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  • Writer's pictureRiver Valley Student Editorial Club

Outside the classroom: Teacher's Hobbies

By Deng Jirui (23J02)

Most of the time, you’ll see your teachers carry out school-based activities such as teaching or preparing lesson materials. But have you ever wondered about what your teachers actually do in their spare time? From gaming to baking to gardening, you are sure to find out what interesting things your teachers do outside of school!

Mr Rick Yang (English Department)

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I like to play card games.

Q: Like what card games?

A: There’s a game called Magic: The Gathering. Do you play it?

Q: Nope, I don’t play it.

A: Ahh, it’s fun! 'Cuz you normally play it 1v1. But there’s a social format, so you play 4v4. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Types of cards in Magic: The Gathering

A: And other than card games, I play some mobile games, such as Arknights.

Q: Oh! I’ve heard of it before. What characters do you own?

A: A lot!

Q: Ooo! I like Lumen and Patriot (characters from Arknights). I think Patriot’s story is quite interesting and cool.

Lumen (from Arknights)

A: Yeah! It’s a pretty epic story. The world of Arknights is a very grim one.

I also play computer games like Dota, though I won’t recommend it to anyone. That’s because some players get rather emotional about the game. After all, it’s a 5v5 game, and with any team game, there comes a bit of blaming, right?

Q: That’s true! There tends to be quite a bit of shouting.

A: Yes! The worst part is that when you die in Dota, you die for a very long time, like 40 seconds. So what people do is that they start typing in order to complain.

Q: Ohhh!

A: Yep! That’s it for my hobbies!

Ms Wee Xinyan (English Department)

Q: What is your hobby? Could you tell me about it?

A: Wildlife spotting, especially owling, which means searching for owls in prime owl habitats like open woodlands with partially dense foliage at night.

An owl at night

Ms Candida Ho (English Department)


I have two hobbies.

I love reading. I grew up reading. And specifically, I love reading fiction: the genres of historical fiction and social realism. I love reading to the point that even if I’ve no time, or I’m exceedingly busy, all the more I need to read.

The other hobby that I have is climbing. Trekking and climbing. Not technical mountaineering climbs that require equipment, but something that’s a bit more accessible, like long-drawn hikes to the summit of a mountain.

Q: What mountains have you climbed?

A: Just three significant ones. Kinabalu, Rinjani in Indonesia. I have not climbed Mount Everest, and I don’t think I will because it is so expensive—but I have been to the Everest base camp, which is also quite high. And my next trip will be to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Ms Ho at Everest base camp with her guide, Deepak Pandey

Mr Koh Suan Lam (PE Department)

Q: What is your hobby?

A: Going outdoors, running, cycling and walking in nature with friends.

Source: AsiaOne

Ms Jael Tan (History Department)

Q: What is your hobby?

A: I like to bake, watch shows, sleep, sing, and I think I like crafts, in general. When I hang out with my closer group of secondary school friends, we usually like to craft. So usually we’d make things like jewellery, or candles, coasters, stuff like that. Very wholesome group! …Oh, but there’s a difference between liking to do it and being good at it—I’m not good at it, my friends are the ones that are good at it, so they’ll usually be the ones that are guiding me. It’s really fun!

Q: You told us before that you like baking, right? So, what do you usually bake? Are you able to bake all kinds of baked goods or just certain kinds of baked goods?

A: It depends on how much time I have. You know how some things are easier to bake than others, like cream puffs, they’re so easy to make.

Q: How long does it take to make them?

A: It’s actually quite fast, within one hour if you’re fast enough and if you’re not making a lot. But there are other things that are harder, like cake. I failed quite a few times. For example, you want the cake itself to be light and fluffy but sometimes it doesn’t work, it becomes very dense and dry instead. You know, that kind of thing.

Q: Ahh does that mean you don’t actually have a lot of time to bake? Like, most of the things you actually end up baking are very small?

A: Correct :’) Unless it’s a special occasion where I want to spend a bit more time baking something nice, then [in that case] I would dedicate the entire weekend to doing it.

Pastries Ms Tan baked!!!🤤

Mr Alvin Lam (Chinese Department)

Q: What is your hobby?

A: [Being a] part-time barista. I’m also pretty passionate about cooking in general.

Mr David Toh (Geography Department)

A: I enjoy gardening as well as drawing plants.

I started gardening more seriously in 2014 and started botanical painting in 2020.

I've always loved nature, especially plants and flora and enjoy having these beautiful living things in my home. Taking care of my corridor garden is relaxing and therapeutic, and it helped me, especially during the lockdown periods: the aesthetic enhancement to my corridor brings to mind the lushness and variety of colour, form and texture of a tropical forest, allay[ing] any potential cabin fever from being cooped up at home.

I also have a keen interest in ecology and investigating nutrient cycles that go into the care of plants, as well as the biogeography of the origins of plants which informs how I should take care of them.

As for botanical painting, I've always doodled and sketched all my life. I also have a taste for realistic genres of painting: marvelling at the craft and skill behind the Renaissance masters, for example. Botanical painting marries my twin loves of art and flora perfectly and I find the slow and painstaking process of watercolour very therapeutic as well. If anything, I believe art-making such as botanical illustration awakens my observational skills and my senses, and keeps me refreshed. I have also made friends and found a community with like-minded individuals in the Botanical Art Society of Singapore, which I am a member of.

Photo from the Sunday Times article Mr Toh was featured in

Mr Toh's recent painting is being exhibited at the flower dome in Gardens by the Bay until September, as part of a collection of 70 botanical paintings of orchids done by Botanical Art Society Singapore members.

Mdm Ang Gay Leng (Chemistry Department)

A: Karaoke, a hobby since uni. In recent years, my children have become my Karaoke kakis (translation: buddies). I also find joy in caring for my plants and reading about them.

Did all these teachers’ hobbies pique your interest? Keep your eyes peeled for more articles on interesting facts about your teachers!! :)))

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