ECDA TA Commendation Award Winner 2018 - Choo Kai Lin
Kai Lin’s personal experience with her Kindergarten teacher inspired her to join the Early Childhood industry. Hence, despite being able to qualify for other courses at the polytechnics after receiving her O Levels results, Kai Lin decided to follow her passion and enrolled into the Higher NITEC programme in Early Childhood Education at the ITE. She performed well at ITE and continued to further her studies in Early Childhood Education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
I chose to become an early childhood educator because I want to be someone who leaves a life-long impact on children’s learning, just like what my Kindergarten teacher did for me.
During my early years, Hokkien was my main spoken language as I was taken care of by my grandmother. My parents had to work long hours to support the family. Before attending Kindergarten, my exposure to Mandarin was minimal and English was essentially a foreign language to me. My teacher, Mrs Tan, was patient in teaching me even though I was far from achieving the developmental milestones for my age. According to my parents, she went the extra distance to ensure that I acquired the basic knowledge I needed before formal schooling, knowing that my family’s financial situation could not allow me to attend other enrichment lessons. Mrs. Tan inspired me to join the early childhood sector and I am really thankful to her.
My family’s support has also been key in the decisions I made. Especially in this longer journey I had to take to study the Diploma of my choice, i.e. in the Early Childhood Education, many had questioned me for not settling for another course of study which my ‘O’ Level would have allowed. Yet I chose to follow my heart and pursued my passion. Together with my parents, we withstood the criticisms from others for taking the ‘narrow road’. Till today, we have never regretted this decision and are proud to share my story whenever people ask us about it.
In my learning journey to becoming an early childhood professional, my lecturers played a crucial role. The lecturers at ITE College Central allowed me to have a wonderful learning experience as I picked up the skills and knowledge I needed. The hands-on experiences from the modules taken reassured me that I was on the right track. The countless encouragement from my lecturers spurred me on to eventually attain a GPA of 4.0 for one of the semesters, allowing me to be included in the Directors’ List. Other than my ITE lecturers, my lecturers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic also never failed to re-fuel my passion, my eagerness to learn and educate our future generation. They knew my long term goal to be a “change” in the industry and always reassured me with their support.
As an ECDA Training Award (Polytechnic) recipient, I feel supported to go far in my career. It affirms that I am not merely suitable for the early childhood sector but that I can shine as a preschool teacher. The financial support given through this award has enabled me to focus on my studies without having to work part-time, allowing me to achieve my desired academic results.
After gaining more experience as a teacher, I would love to take on other positions in the early childhood sector. My ultimate goal is to contribute to the sector as a change-maker. At the same time, I want to work towards creating a safe learning environment for all children. I believe that children deserve to learn through fun and not be inhibited by unnecessary fear. Through positive reinforcement, it would be fulfilling to see children enjoy coming to school because they find my lessons fun. Only then can children’s learning, development and their love for school be maximised.
I would share that being able to fill my heart and mind with positivity has kept me going over the years. To my juniors pursuing their studies in early childhood, continue to persevere and you will be where you want to be in no time. Nothing is easy, but nothing is impossible, as long as you remind yourself constantly of the reason why you chose to be an early childhood educator!
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