When I compare the teachers who are college-trained and those who graduate from universities, I think college-trained teachers are more all-rounded. The university undergraduates learn a lot of theory and their training is less practical. When I was in the college, I learned up a lot skills. After my stint as a temporary teacher I knew that teachers had to be multi-skilled. I was never good at sports in school but when I had to be assistant teacher in charge of the athletic team, I tried to learn up so that I won't be a teacher in charge who is incompetent. So during my college days we tried to learn everything, just in case. I tried playing hockey (had my own hockey stick) but was never good at it. But I did learn up how to teach basic hockey during PJ lessons. I involved myself in the organisation of many sports events usually as offical, even outside college sports.
I was also a committee member of St John Ambulance. Even though I passed the First Aid exam and did some marching, my speciality was organising events...trips to Singapore, welcoming party, farewell party, CNY and Raya functions..singing, dancing and having fun rather than bandaging! Talking about dancing, I must remember to look for an old photo of me performing a Xinjiang Chinese Cultural Dance during colleges.
Besides these, I also took up Tae Kwon Do. My instructor was actually quite impressed with my ability to learn. I got double promotion for a few times and he tried to teach me higher grades hoping I'll take up black belt before I leave college. But in the end even though I learnt up all the pattern for black belt, I couldn't train in time for the exam and stopped one grade below black belt when my college term ended.
After 2 years in Johor Bahru college, I was posted to Perak in 1977 as a non graduate teacher. I found out that those teachers my age who went to the university directly from form 6 also came out the same year, of course with higher pay. In the years to come, the pay difference will become more and more. So I told myself, one dayI will catch up with them. So I set my mind to give myself a second chance. I will apply for part-time study to take up a degree. In 1978, I was accepted as a part-time student at USM and eventually I succeeded in getting my degree. In my next post, I will write about my struggles balancing between work and study.