"Teacher, please have some tea!"
The children from Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool entered into a procession and respectfully approached every teacher with a tray in their hands. They knelt down and offered a cup of hot tea to the teacher in front of them, expressing gratitude for the teachers’ guidance and wisdom in their everyday teachings.
The teachers were deeply moved to see the children's innocent and sensible expressions. Several teachers couldn't help but shed tears of emotions, taking out handkerchiefs to wipe their eyes repeatedly. After receiving the love and blessings from the children, the teachers also extended their hands to give them a loving hug.
On 30 and 31 August 2023, the eve of the scheduled Teacher's Day preschools in Yishun, Toa Payoh and Sengkang held a tea offering session. The young children respectfully served tea, expressing gratitude for the teachers' and volunteers' daily dedication and hard work.
During these two days, the teachers took a backseat in the preparation process and remained blissfully unaware of the preparation work. Instead, the preschool management meticulously planned the whole event, from arranging the chairs and planning the movements to guiding the children through repetitive practice sessions. A lot of effort was poured in to create an unforgettable Teachers' Day gift for the teachers.
Everyone was bustling around, busy with various tasks. After multiple rehearsals, the children finally made their debut. With hands held high and following the rhythm of the instructions, they offered tea gracefully and completed their task with composure.
"Hear me say "thank you", because of you, every season feels warm."
Some students also used sign language to perform "Hear me say thank you" to convey their gratitude.
A profound experience for teachers
A few teachers who experienced tea serving by children for the first time were moved to tears, rendering them speechless. A young teacher, Leong Wen Yue, said, "I have never expected children to serve me tea. Holding the cup, I thought of my family and felt grateful. They raised me up, and now, as a teacher, I'm passing on the knowledge to other children."
Witnessing the slight progress in children and the successful completion of the tea offering session, Leong Wen Yue felt moved and gratified. She said, "Although the process was simple, its significance runs deep. Seeing the children's progress makes me happy. Despite the challenges in the early childhood education industry, I find it incredibly meaningful."
"The sincerity of the children is overwhelming!"
Touched by the children's earnestness, Teacher Chan Bao Xuan said with teary eyes. Her child is also in the six-year-old class in this school, and she hopes that her child can express gratitude to the teachers with the same heartfelt sincerity.
She said, "Within a short rehearsal period, the children's dedication and sincerity were evident when they presented that cup of tea. I could feel their gratitude towards the teachers and volunteers. So, I hope my child could also carry this heartfelt appreciation to thank his teachers in the same way."
Teachers and children develop closer bond
During the six tea-offering sessions across two days, some teachers were deeply moved, while others approached it with excitement and anticipation. Each teacher came with different emotions to savour this cup of hot tea.
Looking at the young children offering hot tea, thinking they were once babies in the infant class, Teacher Tey Hui Yi felt a sense of time passing quickly. She said, "This tea offering ceremony is something that gifts or cards cannot replace."
Teacher Ng Kin Hong, who has dedicated thirty years to early childhood education, felt warm and pleasantly surprised. She said, "I never knew Teachers' Day could feel so homely. This place is like a big family, where teachers support each other. The preschool management team showed gratitude through actions and made us feel truly valued."
“Thank you, teachers!”
While the preschool children were keen to prepare a surprise for the teachers, they appeared to have a vague understanding of what Teachers' Day celebration is. A little kid, Yang Jiahan, even described it directly as "Lao Shi's Day." When asked what holiday it was today, she innocently replied, "It's a day for teachers."
However, all the children understood why they were offering tea to the teachers. Zhang Liren exclaimed, "Because the teachers always take care of us. When we're hungry, they give us food. And, they teach us in class..."
Lin Kaitong said, "Because we want to wish the teachers good health and safety."
Lin Yule said confidently, "Today, we want to thank our teachers because they look after us. So today, we want to serve them tea to thank them."
Albeit the different words uttered by different children, they meant the same heartfelt sentiment and action, offering the sincerest blessings to the teachers.