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Teacher's pest turns teacher

NEW ROLE: Mr Lim Li Cheng hated his teachers, until one asked him to help his friends with Maths. That was also when he realised his calling to be a teacher.

Teacher's pet?

Hardly. In fact, as a student, Mr Lim Li Cheng was a teacher's pest.

Recalling his school days, Mr Lim, who was in the Normal Academic stream, said: "I had quite a bad attitude towards my teachers and even skipped classes occasionally."

Mr Lim said he and his friends were rather rebellious then.

"Some of my teachers asked me to stay away from my friends for they feared that they would be a bad influence on me, which really made me dislike my teachers more.

"I felt that they had no right to influence my choice of friends."

But his then Maths teacher, Ms Tay Ngee Mui, stood out with a different approach. He said: "She would use me to reach out to my friends instead and asked me to help them out in Maths."

His friends were cool with the idea, as they felt that studying with peers was more fun than attending lessons with teachers.

That was when he realised his calling as a teacher.

Yesterday, the fresh-faced 26-year-old graduated from NIE with a Bachelor of Science (Education) to be a teacher himself.

Mr Lim, who still keeps in contact with his secondary school friends, said: "They expected me to be a teacher so it wasn't too big a surprise to them.

"But some of them will still confide in me, saying they cannot believe that they are friends with a teacher."

Mr Lim feels that his background has helped him to reach out to rowdier students better. He said: "I find myself being able to understand their perspectives better, which is the key."