HAVING retired once, deputy principal Joachim Vethanaygam bade farewell to the education fraternity for the second time after serving as an educator for another 20 years.
The former deputy principal was initially a teacher at St. John’s International School before he retired in 1988. However, one year after his retirement, he took up the post as deputy principal of SM Stella Maris.
When asked about why he took up teaching as a career, he said: “Although I only play a small part in students’ lives, I find it rewarding when I see them grow to be successful. It’s like I know I’ve done my part in giving back to society.”
“The reason I’ve kept teaching all these years is the same. I enjoy being able to speak with students and helping them in any way I can.”
Joachim played his role as an overseer and was never anything but caring towards students. Most notably, he was at the base camp radio station of Mt Kinabalu when a group of students decided to take part in a charity climbathon.
However, one of his most memorable moments throughout his teaching career was during the school’s Kindness Week.
“It touched my heart seeing how much the students cared for each other.
“Not only did they make the campaign a success but many of them went out of their way to carry out random acts of kindness not included in the programme.”He had a grand farewell as it was a surprise prepared by the various boards of the school. There was a poem recitation, an acapella performance and a gift-giving ceremony.
At the end of the event, the students and staff members of the school formed a line around the compound as they bade farewell to their beloved deputy principal for the last time.
As for Joachim’s plans for the future, this includes spending more time with his extended family.
He had a final piece of advice for aspiring teachers.
“Teaching isn’t a job but a vocation. Be passionate about it and you’ll see the fruits of the bonds you’ve formed with your students.” - By BRENDAN MAK YUWENGThe writer is part of the BRATs, a young journalist programme organised by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) team.