Musings from a bogus teacher

I am beginning to get the impression that, for a primary school kid, a teacher represents the highest authority in every given situation.

We’re on a TV set, right? Everyone knows that the director is the highest authority. Next in line is the assistant director or producer. You need anything, you ask any one of them. You have questions, you ask them.


In the past month of filming of this kids’ drama, I have been fielding questions (mostly from student extras) that should have gone to any member of the production crew, instead.

“Teacher, really write or pretend write?”
– with regards to a scene in which the students are doing a test.

“Teacher, can I go toilet?”
– in between scenes.

“Teacher, where is the char kuay teow?”
– during tea break.

“Teacher, he steal her pencil!”
– from a tattletale.

Do they even realise that I’m not a real teacher? I’m only an actress pretending to be a teacher. Yet, they consult me for everything, as if I’m the only authority in the whole place.

When I attempt to explain the situation — “That’s nice, but don’t tell me, ok? Tell the director because he’s the one in charge.” — they just stare blankly back at me as if I’ve just spoken to them in a foreign language.

Is the concept of teacher as authority so deeply ingrained in our kids that anyone who looks like a teacher and dresses like a teacher and goes by the name of 唐老师 (Teacher Tang) is immediately the authority to answer every problem and every query in every situation?

Is it just our kids? Do kids in other countries and other cultures behave the same way?

On the flip side, it can be quite heartwarming. They greet me cheerily every time they see me, like they would a real teacher. It makes me feel loved.

Sometimes, while walking around the school compound, I even get greeted by real students in the school we’re filming at, which is kind of amusing.

I don’t know what real teachers think but, from my limited perspective, I think teaching is a very noble profession because teachers carry so much influence in a kid’s eyes that they have the chance to literally shape the kid’s life.

I would be scared stiff to be given such a sacred responsibility.

25 thoughts on “Musings from a bogus teacher

  1. Avatar

    haha.. this is cute. i think being a real teacher is much more scary that this, though.

    but i guess kids will always treat teachers as ‘the authority’ no matter what, because that’s what they’re being taught! they have no concept of work life, so teacher is the boss to them! (even tho in ur job, the director is the boss hehe)

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    Ummm it’s “tattletale”…

    And, what did you expect? They’ve spent their whole school lives with the person at the front of the classroom being the ultimate authority on everything under the sun. What chance does a mere director have? :oP

    Either that, or they are being reeeeeallly clever… and whinding you up…

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    Qiaoyun: Looks like you’re doing fine in acting. :) Even normal kids think you’re a teacher.

    This reminds me of of something I read, about how successfully a US TV series “NYPD Blue” is, that when they will filming one day on the street and a thief happen to run by. After seeing the actors he immediately surrender himself to them.

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    mmm, how come there’s another J.. confusing.

    it’s quite sweet, how the kids turn to you for answers to their questions.. =) but i do agree with the last part of ur entry! don’t think i can ever be a teacher… imagine if i traumatise kids for life… or cause them to fail their subjects… oh no.. *runs away*

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    Is there another “J”?

    I didn’t notice the last part of the post, until now, but as a teacher I feel that I should comment and be at least partly serious:
    I have taught all ages from 3yrs to adult and the same rule applies: Students only get out what they put in…
    Most teaching is trying to lead the horse to water (the easy bit) and let them see that it is worth drinking (the hard bit). It is impossible to teach someone something that they don’t want to learn so most of what I try to do is to show students the value in what we do for them. But if they really refuse to see it then there’s nothing you can do… And that’s the sad bit – I hate seeing wasted talent.

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    Felicia Chin and Ann Kok got their fair share of greetings when they portrayed army & navy officers respectively.

    QY should audition for a uniformed role. Think you’ll look more convincing with your sporty appearance & all.

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    Unfortunately, the noble profession of teaching is fast becoming taken for granted.

    Teachers in the earlier days get a lot of respect not only from the students but also from the student’s parents.

