Teachers are a huge inspiration and make a difference in the educational system in Singapore. Teachers have a lasting impact on children and can inspire them to become lifelong learners and well-rounded global citizens. For the first time, Little Steps wants to celebrate Singapore-based teachers and celebrate their successes and what they mean to their students. Little Steps has reached out to schools across the city to discover the ‘Teachers Who Rock Singapore.’ Meet all of the teachers that have been nominated and appreciate what makes them rockstars to the school and the children they teach.
Teachers Who Rock Singapore is an ongoing initiative so that you can nominate them throughout the year for their exceptional abilities, acts of kindness, and why you think they are awesome!
Fondly known as 'Ms. Lyn', Nur Suhaili is well-loved and respected for her kind, calm demeanor and hard work. Lyn has taught early years education for almost 18 years; she understands that there is no one right way to teach. As an educator, she strives to refine and adapt to the ever-changing needs of her students. She believes that students learn best through hands-on experiences and meaningful and fun engagement.
Lyn has many wonderful OWIS classroom memories as a teacher. One memory she holds dear is when OWIS International Day attracted over 70 cultures and countries to celebrate. She says it was 'quite spectacular.'
She believes in creating a student-centered classroom, a space to ignite a sense of belonging and independence in various areas. Lyn fosters a positive classroom environment to ensure students feel welcome, safe, and engaged.
After a busy day at work, Lyn is a fan of the TV series FRIENDS.
One World International School, Nanyang Campus, https://www.owis.org/campus/nanyang
Mandi is the MYP and DP Theatre Teacher and the Head of the Arts Department at XCL World Academy, and she rocks! She is constantly trying to deliver lessons and numerous extra-curricular activities that get students actively and enthusiastically involved in their learning experiences. She inspires students and colleagues to think outside the box and step out and take action beyond perceived limitations to achieve remarkable outcomes.
Mandi is a trusted mentor to all her students and always goes above and beyond to foster student-teacher relationships which are authentic, honest, and supportive. Her teaching style is entertaining, engaging, active, and bespoke to individual students' needs. Students love attending her classes and performing at her events.
Just this week, during a grueling technical rehearsal week of a second-year musical production, a student approached her and said, "I can't wait to be back on stage again tomorrow! I am going to go home and go straight to sleep, so tomorrow comes sooner, and I can be back in rehearsal with you!". She was instantly reminded why she put in all the extra effort! She loves to teach talented young humans; for her, it's an unforgettable memory.
Mandi’s mother was a teacher, principal, and education professor and taught teachers to teach. Her ability to profoundly impact those around her inspires Mandi today.
Mandi teaches in an adapted classroom and drama studio with a large communal desk for her and her students to work collaboratively. There is ample open space for practical exercises, black curtains, and a designated performance space with many screens, stage blocks, set pieces, props, and lighting equipment, depending on the genre explored.
She is currently reading scripts for the next production!
XCL World Academy, https://www.xwa.edu.sg/
As a dedicated Chinese teacher, Hu has a student-centered curriculum that delivers high-energy and engaging lessons. She strives to generate interest through activity-based learning, Chinese culture, and traditions. She supports her students to become self-directed lifelong learners.
Hu is adaptable and doesn't prefer one teaching method or how she interacts with children in her classroom. Each student, class, and lesson is different. She understands that a good teacher should adjust their teaching approach for personalized lessons.
One of her fond memories is of a student that likely had dyslexia and struggled to read and learn Chinese. One day, on Hu's birthday, the little girl gave her chocolates and said, 'I always keep chocolates in my bag and never forget to give a little gift on someone's special day.' It taught her never to judge a child's ability and performance by the academic record.
Hu decided to become a teacher so she could make a difference. She wants to create a fun and welcoming environment for her students. She loves working with kids. Her children learn in a visually appealing environment. No day is ever the same; the kids inspire her and never cease to make her laugh.
Her favorite book is The Little Prince.
MindChamps Marina Square, Singapore, https://www.mindchamps.org/location/marina-square/
Children adore Janothan's lessons and are reluctant to leave! He likes to impart his knowledge and passion for music in a lively, informative, and educational style. He can play any instrument, sing any song, and inspire anyone to join in the magic of music-making! He can engage all age groups, from little toddlers to kindergarten students and adults, by practicing compassion for all, particularly parents with immense capabilities. His teaching style is eclectic, calm, funny, dynamic, and empathetic!
