Teacher strives to build strong rapport with her pupils

Teacher strives to build strong rapport with her pupils

Friday, 01 April 2016

SINGAPORE — When the taxi driver discovered from a male passenger that the latter’s colleague, Madam Janet Poh, was still teaching in the same school, the cabbie took out a piece of paper and jotted down a thank-you note to be passed to her.

It turned out that Mdm Poh, now 57, taught the cabbie’s daughter 20 years ago — but her nurturing ways left such a deep impression on him that he still remembered her after all these years.

The taxi driver’s note is but one of many heartwarming moments that have inspired Mdm Poh, from Yu Neng Primary School, to carry on teaching for the past 35 years.

“I thought once my students graduate — that’s the end. But they still remember you for what you have done, so that touches my heart too,’’ said Mdm Poh, one of the four national winners of the Caring Teacher Award yesterday, with a small laugh.

As an educator, Mdm Poh also finds satisfaction in seeing her students grow up to become more successful than herself.

She has had colleagues who came back from a visit to the clinic, and the doctor there would tell them to convey his or her wishes to Mdm Poh.

“So, I now know that (some of my ex-students) are in the medical line … and that’s what makes me happy,” she said.

Then, there are former students who have told Mdm Poh that they decided to become teachers themselves because they were inspired by her.

“Most of the time, I don’t recognise them. They have transformed themselves into young, beautiful ladies. So they will have to reintroduce themselves to me, and the moment the name comes out, I can vaguely remember them,” she said.

With a career spanning more than three decades, Mdm Poh has had to adapt to the changes that technology and the Internet have wrought on the education landscape.

For example, many students these days prefer to devote their time and attention to their mobile phones, laptops and other high-tech gadgets — leaving them with less time for reading and developing their social skills.

“We have to do a lot of promotion, book sharing and book talks in school, and take the trouble to introduce famous authors and good stories to the children during school time and assembly — and that will bring awareness to them,” Mdm Poh said.

Since technology cannot be ignored, Mdm Poh has taught her students how to best make use of the wealth of information on the Internet, and to distinguish between credible and less credible information that is found online.

As a teacher, Mdm Poh also believes in the importance of establishing a good rapport with her students. Hence, she tries to teach the same class for two years in order to understand her students better and develop closer bonds.

“The children also know that they can have the trust — if they have any major problems, they know that they can confide in a teacher who has been with them for two years … Maintaining a good rapport with pupils is one of the elements for good classroom management and for the children to learn well,” she said.

“They can sense that the teacher is very sincere in her approach to render help to them, and we have to give a lot of encouragement to them. Once they are motivated, it’s easier to get them to move on their own,” Mdm Poh added.

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Source: Today (Online), © MediaCorp Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.