Updated: Jun 30, 2022
Meet Teacher Agnes, our longest-serving teacher at PPS!
Being the eldest child in the family, she has always been there for her younger siblings, teaching them with love and dedication.
“I have 3 younger brothers. When we were young, I always took on the role of a teacher to teach and coach them in their school work. It made me realise that I really enjoy taking care of children,” recalled Agnes, who has been based at Presbyterian Preschool Services (PPS) Ghim Moh centre for almost 25 years. “I’ve always wanted to teach. Even while I was waiting for my ”O” levels results, I was already working as a part-time teacher,” she chuckled.
Left: Agnes conducts a paper plate craftwork. Right: A trip to the Zoo!
This enthusiastic attitude towards teaching was even more evident when I asked her what career she would have pursued if she was not teaching. She gave me no alternatives. “I have always wanted to be a teacher as it is a rewarding job, especially when students who have graduated come back to visit me,” she replied spontaneously.
As a matter of fact, one of the students from her first batch who graduated in 1998 did visit her recently after nearly 22 years! What a great teacher Agnes must have been for him to still remember her! As Agnes cheerfully shared a photo they took together and reminisced about those moments, I could still see the pride she had for him as she proclaimed, “He still makes me very proud."
However, working as a teacher in a preschool was not what Agnes had originally intended…“I wanted to be a primary school teacher or something like that. I didn’t think of becoming a preschool teacher initially,” Agnes disclosed to me. “I think it was God’s plan."
Even so, deep in her heart, she knew that God wanted her to be a teacher, but she just didn’t know where yet.
During the early years, there were rumours and some negative stigma attached to being an early childhood teacher. However, after quitting her job as an assistant for a fashion designer, she applied for a job as a preschool teacher at PPS. ”Why?”, I asked. “I decided to apply at a preschool because I myself wanted to see if the rumours were true, whether or not it is actually a nanny’s job," she revealed.
And did she regret it?
“I have never looked back since,” she affirmed. “To see [my kids] grow and pick up new skills each day, like learning how to write, is one of my high points when dealing with children, especially when they leave handwritten notes to show their appreciation.”
Today, not only is she teaching the preschoolers at her centre, but she gladly bears the responsibility of being a mentor to many of her younger colleagues.
She related, “I get to share my own experiences with them; moreover, the young teachers reminded me of the times when I started off as a young teacher, full of passion and love for the children.”
Epilogue - Post-interview Conversation
Mishael: You came into this job with a passion to serve and teach, but do you think that, even after 25 years, you still have that same passion you initially came in with?
Teacher Agnes: I am a bit fearful of the possibility that my passion for teaching would one day fizzle out and I would never be able to enjoy teaching again. But I think that even if that were to happen, I still want to do something with children, to continue working with them.
Mishael: But till that day comes, would you say that you are content with PPS?
Teacher Agnes: After so many years with PPS, I feel like I've become a part of the family. I have always felt comfortable working alongside my colleagues, my principal and even the senior management personnel who are looking after the operations of PPS.
Mishael: As we bring this interview to a close, do you have any words of wisdom to share with the younger teachers who are starting out in preschools?
Teacher Agnes: Be yourself. If you like working with children, the children will sense that and feed off your enthusiasm. Finally, don’t forget that the most important thing is to love what you are doing. Remember to love each child wholeheartedly and genuinely.
Visit https://www.presbypreschool.edu.sg/careers to learn more about the opportunities at PPS. Give children a strong foundation in truth, beauty and goodness today.
This article was written by Mishael Lee, an intern at PPS.