Driven to (Help Others) Excel

Left: Chen Zhongyi | Right: Ong Sin Yee

It’s often said that passion drives us to success. We meet two teachers who show us how this desire can be used to fuel others to the same levels of success beyond the boundaries of school and into life.

By Kevin Lim

From the moment we meet Zhongyi and Sin Yee, this delightful duo makes us wish they were our teachers when we were still reciting the national anthem daily. The spark, passion, and genuine enthusiasm they have for the teaching profession, and more importantly, for the lives they influence every day, leave a lasting impression on us.

For Zhongyi, the importance of being a caring teacher was instilled not through books or lessons, but by example. When Zhongyi was younger, an accident landed him in hospital. During his hospitalisation, one of the events that made a profound impression on him was how his CCA teacher would frequently visit him in hospital and check on his progress, all in his own time.

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Passing On The Passion

Gone are the days when a teacher was seen as a no-nonsense disciplinarian focused on getting good results for his or her students. Today, a teacher is much more than that as we get insights from two educators about this reputable career.

By Wendy Ng & Farhan Shah

In the 60s, a hard rap across the knuckles with a wooden ruler was more than enough to ensure students would toe the line. However, as the years pass by, the teaching landscape has evolved significantly, making these methods outdated.

Today, teaching is not just about reciting from textbooks and giving out test papers. It is about moulding the future generation. Today’s teachers have to incorporate the whims of today’s tech-savvy youths with the goals of the country.

However, there is no other career in the world that gives you the invaluable opportunity to be an inspiration and influence to the malleable minds of the young who will one day become the leaders of the country.

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The Passion and Energy for Teaching

So you want to be a teacher? Do you have enough passion and energy to deal with demanding parents and restless children?

Do you enjoy marking exam papers and coping with tight deadlines? Do you have the tenacity to go on even if you are not appreciated for your hard work?

Do you have EQ (high IQ in emotional skills and social savvy to handle your pupils, their army of relatives, your teaching colleagues, officials from the Ministry of Education, and everybody else who wants to poke their nose into your work)?

And as you struggle with your increasing workload, do you remember to smile at all times bearing in mind that you are also a role model and hero to those under your charge?

by Jennifer Yeo

Phew! If the answer is yes, you may have what it takes to be a teacher. It’s more than a fallback job for young people or those thinking of mid-life career switch just because they can’t find work elsewhere!

After seven years as marketing communications manager with Meritus Negara Hotel (now known as Pan Pacific Orchard), Alex Choo gave up his glamorous job to be a lecturer in a local polytechnic.

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Is Teaching That Bad?

An anonymous reader posted a lengthy and rather thought-provoking comment on one of our articles, basically pointing out how difficult it is to be a teacher here in Singapore.

We've since reproduced the comment on the JobsCentral Forum, and here are some extracts from the comment:

"All teaching have more or less taken a backseat to administrative work and courses that 'enhance your ability to teach'. Clocked in hours for courses, sharings, etc (not including contact time meeting and level meetings and departmental meetings and a now special 'blocked' time for sharing amongst your level) is 100 hours a year..."

"Preformance bonuses are based on teaching, contributions to school, as well as...yes administrative work. No clear weightage is given and so each school will weigh things differently. So there may be a principal who decides that going to a meeting to meet about what you have talked about in your last meeting is more important than attending to a child's emotional needs and mark you down for it..."

Is teaching in Singapore really that bad?

Click here to read the comment in its entirety, and if you have your own observations to make about the profession, do share them with us on the JobsCentral Forum too.