One of his most memorable moments is when a parent was considering transferring his three-year-old son to another school but met with wild protests from the child insisting 'he loved Mr. Jon's music classes.' The father joined one of Jonathan's lessons, was engaged and enthused, and thanked him for making such a difference in his son's life.
Jonathan's late mother was a homemaker; her nurturing and guidance made him understand the importance of a holistic upbringing and that grades weren't the only thing that mattered.
His classroom is as colorful as music. The instruments are displayed neatly, and guided interactive corners are specific to the school's annual theme.
Mindchamps Marina Square, Singapore, https://www.mindchamps.org/location/marina-square/
Yi is a passionate and dedicated team player who values improvement of practice through reflection, teamwork, and continuing professional development. She appreciates the diversity, cultures, and backgrounds of each child. Yi has an engaging and dynamic teaching practice that is experiential and inclusive.
She became a teacher because of her love for children. One of her fondest memories, she was touched by a note from one of her students. In the note, the child expressed gratitude and appreciation for how Yi had impacted her growth and positively influenced her education.
Her classroom infuses creativity and natural materials. In her spare time, she loves to watch thrillers and mystery movies, including Sherlock Holmes and Parasite!
MindChamps PreSchool Toa Payoh, Singapore, https://www.mindchamps.org/location/toa-payoh-central/
Maychelle ensures that she puts her best effort into teaching while enjoying herself in the process. She is passionate about art and brings it to life in the classroom so that her students develop a deep appreciation. She strives to understand each child’s personality allowing her to develop ways to engage with them. She uses innovative techniques to ensure learning is fun! she is always on the move, expressive, and creative and provides opportunities for the children to interact and express their ideas freely.
Her most memorable experience occurred when she was reading ‘Go to sleep, Gecko.’ She had an unplanned interaction with the book's main character, a real gecko, at the front of the class. The class approached the gecko with mixed emotions, watched how it moved and studied its features. This interaction led to an interesting discussion. It’s something Maychelle and her students will never forget!
Maychelle's mother is her greatest inspiration. She inspired Maychelle to be optimistic and creative and strive to do her best. She shaped her into the kind, positive role model she is today.
Her classroom is interactively decorated to suit her students' needs, encouraging independence, confidence, self-initiation, and appreciation.
Maychelle loves to watch what she’s passionate about, including nursery rhymes and videos featuring children. Furthermore, she enjoy reading books to her children.
Star Learners Child Care, Toa Payoh, Singapore, https://starlearners.com.sg/our-centres/bishan-and-toa-payoh/
Weiyuen takes pride in her role as an early childhood educator and puts her heart into every task. She's invested in the development and well-being of her students. As a Mandarin teacher, she instructs children in creative ways to keep them engaged. Weiyuen is respectful to her colleagues and takes the initiative to support them when necessary. She's also a buggy to new Chinese language teachers, guiding them through the curriculum.
Her teaching style facilitates learning in a natural state; Weiyuen understands that each child is unique and learns differently. She allows them time to learn at their own pace and inspires them by sharing topics as an extension of the literature-based curriculum.
Weiyuen loves to see her students learning happily; it makes the extra effort in lesson preparation and research worthwhile. Her most memorable experience was when she was discussing seeds with her students. While complicated, the children surprised her by applying the teachings to their everyday lives.
Her mother was a preschool teacher and inspired Weiyuen to follow in her footsteps. She loved to listen to her mother's exciting stories about school life. Her mother encouraged her to be someone that uplifted others and generously shared her knowledge with children.
Weiyuen's classroom is simple. She uses many pastel colors as they are aesthetically pleasing and provide a comfortable and relaxed environment. She thinks that the learning environment has a significant impact on how learning takes place. Her favorite book is 'The Little Book of Colour'; she's learned about the meaning of color from a psychological perspective and can apply this knowledge to her teaching practice. It also helps her better understand the meaning behind her student's choice of color.
