Confident, eloquent and passionate. These words aptly describe Cai Lao Shi and she takes pride in her job as an early childhood educator.
While many other teenagers were still navigating through their way hoping to find a direction in life, Cai Laoshi, at a tender age of 17 knew exactly where she would be heading for her future. Since young, she has had a positive impression of early childhood educators. She shared warmly how she had always looked up to her teachers as allrounded and talented individuals. “They were fun. They also sang and danced well,” she said. Till this day, she adored, and aspired to be one of them.
”You need to play the role of a magician, an actor, a doctor.
A teacher is like a multi-tasking octopus.”
While many of us would have little recollection of our pre-school teachers, Cai Laoshi’s children had a deep impression of her as an amiable and fun-loving teacher. Every school term break would be filled with surprises for Cai Laoshi with visits from ex-students. To many of them, she was & would always be more than a respected teacher. She is also a trusted friend. She recollected how students will share their life problems and sought her advice before making important decision such as choosing their education pathway. With faith, sincerity, and genuine concern, a teacher can build up trust and relationships that will last a lifetime.
Being in the field for many years, she had witnessed the coming and going of many teachers. She shared regretfully that many young teachers entered the industry with the intent to
“test water". Upon realizing the disparity between textbook content and actual duties and responsibilities of an early childhood teacher, they often gave up. Hence as a mentor, she strongly believed that practice and on-site application would take precedence over drafts after drafts of perfect teaching plans and research reports. Echoing Cai Laoshi’s words,
“School and books can only prepare 30% of what we need to do. For the remaining 70%, one has to learn through experience and hands-on activities with the children.” “You need to play the role of a magician, an actor, a doctor. A teacher is like a multi-tasking octopus.”
No child deserves to be left behind. Cai Laoshi believes that teaching is more than imparting knowledge. It is the responsibility of an educator to engage every child in the classroom, helping even the shy students shine. By uncovering the merits of each child, she strives to build a positive classroom relationship and to maximise the potential in every child.
Cai Laoshi is also a firm believer of interactive teaching, without boundaries. She asserted candidly, “if we regard education as a mere paper chase, it limits the creativity of young children.” She related how children were able to learn better when knowledge is amalgamated in lifestyle and play. For instance, during music lesson, she used the movement of a rabbit to describe the concept of rhythm and beats.
Today, like a bottle of fine wine, Cai Laoshi has blossomed into a confident and competent master teacher; a mentor and inspiring role model. She will surely continue to be an inspiration to many younger early childhood educators.
- This article was written by Toh Ming Rong -
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