    These days it is common to find brats who are “no big no small” to their teachers.

    Worse, their parents aren’t any better either.


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    “Is it just our kids? Do kids in other countries and other cultures behave the same way?”
    Yep, they act the same way in my place. But only kids. With teens, it’s a different story. I have taught animation for teens/adults a few years ago, most of them are stubborn, but a selective few are really attentive and follow what you say. But when they knew that we were almost on the same age group, they got a little bit more easier to handle. Unlike with kids, they always follow you if they know you are older than them (Even if you weren’t actually a teacher).

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    You should just point to the Director and tell them “That is principal!”. They should figure who has the ultimate authority after that.

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    cowcow: Eh…. don’t be a bad influence hor! :P

    Daphne: Yeah, exactly. It’s quite interesting thinking about it. Sometimes I think kids are more afraid of teachers than they are of their own parents. Weird stuff.

    J: Haha. But the thing is I’m not a real teacher. Not their teacher. That they defer to me as authority when they’ve never met me in their life is really weird! And, nah, they’re not winding me up. I don’t have anything to offer them in the first place. :P

    WRT your second comment, is it a loaded comment??? haha.

    And, yes, there is another J, who came before you, so pick another name! :P

    arachno: Hahaha, that’s a cool anecdote! Sometimes being an actor can be really fun eh? :P

    Miss Loi: I wouldn’t call you a bogus teacher lah. You DO teach students. :P

    Steffi: Yeah, I guess so. Weird as it is, it does feel nice… as long as they don’t overdo it, lol. Sometimes they just ask questions nonstop!

    Starmist: Haha. I don’t think you’ll do any harm to kids. You’re one of the sweetest person I know! Kids will love you to bits, how could you ever traumatise them? ;)

    Cloudywind: Eh… I don’t want to have cute NS guys greeting me. O_o I won’t know how to react!

    Derrick: Hmm… no such auditions leh. Anyway, they don’t hold auditions for really good roles. I mean, those roles just automatically go to the stars, you know? :P

    JayWalk: Hmm, yeah. Kids nowadays getting more and more daring and climbing over teachers’ heads. But I think there’s still a good amount of fear and respect for teachers overall.

    modchip: Yup. Only with kids. I think teenagers are a different story altogether. And I think kids are growing up faster these days. They’re becoming rebellious teenagers earlier and earlier!

    The Goonfather: Hahaha, that’s a great idea. I shall try that the next time. :P

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    Actually, not a loaded comment… Although I can see why you thought it might. I’ve turned off my lecture mode with you… And changed my name too :oP

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    You do have the teacher look. And thanks for mentioning that teaching is a noble job, especially in Spore. It can be hard at times. But at the same time rewarding. I do miss teaching a class of my own and teaching in Spore. Oh well, choices in life…..But I’m not ready to go back to Spore to face the little monsters and the big evil monsters (principals and shit management people) as yet. Still like HK for the moment.

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    Jesta: Hah… ok :P Thanks!

    cowcow: Must be because you got chio lecturer? Haha.

    Monster: Great to hear you’re loving your life in HK. :) And I do think teachers are very noble, especially those who sincerely want to make a difference in children’s lives. But there are also teachers who teach because they have nothing else better to do, right? Those are a different story, I guess.

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    hmm… proabably I didn’t catch this, but eh.. what show are u fliming? children’s program?don’t remember seeing u in TCS shows… Hmm..maybe I’m outdated..

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    This is a kids drama serial that will be shown on MediaCorp channel 8 on Sunday mornings. I think around end September, early October. :)

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    Perhaps the children ask you questions because they are more comfortable approaching you than approaching the big “director man.” They are just kids after all, they don’t necessarily feel as comfortable around all of the professionals as they might toward a familiar figure like a teacher, even if one is only acting as one.

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    My wife is a teacher. That kind of respect has to be earned and if those kids are coming to you, you have earned their respect. That’s a good thing!

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