What makes a teacher? The New Age Parents spoke to principals and teachers from various schools and enrichment centres, to find out more about their philosophy, passion and aspiration.
Name: Leow E-Fern Winnie
Role/Class: Class teacher of LEAP Kids 1A at LEAP SchoolHouse
Years in the industry: 11 years
TNAP: Hi Winnie! Tell us more about yourself!
Hi! I was from the very first batch of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Diploma of Early Childhood Education. After that, I went to pursue my Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies from the University of Melbourne. I have been in this industry for 11 years and is now currently with LEAP SchoolHouse as a Senior Teacher.
TNAP: In your eyes, what makes an effective and good teacher?
A good teacher is one who is one who has genuine passion for teaching and working with young children. She is one with lots of patience and has boundless energy to explore and learn together with the children. She is loving and kind, and yet firm when teaching the children discipline. She has to be of high calibre as she is a walking and talking role model for the children. Lastly, a good teacher is not afraid of being silly and is able to get down to the children’s level to communicate and laugh with them.
TNAP: Who do you look up to as a role model in terms of your teaching career and why?
I was very lucky to have work with many great mentors during my course time and teaching career. Each of them has taught me to be a better teacher and has helped to shape my experiences as a teacher. They taught me that the best teachers are always humble and that learning never ends.
TNAP: Share with us one or two memorable moments in your teaching career that left a deep imprint in you.
I remember there was one particular child who was diagnosed with austism in one of schools that I used to work in. All the teachers had difficulty with working with the child and honestly were afraid to have that child in their class. He would just throw himself on the floor and hit his head or bite himself or the others whenever he feels stressed out by the environment. When the child came up to my class, it was a real challenge for me to juggle a special needs child with the other 11 children in the class.
There were days that I had to literally run and leap to catch hold of the child to prevent him from hurting himself or his friends in class. At the end of the year, the child did improve and his temper tantrums stopped gradually. He also opened up and started communicating with me. When the child graduated, his parents came up to me and thanked me for being the teacher who believed in their son and the one who had the patience and heart to go the extra mile for their son. That for me was the greatest compliment and motivation for me to stay on in this industry for so long.
TNAP: What are the things you think teachers can continuously strive to improve and upgrade themselves in?
Teachers should constantly read up or go for courses to update themselves on the latest research in child development and classroom management. I personally feel that having a mentor in the school will also help a teacher to hone her teaching skills and enrich her own experiences. It is most important that teachers should remain open to learning new things – just like children!
TNAP: Parents sometimes put teachers on a very high pedestal sometimes and expect a lot from them. What do you wish more parents knew about the teaching profession?
I wish that parents will treat teachers with more respect and appreciate the things we do for their children. We work really hard every day and give our all to all the children under our care. Please understand that teachers too are humans and we can’t do everything all the time and every time. And we are definitely not babysitters!
TNAP: Complete this sentence. Teaching is…
Teaching is a calling- definitely not for the faint-hearted!