Preschool DiariesThe Best Things to Celebrate About Being a Preschool Teacher

August 25, 2020
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It is often said that the journey one takes to become a preschool teacher can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Handling young children is definitely not be the easiest thing in the world to do, especially as you walk with them through the different stages of childhood to discover their identity and find their place in this world. But seeing the progress that they make over time and knowing that you have had a role to play in making this happen can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride that’s truly indescribable.

In the same way that every child is unique, the joys of the profession differ from one preschool teacher to another.

To put a heartfelt touch to this year’s Teachers’ Day celebration, we’ve reached out to a few teachers across our centres to find out what gets them excited about starting their day with our Champs and the most valuable lessons learnt from the little ones.

Read on as each teacher shares their beautiful journey with us.

What Makes the Journey of a Preschool Teacher Amazing

“Every milestone they achieve is a sense of accomplishment for me”

preschool teacher

Being a preschool teacher for eight years and counting, Dolly treasures the opportunity to be around young children every day, watching them grow throughout the years. To her, the innocent actions and words spoken by children are one of the “best things to have in life” as they never fail to fill her heart with joy and laughter.

She shares that taking her class through MindChamps PreSchool’s 2019 K2 Graduation Musical and Concert was a very special moment for her, as she has taught the same batch of Champs over the last four years. This event not only gave her the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the children, but also to reflect on how much the children have grown and that they are finally all set for the next stage of their lives.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“Champs are always curious about everything and would pose lots of questions daily. Over the years, I’ve learnt that it is alright to let them know that while teachers may not know the answers to everything, we can work together to look for the answers. As such, it is important that teachers adopt a positive mindset and to emulate the value of being a “lifelong learner.”

– Dolly Moh, Lead English Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ West Coast Plaza)

 

“It’s ok for a preschool teacher to have fun and enjoy the moment”

preschool teacher

Atika loves being around children, which makes her role as a preschool assistant teacher exciting and enjoyable. As a teacher to a K2 class currently, she looks forward to the jokes and riddles that the Champs share with her.

She recalls the time when she supported one of her young charges in overcoming the challenges of adapting to the new learning environment. Being new to the class then, Atika observed that the child’s struggles with settling into the school routine were affecting her social interactions.

Determined to help the child get through this, Atika persevered in assuring and encouraging the child to make her feel at ease in the school and class environment.

Seeing the child’s progress in becoming a confident and happy girl over time filled Atika’s heart with warmth. This experience also made her realise that there’s always a reason behind the way children behave and that teachers have the power to make a difference in every child’s life, as long as they put in the effort to connect with them personally.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“That it’s okay to have fun – even as a teacher – and to enjoy the moment with them. At times, I tend to be so focused and worried about their safety that I just lose the opportunity to connect and be present with them in that moment.

“I’m slowly learning to strike a balance between enjoying my time with them while setting ground rules to ensure their safety. I hope as I grow with the Champs, I will hone my skills to become a better teacher.”

– Nuratika Binte Zuraime, Assistant Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Holland Village)

 

“Seeing little faces light up with a smile when you walk into the classroom”

preschool teacher

(* Photo taken prior to Covid-19)

A preschool teacher for 14 years, Azia looks forward to the smiling faces of her Champs who greet her as she enters the classroom every day. And then there are the random hugs they give while exclaiming “Ms Azia, I love you!” as well.

The one thing that keeps her going every day would be the sense of fulfilment that she feels upon realising that her efforts – no matter how big or small – have made a difference in the children’s lives.

In particular, she recounts the time she took her class for an outdoor experiential learning trip to Forest School. The children were encouraged to trust their instincts while climbing up and down a stack of old logs. Teachers, on the other hand, had to take a step back and watch them explore from afar.

As a preschool educator who puts the children’s well-being as her top priority, Azia struggled to ease her anxieties about their safety as they worked on building their confidence through this activity. This eye-opening experience helped to broaden her perspective on her Champs’ abilities to take calculated risks despite their young age.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“Sometimes, it is perfectly fine to be carefree like them as it helps you to focus on the brighter side of life. I also admire their sense of wonder and their desire to learn about anything and everything that they encounter – because life never stops teaching.”

– Nur Azia, Senior English Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Holland Village)

 

“To journey with the children as they learn and discover new things”

preschool teacher

(* Photo taken prior to Covid-19)

Preschool teachers often go through new experiences with their children as they learn, make mistakes and feel a sense of accomplishment over their achievements. For Clinton, the feeling of joy and content of seeing what the children can achieve after putting in the effort and attention is truly indescribable.

Starting off his journey as a preschool teacher with children in the older age groups, Clinton’s most memorable moment thus far would have to be the day that he taught the Playgroup class for the first time. Although he stumbled and made mistakes during the session, Clinton was grateful for the guidance of the main Playgroup teacher in handling the class and addressing the needs of the younger ones.

Today, Clinton is happy to be able to work with Champs of all age groups and he has built a secure attachment with all of them. The experience has taught him that we, as adults, have much to learn from the children, in the same way that they are learning from us.

