Inspiring Teachers Awards: Mdm Aishah's passion and care inspired me to become an F&N teacher too

Gary's Food & Nutrition (F&N) teacher, Madam Aishah's passion and care made him look forward to her classes while studying at Woodlands Ring Secondary School.

Now at 30 years old, Gary is a trained F&N teacher himself and hopes to emulate Madam Aishah's teaching style to inspire his own students.

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

"This year marks the thirteenth year since I graduated from Woodlands Ring Secondary School and it is also my alma mater’s twentieth anniversary.

"I have bittersweet memories of my secondary school days as many things happened to my family and indirectly affected my growth as a teenager.

"I have to admit that I am not one of the better-performing students in school in terms of academics or conduct.

"Despite the negative behaviours towards learning that I displayed, there was this one teacher who showed me what genuine care and concern a teacher can give to her students.

"Madam Aishah was my F&N)teacher from my Secondary 3 to Secondary 5 days.

"As a Normal (Academic) student, I was slower in learning and often lazy to do homework or revision.

"I would often sleep in class because of my bad habit of sleeping late at night, this resulted in me not being able to focus during lesson time.

"Surprisingly, I always looked forward to F&N with Madam Aishah, for both theory and practical lessons.

"She had her lessons fun by often engaging us with what we have learned in class to our daily life. She made me love F&N through the years with her.

"I started to apply my knowledge I learnt in class to my daily life and to the people around me.

"Through her passion and vast experience in life that she displayed in her classroom, she truly inspired me to one day become a teacher like her and impact and pass on my knowledge learnt from her to the next generation.

"As mentioned, I was a lazy student and my family is not very well to do. I did not have the privilege to own a computer at home, and this affected my progress in my coursework project.

"Madam Aishah would often approach me to talk to me and encourage me to do my best.

"She would constantly ask me about my progress with my work and offer alternatives to help me out and to bring out the best in me.

"Madam Aishah would offer me to use the school computer in the F&N Food Lab to do my project. I guess she knows that I do not have a computer at home to complete my work as I was always lagging behind in terms of progress.

"Madam Aishah would always prepare drinks and have snacks that she had prepared or even have simple biscuits in her food lab to ensure that none of her students were hungry in her class.

"During Hari Raya, she would invite us to her house and she would prepare delicious Malay cuisine for us.

"She would also organise outings and bring us to places she feels have nice cakes.

"I will always remember she often said that Secret Recipe’s Oreo Cheesecake is nice.

"In her classroom, she put in a tremendous effort in preparing notes and a recipe booklet for us so that we can always revise our work and be prepared for both theory and practical exams.

"After I graduated from Secondary 5 after my O-level exam, I kept the notes and recipe booklet she prepared for us for many years, thinking that it is her precious creation for me.

"I always had a feeling that it would be useful to me again in my life, but I did not know how at that point in time, but I still kept them.

"After many years of education, I am now a trained F&N teacher just like Madam Aishah.

"She inspired me to teach because of her unconditional love for her students and her passion for Food Science and Nutrition.

"When I went for my interview at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Headquarters, I told the story of how Madam Aishah inspired me to teach and love this subject. To my surprise, the interviewer knew Madam Aishah too and told me that Madam Aishah is truly influential and an expert in her field of teaching.

"I know that Madam Aishah, with more than 50 years of teaching experience, must have impacted many young lives like me during their most crucial time of life as a teenager.

"I am ever grateful to Madam Aishah who has shown me the impact of a teacher’s unconditional love for her students.

"I aspire to become a teacher like her.

"Until today, we still meet up for" meals once in a while. Madam Aishah would often share with me her precious and valuable teaching experience, and also some of her resources to nurture me to become a better teacher now.

Now that I am a trained F&N teacher, she continues to be my mentor, she continues to guide me and share her valuable knowledge and experiences with me whenever possible.

"Madam Aishah has done her part and now it is my turn to pass it on, to impact many more lives that pass through my hands.

"As the Singapore teachers' motto goes 'We Lead, Care, Inspire – For the Future of the Nation Passes through our Hands'."

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

Read all entries for the contest here.