Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Featured - Interview with the teacher and cosplayer Part 2

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Previously, we share on Peijing, the cosplayer, today we will introduce Zheng Guo, Peijing's husband, an awesome teacher, mentor =)

Witcast would also take this chance to wish Zheng Guo a happy birthday!!

Witcast: Share with us, whats your motivation to be a teacher? Is this a childhood dream?
ZG:It was not a childhood dream per se. But I remember when I was in my secondary 3 and 4, I had this form teacher who really cared for the class and really stuck with the class. I will never forget how in her own discomfort, and in the face of 40 frightened youths, she climbed on the high beams of the obstacle course in punggol outdoor camp, and perform the tasks, despite her having a fear of heights.
I was deeply moved by her dedication to stay connected with my class and her passion for the the subject (she was teaching history =o). And that was what ultimately got me to start considering teaching because I wanted to impact and change lives as much as my previous teachers did.

Witcast: What do you expect of your students? How do you connect with them?
ZG: I expect my students to understand their boundaries, and that sometimes no means no. I expect them to know when to do what. I believe these are important values that they need to learn in important social and emotional formation years of their live. Never mind if they do not perform academically, but the most important thing is that they have the skills to ultimately become a person that they are proud in the 20-30 years to come.
I connect with them by being true, and never hiding anything. Inside the classroom, they are my students, but they can be my friends when they out of the classroom. But over and beyond all this, I believe students truly respect a teacher that is understanding, but never compromising in their character. Therefore, I believe in going the extra mile, and constantly finding a need in students' life and trying to meet it if I can.
Witcast: Parents - Are they a pain or gain?
ZG: If we can win them to our side, they are definitely a gain. All parents want to see their children excel. As long as we can show them that what we do is for the good of their children, they will turn around to our side and support our course. While there is no reason for us to override the parents' wishes of their child, but there should be no reason for us to be allowed to be abused by them.
Witcast: What does it take for a teacher to succeed in their classes or even their expectations for their students?
ZG: Preparation. We must never under prepare for a lesson. If we want a lesson to work, we must research, and prepare such that we can cope with any situation that props up. And when we are very familiar with our material, we can then tailor it to suit the different needs of the students and the environment.
An uncompromising attitude is one the ensure students meeting our expectations. We must stay firm and strong on what we said. For example, when we say we want an assignment to be handed in by a certain date, we abide by that, and mercilessly (yes mercilessly) mete the appropriate consequence to the students. This would make students understand the results of their actions and at the same they will try their best to meet our expectations. I do not expect my students to perfectly meet them, but I expect my students to try their best.
Witcast: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
ZG: I see myself as a more skilful and a competent teacher.
Witcast: What makes you want to teach and keep teaching?
ZG: I will never forget how it feels like when I walk out of a lesson at the beginning of my teaching career. I was trying out something new on my students and the lesson went really well, the students enjoyed the lesson. but what really touched me was the fact that they actually learn something that day and it showed in their assessment.
Their joy they found in learning that they have learned something new is what makes me want to teach and is what that will keep me going.
Witcast: What if one day you realised you have nothing to teach?
Find something new to teach. There is always something that these students don't know. Even until today, there are things that I don't know. While I live, I learn.
Witcast: Is being a teacher tougher than being a learner
ZG: When you are a teacher, you are responsible for a class of 40 people's learning. But when you are learner, you are responsible for your own learning, which will ultimately impact your class of 40.
Witcast: What is your definition of a mentor vs a teacher? So which one are you?
ZG: A teacher makes use of every opportunity to impact lives. A mentor deals with you personally and making sure your development as a person is holistic.
I see myself as both. Because of obvious reason I cannot be a mentor to everyone. But I am a teacher to all, a mentor to some.
Witcast: What if you have students who gave up on studies or students who thinks that they are smarter than you?
ZG: Its not a what if. Its an I HAVE.
There must a reason why certain students give up on studying. Which means we need to find out why and try to answer those questions and solve those problems.
It is never a wise choice to try to outsmart the students. If they think they are smarter than you, leverage on that ego, and get them to solve problems that are bigger than them for you. They will then realise their limitations and will come around.

Witcast: Do you interfere with your student's personal life?
Witcast: What is your message to aspiring teachers?
ZG: Teaching is a calling. Its is a responsibility. But there is nothing that can beat a smile on your student after they have discovered the joy of learning.

With that, we end this special 2-part series of the teacher and the cosplayer. We hope you have enjoyed reading this just like how we enjoyed interviewing them.

God bless!

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