Even as a student at Guangyang Secondary School, Miss Lau Chin Ling’s passion for teaching was evident.
Her then-Chinese teacher had organised a peer-led teaching activity for the class, and Miss Lau was tasked with preparing teaching materials and conducting a short lesson in Mandarin.
The experience was one she enjoyed tremendously and still recalls to this day.
Now, the 26 year-old is a Chinese language teacher at Cantonment Primary School, a role she takes on with much zest and dedication.
Having started her career in June 2018, the past few months have been something of a whirlwind for Miss Lau.
The educator jokingly compares herself to an octopus, given her need to juggle multiple responsibilities.
“There are many things to do and think about almost concurrently, and many roles to fulfil,” she says.
Besides teaching Chinese to Primary 2 and 4 pupils, Miss Lau also manages a Primary 2 form class. In addition, she is a CCA teacher for her school’s international dance club, and teacher-in-charge of the Learning Support Programme and Chinese magazine.
Despite her busy work schedule, she makes time to connect with her students, chatting with them or simply offering a listening ear during recess breaks.
Miss Lau’s ability to thrive in a demanding career can be attributed to the solid training she received.
After graduating from Singapore Polytechnic in 2014, she applied for the Ministry of Education Teaching Awards (MOE TA). She was then accepted into the Bachelor of Arts (Education) programme and Teaching Scholars Programme (TSP) at the National Institute of Education (NIE).
“I chose the BA(Ed) course and the TSP because I wanted a university education tailored to helping me grow and develop as a teacher,” she says.
Joining the TSP’s pioneer cohort enabled Miss Lau to interact with a close community of like-minded peers and supportive lecturers, and freely discuss ideas pertaining to pedagogy and classroom management. The programme also helped to develop her pedagogical skills and content mastery through academic research experiences, international practicums and overseas conferences.
Miss Lau is particularly grateful for the financial support she received from the MOE TA, which sponsored her tuition and hall accommodation fees.
Coming from a family that was not well-to-do, juggling studies and part-time work during her polytechnic days proved physically draining.
“The financial benefits of the scholarship freed me up to focus on personal and professional development during university, which was truly beneficial,” she says.
Grateful for the support, Miss Lau now hopes to pay it forward and inspire the next generation.
Her most memorable teaching experience was helping a student, who had poor grasp of the Chinese language, express herself more confidently and show more interest in the language.
Such tiny triumphs keep her going. “It is hugely satisfying to witness the growth of my students,” says Miss Lau. “Their improvement in character, confidence or studies make me happy, knowing that I have helped them grow to be better people.”