SM METHODIST ACS Klang principal Chay Kin Siong, will be retiring this Friday after 35 years in the teaching profession, which he describes as a fulfilling career.
“I love sharing knowledge and seeing children grow academically. Every single day, I get to guide and mould a student’s future and this brings untold happiness as an educator. I come to work each day for the children,” he said with a smile.
Chay took over the reins as head of ACS Klang in August 2012.
The oldest school in Selangor, which was founded on March 10, 1893, was officially opened by Sir William Hood Treacher, the sixth Resident of Selangor who served from 1892 to 1896.
After graduating from Universiti Malaya (UM), Chay began his teaching career in 1982 at SM Dato Mahmud Paduka Raja in Tanah Merah, Kelantan, at a time when Malaysian singer Sudirman Arshad was topping the local music charts with his songs 8 ke 4 suku (Punch Card) and Kehadiranku.
Chay, who hails from Banting, Selangor, has achieved numerous education milestones, including the introduction of abacus for mathematics and later computers in schools, but his passion to teach remains unchanged.
“I have to admit, teaching was not my first choice when I left school.
“I wanted to go into the medical profession and become a doctor but my Higher School Certificate results did not qualify me for medical studies.
“I even thought of doing law at UM but I was offered Bachelor of Arts and later pursued a diploma in Teaching English as a Second Language. On completing these courses at UM, I chose to enter the teaching profession.”
Chay confesses that “at first teaching was just a job” but after sometime it became a passion.
“It is the passion for teaching that has kept me going for 35 years.
“I have worked in 12 schools. From 2006 until now, I have served as the principal in SM Tanjong Sepat, SM Methodist, SMJK Yoke Kuan and ACS Klang,” he said.
Chay, who is loved by his students and teachers, took some time to reminisce the past, saying that there was something new every day, and that was part of the reason he stayed on.
“Challenges abound in each school, there is always something to improve and someone to help.
“When I came to ACS Klang, the school was not advancing well in sports but within 24 months, I turned it around and now our students are getting medals for track and field events,” he said.
Chay added that just seeing students realise their potential made him happy.
At 60 years old, the untiring Chay is filled with enthusiasm to serve and plans to guide children at a non-governmental organisation after taking time off to travel to Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzen in China.
“Chengdu is a beautiful place. I will travel solo to enjoy the scenery and according to some teachers, the food in Chengdu is fabulous. I just want to chill for some time.
“Solo travelling will be good for me as I want to discover and appreciate the towns there,” he added.
Chay hopes to spend his time working with children, as this to him was endlessly rewarding.
“I have seen students get a glimpse of what they could be in the future, when you see them try something and realise they can do it, that’s pretty special,” he said.
Chay said his job would not have been possible without the support of all the teachers, administration staff and the board of trustees.
“ACS Klang has a fine team of teachers, staff and board of trustees,” he added.