As a student, I didn’t like school. Learning was never fun for me and I just went through the motions because I knew that’s what my parents wanted me to do.
However, I was blessed enough to score well enough for the PSLE to attend the top secondary girls’ school in Singapore.
Most of my teachers in this school were not engaging or interesting. Some even left us to our own devices, perhaps because they thought we were smart enough. I tuned out during most lessons and I memorised more than I internalised or applied the content. It was a miracle that I barely made it to a top 3 junior college (JC, a pre-university institution).
It wasn’t until I was in JC that I met Literature teachers who inspired me. They taught me about the power of words and language and developed the love of it in me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
A picture of me and my JC students in 2013.
When I myself became a literature teacher in a neighbourhood JC, I saw the other end of the spectrum. These students were earnest learners but they lacked the confidence and competency of being good writers and thinkers.
Some of them even broke down because they couldn’t cope with the gruelling demands of the A’ Levels. If only they were given opportunities while they were younger to develop this confidence and love for the language.
This is why I see it as my personal mission to ensure that children today are not shortchanged in their educational journey. I work hard to be the kind of teacher that my JC Literature tutors were to me, only at an earlier stage in a child’s life. And I train my teachers to be the same.