A Charismatic and People-Oriented Leader
Ahead of welcoming the 4th batch of EC Leaders on board the Professional Development Programme for Leaders or PDP(L) in 2021, one EC leader from the inaugural batch of PDP(L) in 2018 shares with us about her EC journey and PDP experience.
Some photographs used in this article were taken pre-COVID-19 before safety measurements were put in place
While waiting for her older cousin to end work as a part time preschool teacher, young Sharon would often hang around outside the preschool while having glimpses of what was going on inside. With a twist of fate, her cousin has gone on to pursue a different profession, while Sharon became an early childhood educator almost 20 years ago.
Starting out as a part-time assistant teacher after school at a tender age of 14, Sharon steadily worked her way up to where she is today, a Deputy Head of Operations and Cluster Principal at Star Learners Group. Born into a humble family, Sharon had to enter the workforce early on in life while caring for her 2 younger sisters. She was clear from the very start that she would be in the sector for the long haul and recognised the importance of continuous learning to keep progressing in her career.
Ms Sharon Teo, Deputy Head of Operations and Cluster Principal, Star Learners Group.
“It takes passion, a lot of resilience and a strong mindset to enter this sector with people-centred skills being essential,” Sharon shares. She also feels that educators should do justice to themselves and the wonderful work they do, by believing in themselves and constantly improving and keeping abreast with trends and issues. “We should all work alongside ECDA in pushing for the betterment of the quality and image of all Early Childhood educators!”.
Sharon introducing different types of fruits to children
One path Sharon has taken was to embark on the PDP(L), which she cites is a “personal commitment and mission” to achieve what she believes in as an EC Leader. With a people-oriented leadership style, Sharon particularly enjoys the opportunity to meet and network with new fellow EC Leaders while on the programme. She looks forward to every chance to interact with like-minded people from different organisations sharing the same passion and zest for leadership as her.
Sharon (second from left in photo) with her fellow PDP(L) participants during the compulsory module
In the development of her leadership skills, Sharon sees the importance of deepening her ability to motivate and influence others. “To be a leader is to inspire and motivate those on the ground, so that it is no longer about me, but about the people I am mentoring and leading,” she shares.
Sharon (top right in photo) mentoring other leaders in her organisation during a leadership camp at the zoo
Speaking fondly of her nominator Mr Poh Soon Tat, Head of Operations at Star Learners Group, Sharon appreciates how he constantly sees the potential in her and is always the push behind her achievements. Likewise, Mr Poh could not contain how proud he was of Sharon and cites how she has grown over the years in their organisation, while contributing greatly to the organisation’s development, and growth of other EC leaders and educators.
Sharon (second from right in photo), Mr Poh Soon Tat (Middle in photo) during a meal with senior centre leaders from Star Learners Group
In view of the upcoming PDP(L) 2021 nominations, Sharon urges leaders and operators to send in their nominations and come together to raise the quality of early childhood education and leadership in Singapore.
Nomination for PDP(L) is held once a year and nominations are now open until 27 November 2020. Nominate your Leader or be nominated today!