ECDA TA Commendation Award Winner 2018 - Racheal TanAfter a 3-week stint as a part-time assistant teacher, Racheal discovered her interest to work with children. The challenges faced at work motivated Racheal to become a good teacher, a teacher who could groom children into adults with values, manners and respect. Racheal aspires to be the bridge between children and adults, allowing adults to understand the Early Childhood industry and teaching methods adopted.
Thinking back, many have asked me why I decided to study in the early childhood field. I always had interest in Humanities, but was never sure which part of it. It was through different experiences in my part-time work outside of studies, where I chanced upon the opportunity to be an assistant teacher at a preschool for 3 weeks. During the short period of interaction, I felt that I could connect well with children. They helped me experience many positive moments that energized me through a tiring day.
There were definitely tough moments when some children did not follow instructions or threw tantrums when in foul moods. While it made managing them difficult, I was more motivated to become a good teacher to teach them properly than to be taunted by their behaviours. My response might have been surprising, even to myself, but it was clear to me that I wanted to be a teacher who would groom every child to become adults with good values and manners. By the end of the 3-week stint, I was more than convinced that early childhood was the career choice for me.
I took up the Diploma in Early Childhood Studies at Temasek Polytechnic and was thankful for many people’s support along the way. Balancing my studies and other commitments was not easy. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the many demands I was to meet. To add on the stress, I hardly shared my emotions with others and would usually put up a front, given my personality. Yet, the lecturers in school and teachers at the preschool where I was interning saw through my cool exterior and provided useful advice to work through my issues one by one. My friends also provided me the support I needed when I thought I had hit rock bottom. Over time, I learnt to manage my time better to alleviate my stress, all thanks to the help I received from these people.
Taking up the ECDA Training Award (Polytechnic) allowed me to focus on my studies in my final year. It yielded good results as I did not have to worry financially or take up a part-time job during that time. I plan to further my studies in early childhood at a university after serving my one-year bond period. Being in the sector first would help me pick up useful skills to manage my work as well as to teach the children well in the long run. In future, I see myself taking up leadership roles in a centre, such as becoming a senior teacher and perhaps eventually a principal. To expand my horizon, I would also love to pursue my interest in child psychology and child development where possible.
For now, as I take small steps towards my goal, I firmly believe that the adults around the children (such as their parents and caregivers) have the need to know what the children are learning and going through at preschool. This would help them appreciate the importance of investing in early years and help them journey together with their children. Hence, I would always make it a point to communicate frequently with parents and other caregivers, sharing with them more about the work that early childhood teachers do, and in doing so, promote better home-centre partnership.
To anyone who is pursuing their passion in the early childhood sector, my tip for you is to stay childlike and pull through. The journey is never smooth-sailing as we will meet different obstacles along the way. When it happens, stay childlike and you will find that things may not be that threatening. Just like how we teach the children, as long as we do not give up, we can do it! There is never a problem that cannot be solved as long as you pull through and work hard at it.
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