Meet Kai Sin Goh, Singapore primary school teacher, and mummy of 3 boys, aged 7, 4 and 9 months. She became a teacher 10 years ago, and in her words, “I am not really sure, but since young, I love to pretend be a teacher and especially like marking books.”
“Even when revising for examinations, I would pretend that I was a teacher teaching my students.”
Kai Sin teaches Chinese and Higher Chinese for P5 and P6 students (She is currently on maternity leave.), and here she is, talking about her role as a teacher in guiding little minds. Read on!
What is the best part about being a teacher?
Says Kai Sin, “I have ample opportunities to touch the hearts of these little ones and I know every word I speak, has the power to influence and change them for the better.”
“It is a joy to watch them grow and improve. I am excited by each little step that they take.”
“I think we are just like doctors. Doctors save lives and take care of the physical aspect. Teachers have the power to either build or crush their souls so we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders and should take note of how our actions and words affect our children.”
Is a Singapore primary school teacher’s life stressful? Especially P5 and P6 teachers? Is there pressure to get good results for PSLE?
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Kai Sin tells us, “Yes, our work is pretty hectic every day and everything is in a rush.”
“We have our KPIs to meet, but to me, it is just a reference and not a matter of life and death because what is more important is the well being of my students. I believe if I take time and effort to lay the foundation well, everything will fall into place and results will show.”
“I spend a lot of time correcting their attitudes because I think with the right attitude, their potential is limitless and the possibilities are endless. My focus isn’t on their academic results but whether have they done their best and become better than who they are yesterday.”
“Hence, in my class, I never reward top-performing pupils but will encourage them to continue their good work and strive to become better. Not only better in their studies but to level up and contribute by helping their weaker peers. We progress together as a class.”
What is your teaching style and what is your opinion on giving children a lot of homework?
Kai Sin reveals, “I am strict. Children being children need some pushing, it takes a while before they become self-motivated and disciplined.”
“In class, the teacher is the higher authority and respect and obedience must be shown. I always remind them that we are not friends, I am their teacher. However, I will always be around to guide and advice.”
“Submitting homework promptly and doing correction are the little things, that if done properly every day, will contribute greatly to how they perform.”
“As for homework, I am for quality over quantity. It is meaningless to mark something which the student hasn’t put in the effort to do. We will both be wasting our time.”
“Primary school students can be in school for up to 8 hours sometimes, so it is best that they can rest at home and not do any more homework.”
Any tips to make learning Chinese easier for Singapore children?
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Kai Sin opines, “I understand that most children grow up in an English speaking environment nowadays.”
“If so, daily revision helps a lot as Chinese at Primary School level is still pretty manageable. With daily revision and the right techniques, children will still be able to manage their examinations well.”
“But in the long run, it is still advisable for children to speak and read the language more often.”
“For parents with young kids, I would advise them to expose them to the Chinese language first. Speak Mandarin to them from young and continue doing so if possible. This will prevent them from rejecting Chinese when they are older.”
“Nurture their love for reading Chinese books because this is the most natural and enjoyable way to arouse their interest in the language.”
“Will they reject English? Very unlikely, because our bigger environment gives them ample exposure and opportunities to use English.”
“So…we must protect our Mother Tongue at home.”
Any PSLE or examination tips for Singapore children?
Kai Sin stresses, “Hard work is the only route. There is nothing that can’t be done as long as there is a willing heart.”
“I am looking at progress, as long as they progress every day, they have succeeded in my eyes.”
“But sometimes, even though they are progressing well, they failed to reach the passing mark in time (for PSLE). They think they have failed, and people might label them as failures, but they need to be clear that they have not. “
“This is where teachers and parents play very important roles in encouraging and supporting them so that they will continue to believe in themselves.”
What is the nicest gift you have ever received on Teacher’s Day?
Kai Sin tells us, “My students would know that I don’t accept gifts for Teacher’s Day. I tell them that the best gift they can give me is their obedience.”
“They have not earned money and most of the time the parents are the ones preparing the gifts. Sometimes I receive cards without addressing to me. Gifts that do not come from their hearts are meaningless.”
“However, if they really want, they can give me handwritten notes, handmade cards or write letters to me. These are gifts which I treasure.”
“My graduating class from 2012 gave me a handmade notebook where all the students wrote down words of gratitude to me. That is the most memorable gift I have received.”
What is your own personal parenting style?
Kai Sin reveals, “We are a Christian family. Our parenting style is total obedience from them at this stage because we are training them to obey God.”
“If they fail to obey us, they will also not want to obey higher authority or God in future. However, we also ensure that we maintain a close relationship with them and be very involved in their lives.”
“We communicate to them the reason why we choose to be strict and firm with them. We pray that they understand.”
“Nothing is more important than maintaining a close relationship with God. If this area is well taken care of, I believe everything else will fall in place. So this is a top priority in our family.”
“I would think of myself as their co-driver. They will take charge of the vehicle while I provide guidance on the directions to take. When necessary, I will be around to pull the emergency brakes.”
“We are definitely not helicopter parents because we want our boys to understand that they have to first take good care of themselves before they can render helping hands to others. So training them to be independent is always a work in progress in our home.”
“Only when they learn to serve and contribute at home, will they be able to contribute to society and the country in future.”
“I also want them to experience failures. The experience of learning to get up from where they fall is far more valuable than achieving academic excellence.”
“Failing will also keep them humble and learn to empathize with their weaker peers. Since they have gone through tough times, they can use their experience to help, comfort and encourage others.”
“I am not a tiger mum either because academic achievement is actually a really small part of our lives. There are more important things that they need to know like their purpose in life, the importance of being kind, the true definition of being successful etc.”
Any advice for other working mums?
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Kai Sin feels that “If money is not a big problem, it is good to take a break to take care of your children. They are only young once and being involved in their lives when they are young will certainly lessen the impact of the storm that will come along with their adolescent years.”
Thank you, Kai Sin for sharing your advice and experiences with us.
*This article is from our archives.
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