Budget debate

Learning more to teach others

Mr Lin, the acting principal of My First Skool in Rivervale Crescent, joined the early childhood sector in 2009 after 12 years in the IT industry.
Mr Lin, the acting principal of My First Skool in Rivervale Crescent, joined the early childhood sector in 2009 after 12 years in the IT industry.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Mr Wayne Lin, 52, had to start from scratch as a trainee teacher when he joined the early childhood sector eight years ago.

After 12 years of experience in the information technology industry, he made the switch in 2009 as a result of uncertainties during the global financial crisis, and news that the pre-school industry was an up-and-coming one.

He took up a professional conversion programme (PCP), which involved working two days a week with NTUC First Campus and studying on the remaining three days - on one-third of his previous pay - for a diploma in early childhood care and education.

He was cited by Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) as an example of a worker who has benefited from a PCP. Mr Lin now holds a specialist diploma, as well as a master's degree in the field, and is the acting principal at My First Skool in Rivervale Crescent, a new centre he has been tasked to launch.

"It's been rather intensive. I've been working and studying all this while," he said.

"I had my doubts and complaints as well, but I'm glad I stuck with it."

As a man, working in an industry traditionally dominated by women had not been easy, he added. But he found encouragement from a principal who took him under her wing.

He also decided to be more proactive and show his colleagues that he was up to the task, whether it was at serving meals to children or cleaning up after them.

He also applied for a master's programme. The course, which he paid for himself, was conducted here by lecturers from Wheelock College, a Boston-based institution.

His advice for others wanting to join the industry: Be very positive, and persevere. "You must be really passionate about nurturing future generations and giving them a head start in their journey of lifelong education," he said.

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Learning more to teach others'. Print Edition | Subscribe