While many of us believe that teaching looks easy, the truth is that the profession is harder than most of us understand.
Teaching is a highly-skilled occupation, where teachers are required to do many things that fall outside the realm of teaching. It is a profession in which its academic content and classroom management cannot be learnt in a vacuum — they need to observe these things in real-world settings.
This was the case for final-year student Amanda Lee Shi Ying, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Education (Honours) in primary education at Taylor’s University’s School of Education.
Amanda decided to complete her six-month internship module at K. International School Tokyo (KIST) in Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) for Grade Three and subsequently, Kindergarten 2 students.
“English is not a widely spoken language in Japan, and most students take a long time to open up due to their lack of confidence in the proficiency of the language.
“However, as the children became accustomed to my presence in the classroom, they became more encouraged to speak, which built our relationship and I got to know their characteristics,” Amanda said.
She said she had to juggle between preparing and conducting classes, as well as drafting a research paper to complete her studies. Her internship was spent assisting the homeroom teacher, guiding students on writing and helping out with group work. She implemented a point system in the classroom based on a popular game called PokÈmon Go.
“Introducing this method to the students helped me identify their strengths and areas we needed to concentrate on for their academic progress. Once their challenges were overcome, they were not shy to demonstrate their appreciation and affection, which was truly rewarding.”
The opportunity for Amanda came through the International Society of Educational and Cultural Exchange via a partnership between Taylor’s University and KIST. The school opened an internship position for the first time in 2016 as part of a service to the community, giving a chance for Malaysian students to do their internship overseas.
KIST school head Jeffrey Jones said: “We had a student here prior to Amanda, and we thought we got lucky. When Amanda came on board, we could not help but notice how prepared she also was to handle primary school students.
“There is a level of confidence that every teacher needs to enter a classroom and begin working well with the teacher and 25 kids. Amanda was prepared for this.”
Taylor’s University School of Education head Dr. Logendra Ponniah said the students’ transformation from their experiences overseas and in local schools, as they immersed themselves in a real classroom setting before they graduate, gave him the confidence that these future teachers would make positive changes in the lives of children.
Those who graduate with a Bachelor of Education (Honours) for primary education from Taylor’s University are eligible to become teachers at private primary schools in the nation.