On the most important lessons learnt from his Champs:

“The Champs truly exhibit the MindChamps philosophy of 100% Respect, Zero Fear every day. They know that when it comes to learning, mistakes are opportunities for growth, and they are always open to positive and constructive feedback. To me, this quality is equally essential for us as adults – and I am privileged to have learnt this first-hand from our Champs.”

– Clinton Neo, Preschool Enrichment Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Holland Village)

 

“Being a part of the children’s lives and sharing their happiness”

preschool teacher

(* Photo taken prior to Covid-19)

A huge part of a preschool teacher’s role involves teaching and nurturing children, but there have been a few instances that made Xiaoyun realise how teachers can learn a lot from the young ones too.

Xiaoyun remembers the time when she fell sick and had to be away from school for two weeks. As the Champs in her class clearly missed having her around, they requested for their English teacher to video call her. What she didn’t realise was how that simple call had the power to lift her spirits as the children sang a song of gratitude to console and encourage her.

This encounter also served as a good reminder for herself and all teachers to love their students with all their hearts and to put their needs first in everything they do.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“Never underestimate what children are capable of. In some areas, they know even more than we teachers do.”

– Zhou Xiaoyun, Senior Chinese Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Holland Village)

 

“Building a special bond with the children as you guide them”

preschool teacher

 

Samantha sums up the perks of being a preschool teacher to the joy that working with children brings.

“As a teacher, you get to build a special bond and relationship with the children as you guide their learning and development. And then it’s a bonus when they tell you how much they like you as their teacher!” she chuckles.

While her three years as a preschool teacher have brought many happy moments, she will always look back at the time she helped her K1 children to achieve a very important developmental milestone.

As most of the children did not know how to write their names yet, Samantha printed out name cards that they could copy, with hopes that they’d eventually learn how to write their names independently. After a month or so, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that during one of the class activities, the children had all written their names perfectly – without requesting for their name cards from her!

Through teaching moments such as this, she learnt that it is important for educators to believe in the children’s abilities and to be patient in guiding them every day. Our young ones are constantly making progress along the way, even if they start with baby steps.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“That the process and journey of learning is ever-changing.

“A lot of times, my Champs are also teaching me things and that make me strive to do my best for them. I feel challenged to make their learning engaging and fun, thus I’m also learning.

“When they enjoy our activities and I see their learning outcomes met, it makes me feel happy and that I have achieved something. Seeing the children I work with grow and improve each day makes me look forward to another day.”

– Samantha Ann Vaylantham, English Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Boon Keng)

 

“Getting updates from parents on the children’s progress – even after graduating from preschool”

preschool teacher

In her five years of being a preschool teacher, Uma has had both great times and challenging moments with her Champs that she will always remember. However, the one thing that never fails to make her proud is to see the progress and achievements they’ve made in preschool and to continue hearing about them from their parents even after they’ve moved on to primary school.

Some parents of the children whom Uma has taught still contact her on Teachers’ Day to thank her for her efforts, and she’s happy to hear how far they’ve come since their preschool days. Uma shares that she hopes the children will continue to do well throughout their journey in education and that she looks forward to meeting them in the future as adults.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“Through my interaction with the Champs, I’ve learnt to always see the positive side of things and to love unconditionally. Indeed, life as a preschool teacher is all about learning and as I teach the children, I’m also growing with them and learning new things from them.”

– Uma Saravanan, English Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Boon Keng)

 

“Because a preschool teacher is someone whom the children look up to”

preschool teacher

In the school setting, teachers are the children’s role models and the very people that they respect and admire. For Wenmei, who has been teaching for four years, it is the trust and respect shown by her Champs that motivate her to keep learning and growing together with them.

Apart from planning her lessons for the children, Wenmei looks forward to seeing their happy faces every day and hearing the interesting stories they share with her.

Every now and then, she has moments where a Champ expresses his/her feelings to Wenmei by saying, “You’re my best friend. I love you, Chen Laoshi”. As much as she feels touched by the heartwarming words from the children, Wenmei sees them as learning moments for herself, for they remind her to always focus on the bright side of life and to share this positivity with those around her.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“It’s amazing to see how happy children can be and how quick they are to lend a helping hand or empathise with you. Through their actions, I am constantly reminded of the value of being grateful and happy, and to listen to what others have to say.”

– Chen Wenmei, Chinese Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Boon Keng)

 

“Seeing the ‘grown-up’ side of children”

preschool teacher

As a preschool teacher, watching the children learn a new skill and experience growth gives Chunxiu a sense of accomplishment and pride.

She recalls an incident with one of her N2 children that never fails to warm her heart. After playing a game in class, a boy started to lay down on the floor and refused to get up. To coax him, Chunxiu gave him the role of a “Junior Teacher”, and this made him sit up immediately to direct his friends to sit properly and prepare for the next lesson.

When one of his friends accidentally bumped into him, he got a little worked up but to Chunxiu’s surprise, he did not throw a tantrum and assured her that he was fine. He then consoled his friend and continued to help the teachers to get the class to settle down.

