EULOGY FOR JACQUELIN SINGH
Written by John Adamson (AIS Class of 1969)
posted 10 March 2019
This for Mrs. Singh and her family and all here.
Today in Livingston, California, a memorial service will be held for an English teacher at the American International School of New Delhi. Her name was Jacquelin Singh, age 92, a teacher for decades, I do believe. I had her class as a senior, Class of ’69. I feel I need to note her passing because it was she, of
all the extraordinary teachers I had in that school, who left the biggest mark.
Unlike many of her colleagues who were more flamboyant in their manner or brilliance, she was quiet and reserved. However, in choosing not to be the center of attention in the classroom she could better coax out the individual
eye and creativity of each student. She seemed more guide than lecturer.
Maybe the best way to illustrate her gift would be to pose a simple question — how much of any high school class do you really remember these days?
For me, for most classes, I barely remember the names. With Mrs. Singh’s English, it’s all still right there.
We studied English and Irish authors like Shakespeare—as a poet, not dramatist—Milton, Joyce. We read Indian like authors like Tagore and the authors of works like Hori Ram and Nectar in a Sieve (both works that dealt with the impact of cultural and technological change on an ancient society).
She accepted homework in the form of verse, song, drama. We wrote our own plays and she produced them to showcase to the community. She helped us understand literature as an agent of both change and permanence in the kaleidoscope of culture that assaulted the young visitors to India that filled her classroom year after year. She didn’t just teach us how to think, she taught us how to cope.
I felt that all my teachers in India cared for us and were genuinely interested in our work; but with Mrs. Singh, it went deeper. I felt that she loved us. Perhaps to some extent that is because her own daughter was our classmate and friend and the best of us as a student, but then perhaps not. Perhaps her gift was one of the heart as well as of the mind and that rare blend is what set her so apart.
So today is a day of sadness but also one of gratitude and joy in the remembrance of the life of an outstanding teacher that helped weave a web of learning and friendship that grows only stronger through the passing years. Go with God dear soul; thank you for all you have done for so many for so long.
- John Adamson (AIS Class of 1969)
Saturday, 9 March 2019