Facing problems at home and in school, Ivy Low found her CCA to be the least of her concerns in Secondary 1. However, the care and patience of her Girl Guides teacher touched her, and helped her find the courage to face her challenges. This Teachers’ Day, Ivy thanks her teacher, Ms Candice Soh, for not giving up on her.
My mind was set on not joining any Uniformed Group when I first entered Tampines Secondary School. I hated the thought of marching and doing outdoor activities, and was very frustrated when I found out that I was posted to Girl Guides. I couldn’t wait to exit the CCA.
This was made worse by problems at home, and stress over my studies. The many issues I was grappling with led me to break down in the middle of class.
Ms Candice Soh, my Girl Guides teacher, was the one who eventually helped me open up. She was not one of my subject teachers, but she would make time after school to talk to me. I recall her sitting with me in long periods of silence, waiting for me to be ready to talk. It took a long time, but I felt better after our chats.
Up till Secondary 2, I was still considering leaving Guides for another CCA as the activities like singing and working with others in groups were not what I was used to, and I felt like I was out of my comfort zone. However, Ms Soh encouraged me to continue with Guides for a few more weeks before making my decision – and I’m truly glad I stayed.
Over time, I began to appreciate the wide array of activities in Guides, including camps, outdoor cooking and more. I enjoyed the events and the many enriching learning journeys, such as to Parliament House and Tampines Fire Station, which I would not have experienced on my own.
I also cherished the many opportunities to serve the community. One of the most memorable volunteering stints that I had was with Willing Hearts. Ms Soh made it a point to join us for our sessions, and facilitated our learning so it was not just about cutting vegetables to go into the meals for the less privileged. Instead, we learnt more about the people we were serving and how our contributions mattered.
Although I came to like my CCA, it was not all smooth sailing. As seniors, we were expected to lead our juniors and I had to prepare presentations as part of our badge programme. Although I was already more confident than before, I was still not comfortable with public speaking and fumbled.
Ms Soh was again there to help. She not only gave me detailed feedback about how I could improve in my presentation, but also shared with me the Guide Law that keeps her going in challenging times – “A Guide has courage and is cheerful in all difficulties”. It was particularly memorable because for the first time, she adopted a stricter tone with me, but I knew she meant well. She knew that a firmer approach was needed for me to step up and face my challenges seriously. I am thankful for it.
Because of this experience, my communication and planning skills improved. Today, even as I navigate through the many presentations and projects in polytechnic, I tap on what I have learnt from my years in Guides.
Besides the skills I have picked up, I believe that the four years of Guiding have helped me to become a better individual. I am now more open to people and more positive about myself. Today, I continue to volunteer at various places as Guiding helped me realise how much I enjoy helping others.
At every step of the way since I joined this CCA, Ms Soh has been there to listen, advise, encourage and accompany me in my journey. Thank you, Ms Soh!
This article is part of our six-part series on Uniformed Group Teacher-officers who inspired us. Check out the other stories here: