So what I didn't tell you last night, Stellou, was that in the middle of our phone conversation, I walked into Terz's new photography studio (which he's set up with four friends) and stopped in my tracks because there was a young woman in the front room who looked more or less exactly like a former student, except that she was wearing business attire more serious-looking than anything I've got in my wardrobe. And you and me were in the middle of talking about Liang Seah Street nasi padang and Ah Chew's Desserts, and my brain was going every which way from our usual shinkansen speed of conversing as well as this sudden spectre from the past --- although the young woman was tan and healthy-looking, nothing actually like a spectre --- so all I could was hold up a hand at her, as if to say, "Halt!", but what I really meant was for me to halt and concentrate on one thing at a time, so then I dropped my bag, flopped into a chair on the patio where I was standing, and proceeded with the rest of our phone conversation as though nothing'd happened --- fooled ya, didn't I? --- while sporadically processing, processing, "Student --- that batch --- I used to read her blog --- yes, that's her name," which did absolutely nothing for me in terms of knowing what to say to her when I was done talking to you.

I started with the polite, "What are you doing now? London? Law? Mmmmm ... " Then the more pressing, "So what are you doing here? Who do you know? [since it obviously wasn't Terz] Nic? How do you know Nic?" And then we ran out of things to say to each other.

Later, as I sat on the floor paging through a pile of student essays, she declaimed, "You're still teaching?" But only because she'd heard I'd moved on to a different job after teaching her batch of students. (It had nothing to do with them; it was my time to move.)

So it turns out that she's best friends with one of Terz's studio partners and knows the others pretty well too. All of which serves as a timely reminder that former students really do pop up when you least expect them to, and that Singapore is just a small town masquerading as a global city.

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At 7/21/2005 6:16 am , Blogger ampulets said...

Aiyoh, you dun say... my ex-student is now my colleague (albeit in another dept)! And there are so many ex-students in my church, all desperately dressing up like grown-ups (ok, so they ARE grown up) while Ms T (they still call me that, sigh) is in her T-shirt looking, or desperately trying to look like a 17 yr old. And I only taught for 1.5yrs - Poor Tym, you have so many more ghosts to deal with.

At 7/21/2005 2:02 pm , Blogger Paperman said...

The perils of being a teacher for 8 yrs... Many times you don't even remember their names rite?

At 7/22/2005 11:23 am , Blogger Tym said...

ampulets --- I have tried, with varying success, to make the grown-up kids not call me Ms _____ anymore. That helps with the exorcism process.

Vandice --- Er ... don't say so loud, can? That's one of the dirty little secrets of teaching. Fortunately, for this particular ex-student, I had no trouble remembering.


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