Do it with passion or not at all. Do what you love, so that you will be motivated through the good and bad times.

Tan Lee Yin

Curriculum Developer, REAL Education Group

Reverse Engineering

It would seem that Tan Lee Yin’s foray into early childhood education (ECE) was reversed-
engineered; but the outcomes of her unorthodox endeavour are nothing short of inspiring. As inspirational as Tan’s story is, she shares with us what has truly inspired her- “the children” she said has won her over – heart and soul.

Lee Yin, 33, graduated with a degree in Marketing and Management. She spent a couple of
years in marketing but found the daily conundrum of acing marketing tactics simply wasn’t
her cup of tea. What happened next was a decision based on a pure leap of faith – she
became a kindergarten teacher.

Inspiration

It was then and there that she found her passion and her purpose. So much so that she decided to enrol in a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. “I knew that I had found something that made me wake up in the morning and embrace life. It was then that I decided to fuel my passion with the proper knowledge and skills. It was also due in part to what I had heard from my teaching peers, that Dika College offers a tried and tested ECE programme. So I did not waste any more time then I already had, I enrolled.”

 

Lee Yin took the course part-time, attending classes during the weekdays after work and through the weekends. “The extensive hands on activities conducted by our lecturers allowed me to practice the skills I learnt in class. As a teacher, this was invaluable as I could try out what I was learning when I was at work; and get feedback on how I could be more effective in what I did and could do,” she said. “The lecturers equipped us with the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills that allowed me to be an all-rounder. They also gave us opportunities outside the classroom by encouraging and supporting us in the organisation of children related events; which we often did with the industry,” she added.

 

Tan shared that amongst the subjects, the ones she was fondest of were the pedagogy modules. “It taught me to understand a child’s development and motivated me to think creatively in ways a curriculum could be developed for young children.” She emphasised that the dedicated and passionate lecturers at Dika always went the extra mile to ensure that they fully understood and grasped the concepts at hand.

The seven-day weeks left her tired but her passion never burned more deeply for the profession. Whilst working on her diploma and keeping her teaching responsibilities, Tan still clinched the Outstanding Teacher Award for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. “I believe my studies and the guidance from my lecturers had a great deal to do with that,” she enthused.

In 2012, Tan successfully graduated with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education; even emerging top of her class with the Best Student Award.

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Her

“The world that we know now is undergoing profound changes. Thus, it is important for education to transform. Active learning is a key aspect of transformative education; and therefore education must go beyond the confines of the classroom. Enough opportunities must be given to children to express themselves, think critically, and solve problems,” said Tan.

“My future plans are to design a programme or product which will nurture creative thinking in young children. I would also like to design a dance programme for young children where they learn different genres of dance and creative movements to develop their creativity and motor skills; along with an enriching and healthy lifestyle,” she added. In the meantime, she said, she is enjoying every moment of her job.