Reflections of an E.O. on Hiatus

That’s what they call teachers in Civil Service terms, E.O.s. Education Officers.

Education Officers

There’s something military sounding about that title. A friend once told me that for a profession that is about nurturing young minds, the education service is an extremely harsh and punishing one.

Blame it on the title.

Just kidding.

Can’t be the title.

What is it then?


“You know, if I have the chance to do it all over again I will be doing things very differently”, I said to an ex-colleague and dear friend after reminiscing our days working together.


I will not confiscate belts that girls enlarged to wear on their hips; I will not hold my students outside the Art room for as long as 10 minutes because their uniforms are not neat and tidy enough for me; I will not lecture them on their hairstyles to no end; I will not wear my be-serious-during-morning-assembly face to greet my students even after they tell me I should smile more; I will not be inflexible about assignment deadlines; I will not be frown at jokes in class and regard cheekiness as defiance.

Yup, as difficult as it is to admit, I have done all of the above. I have no idea how I could have thought that being stern and unyielding would make my charges learn better. I was at best turning them off whatever interesting lesson I had prepared.

Perhaps I had been misguided. Perhaps I was stressed and unaware. Perhaps I was too much of a perfectionist. Perhaps I was called an Education Officer.

Do I agree with my friend who called the education service “harsh and punishing”? Yes and No. The answer is inconsequential for at the end of the day, regardless of how we tumble and turn in the machinery of the Education Service, regardless of how we are expected to be perfect and error-free, we can choose to nurture.

And so I arrive at my thought for the night: Let the hiatus not make me forget that the system and a mere title are not my scapegoats. Let me remember that I can make a choice to smile, listen, understand, empathise and encourage.

In the mean time, good night! 🙂



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