That said, teachers are human too. Sometimes, they say things they don’t mean. Or maybe they do mean them.
Whatever it is, we hope that some of these quotes, shared by Rice readers in response to a question we asked on Facebook, would give some insight into how some of Singapore’s educators think (they obviously don’t speak for everyone), and how ideas and assumptions have changed over the years.
Arguably, it is also some of this nastiness that, on hindsight, have perhaps allowed us to remember these teachers so fondly.
Kristin Yeung: “I was mocked by my teacher who told me I ‘can never be a teacher’.”
Cathy Liow: “My chem teacher called me out and asked if I was asleep in front of the whole class, I wasn’t. Then he replied “oh your eyes are too small, I can’t see them”.”
Dawn LH: “I was called a bimbo who couldn’t do math. I guess he was right. I am a literature teacher now. I still can’t do math.”
Ningxin Tan: “Must work harder on maths, even ITE also need maths you know?”
Alex Tan: “Ah bang why you looking outside? Want to join the bangla cut grass ah.”
Mark Juan: “Don’t be a teacher, you’ll have students like you.”
Elizabeth Fong: “My Chinese teacher told me in primary four that I’d never succeed in life, and that I was a failure. She then asked the class if they would give me a job when I came begging them for one, and they all answered “no” (because she expected them to say “no”, and we were ten).”
Amanda Tan: “Teaching you guys is like feeding pearls to swines.” / “You’ll never make it to a local uni. Only poly. Your mum will definitely send you overseas.” / “They can be who they want to be, just don’t hold hands in front of me.” (My JC teacher talking about gay relationships.)
Shao Yong: Shared a link to a website of compiled quotes.
Anonymous: “When I was in Secondary school, my physics teacher often made fun of gay people in class, seemingly targeted his remarks at me and made me ashamed of being gay. But I’m still here and I’m still queer. Nothing will stamp the gay out of me.”