Making English come alive

Making English come alive

SINGAPORE - Mrs Sangeetha Sivanesan's Inspiring Teacher of English Award win makes her father doubly happy.

Not only has the 32-year-old fulfilled her insurance executive father's hopes for her to becoming a teacher - "one of the noblest professions", he says - but she has also earned national recognition for her work.

Last month, Mrs Sivanesan, a Primary 2 form teacher at Da Qiao Primary School, was one of six recipients of the annual award, which honours outstanding teachers of English language, English literature and general paper.

Her father Narayanan Narayana Deva Rajan, 65, says: "There's a Tamil proverb that goes, 'Teachers are regarded as the next gods after your parents.'"

His spouse, housewife Alagumayil Narayanan, 54, adds: "Teachers get a chance to mould future generations."

When Mrs Sivanesan, their elder of two children, was in Primary 5 at Zhonghua Primary School, she decided she wanted to be an educator after being inspired by a teacher who patiently answered all her pupils' questions, "never once getting irritated".

In her own class of 30 pupils, only 10 to 15 per cent speak fluent English at home, says Mrs Sivanesan, who was nominated by her principal for the award.

She tries to "contextualise" lessons so that learning comes alive for her pupils.

For instance, before they attempt a cloze passage exercise, she asks them to discuss a related topic, reads them relevant articles and lets them watch YouTube videos.

Mrs Sivanesan, an arts graduate with nine years' teaching experience, lives with her 32-year-old engineer husband and their children, aged five and two, in a four-room HDB flat in Buangkok Green.

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