Star Learners Child Care, Hougang Central, https://starlearners.com.sg/our-centres/hougang/
Laurene strives to uplift and build the confidence of those around her. With an in-depth understanding of Star Learners' literature-based curriculum, she conducts her lessons in a way that helps them learn skills and develop concepts better. Her encouragement and support help boost the students' confidence in freely expressing their thoughts and opinions. She also shares her experience and knowledge with new educators.
She likes to find a balance between being approachable and firm, similar to an authoritative parent! She believes in setting rules and boundaries, which are essential for student learning. She also provides care and love so that they feel safe and secure, which is essential for their holistic development.
Laurene has made many amazing memories with her students. She believes in nurturing altruism from a young age and was involved in an annual donation drive for the entire school. She teaches the importance of giving and involves children of all ages to participate in gathering non-perishable foods for those in need. Laurene wants to show children that a gesture or donation matters no matter how small. It’s a value she wants to instill for a lifetime of caring.
She aspires to be a steadfast role model who can positively impact the lives of her students. Throughout her own school days, she was shy and quiet and had reservations about meeting new people. Even after six years of teaching, she still finds fulfillment in her role, confirming that teaching is truly her calling.
Her classroom is decorated so that her students have a sense of belonging. There are decorative items, including hand-drawn rainbows and other drawings, plus the projects they work on throughout the term.
When at home, Laurene enjoys watching laid-back, lighthearted TV shows allowing her to unwind from a busy day interacting with children. She also loves to read and watch comedies and mystery films.
Star Learners Child Care, Sembawang Place, https://starlearners.com.sg/our-centres/sembawang-and-gambas/
Her teaching style and education field constantly adapt and evolve as each child has different interests and needs. Carme is always ready to listen to her students; she knows their voices matter. Their soundtrack is made up of their ideas and theories. Because the kids rock with a unique melody, she can rock too! They compose together with freedom, respect, and joy. Her teaching style improves through new friendships, shared laughter, generosity, empowered children, and kind words. She likens her teaching style to a traveler's backpack, ready for the longest walk, looking forward to the journey, and excited about the unknown with imagination, patience, flexibility, and optimism. She’s humbled to have the most beautiful profession in the world.
When Carme completed her internship with Reggio Emilia, one of the children, Giulia, gave her a handmade necklace with a yellow star made from clay. She said in Italian, "ci mancherai," which means we will miss you. She left the school with her necklace on and still treasures it today, 12 years later.
Carme’s mother worked as an early years educator for over 40 years. She realized she had the most fantastic mum, an incredible human being, and a happy and clever educator. She is the woman that inspired her to become a teacher.
Her classroom is decorated with her students' learnings to be read and visible. Their classroom is their most powerful ally. She ensures visitors can feel each child's identity upon entering the classroom.
Carme says of Harry Potter, “The whole saga has always been the most exciting literature discovery I have ever experienced in my life.”
EtonHouse International Preschool Claymore, https://www.etonhouse.edu.sg/school/claymore/
Linda is passionate about working with learners on their journey to unlocking their full potential. She is flexible, resourceful, and creative, which helps her cater her lessons to learners' needs and motivations. Linda is creative and energetic, with a dash of humor. She prioritizes creating a trusting bond with her students because relationships are so meaningful when working with children. She says, “A child can reach amazing achievements when you believe in them.”
She worked with a non-verbal learner for almost three years. After the student graduated from the program, his mother sent Linda a video of him a couple of years later giving a presentation at his school assembly. He’d made such progress and to see him standing on stage speaking to his school made her heart do cartwheels!
Linda realized that to make future changes, you had to work with the future, and children are the future. She's divided her classroom into three spaces – a jungle-themed gym, a sensory wall workstation, and a cozy corner with a homely feel. She's placed personal trinkets around the classroom, such as her one-year-old baby shoes, a set of wooden Dutch shoes, and a magic lamp, hoping that a genie will appear. These trinkets serve as a great provocation for her learners.
Her favorite book is The Twits by Roald Dhal.
EtonHouse International School Thomson, Singapore, https://www.etonhouse.edu.sg/school/thomson/
Anjie is always conjuring up fun learning activities. She can think on her feet and adjust pathways during the learning experiences based on each child's emerging inquiries. She enjoys creating sustainable art projects using recycled materials. She'd describe her teaching style as a facilitator. She still has children from her previous job in Australia, sending her letters after three years. Every time she receives such a letter, she feels a special connection. She is reminded that teachers play an important role in their lives.
