Inspiring Teachers Awards: Andrew said, "I will do anything within my means to help you pass"

Jun Ze will always be thankful for the sacrifices and efforts his teacher from Si Ling Secondary School, Andrew Chong, made to help him with his studies.

In 2008, Jun Ze was in Secondary 3 when Andrew was relief teaching for his physics class. Andrew, 35, is currently the level head for English at Opera Estate Primary School.

Andrew left a lasting impression on Jun Ze and 10 years later, the two still contact each other via WhatsApp and meet up once every few months to catch up.

Here is Jun Ze's entry for the Samsung-Stomp Inspiring Teachers Awards:

"Andrew has inspired me a lot during my secondary days.

"It started back in 2008, I was in Secondary 3 when my physics teacher had to take leave for reservist. Andrew was just a relief teacher then.

"I had some issues with the school work left by my physics teacher before he left and I approached Andrew after class.

"As I was particularly weak in math and physics, I had to approach him every day with the work given, so I could keep up with the class.

"He would patiently teach and guide me, showing me where my mistakes were, and sometimes stay as late as 7pm with me even though he was just a relief teacher.

"After these 2 weeks of him teaching our class passed, we had become close and he realised I had some issues with my other subjects too.

"He would offer his advice accordingly so that I score better in those areas.

"About 2 months before I sat for my N-levels (Normal Academic), he would bring me out to lunch, and sometimes even dinner, and give me extra tuition without getting payment from me, sacrificing his time with his family.

"I remember that one sentence he told me which I still remember: 'In order for you to pass and get better grades, I will do anything within my means.'

"Since the first day I've known him until now, he has given me life advice, like how to better interact with others so I can make more friends (as I was a particularly shy guy then, and I didn’t have many friends).

"If it wasn’t for Andrew's help these past few years, I wouldn't be standing where I am now.

"I truly thank Andrew from the bottom of my heart."

When Stomp contacted Andrew, he said he was pleasantly surprised that he had been nominated for the Samsung-Stomp Inspiring Teachers Awards.

"I'm glad to see that my impact on Jun Ze was positive," said Andrew.

"When I was teaching him, it took a lot of effort and advice because he had some motivation issues.

"I followed up with him after he left school.

"He faced a lot of setbacks but I hope he is doing well in life now."

Andrew told Stomp that his own teachers inspired him to join teaching.

"I had a passion for teaching as I was inspired by previous teachers who helped me to grow into a better person," he said.

"I wanted to do the same for my students to guide them to be better people."

He added that some of his students are now joining the teaching force themselves and credit him for inspiring them to do so.

Upon being asked what challenges he faces as a teacher, Andrew said it is how to guide his students to make the right decisions without making the decisions for them.

"I want them to develop their own sense of independence of who they are and help them discover themselves without being directive.

"It is important they find their independence on their own.

"It is all about finding the balance between telling them what to do and letting them find out what is best for themselves."

Have a teacher you want to nominate? Find out how to join the Samsung-Stomp Inspiring Teachers Awards here.

Read all entries for the contest here.