Mr. Loud: I cannot do this myself, but I taught my students, and we won the competition

[Originally posted September 3, 2009]

One time, when I first became the principal of a school, we had a general post mortem about the school.  This is my behaviour. Anything happens, I always have a post mortem, to find out whether something is good or not good. So, I commented on the school opening ceremony:

“In the opening ceremony, the school marching – totally cannot,”  I said, shaking my head.

The teachers were resentful. “None of us are soldiers! How can we teach them to march like the way you are describing? It’s not possible.”

One of the teachers was very nasty. He said, “There is an intra-school marching competition coming, to pick the school to lead the opening ceremony for a big sports day. Maybe you should train them for that. Make them learn. You should coach them!”

You know why he said that? When I was four, I had polio. I can’t even walk properly, let alone march.

I said, “You know what? That’s a good suggestion!”  I called out to my assistant, “I’m going to coach the school team for this competition!” I knew they were all laughing behind my back.

I believe I’m a good teacher. So I went to the police academy. I watched them train the cadets every evening.  After they finished, I would go and talk to the trainer, and learn. I learned all the commands. I learned all the changes, and analysed. For two weeks.

Then back at school in my office,  I trained just one student how to march, because I cannot do a demonstration myself! We trained for three weeks, during recess time. He could do everything beautifully, and he became my demonstrator.  So, together we teach the school team to march.

On the big day, there were 19 primary schools taking part: Chinese medium, English medium and Malay medium.

And what do you think happened?

MY children won!  They were the champions of that competition!

So, a lot of people asked my staff:  Who trained that team? My staff pointed secretly at me, not wanting me to see them pointing. Some staff asked, “Who made this happen?  Nah, you’re joking. THAT guy?”  So surprised.

But they don’t understand. As long as you are a good teacher, there is nothing that you cannot learn, and then teach to others.

Learn, in order to teach. Learning and teaching go along together. You have to believe that, to be a good teacher.  Good teachers must be good learners too.


Mr. Loud is a pseudonym for a music educator in Kota Kinabalu. He has strong opinions which I enjoyed listening to, and I got as many interviews as I could before it wasn’t convenient for him to meet anymore. He is Chinese educated, from Sabah, and I only edit for clarity. I don’t want to correct grammar. It’s his voice, so you can read it the way he tells it. His views do not represent Sabah Songs.


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