Teach English in Chewu Zhen - Xianyang Shi

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Having taught for 4 years in Singapore, I know that teaching can be a demanding profession. Yet, it can be gratifying and rewarding as well. I mainly teach English and Mathematics, using English as a medium of instruction. As a fast-becoming global education hub, I acknowledge that the country’s standard of the education system is one of the best in the world. Unfortunately, this also means that the importance of getting good grades is highly emphasised in children since young, so as to gain a competitive advantage over their peers. As an educator who has taught local students in government schools for most of my teaching years, there are certainly many things that I have learnt. One of it would be to employ different teaching strategies for different levels of ability. The highly subsidised school fees and mandated rule that Singaporean-born children must be placed in government schools means that students come from a wide range of social-economic status. The more privileged ones are mostly seen in top classes while the less privileged ones, in tail-end classes. Due to this wide income disparity, we often see students in top classes continuously progressing because of the huge amount of support and resources given to them to succeed in i.e tuition and enrichment classes. Students from this group generally give fewer problems and are less disruptive in class. The same cannot be said for less privileged students, who are usually found among the academically weaker students. Here, one will find a plethora of social problems among the students’ family- incarcerated parent(s), low economic status, lowly educated family member(s) etc. There are certainly exceptions, of course. Teaching the tail-end classes is in itself, a tough challenge. I find that I have to choose my battles wisely so as not to seem as though I am nitpicking at each of my students’ unacceptable behaviours. Managing the class’s discipline can be a nightmare. I remember when I was tasked to teach the weakest class of a Grade 6 level for a semester. It was so tough initially and I remember retreating back to the teacher’s room after each lesson, exhausted. Not only was it tough to manage the class’s discipline, teaching them and marking their work was hard because they were absolutely weak too. I eventually managed to finish off the semester, alive. Fortunately, most of my students demonstrated progress in their subjects too. As I look back now, I realise that that period was beneficial to me. It made me grow as an educator, in ways I never thought I would if I had just taught students from the top classes. For that, I am thankful. Moving forward, I will be starting to teach in an international school in about a week’s time. I am slightly anxious about starting this new chapter in my teaching journey. Although teaching English is not new for me, I am expecting to face a different set of challenges because English may or may not be the first language of my students. I would also have to learn to adapt to the different education system, the work culture and the new environment. I look forward to a new teaching experience!