Her passion for teaching drives her to go the extra mile
Chian Hwey Miin, Course Manager at the School of Chemical & Life Sciences (SCL)(currently known as School of Applied Science), enjoys the challenge of teaching of teaching chemical engineering to large groups of students. She even encourages all her 90+ students to submit handwritten questions to her at the end of her lectures.
She personally spends two to three hours answering each question before returning them to her students the following week. This process allows her to validate her students’ understanding of the subject on an individual level.
After 13 years, she is still excited by the challenge of teaching.
She says: “Even when lessons don’t go well, I believe it is never the students’ problem. It is probably due to the structure of the lesson, or the educator’s inability to make a connection to the student. It is something that still challenges me today, and I enjoy solving that problem.”
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe education is more than working hard for and being defined by marks and grades. Education is a lifetime pursuit and the means for self-discovery. As such, an educator’s focus is to develop students’ curiosity, love for learning, and the confidence to take on the world. This is so that the students have the courage to explore and discover their strengths, their passions and their purpose in life.
That is partly the reason I started the SCL Pay-it-Forward Day – a yearly event where students raise funds for the underprivileged. It has since grown from involving graduating students from one diploma to seven diplomas in SCL.
Recount one touching/memorable incident involving a student/students you taught
One student told me she went on to volunteer with Dignity Kitchen after taking my General Studies Module - Introduction to Social Enterprise. She even encouraged her friends to join her in volunteering.
Another former student also wrote this:
“I was a year two student pursing the Diploma in Chemical & Pharmaceutical Technology. Like any other teenager, I was starting to look for the right direction and career path I should take. I consulted Ms Chian for advice and shared with her my interest in working with children with special needs. She gave me her unconditional support and encouraged me to give it a try. After graduation, I heeded her advice and took a leap of faith. I started my journey working with special needs children in 2012. Even though I had graduated from NYP, she has always been a pillar of strength. It had been a challenging start for me and she had no obligation to ensure my well-being. But she will always check-in on me during her free time and is always there for me whenever I encounter any rough patches in my journey as a special education teacher. She would also send me books about being an educator. She has definitely done more than a lecturer, giving me moral support when I needed it.
She is also a remarkable role model as an educator. She taught me that being a successful educator is not about being able to teach students to strive for good grades but being able to guide students to achieve greater things in life … Thanks to her support, I am proud to say that I am already in my 4th year in special needs education.”
What is one thing most people do not know about you?
I am not a Gemini but my interests are on both ends of a spectrum, like a Gemini. I was in Outdoor Activities Club when I was in school so I love and still love canoeing, rock climbing, and trekking. On the other hand, I could sit down and read the whole day. My record is finishing five books in a day – both English and Chinese books!