IT IS easier to build children than repair adults.
This led Mohan Dallumal to become an early childhood educator after 30 years of working with young people.
Mohan has distilled the lessons he has learnt over the years in an inspirational book, Memoirs of an Educator.
Fittingly, it was launched in his second home, Kolej Dika in Puchong, where he has been training early childhood educators for the past 12 years as a senior lecturer.
After stints heading private schools, Mohan decided to switch gears and join Kolej Dika, which stands for didikan kanak-kanak or “teaching children”.
“I spent 25 years working with young people and adults before I joined Dika. Today, I am building children through the educators in Dika.
“If for 25 years I was able to reach 600 students a year as head of a school, I would have reached 15,000 children.
“Now if each year I can influence 100 teachers and each taught 100 children, in 10 years 100,000 children would have been influenced by transformational educators,” he said in the book.
It contains 88 chapters written over a period of many years, most of which first appeared in Mohan’s Facebook page.
They include advice not only to teachers but also parents, who he said are the most important factor in their child’s success, both in terms of behaviour and academics.
An educator should inspire and that is what Mohan has sought to do. Most of his students and colleagues, past and present, would agree that he has embodied this during his over 40-year career and counting.
Mohan started by giving tuition to fellow students while still in secondary school to earn money after his father passed away in a road accident when he was 13.
He later co-founded Mona Tuition Centre with his brother in his hometown of Seremban, named after his late sister who died at the age of 30.
Mohan is proud of how they built up the centre from only 34 students in 1980 to 1,200 in 1986. Soon, it became the talk of the town as the go-to place to obtain good grades.
“When classes were dismissed, there would be a traffic jam as the number of students was very big,” he recalled.
Many of his ex-students furthered their studies and have built successful careers, something Mohan takes pride in.
Reflecting on his life as an educator, Mohan said initially he wanted to be a lawyer so he could fight for the poor and against injustice.
“However, I soon realised my calling was to inspire, educate and transform lives. In return, I expect my teachers to do the same. You cannot be calculative with your time, energy or money as an educator.
“You give without expecting anything in return. Give and you will receive and be blessed.”
Kolej Dika chief executive Pua Chee Ling said she encourages all who would like to educate or work with young children to read the book.
“We hope it will be a source of inspiration to them and that they will continue Mohan’s legacy, she said.
The book is available from Kolej Dika for a minimum donation.
For enquiries, call 03-8070 6223.
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