Oct 2008 No. 66

Caring Teacher Awards 2008

Caring Teachers an Inspiration to All

By Jolene Tan, Public, International & Alumni Relations

The 7th Caring Teacher Awards ceremony organised by NIE, partnered by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific, and supported by the Ministry of Education was held at the NTU Alumni Club on 5 September 2008.

Launched in 1996, the awards are aimed at acknowledging and rewarding teachers who, through their daily deeds and actions, exemplify the values of caring, sharing and concern for the academic, moral, social, emotional and mental welfare of their students.

NIE received close to 2,000 nominations from 158 schools for the national level awards. From this, 14 teachers were honoured at the award ceremony, with three main winners and 11 commendation winners.

The ceremony was graced by Mr Wong Siew Hoong, Director of Schools, Ministry of Education. In his welcome address, Mr Wong listed several characteristics of a caring teacher, including a passion for working with children; the belief that every child is worthy of learning and should be given opportunities to benefit from education; and compassion and willingness to go beyond the call of duty.

In his words, "The most important characteristic is the ability to build good relations with their students."

There are 14 special teachers here today, all of whom have demonstrated some, if not all, of the attributes we associate with caring teachers. We want to recognise them and give them the responsibilities of inspiring colleagues and the new generation of teachers to be equally caring."

Commendation Award Winners

Mdm Ng Wei Huah, Mee Toh School
Mrs Diana Wang-Tien Choon Lan, Nanyang Primary School
Mrs Khoo Phui Hong, Marymount Convent School
Mdm Kiren Kaur, Yumin Primary School
Ms Nelleke Eng Su-Ping, Northbrooks Secondary School
Mdm Aishah bte Abdullah, Woodlands Ring Secondary School
Ms Tan Peiru, Jurongville Secondary School
Mrs Tan Lee Kiaw Lucy, Crescent Girls’ School
Ms Lee Phui Jiun, Broadrick Secondary School
Mr Muhamad Salahuddin B Ibrahim, Serangoon Junior College
Ms Caroline Manonmani Selvanayagam, National Junior College

National Award Winners

Primary School Level

Ms Halimatussa’diah bte Jaffar

Ms Halima has been a Malay Language teacher at Junyuan Primary School for the past five years. She was herself a beneficiary of selfless love from her cousin since her parents divorced when she was a child. She believes that every child is special, valuable and deserves her attention, care and time.

In her thank-you speech, she said, "If others can shower their love on me, why can’t I do it too." During her spare time in school, she makes it a point to meet up with her weaker students for extra coaching even though they are no longer under her direct charge. One of her students’ parents wrote, "She is a very dedicated teacher who shows care and concern about her students, especially those who cannot read very well… She makes them believe that they can be better like any other students."

Secondary School Level

Ms Deborah Ng

Ms Deborah Ng has been a Resource Teacher at Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School for the past 30 years. Ms Ng, herself a visually-handicapped person, believes that disability is no hindrance to learning. Besides imparting academic knowledge to her visually-impaired charges, she goes the extra mile by sharing with them important life skills such as boiling water and preparing simple meals for themselves. This encourages them to lead normal lives.

Junior College Level

Mr Michael Kwok

A mid-career change has Mr Michael Kwok fulfilling his dream in teaching. He has been in the teaching service for almost 10 years, and is currently the Head of Department for Physical Education at Pioneer Junior College. Michael believes in the holistic development of his student-athletes, and going the extra mile to help his students in their studies by personally supervising their study sessions. One of his students wrote, "Mr Kwok had faith in each and every one of us wanting to improve, and he found a way to bring that out. As long as we were there, he appeared to trust a 100% that we were not going to let him down."