Professional Development Programme for Teachers brought twin sisters, Kartina and Kartini Binte Sudirman even closer than before.The duo shares their personal thoughts and experiences.
Move over Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen! In Singapore, we have Kartina and Kartini Binte Sudirman from the early childhood (EC) sector! This pair of identical twins are participants of the inaugural intake of the Professional Development Programme for Teachers or PDP(T). It is difficult to tell them apart at first glance as they not only have identical features, they even spot the same hairstyle! But the sisters who work in different PCF centres clearly have distinct personalities. Elder sister Kartina is a figure of calm and composure while younger sister Kartini exudes a free-spirited and bubbly vibe.
Kartina (left) and Kartini (right) at their respective PDP(T) appointment ceremonies
Younger sister Kartini was the first to join the EC sector. Elder sister Kartina who was then studying for her Degree in Law, witnessed her sister’s passion and joys of being a preschool teacher, and decided to join her in the sector.
Despite joining the sector later than her younger sister, Kartina was first to chance upon the PDP(T) in 2015 and encouraged Kartini to join her. Kartina was comforted to have her sister on the same programme as it meant that she would have someone to exchange ideas, discuss topics and attend courses together. Having each other on the programme also meant double the number of new friends made, as they introduced each other to their respective course mates. “Having my sister attend the various modules before me also meant that I had first-hand information on how to prepare for my assessments when I enrolled in the same modules,” Kartini shared cheekily.
Kartini attending her Compulsory Module
For Kartina, PDP(T) paved the way to further explore her personal leadership qualities and skills, and helped her realise that she has an interest in mentoring. Recently promoted to Senior Preschool Teacher, Kartina is currently a mentor to Ms Li Jie, a fresh graduate who recently joined their centre. “The PDP(T) compulsory module introduced me to the world of mentorship. As I work with Ms Li Jie, I am reminded of myself when I first joined the sector, all bright-eyed, cheery and passionate. This constantly reminds me of why I chose to join the sector”.
Kartina with her Mentee, Li Jie
Perhaps it is the telepathic bond they share, Kartini whom we met separately at her centre shared similar sentiments as Kartina. “When you work in the EC sector for a long time, things inevitably become routine and at times mundane. However PDP(T) was something new and exciting to look forward to, as it affirms the fact that there is career progression in this sector”.
In October this year, the pair of sisters received their first cash award of $3,000, and both shared without hesitation that the cash award was a strong encouragement and recognition for all PDP(T) participants for the effort they put into their personal professional development. Kartina who is currently taking her Degree in Early Childhood, shares that the cash award will go a long way in helping to alleviate her school fees, and will also fund her future plans to further her studies in her Masters in Early Childhood. Likewise for Kartini, she intends to save the total cash awards of $12,000 to fund her Masters in Early Childhood. “I feel really thankful as the cash award would definitely help to fund my Masters in Early Childhood!”.
Before we ended our visit, we asked Kartini to share her personal experience. She candidly related, “My friends in the sector told me that they are afraid of joining the PDP(T) as the programme milestones sounded daunting. However to me, it is not so much a scary journey, but rather an opportunity to learn and improve. It is also a good chance to get to know more people and build close relationships with other fellow EC educators in the sector. So for teachers who are considering the PDP(T), don’t wait!”