Updated: Aug 28
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.
Hello! Could you introduce yourself? Hi! I'm Eileen and I am the Head of English Curriculum here at PPS. What does a typical day at work look like? I do a lot of training for teachers and principals. I lead curriculum trainings and I take care of quality assurance, meaning I ensure the operations are running smoothly and that they meet national standards. This means that half the time, I am not at my desk but on the ground at the centres.
What is a pick me up that you need to keep you going? Teh-o peng siu dai (Iced tea with less sugar)! I need to drink this every morning to get my day started. Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work? I like to watch Netflix and Disney plus a lot. I keep rewatching the sitcoms Big Bang Theory and Friends - it gives me some comedy in my life! I especially like Big Bang Theory cos it shows the truth about the guy Sheldon Cooper and how he is special but his friends love and embrace him anyway. It encourages me to do the same for my friends. I also enjoy connecting with teachers in Cambodia, where I do my ongoing missions work. What are some fun/exciting things that happen in the office? I recall a funny incident. We had steamboat together in office a few months back and one of our new staff and planned to get pork belly. He refused to get it from the supermarket so he went to the market early in the morning to get it and arrived in the office with a wet plastic bag in tow. I still remember laughing in a corner when first I heard about it! What are some encouraging moments you recall recently at work? My mom had a bad fall last year where she sprained her tailbone, broke her right wrist, and fractured her left wrist. I remember people in the office coordinated meals for me and ensured that they were delivered to my house. They also offered to help when I needed to ferry her around. It was really difficult to care for my mom's physical health and her well-being during that time so I was grateful.
Why does your work matter? It matters in different ways. I knew my calling in life since I was 14 years old. God gave me a vision of an orphanage - it was an unfinished building with 10 children going around it. Being in the Early Childhood sector helps fulfil God’s calling in my life as it equips me personally and professionally. Joining a Christian organisation like PPS for the first time about 2 years back, I realised while running alongside my colleagues that this dream and calling is not just overseas in Cambodia but also in Singapore, and that my God-given talents are put to use in a good way for His kingdom.
Image on left: Eileen reading to PPS children; Image on right: Eileen interacting with children in Cambodia where she does her personal mission work.
Why is it important to keep training our teachers? The idea of training is learning and re-learning. It’s the core of why we do training. A part of it is to up-skill and stay relevant in this industry, but it’s the unlearning of assumptions that is important. A lot of the teachers have been in the industry for around a decade, so have a lot of pre-set mindsets. Trainings help us to know what’s relevant and connect with each other personally. If we take care of our soul - what’s internal - naturally, we will be able to perform professionally.
Why is it important that teachers stay motivated?
Work has that connotation of making money; it equates to finances, financial stability and freedom. It is important, but there must be a deeper aspect to why you are doing your work. My personal belief is that there must be a vision and mission behind why you do that job. There is a saying that goes “if you love your job, you don’t work a day”. For me even if you have a personal goal, it can sometimes still feel that you don’t love your job, so you must go back to it to remind yourself 'why'. Everybody must find their goal as to why they are here, not just within PPS but what they are doing to contribute to society and the kingdom of God.
Eileen loves being children even outside of work - she's a dear companion to many of her friends' children and the kids at church.
What is one quality that a staff must have to join PPS?
It would be authenticity, as we value honesty a lot. For example, in the HQ office we share our lives a lot, and when we work it’s all hands on deck. It doesn’t mean if the curriculum team has projects, other teams don’t support. All of us always go down to support various events. The heart must be right, it cannot be self-centred but others-centred. Being authentic as a person just means to be honest; you don’t do things because you want to fit in or because everyone is doing it. You should learn to share your true thoughts.
What are qualities that a teacher must not have?
Complacency and arrogance. We need to recognise we are all flawed and works-in-progress. If at any one time, a person feels that they are better than another at HQ or at centres, their mind will be go on overdrive. They will think, “nothing that others do is good enough for me.” If you let such thoughts take root and bear fruit it will be harmful to the teachers and the industry.