We debut the Little Steps’ Talking Teachers series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Singapore’s awesome teachers. Get personal with these fabulous personalities, get into their classrooms, find out their teaching style, and learn what makes a great teacher!
In this edition, we say hello to the amazing team at GEMS World Academy in Singapore: Olivia Burke, Lynn White, and Mike Glimour.
1. What/Who inspired you to want to be a teacher? My cousin Sean was a teacher of PE and Geography. He lived and worked as a missionary teacher in Liberia and Somalia. His stories and experiences of children who found education to be one of the most important things in their life was truly inspirational. Tragically, he was killed doing what he loved. But his love for teaching and inspiring young people has stayed with me forever.
2. How would you describe your teaching style? My teaching style has changed so much over the years. From the places I have taught in, the teachers I have taught with, and especially the children I have had the priviledge to teach. They have all shaped who I am as a teacher. I see every student as an individual with their own talents, strengths and areas to develop. As a teacher, I need to find out exactly what it is that will allow each child to achieve success.
3. One amazing memory from your time as a teacher? This is a really hard question! There have been so many amazing experiences. The students, the people you meet and the places you can go in this profession are inspirational. I always remember the students who began in my class and struggled with something, but by the end of the year they achieved success with it. Or the students who really didn’t like an area of school. They found it too challenging or just ‘didn’t get it.’ By the end of the year they had a change of heart and showed confidence in their abilities, that always stays with me.
1. What/Who inspired you to want to be a teacher? I was inspired by several great teachers who had a positive impact on my attitude towards learning at different points in my school life. I think that’s probably a common theme for most people who enter the profession. During my Primary Years the teachers I remember most are the ones who made learning fun and exciting. In Secondary school, it was teachers who made learning relevant by making connections to the real word. I remember the teachers who genuinely made me feel like they cared about me and wanted me to achieve.
2. How is your classroom decorated? My classroom environment reflects the most important people in it-the children! It reflects their thinking, their comments and their creativity. The children and I create the classroom environment together based on their ideas and interests. At the moment there is an airport and an aeroplane in my classroom because that’s what the children felt we should create to find out more about our current PYP Unit of Inquiry. This role play will be important in helping them to discover all the planning and preparation that is needed as part of a journey. The children asked for it, they researched it and they built it because they will be the ones to use it.
3. Best advice to people who want to get into teaching? Make sure you are truly passionate about it! Try to get some experience whether that be volunteering in a local school or a work placement if you are a secondary school student contemplating this as your career.
1. What/Who inspired you to want to be a teacher? My mother is a teacher and educational leader and she has been a big influencer and encourager of my career in education. In addition to my mother, I was fortunate to have several fantastic teachers while I was at school. I looked up to these teachers who motivated and inspired me to chase after my dreams.
2. What's your morning ritual? Most mornings I wake up at 5:45am and get ready for the school day. I have a young baby daughter and so being up early allows me to spend time with her before leaving for school. I normally try to get to school at 7:30am so that I have enough time to plan and prepare for my day.
3. How would you describe your teaching style? I believe firmly that where there is interest there is education. Therefore I try and make my lessons as engaging and interesting as possible. I enjoy exposing my students to real world situations and experiments outside the classroom through a variety of interactive and fun activities. I believe strongly in concept driven, inquiry based education where students take ownership of their learning and have the freedom to explore a wide range of topics and themes.
GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
2 Yishun Street 42, Singapore 768039
+65 6808 7300
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