In this series of chats with our staff, we get up close and personal. They share about things like their favourite drinks, to their experiences and motivations at work.
Hi there, could you introduce yourself? I’m Amelie, I am a senior English teacher for the Nursery 2 class (4-year-olds) at Hougang Centre. I care for their well-being and deliver lessons so that they can learn through play.
What does a typical day at work look like? It could look either messy or organized, depending on how you see it. The timetable helps to give us a certain structure and it helps us go about our day and know what is to come next. We start off the day by receiving children when they get dropped off and getting them into the class. Then they settle in for the morning, have their meals, have lessons together, have playtime and outdoor walks to discover nature and the surrounding environment. Then they come back to class and have lunch, as going outdoors is tiring and they would have expended a lot of their energy. They then wind down with storytelling, and prepare for naptime to recharge and rest. This is also the time for teachers to do any lesson preparation work or have meetings. After naptime, we get children to help keep all their things such as mattresses. They have their tea break and lesson time, before they have time for free play and to explore learning corners. Finally, we will wait for their parents to pick them up at the end of the day. What is a pick me up that you need to keep you going?
I just have oats and fruits to start my day. I’m actually allergic to coffee, so water is sufficient to get me through. We also have the practice in school that children have to finish the water in their bottles before going home.
What are the heartwarming moments amongst the children that you remember? I love to see my children take care of others who have special needs. They do not ostracise, but encourage their peers to play with them. Sometimes it is difficult to engage children with special needs – they may not be interested in what you want them to do. However, my children are able to remember their friends favourite item such as a ball or a pop-it toy, so they will bring it to them and try to entice them to get interested so they can play together.
Why are you still in the early childhood sector? What keeps you motivated?
I think it’s the children - seeing the young children develop from 2-6 years old brings a sense of achievement. I see them gain self-help skills over the years and grow in cognitive learning. They also start to display perseverance, grit and even grace. For example, they develop empathy towards their friends. These are the moments that keep me motivated.
How would you motivate a fellow teacher? I would first spend time with them to find out the issues that are bothering them. If it is work-related, such as them feeling stressed or overwhelmed with curriculum stuff, it is easier to tackle as we can always help them with their work. If it is personal stuff, it could be more complex. Depending on the severity, we may need to refer them to a counsellor. The fundamental thing is to build a relationship with them and create a safe space to air their grievances, and also see what we can do to work together and help them though difficult moments. What is one quality that a teacher must have? Patience is an important trait to have as our school has children with special needs. Sometimes it may be difficult to understand them. It takes patience and time to get to know the child, to find out what interests them and what gets them engaged to follow the class routine. It is easier to manage the entire class after they settle in. What is one quality that a teacher should not have? A short temper, because that would lead to frequent outbursts. If you cannot control your anger and are easily triggered it may not be ideal. Children really come to you as they are and they are very ‘raw’, they are only 2-6 years old and still need guidance from us. There are many things they do not know yet – we cannot expect them to have the maturity of an adult.