While most kids are looking forward to getting their homework done to have some screen time, seven-year-old Tan Xi En is parked in a room of a Housing Board flat in Ang Mo Kio three times a week, giving Chinese language lessons to pupils who are around her age.
Yes, you read that right. Xi En is the teacher. She conducts three classes a week, each lasting an hour. As of writing, she has four students, each having one-to-one lessons.
According to an article in Straits Times, the little girl’s teaching journey started at two years old, when she started helping her mum Avelyn Tan, 35, with her lessons for children at primary and pre-school levels.
Her first tasks involved reading out aloud from storybooks and helping collect assignments, then later on graduated to bigger tasks such as assessing students’ homework and preparing the lesson plan.
Eventually, Mum Avelyn decided to let her daughter take on the challenge of running her own classes.
“When she was younger, she would totter over to try to mimic whatever I was doing when I was teaching,” said Ms Tan in an interview with Straits Times.
“We decided to involve her. It seemed fun and meaningful. Xi En will get to learn new skills, and I will get a new assistant too.”
While it’s already so cool that Xi En can handle teaching the Chinese Language at 7, her age is not the only thing that has it going for her. Xi En also has one of the characteristics that most teachers only learn after years of experience – the ability to relate and adapt to her students’ learning styles.
View this post on Instagram
Xi En, who is homeschooled by her parents who are both educators, know how to maximise her class with her students. Their class usually involves reading aloud from age-appropriate books, practising conversations in Chinese and talking about homework that Xi En assigned the previous meeting – usually cartoon videos in the vernacular.
But an important part of the lesson is personalised playtime. This is where Xi En demonstrates superior teaching skills by customising each encounter to suit her pupils’ interests.
For example, Xi En teaches chess-related terms while playing with her student who is fond of the game. Or use dolls to create scenarios and engage with her students. Even the playground can be a place for learning for this seven-year-old teacher.
Parents of Xi En’s students give her the vote of confidence and applaud her personalised teaching methods. Their hope is that Xi En can be a role model for the children and ignite their passion for learning the language.
“Although it is a one-hour journey to the class, my daughter does not dread going for it,” said one mum. She likes that her child does not see it as a class, but more like a play date – one where she is actually learning.
So, what does Xi En feel about being a teacher to kids her age?
“Sometimes it feels easy, sometimes it does not,” said Xi En. “At times, I will feel tired, but I see it as one of my responsibilities and a mission I want to complete.”
“I like to teach… and I am happy that more people get to learn Chinese,” said the amazing seven-year-old teacher.
Well, if we had an awesome teacher like little Xi En when we were at her age, we would have probably developed a deep appreciation for the language too. Keep inspiring others, little girl!
Here’s a video from Straits Times:
Source: Straits Times
The Socialisation Debate: Does Homeschooling Affect Your Child’s Social Skills?
Fann Wong Releasing Bilingual Children’s Picture Books She Illustrated
Why Outdoor Play Matters to Your Child’s Development