Inspiring Teachers Awards: I wasn't studying at the school Ms Jenny's teaching at but she still tutored me

When Jolene needed help in her studies, she did not expect to get help from a teacher who was not even teaching at her school.

Jolene's father had reconnected with his former schoolmate, Ms Jenny Wong, who happily offered to help Jolene out with her studies despite the many commitments she already had.

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

"I would like to recommend Ms Wong Hwee Yong (Jenny) for the Inspiring Teachers Awards.

"To me, she is truly a great teacher and really befits the title of a teacher with a big heart!

"Before I go on to justify my recommendation for her, please allow me to set the context right first.

"Jenny and my father were secondary school classmates and they had not met each other in more than 20 years until a gathering that happened more than four years ago.

"She was the Head of Department (SAP & Internationalisation) of Maha Bodhi School then.

"When my father approached her to help me in my studies, after hearing out his case, she readily agreed without any hesitation even though I was not a student in Maha Bohi School.

"In fact, it was a challenge for her that she was going to teach a secondary school student away from her comfort 'zone'.

"In her four years of hard work with me, she has significantly made a huge difference in my life.

"Not only has she successfully transformed my academic grades, she has influenced my character too!

"As far as I could remember, my academic results suffered very badly since entering Secondary 1 and to make things worse, I wouldn’t communicate with anyone at home. \

"Despite how hard my father tried his ways and means to help me, all things failed. I simply couldn't relate and articulate my thoughts and actions with anyone.

"My father was desperate until he chanced upon Jenny and unabashedly approached her for help after knowing that she was a teacher.

After hearing him out, she asked to meet me.

"I connected with her the very moment she met me. Since then, she has been counselling and providing me with tuition weekly.

"She spent a lot of her personal time with me and finally, I opened up to her.

"By chance, I found out that Jenny was a Chinese Language teacher teaching 2 levels (Primary 4 streaming year and the Primary 6 graduating class) and a HOD with 2 portfolios. She was really an extremely busy lady. She hardly had time to allow herself the luxury of relaxing over a cup of coffee and yet she selflessly sacrificed her resting time to help me.

"I found her to be an extraordinary teacher. I knew that she needed to prepare her own graduating class pupils for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) every year back then and that period incidentally collided with my Semester 2 exams as well.

"I honestly felt that she has seriously outdone herself in juggling both sides in the days she attended to her pupils’ needs in school, preparing them for the national exams and in the evenings, attended to my revision. It was truly amazing!

"Jenny’s challenge did not end with just a quiet child who refused to talk. She had to cope and teach me the secondary syllabus (both languages, history, geography, food consumer education and literature) as well. Being a primary school teacher then, the above mentioned subjects were out of her teaching scope. Hence she spent a lot of her time researching the subjects she needed to teach me as she wanted to be sure that her teaching was in line with what my secondary school was doing.

"Her professionalism and dedication to her promise of helping me were truly admirable! This selfless act and the willingness to go the extra mile for a child should be glorified and shared!

"I am a much happier and stable teenager now as compared to before and my results have improved from being the bottom tier to an above average tier in school.  

"I am eternally grateful to her for all she has done despite her busy schedule and I am writing in to make known her sacrifice for the sake of a stranger who is of no relationship to her.  

"I believe that there are a lot of great teachers around and I feel so blessed to be able to know one of them and to be at the receiving end of her selfless love for me.

"She once told me casually that when she once worked in current affairs at Mediacorp, she worked on programmes that served to inform and educate the public and when she decided to change her job, she wanted to get one that could continue to achieve her aim of helping the public. Hence, her decision to be a teacher.

"She has the heart to help people right from the start and this faith of hers continues to drive her to be such a giving teacher.

"To me, she truly befits the title of being a teacher with a great heart and a real inspiration for me."

The contest is now closed and winners will be contacted shortly.

Read all entries for the contest here.