Madam Halimah Jumaha's classrooms include Ikea, Giant hypermarket and Changi Airport.
These spots are where the Bedok South Secondary School maths and economics teacher takes her students to get a real-world taste of the subjects. At Ikea, for instance, students have to pick out $600 worth of furniture for a 5m by 5m bedroom. It helps them learn about budgeting and measurements, said the veteran teacher of 21 years.
"Most of my Normal (Technical) students don't like maths. This is one way to show them that maths is everywhere, not just on paper," said the 43-year-old, who yesterday was one of six teachers to receive the President's Award for Teachers from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana.
Three primary school teachers also got the award - Dr Tay Lee Yong (Beacon Primary School), Madam Tauled Tunisha Mohd Paser (CHIJ Kellock) and Madam Safidah Samsudin (Da Qiao Primary School). Another two award recipients were from junior colleges - Madam Tan Dai Hwee (Anderson JC) and Mr Muhamad Salahuddin Ibrahim (Serangoon JC).
Stressing the important role teachers play in educating Singapore's future leaders and innovators, President Tan said: "Beyond teaching subjects, you impart skills which (students) will carry with them for the rest of their lives."
Dr Tay, 47, uses technology to engage his pupils in the subjects he teaches - English, maths and social studies. For instance, in lower primary, his pupils write short compositions on Microsoft PowerPoint that include pictures and voiceovers. This helps them to sharpen their presentation skills, though he adds that "technology cannot replace the human touch of teachers".
Madam Halimah knows exactly how important teachers are. As a student, she failed maths, but the help of a teacher motivated her to do well and to help others by becoming an educator herself.
"A good teacher makes a huge difference," she said.