Chunxiu was touched to see the warm side of the boy for the first time as he displayed a sense of responsibility and maturity that is not typical for a 4-year-old. This episode made her realise that young children can be wise beyond their years as they apply what they have learnt from their parents and teachers to real-life situations.

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“I’ve always admired the Champs for their eagerness to learn and to get the answers that will help them understand how things work. Like them, I’ve learnt to stay curious to learn about things that I don’t know and to be brave in trying new things.”

– Li Chunxiu, Chinese Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Boon Keng)

 

“Being a preschool teacher helps me to stay young!”

preschool teacher

She may have been teaching preschoolers for 16 years, but like many others, Yuan Yuan agrees that teachers learn a lot from the children too through the time spent with them in school.

Yuan Yuan’s journey as a preschool teacher started off on a slightly bumpy path as she had to master the scale and methods of teaching that were new to her then. On top of that, she also had to find ways to connect with the children during her lessons, as some of them either couldn’t understand her instructions or simply refused to listen to her.

She is thankful for the guidance of fellow teachers and principals in helping her get through her early years. Over time, she came to enjoy her interactions with the children as they inspired her to look at the bigger picture when pondering over a question or issue.

What’s more, being around children also helps her to stay young!

On the most important lessons learnt from her Champs:

“Unlike adults, children are very innocent, kind and pure in the way they think and relate to others.

“I had a boy in my class who was born with rather stiff facial muscles, which made it nearly impossible for him to make any kind of facial expression. His mother and I were both worried that this would lead to him being picked on or isolated during his interactions with his peers.

“However, we discovered that we might had been a bit too narrow-minded in our expectations of how children think. When he joined my class, not only did the rest of the children liked this boy a lot, but they also accepted him for who he was and some even helped him out in many ways.

“Thinking back of our initial worries and suspicions, I realised that perhaps we as adults underestimate what our children are truly capable of sometimes. We all need to learn to give them opportunities to grow and become the person that we’ve nurtured them to be.”

– Wu Yuan Yuan, Chinese Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Boon Keng)

 

“It is not always rainbows and gummy bears every day, but there is always a sense of fulfilment”

preschool teacher

For Glea, her journey as a preschool teacher started not too long ago when she arrived in Singapore, but the encounters she’s had thus far have been nothing short of priceless.

As a young teacher, Glea idea of teaching was confined to her, the teacher, going to the class and teaching lessons. But her experience teaching a playgroup class definitely broke her glass of ideals and opened her eyes to what being a preschool teaching is really about.

For one, teaching children who have not even started talking yet taught her to be a lot more patient. This also allowed her to truly experience the theories that she’s learnt in college, especially how teaching requires one to develop certain instincts and skills in order to respond to the individual needs of children.

“Being a teacher is also a lot like performing arts, where one has to muster all the happiness he/she has and to be in a constant state of euphoria every day. We’re doing this for the children,” she enthuses.

Now that she’s gotten used to the swing of things, Glea enjoys her daily interaction with the children – especially their mind-blowing responses that never fail to make her laugh!

On the most important lesson learnt from her Champs:

“To enjoy every day! Isn’t it fascinating how kids find ways to entertain themselves and be happy?

“There is no need to wait for the weekend just to have fun. Happiness is a habit!”

– Glea Mae Tobes, English Teacher (MindChamps PreSchool @ Buona Vista)

 

“Working with children makes my day interesting!” 

preschool teacher

As an infant educarer, there are many things that Zyril has learnt about her job in taking care of our littlest Champs.

For one, she has learnt that the routines set in places does more than meet the daily physiological needs of the infants; these routines help them to be more in tune with school too.

Secondly, Zyril also realised that although infants may not be as mobile as preschoolers, it does not mean that they do not remember the things that they learn every day.

She recalls the time when she first joined the centre in taking care of infants and there was a Champ who came by to sit on her lap. As she was still learning the names of the Champs, she said another Champ’s name wrongly, to which the Champ sitting on her lap shook her head to indicate that she has gotten her friend’s name wrong.

It is simple moments of witnessing her Champs achieve their developmental milestones that makes Zyril’s heart swell with pride.

On the most important lesson learnt from her Champs:

“It really does make a difference when a Champ starts his/her journey with us from infant care, as it lays the foundation for their progression to playgroup and beyond. I’ve heard and seen with my own eyes, how our infant care Champs settle in nicely as they are more independent and they love school. This is my driving force every day for it affirms that the efforts that we put in as educarers pays off.”

Zyril Marion Marquez, Infant Educarer (MindChamps PreSchool @ Buona Vista)

Read also: 5 Things Your Child’s Preschool Teacher Wants You to Know

We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading the heartfelt stories shared by our preschool teachers and that this has helped you understand the things that they go through with your Champs daily a little better.

From all of us at MindChamps, we wish all educators a very Happy Teachers’ Day!

Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in to nurture the minds of our young ones and to bring out the best in them.

Written by Justina Goh

 

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