At the 'Power of One' workshop, pre-school teachers were challenged to step out of their comfort zone to make a difference to the lives of the young ones.
How can ONE teacher have the power to create an impact on the formative hearts and minds of pre-school children?
The famous American poet William Rose Wallace once wrote, 'The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world'. How can ONE teacher make a difference to the lives of children? Do teachers really have the power to influence the formative hearts and minds of pre-school children? These are some of the questions pre-school teachers grapple with everyday as they juggle multiple roles - being a caregiver, teacher and friend to the young ones.
At the 'Power of One' workshop held at the MOE Kindergarten Learning Forum on 20 November 2012, Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement and World Kindness Movement, recounted his experience as a lawyer. Dr Wan said his greatest satisfaction was in his pro bono work in criminal defence where he was able to lead his errant clients back to the right path in life. One of his clients who was charged with committing the offence of armed robbery turned over a new leaf and is today a responsible citizen, a successful businessman and a philanthropist. A more recent case involves a young man whose charge of murder was reduced to a lesser offence. Today this young man is happily married and doing a degree in Australia. Dr Wan remained a friend and mentor to them up to this day.
Teaching is more than a job, it's a calling
Dr Wan's passion for transforming lives was evident in the interesting anecdotes and personal experiences that he shared, encouraging pre-school teachers to be best friends to the little ones, to teach the children right from wrong, nurture the weak and guide the strong.
Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement and World Kindness Movement, shared personal experiences and inspiring anecdotes about every teacher have the power to create a positive impact in every child.
Using the MITE approach, (M to Model kindness in speech and action using positive language, I to Inspire others by example, T to Transmit by words and communication) and E to Empower by what we say and do), Dr Wan firmly believes that effective teachers go beyond imparting cognitive knowledge to investing time and effort in the character development of each child.
Normah Easa, a pre-school teacher from Cavenur Kindergarten with 10 years of experience, felt that 'the talk was very inspiring and now I understand that it is not just about going through the curriculum but more importantly, my mission is to develop the children's character by investing in their lives and instilling correct values in them.'
Pre-schools teachers put up a dance performance at the Kindergarten Learning Forum. Being a teacher is more than a job, it is a calling to play a part in helping each child reach greater heights.
Daniel Ho, a kindergarten teacher who recently graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, is one of the rare gems in a female-dominated teaching environment. The 24 year old teacher with PCF Canberra admitted that 'time is very limited for teachers as we have to juggle between multiple roles, but giving time and attention to a child is important to make a child feel valued.' As the oldest in the family, Daniel enjoyed taking care of his younger brother. The joy and fulfillment that came with interacting with young children inspired Daniel to be a pre-school teacher, and he has not looked back ever since.
At the end of the day, Dr Wan would challenge pre-school teachers to take the leap of faith and choose to make a difference. As an educator responsible for shaping the minds of the next generation, one has to decide if he is willing to invest in these young lives, to believe that the children will one day, scale the wall to reach greater heights.