IT IS a passion for his profession and thirst for lifelong knowledge that spurs sexagenarian John Lee to continue teaching in a career that has spanned some 30 years.
The 67-year-old said he switched from a 15-year career in engineering after discovering a passion for teaching.
“Different approaches are needed when teaching adults compared to children,” said Lee, who teaches ICT at Asia Pacific International School, Subang.
“With children, I need to make learning interesting. Getting to know the children’s character, their likes and dislikes, knowing how to encourage and talk to them, and having coping strategies help.”
Having picked up the subject when IT was booming, Lee said he has taught topics related to hardware and software, database and networking.
He is part of a pilot group of teachers undergoing upskilling and professional certification courses under the Strategic Teacher Education Programme (Step).
“I’m not a trained teacher by profession, so I’m hoping to improve myself and get a Diploma in Education certification,” said Lee, a grandfather-of-three.
Ilmu Education Group, Malaysia’s largest education group, introduced Step in collaboration with Unitar International University, Asia Pacific Schools (APS) and Tenby Schools.
It is touted as Malaysia’s first long-term teacher education programme in the private education sector.
Step combines learning and training modules with real-life work experience in private schools under Ilmu.
It aims to educate and train well-rounded and passionate local talents into teachers suited for private schools, from pre-school to secondary level.
“Step offers four schemes - for SPM leavers, fresh graduates, professionals mulling a career change and trained teachers,” said Unitar International University vice-chancellor Assoc Prof Dr Sakina Sofia Baharom during the programme’s launch.
“Character profiling will be done as part of the selection process, to ensure the right candidate applies for the programme.”
She added that Step taps into Unitar’s expertise in education training and 21st century teaching methods that utilise technology to improve the learning experience.
Ilmu Education Group CEO Amil Izham Hamzah said: “We are aware that there is a shortage of teachers, and that teachers are worth their weight in gold.
“Step hopes to attract more SPM leavers by making teaching a top career choice.”
“21st century teachers are no longer gatekeepers of knowledge,” said Asia Pacific Schools CEO Nina Adlan Disney.
“They are now curators of knowledge who facilitate learning, and guide students on how to evaluate and what to do with the information they have.
“From a recruitment standpoint, we want to recruit the best and brightest talent into the teaching profession.
“We also hope to retain teachers by giving them the opportunity to be the best they can be with training and upskilling,” said Nina.
On what makes Step different, Dr Sakina said the coursework is based on real-world assignments and graduates are guaranteed a job at either APS or Tenby.
Ilmu is offering five scholarships worth RM100,000 each for top-performing SPM leavers to enrol in Step.
The scholarship covers the full four years of course fees, including a one-year foundation and three-year degree, monthly allowance and paid accommodation.
The scholarship application deadline is tomorrow.
For details, visit www.ilmuedu.com/step-programme.