Friday, 23 July 2010

Isaac's favourite teacher is...

Remember how I was telling you that Isaac had learnt the meaning of the word "favourite"? This was the post I made in May about his favourite food. At that time, I meant to quickly follow up with two more "favourite" posts - Isaac's favourite friend and his favourite teacher. In a blink of an eye, it's now July...

Isaac has two main teachers: Teacher Lina and Teacher Foong Ling. He loves them both. Teacher Lina takes the class in the morning up to nap time, whereas Teacher Foong Ling takes the class in the afternoon. Something like that.

I first found out who Isaac's favourite teacher was one evening as I was driving us both home after school/work. Isaac gets cranky after school, primarily coz he's tired after a long day. So he was getting cranky (as usual), when, just to distract him, I asked him who was his favourite friend, who's his favourite teacher etc.

The first time I asked him "Isaac, who's your favourite teacher?" He paused awhile, thinking, "Ummm..." and replied "Teacher Foong Ling!" I was surprised, coz I thought he would reply Teacher Lina since Teacher Lina technically spent more time with the class. Subsequently, everytime I asked him the question, 90% of the time, he would reply "Teacher Foong Ling!" without hesitation.

I wrote the following account of one morning... in... I dunno when, sometime in May 2010 perhaps. On that morning, I quickly typed it out after I reached office, but never got the chance to post it...

It was a regular weekday morning as we made our way from home to school/work. Isaac was a bit cranky this morning, for some unknown reason. Just cranky. Maybe didn't sleep well *shrug*. As I turned into Pasir Panjang Road…he went...


Isaac: Mummy, I don’t want laoshi… *mumble*mumble*

Me: What? What did you say? I turned down the volume of the radio

Isaac: I don’t want laoshi… I want *mumble*mumble*

Me: Why? Laoshi is very nice what…

Isaac: No, I don’t want Laoshi…

Me: Why you don’t want Laoshi?

*slience*

Me: Then who did you say you want?

Isaac: I want Teacher Foong Ling…

Me: Oh. Hmmm… But Teacher Foong Ling only comes in the afternoon, you know that…

Isaac: No… I want Teacher Foong Ling…

Me: She only comes in the afternoon, dear.

Isaac: No… I want Teacher Foong Ling…

Me: In the afternoon, you’d see her, ok?

Isaac: No… I want Teacher Foong Ling…

Me: Hmmm… Laoshi is also nice, right?

Isaac: No… I don’t want Laoshi, I want Teacher Foong Ling…

Me: Oh. I looked at him. Why? You miss Teacher Foong Ling?

Isaac looks at me and nods…

Me: But you just saw her yesterday…

Isaac: I want Teacher Foong Ling…


By that time, we reached the childcare centre… Isaac looked me in the eye and said “Mummy, I want Teacher Foong Ling…” “Okay…” I said. What else could I say? I didn’t suggest Teacher Lina, coz Teacher Lina was on leave yesterday, and I didn’t know if she was on leave or on mc today. Better not make empty promises till I check out the situation that day.


Laoshi was there but Teacher Lina wasn’t. The kids were all in the play area.

Isaac screamed:”I don’t want Laoshi! I don’t want Laoshi!”. He ran back to the classroom area where there was the wooden teddy bear set of kiddy table and stools outside. He sat down there and said “I sit here and wait!”

“huh? Wait for what? Wait for who? You want to go Music Room and wait?” I said as I saw the kids being herded into the music room.

“No! I wait here.” He said, as he sat himself down on a stool.

“What are you waiting for?” I said, exasperated, coz I was running late for a 9am meeting.

“I sit here and wait for Teacher Foong Ling.”

“Oh… I see… Well you’re gonna have to wait for a long time… coz Teacher Foong Ling only coming in the afternoon…”

“I WANT TEACHER FOONG LING” he said and started bawling…


I hugged him, and carried him up... I walked toward the music room as that was where everyone was... suddenly I heard...


Hmmm... I dunno what I "suddenly heard" that morning. But I do remember how embarrassed Laoshi was. She was embarrassed that Isaac didn't "want" her - she explained to me that that was coz she didn't spent much time with the class in the past two weeks, as she was assigned to take another class.

I told her, it's okay, it's just one of Isaac's cranky moods when he only wants the thing he wants, and nothing else. Coz I had interacted with Laoshi before and she IS very very nice. Isaac was also okay with her before, so it's not Laoshi lah, it's Isaac.

