Left: Nurul Amalina Binte Jamaludin is a Senior Manager in the Engagement and Research Division of MOE HQ. A recipient of the Education Merit Scholarship, Amalina has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from King's College London, a Master's Degree in English Language and Literature from King's College London and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education in English Literature and English Language from Nanyang Technological University.
Right: Aaron Pang is a Physics and Lower Secondary Science Teacher at Serangoon Garden Secondary School. A recipient of the MOE Teaching Scholarship, he has a Bachelor of Science (Education), Physics and Mathematics from Nanyang Technological University.
Teachers from the Ministry of Education (MOE) bring life, excitement and a sense of exploration into their students' hearts. They introduce students to the world and all its wonders, guide them to fulfil their potential and in return, learn alongside their charges every step of the way.
Nurul Amalina Binte Jamaludin, took up the Education Merit Scholarship and is now a Senior Manager, Communications and Engagement at the Engagement and Research Division of MOE. Aaron Pang, a recipient of the MOE Teaching Scholarship, is now a Physics and Lower Secondary Science Teacher at Serangoon Garden Secondary School. They are empowered in their respective roles to nurture our students into lifelong learners and good citizens.
In between classes, planning and preparation work, Amalina and Aaron spared some time to share more with us about their fulfilling careers in education with MOE.
Big Picture Teaching
Amalina, you joined MOE on an Education Merit Scholarship. What made you consider that scholarship?
I was particularly attracted to the opportunities provided by the scholarship – the opportunity to pursue my academic interest at a university of choice as well as the opportunity to develop myself as an educator.
Throughout my course of study, I was also given a myriad of developmental opportunities including internships at MOE HQ and schools as well as the opportunity to pursue my academic interests further through my master's degree programme.
You are a Senior Manager in the Communications and Engagement Group. How do you apply what you have learnt in university to your work today?
Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to build invaluable relationships with people from all over the world. This had helped to broaden my perspective of the world. As I interact with various stakeholders in my current role, I have learnt to keep an open mind and to acknowledge the diverse experiences that they bring to the table.
With Covid-19, we must now communicate more promptly as well as innovate and find new ways to engage with our stakeholders.
My time in the United Kingdom has taught me the values of positivity and resilience, and I have since learnt to take these challenges in stride and to find new possibilities in my work.
Tell us more about your current role.
I was teaching English Language and Literature but have since taken up post at MOE HQ. As an officer involved in Communications and Engagement now, I require a strong grasp of education policies as well as advocacy and partnership skills. Along the way, I had to pick up skillsets relating to data capabilities as well, to better analyse stakeholder sentiments that inform our communications and engagement initiatives.
What possibilities are there for people working at MOE?
There are many possibilities for people working at MOE. In the Communications and Engagement Group alone, we have various roles from developing strategic messaging for stakeholders' engagement to garnering support for developments and shifts in education.
I have colleagues who are involved in other areas such as strategic planning in the General Education and Higher Education space, Human Relations and Curriculum Planning and Development. In my line of work, there are opportunities to work with colleagues from other government agencies as well.
One can also look forward to a nurturing and positive work culture. There is a strong sense of community in MOE. I like how people are accepting of one another, helping one another grow and develop as educators.
What qualities are needed to excel in a career in education?
A positive attitude is crucial! The education landscape is always evolving and having a positive attitude is important as that can help you take on the many uncertainties and challenges that will surely come your way.
Most importantly, you'll need a passion for teaching. My passion has kept me motivated. When the going gets tough, I always remind myself about the interactions that I have with my students, and that immediately puts a smile on my face.
The Science of Teaching
Aaron, why did you want to be a teacher?
I've always wanted to become a teacher since I was 11 or 12! As far as I can remember, I enjoyed teaching and coaching. One factor that attracted me to the job was its dynamic nature as it is not deskbound. Things are constantly evolving because the students are always different!
When it was time to make a career choice, I knew that the Teaching Scholarship would best prepare me for the Education Service.
Your enthusiasm is palpable and you are clearly made for this. How did studying at NTU prepare you for the work?
As I enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (Education) Programme, I was also placed on the Teaching Scholars Programme (TSP). The TSP gave me the opportunity to explore, reflect and develop my teaching philosophies and professional practice in the company of peers.
My biggest takeaway from it all was that I don't just teach Physics or Mathematics. I teach students.
What sort of support do you, as a teacher, receive from MOE?
MOE supports teachers with good online lesson packages put together by Master Teachers. These were very helpful when we pivoted to Home Based Learning.
MOE's online learning portal recommends professional development courses based on our interests and needs. As these take the form of microlearning units, I truly appreciate the convenience and flexibility of learning at my own pace.
We understand that aside from teaching, you are in charge of Project 5 Degrees (P5D). Can you tell us more about this project?
P5D is an intervention programme to reintegrate Long Term Absentees back into school. While our Student Welfare Officers provide mentoring and social support to students-at-risk, P5D comes in to bridge that academic gap, reintegrating them back into their classes. It is infinitely rewarding when students discover their hidden interests and sustain their interest in attending school.
What other opportunities await at this organisation?
MOE has three career tracks – the Leadership, Teaching and Specialist tracks. In the past few years, I've met many remarkable teachers who are passionate in making a difference in the lives of students in many different ways. Some are interested in developing pedagogies and improving the way we teach. Some are keen to contribute through their leadership skills. Some are passionate about improving the curriculum and designing policy.
Regardless of your interest, there's definitely a path for you to achieve your aspirations.
Finally, what would you say to convince someone to join MOE?
Teaching is definitely a demanding job but it is also deeply rewarding.
Join us if you are truly passionate about making a difference in the lives of the next generation through education.