A Teacher: Holds Hands ◊ Opens Minds ◊ Touches Hearts Print
Monday, 23 September 2013 09:51

Sidma College has been in the specialty of educating student teachers for a good 10 years now. Being a teacher as most people would think is the easiest job in the world because year in and year out, a teacher teaches the same old material, only to a different bunch of kids. Worse of all, parents nowadays, consider the school as their child's second home and the teachers as guardians for a simple reason that they have to spend every waking hour in earning money for the family. Hence, today's teachers find themselves juggling family life, increasing demands of the job, and expanding social and behavioral problems amongst school children.

Our student teachers (teaching practicum students) went off for the 3-month teaching practicum on 17 June 2013. The practicum was to provide these student teachers with supervised hands-on, practical teaching experience with a host school (government secondary school). They would be absorbed into a school of their choice as a member of the teaching staff, working collaboratively with a mentor (a current member of the teaching staff at the host school) in educating pupils aged 13 to 17. Other than direct teaching experience, the student teachers have the opportunities to apply their knowledge and try out various teaching techniques in real classrooms. Just before the practicum started, a briefing was conducted to be certain that our student teachers are ready for their dual-responsibility: to their pupils and host school (as a teacher) and to Sidma College (as a student). Additionally, ethical matters, mannerisms, and social responsibilities were thoroughly discussed. All of them were keen to get started although they envisioned the weight of the pressures that came with the job.

Just like that, three months zipped past, and now all of our student teachers have completed their practicum. Some genuine observations compiled were:

► "Teaching changed my views about the world. Although it did not change myself, it did indeed made me a stronger person. There are plenty of ups and down but as long as you water your heart with positivity, days became brighter and full of hope."

► "Teaching is all about love, care, and passion. I was not just an educator, but a friend, counselor, nurse, and a role model all mashed into one."

► "The whole experience was awesome because I found myself able and capable in applying theoretical knowledge in the real world."

► "It's a roller-coaster ride, with bittersweet memories."

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, Chairman of Sidma College, Ms Azizah Khalid Merican, Acting CEO of Sidma College, Mr Teo Eng Seng, Teaching Practicum Unit Executive, and the rest of the Sidma team would like to express much gratitude to all Principals, Teachers, Mentors, and Pupils for their contribution and commitment as beacons to our student teachers. Thank you for furnishing them with the essential experience and maturity, imparting skills and strength to fulfill various needs and necessities, and touching endings that make this practicum an indelible memory for our student teachers.

We perceive that this duration has been a discovery as well as an appreciation period in the lives of all our student teachers through which they spirit-sought to better understand and learn to be open to new and different possibilities. Furthermore, we are optimistic that they have learnt to accept criticism with grace and appreciation, and to value and recognize contributions made by others.

We trust that this teaching experience will remind our student teachers that they have a chance to impact the younger generation. They get to "hold hands" by creating a comforting atmosphere and building trust within the classroom. They get to "open minds" through fostering creativity and cultivating imagination among young brains. And, they get to “touch hearts” which translates into making learners feel good about themselves and sharing the pride they have in their intellectual leaps and bounds.

Altogether, the teaching profession is in no way a bed of roses but with passion and love in what you do, nothing is more rewarding than playing a significant role in shaping and strengthening our nation.

Jo-Ann Tan
SIDMA College