Out of comfort zone: Singapore educators venturing overseas (Part II)

 

We may have many friends who are educators in Singapore. At the same time, we also have a community of Singaporean educators taking the bold step to venture and teach overseas. What are their experiences? What made them decide to venture overseas? In a special two-part series, we speak to fellow educators working at the Singapore International School of Bangkok (SISB).

Read Part I here


 

Mrs Alice Poh
VP Singapore International School of Bangkok (SISB)
Sixth Form School (Grade 7 to 12)

 

 I started as a beginning teacher in June 1973 at CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent.

I literally grew with the school. From a young inexperienced teacher, to a senior subject teacher, then a Head of Department and then a Vice-Principal of the school. Along the way I was blessed because of the nurturing mentors who never doubted my abilities and my commitment to my work. They gave me so many opportunities so that I could grow to what I am today.

In my earlier years, I was trusted with many responsibilities – the NCC commanding officer, the school’s Sports Secretary – two big responsibilities held concurrently. My last position in the school was being the Vice Principal for 11 years before I decided to change to the teaching track as a Master Teacher. My eight years as a Master Teacher brought back the joys of teaching and learning with my fellow Master Teachers and my network of Senior Teachers and Lead Teachers. The other aspect of my learning all these years were presenting and participating in local and international conferences and working collaboratively with teachers. I enjoy being with members of the teaching faculty as once a teacher, always a teacher. As a Vice Principal, I always see myself as a teacher of teachers.

 

1a) What attracted you to work and live in Bangkok?
I was asked to take up the opportunity to experience a different working environment.  Bangkok is just two hours flight from Singapore. I want to experience an international school like SISB that has the essence of the Singapore curriculum and the presence of fellow Singaporeans amongst the staff.

1b) What do you enjoy about life in Bangkok?
Beyond any doubt, the food and the shopping add excitement to life here. At the school level, the cultural practices and the international working environment give me a very different perspective to working life and assimilating into the culture of the Thai people.

 

2) What made you decide to join SISB?
My children encouraged me to do so as they have all grown up and three of them are already married and have their own homes and my fourth and youngest just left for Dubai to work.  My husband has also retired. It was not too difficult to leave home in Singapore to move to Bangkok.

 

3) What do you like about teaching in SISB?
Students are very courteous, polite and respectful. The classroom size is small and conducive for teaching and learning. SISB has state of the art facilities here.

 

4) What advice do you have for a Singaporean teacher considering an overseas option?
There are many opportunities for the teacher to be resourceful and creative. He / she can re-design his / her teaching packages as there are no CPDD-produced lesson packages or scope and sequence curriculum units. At the personal level, he / she must be prepared to endure the traffic jams and crowded trains during peak hours and the discomfort of the hot weather at certain times of the year.

 

 

** This article is contributed by Singapore International School of Bangkok