SCHOLARS'

EXPERIENCE

He wants to follow in the footsteps of a former teacher who drew him out of his shell
By Chew Huiling
The NTU-NIE Teaching Scholarship Programme gave Mr Alex Lim many opportunities to combine theory with practice, thanks to a multidisciplinary curriculum. PHOTO: Frenchescar Lim

With a heart to serve the next generation, undergraduate Alex Lim wants to positively influence the lives of his students

It all began with a role model who made a difference. Once shy and introverted, Mr Alex Lim says it was his former student council teacher advisor at Pioneer Junior College who sparked his passion to pursue a teaching career.

“Ms Lee had a huge influence one me. I was inspired by her passion and felt a genuine connection with her through our interactions,” says the 23-year-old. “She moved me to aspire towards becoming someone who would positively shape the lives of others.”

REALISING HIS POTENTIAL

Mr Lim recalled the time when he ran for the student council election. Despite being elected as the head of publications, he questioned his own leadership abilities. Fortunately, he had Ms Lee to thank for encouraging him to step up and be more confident. 

Expressing his gratitude for her guidance, he says: “I had self-doubt as it was my first time taking on a major leadership role, but Ms Lee had faith in me. She made me see that I had untapped potential.”

Inspired to follow in her footsteps, Mr Lim embarked on a journey to become a role model in his own right.

Currently in his third year of studies, he is now part of the Nanyang Technological University National Institute of Education (NTU-NIE) Teaching Scholarship Programme. The four-year programme exposed him to enriching activities such as research projects with professors and opportunities to network with student teachers overseas virtually. If not because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, he could also have gone for a practicum stint overseas and semester exchange too.

“The multidisciplinary curriculum enabled me to explore a diverse range of modules – from pedagogies to content knowledge – so that I can constantly improve my craft in teaching,” he says.

A VOICE FOR YOUTH

The four-year programme also exposed him to enriching activities such as research projects with professors and opportunities to gain practicum experience.

On a 2019 trip to Sikkim, India, he learnt about the education system at a rural school and how they run things while immersing himself in a new culture.

“Experiencing the warmth shown to us by the locals taught me that it does not matter how little you have because you can still be generous if you want,” he says.

“This is a precious life lesson I will never forget.”

Mr Lim is also a huge advocate for mental health.

“As a teacher, I hope to nurture individuals with a strong moral compass so they can contribute meaningfully to the community. I also strive to direct awareness towards students’ mental health and wellness,” he says.

One example is Project Memor – the first large-scale mental health project in NIE which aims to raise awareness through infographics and workshops.

“It is something I am proud of, and I hope it will be a positive step towards increasing awareness of mental health in our society,” he says.

When it comes to teaching, his motto is “Teaching is heart work” – a quote he resonates with.

“Wanting the best for your students is what drives teachers to keep going,” he says. “Despite the challenges of being an educator, it is rewarding to see your students grow – not only academically, but also as a person.”

Visit tsp.nie.edu.sg for more information.

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