November 20th, 2012
First of all, thank you all readers who approached me at the TEDx talk and for taking the time to attend! I had a lot of fun that day and I also met so many other inspiring people! It was definitely very nerve-wrecking to be on stage speaking to hundreds of people and although I’d practiced a million times, it was still a realllly huge challenge for me. I was actually going to reject the invitation to speak cos of my fear of public speaking but I’m glad I went for it!
If you couldn’t make it, you can watch the video later (will let you know when it’s up!). I spoke on my experience as a teacher and spent most of my talk focusing on the literacy issues in my school/community. I think (and hope) it was quite shocking but enlightening for most people since a lot of us hardly recognize the problem brewing in our own country.
I think it’s quite clear by now that education is an issue that is very very close to my heart (since I talk about it in every blog post haha). People often ask me what I plan to do after my two years with Teach For Malaysia, and though it’s a hard question to answer mainly because it’s so loaded, I’m extremely certain that I will stay in the education line. The short answer is: I’m going to teach in a primary school after this.
After teaching secondary kids for a year now, I realize that if I really want to tackle the issues I see in my kids and school, I have to go even deeper into the root cause of the problem. Kids are illiterate at 15 because they, somehow or rather, had slipped through the cracks when they were in primary school. It’s wayyy easier to tackle these issues if we arrest it earlier. If we could recognize learning disabilities sooner, if we could teach the basics sooner, then these kids wouldn’t be at the stage they are right now.
Since I’m already talking about my future plans anyway, I might as well say it here now. My long term plan is to eventually start a kindergarten of my own. I’ve thought about it since my last year in college, and now that I’ve been teaching for a while, the urge is even stronger. There is such a HUGE need for a quality education, especially for underpriviledged kids, and where better to start than from a top quality early childhood education?
I’ve been looking at a few models and schools in this country and was very glad that I got invited to attend the Beaconhouse Group’s School of Tomorrow Conference! Beaconhouse Group is one of the largest privately-owned school systems in the world and it’ll be awesome if I could learn from them.
It’s actually happening today and will feature many leading educationists and thinkers, including Professor Alma Harris, Dr Heather Terrill Stotts, Professor Kathryn Riley, and Dr Christine Wise, all of whom are internationally recognised for their work on school improvement and leadership and management. Several specialists including Gigi Schweikert, Pamela Mundy, Ayesha Kasuri and Saira Butt will be leading sessions on early childhood and primary education.
The panel discussions all look extremely interesting as well, covering topics such as innovation in teaching primary students, employing collaboration and leadership techniques amongst students, how to cater to individual needs in classrooms – all topics that have been talked and thought about many times between the other TFM fellows and I. I really believe that if we want to pay attention to education, early childhood and primary education should be invested more heavily on.
Super excited and honored to be invited for it so I’ll update more on the conference!