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: Elaine Cheong
Role/Class: Star English Teacher at Da Little School
Education: Graphic Design, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Early Childhood Care and Education
Years in the industry: 13 years
TNAP: Hi Elaine! Tell us more about yourself!
Presently, head of curriculum for Da Little School and Star English teacher. I’m happily married to a pastor/counselor and we have a 17 year old son.
TNAP: When did you get bitten by the art bug?
When I was a kindergartener. I am blessed to have a dad who works at a printing firm. I would look forward to have him to bring home scrap papers, cardboard and books with printing defects. I would spend my free time building cardboard homes, library, etc with my siblings. My dad taught me how to mix colours with paint and I get to see the different process of printing on the mammoth machines when I visit him at his work place.
TNAP: What do you love about teaching art to children?
Every art lesson is different and exciting. The children express themselves differently through art, using different medium and materials. The beauty is you don’t get the same results. They inspire us with the little things in life that they observe which we may overlook. There is so much to learn from the little people around us. I love teaching ART with reading and creative writing!
TNAP: what makes an effective and good teacher?
Heaps of patience. Listen to the child and understand that each child is unique and has different learning curve. Be resourceful and creative in teaching approach. Be sincere and that the child knows that he has a special place in his teacher’s heart.
TNAP: Who do you look up to as a role model in terms of your teaching career and why?
Pat’s Schoolhouse founder, Mrs Patricia Koh. I was with the organization as a teacher and vice principal. I gleaned a lot from her teacher training sessions, always filled with laughter and innovative teaching ideas. She is positive and touches the lives of others with her friendly disposition and bright outlook in life.
TNAP: Share with us one or two memorable moments in your teaching career that left a deep imprint in you.
Plan special school events and outings with teachers and parents. These experiences benefited the children. It is rewarding to see the smiles on every faces and the bond we share. No wonder it takes a village to raise a child.
TNAP: Looking back in your teaching career, were there any mistakes or decisions which you regretted?
TNAP: What are the things you think teachers can continuously strive to improve and upgrade themselves in?
- Be open with new teaching ideas, there are many ideas on the internet that inspire me tremendously.
- Take up new hobbies and attend courses to upgrade your teaching or crafting skills.
- Network with teachers and stay-home moms, they are a passionate and resourceful bunch.
- Travelling is a good way slow down the hectic pace of life and be refreshed with new inspirations.
- Be involved in a charity organisation as a volunteer. Here at Da Little School, we volunteer fortnightly at the Children Cancer Foundation at KKH with fun-filled art activities.
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?
Teachers are educated professionals who work with kids everyday. They are perceptive and will raise certain concern about a child from time to time. Some parents are not ready to hear anything negative about their child, but if they’re willing to take a sincere advice to heart, it can help them take some good actions that will help the child in the future. Good partnership between parents and teachers is vital to bring out the best in each child
TNAP: Complete this sentence. Teaching is…
Teaching is about touching and enriching lives.