Her role model was her secondary school English teacher, an elegant lady that was knowledgeable and patient. Her classroom is Reggio-inspired, natural, and cozy. When Anjie relaxes at home, she loves to watch Lego Masters Australia!
Middleton International School West Coast, Singapore, https://www.middleton.edu.sg/
Keziban has taught for almost two decades, and her passion and enthusiasm remain. She loves her students and has a great relationship with them. She loves and appreciates nature; she encourages children to be aware and mindful of how nature constantly provides and how to take care of the world. She studied as a Forest School Leader and now leads the Forest School Friday Program. Through the program, she ignites children's appreciation for nature. Keziban believes that children can make a difference in the world. She leads the Student Council, where children can voice their concerns, ideas, and opinions and take action to develop their schools.
Her teaching style is based on each child’s interests and inquiries. Through the Forest School program, she encourages children to explore and understand nature freely. They do lots of group projects and believe that teachers have this opportunity to learn from each other.
She has had so many unforgettable memories. Once, her students came up with the idea to make keychains that they could sell and, in turn, plant trees. They were so engaged that they created posters with slogans like ' help us save the earth, help us plant trees!’. They raised and donated enough money to plant 20 trees! She loved watching them all work together.
Keziban’s love for kids is her inspiration to teach. She appreciates their creativity, energy, love of learning, imagination, and curiosity. They always broaden her point of view, and she learns from them.
Her classroom has been an ocean, a solar system, and a world where Emilia Earhart crossed oceans and continents in her yellow plane. ‘I am Peace’ is one of her favorite books. She loves to find children discovering themselves and connecting with their experiences and feelings. She and the children can read the book in a day. There’s so much to learn, share and discuss!
EtonHouse International School Thomson, Singapore, https://www.etonhouse.edu.sg/school/thomson/
For Aaron, teaching provides students opportunities to learn and grow through an all-round education. He has a laid-back teaching style but with high expectations. He wants his children to be challenged without unnecessary stress. He tries to bring a sense of fun into the classroom while developing his students' independence. He mirrors this with my colleagues because he thinks teachers should model the holistic growth and development they want for our students.
Over the last year, many unforgettable memories have been made as regular school events have resumed in the wake of the pandemic. He loves to see the joy in the children now that these opportunities have returned; it has been phenomenal!
Aaron was inspired by his high school teacher, Adrian Pauley, a firm yet gentle man who made the content engaging and recognized the importance of development beyond the academic. He believes that less is more, so children don't become overstimulated but feel connected to their learning space. His classroom is a balance of purposeful posters and colorful creativity.
Aaron enjoys different genres of books, but his favorite author is Neil Gaiman, famed for his fantasy storytelling, and Jane Harper, who can perfectly describe the wilderness of Australia, almost as if it is another character in one of her thriller mysteries.
Australian International School, Singapore, https://www.ais.com.sg/
Flavia loves being with her students and learning from them. She thinks that kids are the greatest teachers of all time! You have to listen to their ideas, thoughts, and wonderings. Relationships are key in Flavia's classroom: parents, children, staff, and the wider community. She welcomes everyone for a chat! Her secret to excellent relationships is listening, being curious, and being non-judgmental. She believes that even the youngest learners can have deep conversations about anything, foster a conceptual understanding, and walk away from themes to focus on concepts.
Love, care, and respect are crucial when teaching young learners. They are constantly engaged and happy to learn, with sparkling eyes at each novelty she brings to the classroom for them to explore. She calls her teaching style the pedagogy of love, where every child belongs and matters.
One of her fondest memories from her time as a teacher, she once told a child keen to start playing the piano, 'he was a true artist, and one day I would see him giving concerts and performing,' and that day really happened. His mother sent her a message and shared their special moment with her! She was beyond excited to see how powerful words are and how we can use them to impact one person's life.
Flavia believes that teaching is a labor of love and a way to change the world. Her own teachers used to show so much love for their jobs and went the extra mile to help children with disadvantaged backgrounds.
Australian International School, Singapore, https://www.ais.com.sg/
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