Friday, 17 February 2017

Teaching is learning

Posted by Xian Jin

"Now, what am I going to do with a 4-month break?" I thought, back in December. All of my friends are in colleges, brothers back to school, and I'm stuck at home for 4 months. I could laze around, wait for time to pass; or I could do something I had never done before! 

Through friends, I got a job in a tuition centre as a marker. I remember my first day working, how everything was new to me. Everyone was really friendly, as they taught me the procedures and process of my job. I made many mistakes, and I remember how nervous I was. I'm so thankful to have actually gone to the centre before - as a student, so it didn't feel so alien to me.

About a month has passed, and I still feel excited and enthusiastic whenever I go off to work (I call it work, but really, its more like learning from a different position/viewpoint).

Eye Level, a Maths and English tuition centre (NOT an optical shop!). I got some opportunities to teach there also, when there are too many students, etc. I embraced these moments with open arms as I enjoyed spending time with the students. 

I learned that everyone was different, and that teaching is not an easy job. You can have everything up in your head, all the facts and knowledge, but it's how you deliver to them and make them understand that matters. I also learned that I can't hand-pick the students I want to teach. There are those who are independent and willing to learn, but there are those who are the complete opposite... 

I got the opportunity to teach English as a volunteer to Myanmar refugees. It is the same as last time, but there's a catch: I teach once a week. For two whole hours. In front of 19 students!

At first, I felt rather shy in front of so many of them. As I got to know them better, I could see how they all come from harsh backgrounds. They are people aren't necessarily the best English students, but it's their willingness and determination to learn, and not give up that perhaps make them better learners. 


Teaching is not just writing words on the board and setting exam questions- anyone can do that! Teaching also involves understanding the students, knowing them, so that you can teach them in the best way they can learn! This is why I feel that teaching is another form of learning.

In short, I'm really enjoying these few months before I go to college. It's as I'm being exposed to a whole new world, and I'm thoroughly having fun. It's certainly a memorable experience (though I can't be sure my students are feeling the same). But what I'm sure is that as much as they are learning now, I'm learning too.

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