A LASTING LEGACY

return, when they grow up and become successful, they will continue to remember their roots and be inspired to do the same for the next generation. ...

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A LASTING LEGACY Mr Li Weihan Joel, Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) One of the most common questions which teachers need to answer is, “Why did you become a teacher?” The reason I chose this profession was because I was inspired by one of my teachers to do so. This teacher of mine created a legacy which many of my peers and I still remember to this day. Mr Wee Tat Chuen was my teacher in Fairfield Methodist Secondary School. He taught me Physical Education and was also my Captain and Teacher-in-Charge of the Boys‟ Brigade (BB) and the Basketball team. When I was a Boy, every Saturday after my BB parade, he would invite all of us to lunch at the coffee-shop across the road. He would always choose the largest table in the shop and ensure that every one of us could sit together and have lunch. During lunch he would take time to talk to us, finding out about our family, our relationship with our parents, how we were doing in our studies and for some of us, even finding out more about our friendships in school. He always took every opportunity to talk to us. I remember during examination periods, or even times when some of us were struggling with issues, Mr Wee would call us on a week night and spend time talking to us. He was truly interested in our personal lives, always offering us his perspectives and helping us in our struggles. I remember his words were always wise and many of us nicknamed him the „oracle‟ as we felt that he always had the answers to our questions. Mr Wee was a dedicated teacher who showed care and concern in the personal aspects of our lives and was a mentor to all of us. I also remember Mr Wee always encourages us to have an active sporty lifestyle and to pursue our passions. Every Saturday after lunch, he would organise a court soccer session in which a group of 20 Boys would stay and play. This instilled in us a passion for soccer and as the weeks went by, more and more boys came to join us. On top of that, seeing that a group of us in the BB had talent in basketball, he persuaded the school leaders to allow us to form the first basketball team to represent the school in national competitions. Even though he had no experience in basketball, Mr Wee was always there for every session, training with us and inspiring us to do our best. This truly taught us what it meant to be a leader who leads by example. After our training, he would also join us for dinner to continue to encourage us in our pursuit for excellence. All these experiences which he initiated truly taught me important values like leadership, sportsmanship, anger-management, resilience and excellence, values which form the very foundation of my character today. One last thing which I believe left the biggest impression in me was the mentoring culture Mr Wee started in the Boys‟ Brigade. As the captain, he always taught us what it

means to be a servant-leader and what it meant to walk the talk and talk the walk. His life personifies these values. He believed in investing in the next generation and I remember him investing a lot in my life. When I left my secondary school, Mr Wee encouraged me to come back to serve in the Boys‟ Brigade as a senior. During this time, Mr Wee personally mentored a group of 10 of us, meeting us weekly for bible study sessions, teaching us the values which a leader should have. He also taught us what it meant to lead and care for the people under our charge by giving us guidance and advice in always teaching us how we can do better in the various programmes and events organized. He even led us on a trip up Mount Kinabalu and the whole experience was truly one which helped all of us grow closer. For the past 10 years, Mr Wee kept us together and now we are still in contact. Mr Wee has become a life mentor for me and till today I continue to meet up with him or call him for advice whenever I face life‟s struggles or major decisions. Today, out of the many boys Mr Wee has mentored, at least 8 – 10 of us are in the teaching profession. Mr Wee has truly inspired us to carry on the legacy which he started. The many things he has done for me has become the very foundation of my philosophy in teaching. As a teacher who has been teaching for 3 years, I believe strongly that each student is like a seed. As teachers, our job is to nurture and care for them, showering them with love as well as teaching them important values which will help them stay rooted. It is my hope that as I patiently nurture them, one day they will bear fruits in their lives. In return, when they grow up and become successful, they will continue to remember their roots and be inspired to do the same for the next generation. As the Captain and Teacher-In-Charge of the Boys‟ Brigade in Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary), and also the teacher of my school‟s Student Council, I find myself following the footsteps of the very teacher who inspired me. I find myself having the same passion in investing in the next generation and somehow there is this force within me which gives me the strength to do so despite the time limits that I have. For truly, I feel called to ensure that this legacy in which my teacher left in me would be carried on in the next few generations. “Why do you teach?” I teach because this legacy must last. Generations must continue to have this heart of investing in the future, so that no matter how globalised the world may become, how advanced technology becomes, or how the education landscape changes, this legacy will last.

In closing, I would like to thank Mr Wee Tat Chuen for inspiring me to be a teacher who believes in investing in the next generation. I would also like to share a segment of a song which I hope will inspire and remind us teachers of the very reason we teach. “Find us Faithful – Steve Green” Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful May the fire of our devotion light their way May the footprints that we leave Lead them to believe And the lives we live inspire them to obey Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful