BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: A Mystery

By Chloe Lim (20J04) and Hannah Soh (20J18) It’s 3pm. The most boring teacher in River Valley High School has just ended their lesson and left the classroom. Just then, the students in your class awake from their deep slumber. To your bewilderment, none of you can remember who the teacher was!


Now, everyone is wondering the same thing who exactly is the most boring teacher that has just escaped from the classroom?


You look up at the rest of your friends, and you say just one line in perfect unison:


“It is up to us to figure out who this culprit is!”


(Stay tuned to find out with us!)


After a brief discussion, you come up with the following list:

With the list in hand, you and your classmates explore the school to find and interrogate your suspects. To find out more about them, you ask each teacher about their job and what they do beyond the classroom.


You and your classmates start the investigation off at the school hall, as you find Mr Ong participating in the floorball team’s training session. You realise that Mr Ong’s hobby is competitive floorball! Upon speaking to him, he reveals that he also trains in the Singapore Floorball League, even during off-seasons!


PHOTO EVIDENCE

Mr Ong (on the far left) looking professional on the floorball court!


You’re curious to know why he participates in this particular sport, and he replies that he was a shooter in the air rifle club back when he was in school. You find out that while he enjoyed it greatly, it didn’t give him the same lung-bursting exhilaration one can get from a team sport like floorball!


Now, are you eager to try out this same hobby? Here’s what Mr Ong has to say:


“Try it! It may seem difficult initially, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a very rewarding sport!”


You now move on to the various sports venues in school and find that besides teaching Mathematics, Mr Liu also loves to spend his time on a plethora of sports, including badminton, basketball and darts. Most notably, you realise that he takes part in bowling leagues with MOE bowlers! No doubt that he has an interest in precision sports, as he mentions that it trains his ability to focus.


PHOTO EVIDENCE

Mr Liu in action!


Mr Liu (far left) with his team


While his day job as a teacher doesn’t particularly contribute to this hobby of his, he does get a chance to know other teachers in the fraternity!


If you’re thinking of taking up these same activities, Mr Liu has this to advise:


“I will recommend the sports I do to all my friends but it’s hard to commit to the regular sessions if there is no passion. I will advise them that these activities help them stay healthy and can build relationships at the same time!”


As you continue wandering around the school, you see Mr Nazri walking along the corridor with a camera and a tote bag in hand. You approach him and find out that he enjoys travelling to cities on his own and shooting street photography on a film camera.


He says, “I particularly like film photography because it forces me to be patient, and to wait for the best moments to press the shutter… There is an ebb and flow to the entire process [of developing films] that can be very therapeutic!”


“I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between Man and the urban landscape. Photography gives me an excuse to linger around and capture moments from this relationship.”


You even manage to get hold of some of his works of art, taking a moment to admire them.


PHOTO EVIDENCE



















Some of Mr Nazri’s awe-inspiring film pictures!


Looking to explore this unique aspect of photography during the upcoming holidays, yet worried that it’d be difficult to do much without being able to travel overseas? Well, Mr Nazri speaks from experience that Singapore is vibrant enough to keep him and his camera entertained.


You’re wondering whether you should take this up, and Mr Nazri warmly replies:


“Definitely! You don’t really need a film camera because a phone camera would take much sharper pictures anyway! Singapore has so many nooks and crannies for you to explore, you’ll soon realise that there is a lot more to our seemingly sanitised city than we give it credit for!”


After thanking Mr Nazri for his time, you spot Mr Koh walking out of the history room, a wide grin plastered on his face after addressing the students in the History and Current Affairs Society (HACAS), of which he is the one of the teachers-in-charge. You speak to him and find out that in his pockets of spare time, he plays the drums and gets inspiration from alternate rock artists like Arcade Fire, Taking Back Sunday and Of Monsters And Men.


You ask if there was a reason behind starting this hobby, to which he answers that he was in fact part of a band once!


“Together with my friends Melissa and Ivan, we were a three piece set formed when we were in JC1, and we performed alternative rock at first, and then went on to write our originals. We weren’t big or anything, but we did play at venues like the Art House, and then later on in university.”


He shares that it was their love of music and the immense influences the bands they love had on them that inspired their pursuit. Writing songs played a big part in shaping their identities as they navigated the world around them and their feelings.


PHOTO EVIDENCE



















Mr Koh in his glory days!


Besides music, Mr Koh also loves exploring new cafes and attending coffee appreciation classes to find the best cuppa. (He recommends Kurasu Singapore for good coffee!)


“I suppose the influence started out with my father, who is a huge coffee drinker. Beyond the aroma and taste, coffee has a special place in my heart, because for me, its smells take me into the sea of memories, a state of calm and nostalgia that is just very pleasant.”


Should one pick up these hobbies? Here’s what Mr Koh thinks:


“Music and coffee (or being at a café) are both great ways to distress from the rigour of school life (yes, of both teachers and students!). Personally, coffee appreciation classes are much easier to manage compared to picking up an instrument, and it’s also a great way to bond with friends!”


You press on in search of the last suspect of the day, and you find Mr Prince, scurrying off from a tutorial room after a lesson! You hurriedly rush towards him, in hopes of finding out what exactly he does outside of such lessons.


You learn that while he used to engage in physical activities such as football, cricket and rugby when he was younger, he now enjoys varying hobbies that have changed especially this year due to the pandemic.


He goes on to share what they are, “Instead of visiting the gym, I’ve taken to very long walks to stay fit — four or five times a week!”


Besides keeping fit through walks and weight training, he also continues to read voraciously, and is a big history fan.


And that’s not all — we found that he also enjoys travelling with his wife! “In recent years we’ve been to India, Japan, Vietnam, Poland and Hungary amongst others,” Mr Prince shares.


PHOTO EVIDENCE

Mr Prince in Tokyo!

“It was long and demanding [as] the temple is at the top of a very large hill; these red archways are very famous.”


As a mentor to beginning teachers and a teacher of J1 and J2 Literature in English, he also discloses that being a teacher “requires strength, energy and a fresh mind — regular exercise aids all three.”


Before parting ways, he offers you one last piece of advice:


“I think regular exercise could benefit anybody - the younger you start the better. If you want to start exercising, see a doctor first for a checkup and take it easy. A gym is a place you can hurt yourself in. If outside, exercise when it’s cooler and (at the moment) wear a mask!!”

It’s 5pm. You’ve gone to interrogate every one of the suspects in your list, and you huddle with your classmates for a discussion to finally solve the mystery you set off to work on. But you barely need a minute to talk — all of you already know the answer.


Coming to school to learn and study hard may seem like a dreadful and tiring task for some of us, but nothing could compare to the amount of time, effort, hard work and sacrifice put into all the lessons and consultations that our teachers here in RV conduct for us. As the saying goes, “A good teacher is like a candle — it consumes itself to light the way for others.” As we head off for our end-of-year school holidays, let’s not forget the dedication our very own teachers have for us.


At the same time, let us appreciate the different activities they have found an interest in far beyond the classroom. Perhaps they might have even inspired you to pick up one or two interesting hobbies of your own!


You slam your hand on the table, making an announcement to conclude this little “mystery” adventure your class embarked on:


“There doesn’t exist a boring teacher in RV — we’re the ones who should start sleeping early so we don’t miss out on all the interesting lessons anymore!”


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