Thank You Teachers

by Patrick Liew on June 9, 2014

Yesterday, I met my primary school teachers again in a school reunion.

The organising committee members were kind enough to ask me to do the opening speech.

They did it perhaps because I was an outstanding student. I used to stand outside the class. Lol!

In the speech, among other things, I got everybody to stand up and bow down to our teachers like we used to do when we were in school.

I could feel the respect, gratefulness, and thankfulness that each and every one of us has for our teachers. We owe a debt of gratitude to them.

The Chinese has a saying, 一日为师,终生为父. What it means is that ‘Once you are my teacher, I owe you a debt of gratefulness throughout my life in the same way as I do to my parents.’

Teachers hold one of the most important keys to shape our destiny.

They gave us a foundation to make a living and to live well.

They inspire us to learn and to learn how to learn so that we can continue to improve and progress in life.

They open doors to a new world.

They showed us different possibilities to a brighter future.

Without teachers, there will not be other jobs. There will not be well-run companies, organizations, governments, and society.

If there are no teachers, the world will be a dimmer place. It may even grind to a halt.

Teachers have a tough job.

Unlike most jobs, they invest in human lives and that’s why, they cannot detach themselves from their work. They constantly carry in their mind the educational needs and overall well being of their students.

They have to put in their commitment, heart, and mind to do a good job in developing the next generation.

Teachers operate in a noisy, messy and chaotic environment. I cannot imagine trying to work with and control about 40 students in a class and more than 2000 students in a typical school.

In the knowledge-based economy, they are increasingly being put on a spotlight. They are being evaluated by different stakeholders because of the significance of their profession.

With the fast-changing times, there are also inert pressure on them to change and stay relevant. They need to address multifaceted challenges within the classroom and without.

I believe we can do more to enhance teacher’s image, professional dignity, and respect. I’m confident that our government and community will continue to accord to them due recognition and an important place in society.

Every one of us should continue to encourage teachers by sending them ‘Thank You’ notes and supporting them.

During a seminar that I once attended, Dr Ng Pak Tee, an educational leader shared with us a beautiful metaphor about teachers and I really love it.

He said that teachers are like tree planters.

They plant trees so that the next generation can enjoy the shade.

Many people may not remember who planted the trees but they will be thankful for them. They can benefit from and enjoy the fruit and other parts of the trees.

Long after the tree planters have moved on, trees can play an important part in our community and environment. They can make our lives better and help provide for a brighter future.

Thank you teachers.


By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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