drastically, he should at least be rewarded for the little improvement he had made. Furthermore, he has been active in participating in extracurricular activities, speaks enthusiastically and is very motivated in class.” Teacher Tay is pleased with her student’s improvement.

Regardless of where students see Teacher Tay, she would definitely greet them with her signature moves of “putting her hand over their shoulder, and giving them encouragement”. Year 5 student, Chua Kai Ee said smilingly, “In classroom, hall, canteen, regardless of where I meet Teacher Tay, she would always encourage me.” And this gesture is like a flow of warmness filling Kai Ee’s heart with lots of care and love. He declared, “I like Teacher Tay very much.”

This is Kai Ee’s third application for the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme. He also applied for the “Morality Award” to motivate himself to help with household chores when he is at home, hand in his homework on time, be responsible, and so on. Teacher Tay shared happily, “Now, even his mother would leave short comments in his progress booklet.” Teaching at school and at home will complement each other with caring from both teacher and parents.

Be the students’ noble benefactors

Behind Teacher Tay’ kindness, there is a touching story. She shared, “I am very grateful to my aunt. Without her help, I would not be who I am today.” Teacher Tay’s eyes were filled with tears as she recalled the bitterness of her childhood memories. Living in poverty when she was young, she often owed months of school bus fees, and was ashamed to get on the bus every day, not knowing how to face the driver. Fortunately, her aunt would offer financial assistance every year, and this had helped her to successfully complete her primary school education.

She also worked during school holidays and even on a part-time basis as a sales person, waitress and so on, until she graduated from university. Once, she only had a piece of bread for a day, but she never gave up. For her tertiary education, she was lucky to have secured a scholarship and assistance from some organizations. These, together with wages from her part-time jobs, had seen her through her graduation. Till this day, she has always been thankful for the many noble people in her life. She said, “Now, Tzu Chi is the noble benefactor of all these students.”

Teacher Tay has empathy towards the students and understands the difficulty of pursuing one’s education in the face of economic hardships. For this reason, she has been actively taking responsibility in promoting the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme in school. She is not taken aback by the extra workload, but has instead remained active and positive. Whenever there is doubt, she would definitely consult Tzu Chi volunteers or staff; and she has always done her best in helping the recommended students to obtain assistance from Tzu Chi. Cheerful and full of positive energy, she said, “The Principal values my contribution, and that’s why I am assigned to take on this responsibility. All the recommended students are in need of the study grant, so I must do my very best to help them; and by helping them, I have grown and learnt a lot too.”



Teacher Tay believes that hardship is part of life, and once we have overcome it, we will achieve happiness. She shared her own experience with her students to encourage them to study hard as this is the only way to change their lives. She also encouraged them to feel the warmth of society, and not to give up on themselves because of poverty. Furthermore, she reminded them to be thankful and always remember those who have helped them. “I do not know how much these children can understand, but I am convinced that the concept is now planted in their hearts, and one day, it will bear fruit,” said Teacher Tay in a firm tone.

 

As a result of Teacher Tay’s hard work, over the past three years, Principal Khor has confidently assigned Teacher Tay to be fully responsible for the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme. [Photograph by Ng Saw Hua]   Although Teacher Tay is not good in Chinese, she would write down an appropriate phrase of Jing-Si Aphorism on each student’s booklet as encouragement, based on their learning ability, attendance, learning performance at home, and behaviour in school each month. [Photograph by Ng Saw Hua]

As a result of Teacher Tay’s hard work, over the past three years, Principal Khor has confidently assigned Teacher Tay to be fully responsible for the Tzu Chi Study & Award Scheme. [Photograph by Ng Saw Hua]
 
Although Teacher Tay is not good in Chinese, she would write down an appropriate phrase of Jing-Si Aphorism on each student’s booklet as encouragement, based on their learning ability, attendance, learning performance at home, and behaviour in school each month. [Photograph by Ng Saw Hua]
 
Although Ng Jin Hong’s academic achievement had been less than satisfactory, he voluntarily checked the “Academic Progress Award” on the award application form this year, as motivation. [Photograph by Ng Saw Hua]  

Although Ng Jin Hong’s academic achievement had been less than satisfactory, he voluntarily checked the “Academic Progress Award” on the award application form this year, as motivation. [Photograph by Ng Saw Hua]