Award-Winning Teacher Is Like A Mother To Her Students

Award-Winning Teacher Is Like A Mother To Her Students

Wednesday, 09 May 2012

Media Type
TODAY (Pg 23)

SINGAPORE - Primary 6 student R Sathiysh used to flare up easily and utter vulgarities openly.

Now, the 12-year-old calms himself - by splashing water on his face - and watches his words.

And the Xinghua Primary pupil has his teacher, Madam Chee Mui Choo, 41, to thank for a new-found control over his emotions. "Instead of punishing me when I said bad words, she told me politely that this will become a habit for life if I continue doing it. That is why I wanted to change," he said.

Mdm Chee, who has been teaching since 1995, was among 15 educators who were recognised yesterday at the biennial Caring Teacher Awards ceremony.

Speaking to Today, Mdm Chee recalled how, after having taught at Victoria Junior College - one of the top JCs here - during the first four years as teacher, she was assigned to teach primary school students, some of whom came from broken families or had special learning needs.

But she overcame the difficulties by treating the pupils as her own children.

"It was overwhelming at first, but I eventually learnt that many lack the proper guidance and support at home and I wanted to be a mother to them," said the mother of three.

At the beginning of each school year, she would provide her mobile number to her pupils and encourage them to confide in her any issues they may have.

One student, for example, has exchanged over a hundred text messages with her, said Mdm Chee. She added that she kept all the messages and discussed the issues the child was facing with his family. Apart from providing emotional support, Mdm Chee uses games and magic tricks during lessons to spur interest in her students.

And to help those with special needs, she would read up on their conditions and work with external experts and the students' families.

Mdm Chee stressed the importance of character-building for her students. To that end, she has started a reward system: Students who exhibit positive values will be given points and those with the highest points at the end of each term will be given stationeries or a treat at a fast-food restaurant.

Said Mdm Chee: "At the end of the day, it is not just about academic excellence but the character traits that will stay with them for life.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister of State (Education and Defence) Lawrence Wong reiterated the positive impact teachers can have on children.

"Caring teachers do all they can to nurture their students to be the best they can be ... In turn, these caring teachers are those whom students work the hardest for, because they don't want to let them down," he said. 

[The Caring Teacher Awards is a biennial event, jointly organised by NIE and ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, with support from Ministry of Education, Singapore]

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Source: TODAY (Pg 23), mediacorp