She takes pay cut to pursue interest after 17 years in IT

Ms Karina Anne Lee, 38, with some children from My First Skool in Toa Payoh.
Ms Karina Anne Lee, 38, with some children from My First Skool in Toa Payoh. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Ms Karina Anne Lee, 38, with some children from My First Skool in Toa Payoh yesterday. The assistant teacher says she was inspired by the "energy and passion" of the pre-school teachers who nurtured her three children.
Ms Karina Anne Lee, 38, with some children from My First Skool in Toa Payoh yesterday. The assistant teacher says she was inspired by the "energy and passion" of the pre-school teachers who nurtured her three children.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

After a 17-year career in information technology, Ms Karina Anne Lee, 38, took a pay cut of more than 50 per cent and joined the pre-school sector last year.

It was a career option that she had considered as a teenager, but chose not to pursue at that time.

"When I was doing my O levels and thinking of what I wanted to do next, I considered teaching because my mum was a childcare teacher. But she discouraged me from joining the sector," she said.

"She told me, 'Why don't you consider tourism or engineering or business?' " said Ms Lee, who went on to pursue a diploma in engineering.

She said the pre-school sector seemed less professional then, as the criteria for joining the sector were less strict, and an educator was responsible mainly for routine care, rather than teaching.

In August last year, after her previous company restructured its operations, she explored her interest in the pre-school sector again. She was also inspired by the "energy and passion" of the pre-school teachers who nurtured her three children, now aged four to eight.

 

REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

Communication with my children became better... When the lecturers talk about why children behave in a certain way, I go back to the childcare centre and I see the lessons coming alive.

MS KARINA ANNE LEE, on applying lessons from her training.

Ms Lee joined another scheme to assess her job fit last October, before signing up in February for the Professional Conversion Programme for Pre-School Teachers, where her time each week is split between training and working. She is now an assistant teacher at My First Skool, and will complete the programme in March next year.

She said she could apply lessons from her training - at home and at work. "Communication with my children became better... When the lecturers talk about why children behave in a certain way, I go back to the childcare centre and I see the lessons coming alive."

Priscilla Goy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'She takes pay cut to pursue interest after 17 years in IT'. Print Edition | Subscribe