2016 Teachers’ Day Message from the Director-General of Education

Published Date: 02 September 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Dear Fellow Teachers,

Happy Teachers’ Day!

As we celebrate Teachers’ Day with our students today, let us pause and take a few quiet moments to ourselves. Take this time to reflect on our personal and professional journeys as teachers. Remind ourselves why we became a Teacher. Re-commit ourselves to our mission as Teachers to help our students develop holistically.

Reflecting on our mission and our work from time to time is important because self-reflection is part of our learning and contributes to our personal and professional growth. Reflection constitutes a major element of learning from experience, especially when it comes to critical, transformative types of learning that challenge previous ways of thinking and acting. And indeed we need to constantly update our professional practice. We need to change our pedagogy as we help our students build strong fundamentals and 21 Century Competencies. As Teachers, we have access to a range of professional learning opportunities. However, there is a limitation to the application if we do not reflect on our learning and practice. Reflection allows us to consciously think through our work while we continue to find new ways to engage our students effectively. As John Dewey famously said, “We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Some of our senior colleagues from the Academy of Singapore Teachers and its related academies and language centres decided to undertake this self-reflection in a deep and creative way. They did this by writing heartfelt letters to their younger selves. Their online publication, “A Letter to Myself… A Gift to the Fraternity”, is available through OPAL. These letters are excellent examples of professional reflection and I invite everyone to read these interesting stories of growth and transformation and possibly try writing such a letter to your younger selves too.

Our commitment to reflection and growth as a fraternity is very important. In our work together as educators, we should seize the many opportunities to engage in reflection through platforms such as networked learning communities and mentoring, which will allow us to refresh our teaching practices and grow together as a community of reflective professionals.

Let us take the time to reflect on our yesterdays and renew our todays and tomorrows. It is a gift we can give to ourselves, to enrich not just our lives but those of our students and colleagues as well. I encourage all of us to think about how we can continue to grow and develop as teachers, and how we can motivate our students to also embark on this process of continuous learning, discoveries and growth.

Lead. Care. Inspire.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director-General of Education

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