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A chat with Joanne, Principal at Marsiling who loves to inspire and nurture the next generation

Updated: Jan 24

In this series of chats with our staff, we get up close and personal. They share about things like their favourite drinks, to their experiences and motivations at work. Could you introduce yourself? I’m Joanne, I’m the Principal of LOT Marsiling. I manage the school operations and school curriculum.

What is the most enjoyable part of the day at work?

Of course it’s 5pm, cos it’s usually the time when the students and teachers are having the most fun time with laughter, where they interact with each other. It is the end of curriculum time and everyone is relaxed whether you’re an adult or a child.

What aspects of work do you enjoy the most? I like guiding the team and seeing how they grow. We came from a different style and environment in past and seeing how the teachers setup the environment over the years as each term changes, they get better at it and customize each classroom according to their own style. Every classroom is different and learning corners are setup differently too. I find much accomplishment through that.

And I enjoy the part where we work with the families who are in need, not just physically or financially but also emotionally. And how parents come on board to support us – it is most fun way to engage parents. Also seeing the children grow from only knowing baby talk to saying “what’s your name?” “how are you”. What is a pick me up that you need to keep you going in a day? During work at certain timings of the day when everyone is very sleepy it would be coffee. Kopi-o kosong. I also love to eat curry chicken, KFC, all the unhealthy food that HPB will never support. Anything that is unhealthy is my favourite, anything healthy or vegetarian I cannot. What are heartwarming moments at work that you recall? It is when have staff who went through or who are going through difficult times. There was once where a staff went through a difficult time family-wise. We were short of manpower due to the staff taking urgent leave but everyone rallied together. Of course it caused some inconvenience - everyone was tired physically, mentally too but everyone helped each other. We are not individuals standing alone but we are a group that’s together, trying our best to go through each day. After all we face each other more than we face our spouse or family, so we try our best to support each other as much as we can. So some of them actually sent gifts to that staff, and supported her emotionally by talking to her and prayed for her as well.

Woodlands Centre in their best-dressed award outfits at Staff Appreciation Dinner 2022 - an ode to front-liners (including teachers!) who sacrificed much during the peak of Covid-19.

How would you motivate a fellow teacher? I would lead by example and I would show them how I have picked myself up. Everyone has their down days and there are periods of our lives when we think “is this what we really want?” We need the human touch and need to share our own experiences on how we went through the same question mark and burnout feeling. Most of the time we need to share how we feel and our own experiences to show your colleagues a different side of you, where they would think “oh theres something about you I never knew” and “oh I am not the only one going through it, someone went through it and came out strong.”

You never know, the children we have may become the future president, a future CEO, someone important. I always have the attitude that I may be teaching a history-maker and world changer.

What is one quality that a teacher must have? They must really like the industry and not just the children. They must have a love for teaching and a desire to communicate with them. For this industry, money-wise and how much you give into this place can never be equivalent to your effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher in a preschool or primary school, etc. It’s really the love of the teacher that makes the cut, you must really love children and have the passion to teach and inspire the next generation. You never know, the children we have may become the future president, a future CEO, someone important. I always have the attitude that I may be teaching a history maker and world changer.


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