Madam Lim Cheng Imm's photo

Madam Lim Cheng Imm

From SMJK Sin Min, Sungai Petani, Kedah

Nominated by Tan Yanxian

Madam Lim Cheng Imm is truly an extraordinary English teacher. Before I explain why, here's a bit description of her: She is in her 50's but looks forever 21. She is a bit short and slightly plump. Her specs make her look like a typical Asian but her dark cocoa curls have westernized her, well, sort of. At times I assume she uses two lipstick at one go because her upper lip is more purpler while the lower lip is pinker. Furthermore, she was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago but it has never dampened her enthusiasm to continue to share her knowledge, that she keeps abreast with, (no pun intended) with us, her students. You MUST speak English in her class during her lessons. Her exact words during her first class was "I want all of you to speak English during my class..." Actually, her objective is not to shut our mouth up during her class but to improve our speaking skill and make us comfortable when speaking English so we can do well in interviews. You may think the speaking-English-in-class thing is common and is done by other teachers as well, but her forfeit for not speaking English in class is, well, awfully awesome. You will get to sing an English song, loud and clear, in front of the whole class, sometimes giving an impromptu speech or reciting a poem. Even I had to go out to sing once just because I said 'yes' in Chinese. Again, she is indirectly training our courage and curing our stage fright. At first you feel embarrassed and humiliated, but when time passes, you will be brave and sporting even though your voice is hoarse and croaked. Speaking of songs, I assume none of the teachers in Malaysia does this - she uses songs, modern songs, as a teaching tools to teach us English. She taught us nouns through 'Perfect' by Ed Sheeran, verbs through 'A Whole New World', a song in Aladdin and taught us verbs through 'My Love' by Westlife. "You heard 'Let It Go' before? After the word 'let', the next verb after the subject will always be a ......?" (with a dramatic pause) "A root word!" she would exclaim. Then she will further explain using the song 'Let Her Go' by Passenger. She always claims that listening to English songs will improve one's English as well as reading English materials like newspapers. It is true because one will remember song lyrics better compared to memorizing a text. One might think the song lyrics have narrower vocabulary compared to a sample essay but hey! Some songs have difficult words and the usage of literary devices too! For example, the word 'subtle' is used in 'Marvin Gaye' and there is a presence of simile in that song too! Lastly, she is one lively teacher who always tries to enliven the whole class. Besides songs, when she did literature, she would go online and find some video clips for us to watch, making us have a better picture on the novel or poems. We will get to understand the poems better. In the novel 'Dear Mr Kilmer', she let us dramatize the novel too, again, to have a better vision on the plot of the novel. Also, during the drama, we added some humour ourselves so we won't feel bored about it. Besides that, she also makes English interesting by letting us rewrite songs using our own lyrics and writing our own poems. Again, she will always find a way to make us love English. Perhaps her motto is 'When there's a will, there's a way.' All in all, she is one inspiring, unique and interesting English teacher. Of course she is dedicated and responsible but these two aspects don't make her extraordinary, because almost every teacher has those two values. What extraordinary is her lessons and her teaching method

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