by Linsey Lim (P4 2021)
“Class, please settle down! I have some exciting and surprising news!” our form teacher, Ms Tan, announced at the top of her voice as she clapped her hands to get the class’ attention. The class turned to look at Ms Tan and they gave her their fullest attention. “There is going to be an inspection tomorrow and the cleanest classroom will be the winner. The prize is a secret.” By now, the class was buzzing with excitement until Ms Tan continued her announcement, stating that I was in charge and that I was supposed to delegate the work. The heavy silence that fell upon the room lasted for a few agonising moments.
I was dumbfounded and so was everyone else. I was the most irresponsible student in the class and yet, Ms Tan chose me, I thought in disbelief. How could she have chosen someone who always forgot to submit her homework in time? How could she have chosen someone who had never volunteered for anything either? The whole class protested and speculated that our teacher had made a mistake. However, Ms Tan insisted that it was not a mistake and she was certain about putting me in charge. My classmates calmed down but still stared at me with resentment bubbling inside them. They were certain that I would not live up to my role and that I would be the reason why they would lose the competition that day.
After school, I asked my classmates to stay back with me and I assigned them the tasks before planning to head to the canteen for lunch. They reluctantly did what they were assigned to do. No one, except for one student, dared to complain.
“She ought to learn not to take this opportunity to avoid doing work!” my classmate snapped just as I was stepping out of the classroom. My face turned red with embarrassment upon hearing the complaint. I went back into the classroom to apologise for letting them do the work without me. They forgave me and asked whether I could help.
I decided to sweep the floor as there was a lot of dust. I picked up the broom and started sweeping the classroom. After much work, the class was sparkling clean. I volunteered to conduct a thorough check of the class while the rest of my class could enjoy a well-deserved break.
“You can go to the canteen. You deserve it!” I exclaimed joyfully. My classmates thanked me profusely and said that they appreciated my initiative and leadership. One even praised me saying that I was a responsible person and her opinion of me had changed. I smiled warmly at her. After a thorough check, I heaved a sigh of relief and knew that all I had to do was to wait for the final results.
The next day, Ms Tan announced the happy news with a grin on her face.
“Our class has won first place!” she declared as she beamed with joy. My class jumped for joy while others were surprised with the results. Ms Tan paused for the next announcement and the class listened to her intently. “Before, I said that the prizes were a secret. Now, it is time to reveal it!” her voice cut through the air as tension gripped the class. She told me to step forward as she took out the prizes. It was a gold trophy and a white certificate. The certificate said “Most Responsible Student”. I gasped in shock and thanked her for the certificate.
Ms Tan told the whole class to applaud for me and everyone congratulated me. As she handed me the gold trophy, she whispered to me, “Always be responsible, even when no prize is in sight.” I nodded in agreement. My hard work had actually paid off. I resolved to be a more responsible person from that incident on.