For everyday, almost a week after that morning's Teacher Foong Ling episode, the conversation in the car went like that...

Day One after Episode: I want Teacher Foong Ling!
Isaac: Mummy, Laoshi is very nice, right?
Me: Yes, Laoshi is very nice.
Isaac: I want Laoshi.
Me: *surprised* Oh okay! Good!
Me: *worried* okay, let's hope she is in school already, ok?
Isaac: *mumble*mumble*
Me: What? What did you say, Isaac?
Isaac: Teacher Foong Ling come in afternoon.
Me: *raise*eyebrow* Yes, that's right, Teacher Foong Ling only comes in the afternoon.

Isaac nods and looks out of the window. When we reach the centre, he sees Laoshi and willingly goes to her. He didn't cry for the entire journey.

Day Two after Episode: I want Teacher Foong Ling!
Isaac: Mummy, I want Laoshi.
Me: Oh okay! Good, good...
Isaac: Laoshi is very nice?
Me: Yes, Laoshi is very nice.
Isaac: *mumble*mumble*
Me: *turning down radio* What did you say, Isaac?
Isaac: Because Teacher Foong Ling come in afternoon.
Me: Er, that's right, Teacher Foong Ling only comes in the afternoon. *pause* You know that, right?
Isaac: Yes.

He is silent till we reach the centre. Again, he sees Laoshi and willingly goes to her. He didn't cry for the entire journey.

Day Three after Episode: I want Teacher Foong Ling!
Isaac: Mummy, is Laoshi in school already?
Me: Er, I think so. She is usually in school when we get there, right?
Isaac: *nods*
Me: Yeah, so I think she will be there.
Isaac: Laoshi is very nice, right?
Me: Yes, Laoshi is very nice.
Isaac: I want Laoshi.
Me: Okay, that's nice.
Isaac: Because must wait for Teacher Foong Ling.
Me: Yes, you have to wait for Teacher Foong Ling... She only comes in the afternoon. *pause*
Isaac: Yes. Must wait. I wait for Teacher Foong Ling.
Me: Okaaay...

It went on like that for about a week I think... everyday, roughly the same conversation. It's like he's trying to control his emotions. I thought it was very... matured, of him. After that week or so, he stopped talking like that, and wasn't so hung up on it. But after that whole episode, I really know who his favourite teacher is ;p

Often, I would ask him, "Why is Teacher Foong Ling your favourite teacher?" But he could never really answer me - but I think that's coz he doesn't really know how to explain himself yet. My guess is... coz Teacher Foong Ling teaches him all sorts of interesting things... like... about germs and stuff. Well Teacher Lina also teaches him stuff - which is why he likes Teacher Lina too. Just that I think he likes Teacher Foong Ling a bit more than he does Teacher Lina, even though he likes Teacher Lina very much as well.

I think it's just "fate" or "karma" or what we say in chinese "ren2 yuan2". Just one of those things you know, like you can "clique" better with someone, compared to others. Well, that's the only reason I can think of, coz generally, all the teachers at the centre are all pretty nice. Teachers that Isaac would voluntarily mention on his own are Teachers: Foong Ling, Lina, Laoshi and Teacher Mira. It was Isaac who taught me Teacher Mira's name, coz he mentioned her often enough for me to go find out which teacher was Teacher Mira.

Alas, Teacher Mira who used to take the Toddler class, has left the centre some weeks back. And today... is Teacher Foong Ling's last day in school. She is moving on to try a different sector of the education field. We're happy for her that she is trying on something new which is a form of career progression. But at the same time, I'm kinda sad that she won't be teaching Isaac anymore. I'm sure Isaac will miss her very much, and I'm not looking forward to dealing with those tantrums when they arise.

Nevertheless, we wish Teacher Foong Ling all the best, and we thank her for being such a great teacher to Isaac, and making such an impression on him. She has the honour of being Isaac's First Favourite Teacher.

I have no doubt that Isaac will have many more favourite teachers to come in his long education path ahead of him. It's probably in our family's karma - both hubbs and myself each have our own favourite teachers whom we still keep in contact with, till this day. At our wedding, I had my favourite teachers from secondary school, junior college and university present to share in our happiness. Isaac's Godmother is a teacher, my best friends are teachers, the cousins I am closest to are teachers, and ... yes, I even married a teacher! :)

Teaching is such a noble profession! :) Kudos to all teachers, everywhere!

And... thank you Teacher Foong Ling! You're Isaac's 1st Favourite Teacher! :) We'd miss you!!!

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