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  • Writer's pictureRiver Valley Student Editorial Club

TEACHERS’ DAY 2023: Exploring the multiverse: alternate versions of our teachers

By Teoh Chen Jun (23J12)

Every day, we walk into class and (hopefully) listen to our teachers go about their lessons. But have you ever wondered: what if they did something else instead?

What if they had chosen a different path in life, perhaps in an alternate universe?

Well, let's find out! What made our teachers choose this career and what would they be doing otherwise?

Cooking up a storm

Mr Tan Boon Jong (Chemistry Department)

Q: What made you want to be a teacher?

A:Teaching has been my aspiration since young. As a student, I had the good fortune to meet wonderful teachers who shared their love of their subjects and opened my eyes to the wonders of science.

Apart from the academic subjects, I also distinctly remember how my teachers made me feel—not just the occasions when I did well but also admonishments and reminders when my actions and words were not up to mark.

I also saw many of my teachers go the extra mile for their students. I recall when I was taking my A-level examinations, my teacher gave us her home telephone number—this was before the era of handphones and emails—so that we could contact her if we needed any help. She didn’t have to share her private number with her students but she did it anyway, because she cared. In a way, being a teacher is a way for me to pay it forward.

Q: What would you be if you weren't a teacher?

A:If I weren’t a teacher, I think I would be involved in the food industry, maybe as a hawker cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or a food critic in search of the next big-hit restaurant.

Mr Tan making a pizza 🤤🍕

Sing like no one's listening

Ms Amanlia Toh (Economics Department)

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

A: If I weren't a teacher, I think I might have worked in events because I enjoy working on different projects.

Q: What type of events?

A: Company events, for example. I did not do events before, all I did was F&B and odd jobs.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a teacher?


When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a singer or an actress but as I grew older, I realised that it was actually quite difficult. I think I always wanted to be the teacher I wish I had, that's what is guiding me, and one of the main reasons why I buy snacks for my students and why I do not chase them relentlessly for their work—because I understand that it's very stressful being a student. But, of course, I wouldn't let them not submit homework for long periods of time.

Q: Oh, so you mentioned that you wanted to be a singer. Can you sing very well?

A: Everyone can sing, it's just how well they sing. Personally I don't sing very well, at least not well enough to sing on the stage but well enough for my own enjoyment, or for my dog’s enjoyment.

Q: Do you still like singing now?

A: Yeah, I still like singing now to de-stress or as a form of entertainment.

Q: So like karaoke?

A: Yeah, there's actually a karaoke set in school (Revive, the teachers' lounge) but it's quite heavily underutilised. I've been trying to get other colleagues to go also but we are all busy. The karaoke can actually be heard from the outside if you are playing ping-pong and people are singing inside.


A: My CCA was shooting — air pistol. I chose it because it's a niche, cool sport, and it's in an air-conditioned room. I was also in Band in primary school, playing the Bb horn.

Ms Toh concentrating on marking her student's work

Doing what's natural

Ms Wee Xinyan (English Department)

Q: If you weren't a teacher, what would you be? Have you always wanted to be a teacher, or did you have other aspirations?

A: I would be an anthropologist, or maybe a sociologist. Ironically, I told everyone I would never, ever become a teacher throughout my schooling years, but somehow it started to feel like the most natural thing to do after taking up relief teaching positions post-JC and Uni.

Q: So after gaining exposure doing relief teaching, you decided you like working with teens and decided on being a teacher? But why the aversion to it before that?

A: Hmm. I have actually taught every level before, from pre-school to Uni. I think I really like the education sector in general! I also think that as a student it seemed stifling to become part of an industry you've always been familiar with. There seems to be much more out there to explore!

Safeguarding every day

Mr Alvin Lam (Chinese Department)

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be? Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

A: I would probably be in law enforcement. Becoming a teacher was “天时地利人和” (chance and the right circumstances).

Q: Why were the circumstances aligned for you to be a teacher? Why did you want to be in law enforcement?

A: 父亲那边有很多人都是当警察,包括爷爷。所以当时对当警察有一些憧憬吧。


Many of the relatives on my father’s side of the family were police officers, including my grandfather, so I guess it influenced me to want to be in law enforcement. Anyway, after graduating from university I went to MOE for an interview and got a job as a teacher, so I have since been an educator.

Anything is paw-sible

Ms Stephanie Chua (English Department)

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be? Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

A: I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in JC. If I weren’t a teacher, I would probably be in a job that enables me to work with animals.

Q: Do you have a pet?

A: I have a Bedlington Terrier named Ambee.

Say hi to Ambee!❤️

Mdm Ang Gay Leng (Chemistry Department)

Q: What made you want to be a teacher?

A: I tried giving tuition and relief-teaching. I preferred working with students and teaching subjects that I like to business or finance-related work.

Q: What would you be, if you weren’t a teacher?

A: Can't imagine myself doing [anything] else. (Writer’s note: seems this was a canon event)

To see the world

Ms Candida Ho (English Department)

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?


I’ve thought about this so much. I never always wanted to be a teacher. Of course, growing up as a child, even as a young person, I did fantasise about doing many things like wanting to be a vet, and wanting to be a humanitarian worker with the UN. Actually, no kidding. Peacekeeper, that’s crazy—that’s like joining the military. But it shows a certain idealism and some kind of ignorance about what is within my means or not.

So I guess if I weren’t a teacher now, I would love the job of this one person: this Straits Times writer, Clara Chow. She’s actually a travel writer. I think she has one of the best jobs in the world. So she’s paid to travel to exotic locations and she writes about them. So from her, you read about travelling to Uzbekistan, for example. I think that job would be great. I can travel, I can explore strange new locations which is what I love and I can write. I’d also like to do book reviews. I love reading book reviews and I wish I were the one doing that, that’ll be nice also.

That's a wrap! I hope you found these glimpses of what your teachers might have been interesting. And in the spirit of Teachers’ Day, let's be grateful that fate led them to become the amazing teachers they are today, teaching and nurturing future generations. And, who knows, one day they might decide to revisit those paths never taken!

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