Great teachers leave lasting impact

I firmly believe that the power and influence a teacher can wield in the classroom matters more than the repute of the school.

I come from a family where there was no English spoken at home. My family had very few resources to support me.

In the last year of my primary school education, I met a magical teacher - Mr Lin Min. He was my form teacher and English teacher.

My class was a very ordinary class from an ordinary neighbourhood school. We were rambunctious, full of silly antics and had little ambition, simply because we did not know what we could dream of or hope for.

Mr Lin introduced us to musicals such as Les Miserables and The Phantom Of The Opera, and played us songs from these musicals to teach us grammar, vocabulary and the importance of plots in compositions.

Interesting articles from Reader's Digest were used to teach us comprehension skills. He introduced us to various genres of reading materials, causing me to develop an insatiable appetite for books.

He also taught us about life, reminding us to make full use of today and not to procrastinate. He taught us to respect every member of the class, to have pride in our work and to appreciate the aesthetics of the world.

As a class, we grew exponentially in our confidence and our mastery of the English language.

We did well in the Primary School Leaving Examination and many of us made it to the best secondary schools in the nation - shocking many of our parents and peers.

Today, my classmates have become doctors, lawyers, accountants and are at the top echelons of their chosen careers.

I studied English in university and am now finishing my master's degree. I am even contemplating doctoral studies.

All this would not have been possible if a teacher had not believed in a class of mischievous children and put in so much effort to build in us a love and firm foundation in English.

He chose to be blind to our supposed pre-disposed limitations and focused on growing our innate potential.

I owe Mr Lin a debt of gratitude.

I hope there will be more teachers like him in our schools. Let us support our teachers to become the best of themselves in the classroom, where they can wield their influence on a daily basis and inspire their students.

Yvonne Kong Shi Qi (Ms)