Rui En (Zhang Luoyun), Terence Cao (Tan Xiangfeng), Chen Hanwei (Tan Xiangchun), Ann Kok (Kang Qiaozhen), Cynthia Koh (Yao Guijuan), Darren Lim (Tang Andi), Chen Tian Wen (Ma Guoliang), Lin Meijiao (Huang Liqin), Eelyn Kok (Lin Yuxuan)
Tan Xiangchun is a traditional, Chinese-educated senior teacher who deeply feels unappreciated at work because of his poor command of the English language. The younger generation no longer sees the importance of their mother tongue and moral education. As such, they despise and disrespect him. Gradually, Xiangchun becomes disillusioned with education and upon facing some health issues, dejectedly leaves the teaching line.
Xiangchun’s wife, Kang Qiaozhen, used to compile textbooks with the Ministry of Education (MOE). She had left her high-paying job for more flexibility in juggling her children and career, and started a tuition centre in the heartlands, hoping to carve out a great career in the education industry. Not wanting to be a loafer, Xiangchun becomes a staff of her centre.
Xiangchun’s younger brother, Tan Xiangfeng, is free-spirited and uninhibited by nature. A trend-setter, he’s a freelance DJ, model and because of his travel articles, is a celebrity of sorts. Their father died young and Xiangchun had been shouldering the responsibility of caring for Xiangfeng. As a doting elder brother, he even attends match-making sessions with his wife in tow, in the hope of finding Xiangfeng a suitable other-half. Because of this, Xiangfeng becomes involved with sassy teacher, Zhang Luoyun, and the two later become an item.
Luoyun belongs to the new generation of teachers who is skilful at using innovative methods (like bringing students for a ride in her sports car, giving them CDs of their idols, etc.) to bring her students close to her. Wildly popular with her students, she manages education like a career, with lofty ambitions of scaling the hierarchical ladder. Overly eager for success, she spoke harshly to her student, Ma Jialing, because the latter’s grades were below expectations, a move which hurt Jialing’s pride, thus many students started feeling uncomfortable with her. She had always been confident of being promoted to head-of-department, and upon not getting selected for promotion, she leaves teaching in disappointment.
Through Xiangfeng, Luoyun joins Qiaozhen’s tuition centre. To raise the standards of the centre, Luoyun suggests the starting of elitist classes, much to Xiangchun’s objection as it contravenes his philosophy that education should be non-discriminatory. The difference in ideologies causes Luoyun to leave the centre, and she brings Xiangfeng along with her. Together with Yu Xuan (her friend who had just graduated and returned from abroad) and Xiangfeng, she starts a premium tuition centre that accepts only outstanding students.
Tuition centres proliferate with parents’ over-anxiousness for their children to get ahead in life through academic excellence. Regardless of their children’s needs, “kiasu” parents usually jam-pack their schedules with courses and classes. Qiaozhen’s neighbour, Tang Andi, is a typical example. Due to his wife, Yao Guijuan’s, wish to groom their son for success, the two become a money-grubbing couple who think of all means to raise money for their son Dehua’s tuition fees. Andi, a hawker, even piggy-backs his wife for a medical drug test, causing much hilarity.
Dehua is an average student, but has a flair for cooking. He is “force-fed” with tuition so much so that he feigns spirit-possession, then runs away from home. Dehua’s talent gets discovered by a celebrity chef, who gives his parents a talking-to. Enlightened, Andi and Guijuan finally come to terms that their son is not academically incline, and no longer subtract the possibility of letting him pursue his career in the food & beverage industry.
A dedicated and hands-on parent, Qiaozhen never suspects anything amiss with her teaching methods. Her daughter, Tan Yixin, is a star pupil who excels in studies, badminton and music. Unfortunately, she loses out to Jiang Jun, a student from China who joins her class in mid-term. Unable to face her own “failure”, Yixin completely loses it, much to her parents’ shock. It is only then that Xiangchun and Qiaozhen realise that their daughter has high IQ, but near-to-no EQ. Their son, Yijie, lies to wriggle out of tuition classes because of his passion for badminton. Upon deliberation and co-ordination, the couple finally instil correct values in their children and acknowledging Yijie’s aptitude in sports, lists the Sports Academy as one of the choices for the latter’s secondary education.
Luoyun’s preoccupation with elitist education causes a rift in her relationship with Xiangfeng. Troubled, she gets to know that Jialing is suffering from depression because of her studies and parents’ divorce. Luoyun wholeheartedly helps Jialing. In the process, she comes to identify with Xiangchun’s belief that education should be non-discriminatory and subscribing to it, gives up upon her tuition centre’s elitist education, returning to becoming a down-to-earth teacher with MOE again
Last modified on 15 December 2009