I cannot honestly remember a time when I didn’t want to be a teacher. I still do. And if you stick at anything long enough eventually you get some recognition for what you are doing. Today I and about two hundred of my teaching colleagues were honoured by Taylor’s College and University in an award ceremony for our service to the company. For me this was an almost insignificant five years, for others it was twenty-five or thirty.

Of course five years is just the time I’ve taught here. It total it is a lot more. I must say though that for all the award ceremonies I have attended over the years, this was the most respectful and appreciative of staff and their contribution to student lives. The gifts themselves were nice; but the recognition a lot nicer. The staff here are exceptional, both in their academic qualifications and in their cheerful and wholehearted acceptance of each other’s ethnic and religious differences. They celebrate those differences and treasure the joy and variety it brings to their lives. That was certainly on display in today’s award ceremony.

I appreciate the opportunity to finish out my career in such a positive and cheerful environment alongside such a talented staff. I feel like I am making a contribution to the development of this country and its intellectual capital. Malaysia has enormous potential to be a regional leader, but it will not assume that role without an educated population that continues to respect its rich ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity.

Jody Kline writes: It is refreshing to hear that teachers are being valued for their service to students somewhere. Unfortunately the atmosphere is not so great here right now. It is a difficult time to be a teacher in Ontario.

Steve writes: It was getting that way when you and I left, and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving. Here in Asia there is still a lot of respect for both authority and age and this translates into a much more respectful environment all around. The national education system is still quite patchy; there are excellent schools and very poor ones. So the students we get often have a tough uphill struggle to get ready for university. But they are most respectful and appreciative of our efforts to assist them and it is very rewarding to see them come to grips with their deficiencies and learn to overcome them. I’ve had a very enjoyable five years and it is nice to still be making a difference in young people’s lives.