Even at the junior college level, learning should be "engaging and fun".
That was why Temasek Junior College chemistry teacher Low Kian Seh invented two card games for his students. "It trains students' higher-order thinking skills," Mr Low said.
Yesterday, the 34-year-old became the first JC teacher to receive the Outstanding Youth in Education Award since it began in 1999.
He was one of five to get the award, which is for teachers below the age of 35, during the first of four ceremonies marking the graduation of 2,037students from the National Institute of Education (NIE) this year.
Last year, there were 2,133 graduates.
One graduate who received his diploma yesterday was American Colin Emerson, 27. He came to Singapore in 2008 for a fellowship programme and taught history at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) for 11/2 years. When he went home, he missed teaching here so much that he decided to come back.
Remembering his time at ACS (Barker Road), Mr Emerson, who has since been posted to Catholic High School, said:
"My colleagues were very supportive and helpful. That took away a lot of the stress of preparing students for their O levels."
Speaking to 460 graduates at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) yesterday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat reminded them to "hold fast" to their motivation for becoming a teacher. He said he was heartened by NIE's research that showed teachers here join "for the right reasons".
A 2011 study of over 1,000 teachers-in-training found that close to 96 per cent went into education out of the desire to help children, or because of a passion for teaching, which is the case for Ms Clara Lim.
After two years as an auditor, the accountancy graduate decided to switch to teaching. Said Ms Lim, 26: "I want to invest in the next generation."
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