Committed to providing every child in Singapore a holistic education, the Ministry of Education (MOE) strives to groom and nurture the individual talents of every student. Through academics and cultivation of character, mind and resilience, MOE aspires to mould our children into upstanding global citizens who contribute to the community.
Brightsparks chats with Teh Shi Ling and Wong Zhi Hao, recipients of the Education Merit Scholarship and Overseas Merit Scholarship (Teaching) respectively, to find out exactly how the educators from MOE achieve this vision and mission daily.
What gravitated you towards the teaching field?
Shi Ling: Teaching is fun! As teachers, our work is extremely dynamic. Every day brings a different challenge, but also brings the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people. It is always heartening to see their growth and improvement as a result of our hard work. You succeed when your students succeed.
Zhi Hao: I find teaching to be an extremely fulfilling career as it allows me to learn and grow together with the very students that I am educating. As a teacher, I have learned to be flexible and adapt my lessons to meet the learning needs of different students based on their feedback. I also enjoy interacting with my students and getting to know them on a personal level to better understand the difficulties they face and their aspirations. These interactions have taught me how to be more patient and empathetic, as some students I have taught are involved in complex family situations. Therefore, I find it rewarding to be in the position where I can mentor and provide emotional support and guidance.
Teh Shi Ling
Curriculum Resource Development Officer (Chinese Language),
MOE HQ Curriculum Planning & Development Division
Education Merit Scholar
Bachelor of Arts (Chinese Language And Literature)
Peking University, China
Master of Arts (East Asian Languages and Civilizations)
University Of Pennsylvania, USA
Postgraduate Diploma in Education
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
How did the opportunities from your scholarship enable you to fulfil these aspirations?
Shi Ling: I had the opportunity to study Chinese Literature in Peking University and University of Pennsylvania under the Education Merit Scholarship. The perspectives and experiences I gained from living and learning at these two top tertiary institutes enriched my understanding of the world. They also provided me with interesting stories to share with my students that will broaden their minds.
Zhi Hao: I had the opportunity to experience an overseas education, where I was able to learn alongside students of various nationalities and cultures. It was also exciting having leading researchers from the Large Hadron Collider (the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator) Project share more about their findings to us. This experience served to reaffirm my passion for physics. I have also sought to bring this passion into the classroom by engaging students with relevant everyday examples and recent developments in the subject.
Share with us some of the career opportunities that have been available to you at MOE since you graduated.
Shi Ling: Postings to schools and MOE Headquarters (HQ) have provided me with multiple perspectives to understand how our education system works. The difference in nature of work also provides officers with different options for them to fully explore their interests. The three career tracks help us to chart our path as we progress towards achieving our career aspirations.
Zhi Hao: During my undergraduate studies, I underwent summer attachment programmes with a secondary school and HQ respectively. Through these experiences, I was able to better appreciate the challenges faced in the classroom and HQ. In the classroom, I was focused on the learning of individual students, while at HQ, I was looking at an issue that concerned stakeholders beyond the classroom. I look forward to being posted to HQ in the future. I believe this arrangement will grant me greater exposure and a more well-rounded perspective of how education is a critical lever in nation-building.
Wong Zhi Hao
Teacher, Chua Chu Kang Secondary School
Overseas Merit Scholar (Teaching)
Bachelor of Science (Physics)
Master of Science (Physics)
University College London, UK
Postgraduate Diploma in Education
National Institute of Education,
Nanyang Technological University
Speaking of opportunities, the Teaching Internship Programme was created by MOE to allow aspiring educators to have a taste of this role. Tell us more about your experience, Shi Ling.
Shi Ling: I went on the Programme before taking up the MOE scholarship. It was certainly nerve-racking to stand in front of a class of 32 students, but it also gave me a more realistic understanding of what it would be like to be a full-fledged teacher. The programme affirmed my passion for teaching and was the reason I applied for the scholarship after. I am glad to say that every day, I still believe I have made the right decision to join the education fraternity.
What other reasons would you give to aspiring educators to follow in your footsteps?
Shi Ling: The life of a teacher is way beyond anyone’s imagination, until you become one. No two days in a teacher’s life are the same. The amount of autonomy and freedom you get in building your own learning space for your students is something that no other job can offer. If you have the passion and are up for the challenge, join us!
Zhi Hao: As an educator, there is never a dull moment when it comes to teaching and learning. It is a privilege to be part of a supportive and nurturing community of educators. If you believe that education is a critical lever in bridging the societal gap, I would encourage you to join the teaching fraternity!