North View Primary School’s principal Ng Yeow Ling lives an abundant life as an educator, inspiring both students and fellow educators.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
As the saying goes “Teaching is a profession that teaches all other professions.”
The teaching profession is one of the most, if not the most important and noble job in society today. Within such a community there are those who go even further beyond just teaching to inspire other fellow educators to keep on keeping on. One such individual is Ng Yeow Ling, 42, the principal of North View Primary School and chairman of Educators Network, or EduNet, a community for professionals working in the marketplace of education.
Since he became a teacher in 1995, Ng has come a long way in the education industry. The former vice-principal of Millenia Institute and the current acting principal of North View Primary School of nearly 1,000 students is responsible for leading the school and working with the 83 teachers and staff to facilitate the teaching of the students. Beyond his duties and responsibilities as the head of the school, Ng views his position in education as a powerful platform to impact this generation and bring about a positive change in his students.
Formed by a group of like-minded educators including Ng in 2007, EduNet seeks to share ideas, inspire and encourage fellow educators. EduNet is built on the belief that teachers—like other professionals and business people—need the support and guidance of others. Ng points out that “teachers are the key to the next generation and they have massive influence, but only when they believe in their calling and truly know they can make a difference [to their students] and do what they do well. Our mission is to let the teachers network so that they can look out for each other, and most importantly, to let them know they are not alone.”
Under EduNet, Ng published a book titled Class Dismissed: Lessons Beyond The Classroom, a compilation of personal accounts and experiences from veteran educators. The book was created as a gift for students and trainee teachers in 2008. In 2009, he produced his second book, Teacher Moment, a collection of personal accounts from teachers appreciating their fellow educators, mentors and ex-teachers. An interactive campaign was launched with the book—Zo cards were distributed and a website (www.teachermoment.sg) was set up as an online platform for the public to recognize and appreciate past and present teachers. Together with local songwriter KC Gan, Ng composed a song “In This Moment,” which was recorded by singer Annabel Soh. The song—dedicated to all educators—was presented to Ho Peng, Director-General of Education and other MOE directors in 2010.
EduNet also supports the Educators’ Summit, a conference that features speakers from the corporate and business worlds, who share on broad topics such as leadership and crisis management. Ng says he hopes more educators will rise up and form “mini EduNets” throughout Singapore, connecting across the education industry instead of just focusing on their own school and their own needs.
TEACHER, FATHER, HUSBAND
At home, Ng enjoys an idyllic family life. He is married to former accountant Tan Su Hsia with whom he has two sons aged 10 and 15 years old. When asked how he brings up his own children, Ng replied, “I am conscious that children are God’s special gift to parents and we parents must value them. Being an educator, I understand that my children have the potential to be good at what they do, and what we need to do is to provide the structure and conditions for them to be nurtured.”
Ng, whose younger son Ron plays the electric guitar in the City Harvest Children’s Church band, believes that parents need to give their children the freedom to explore and discover their own gifts and talents instead of just focusing solely on the child’s academics.
Home support also plays a huge part in a child’s development, he says. “Parents should create a conducive environment for their kids to come back home to, so that their kids are willing to share and discuss issues and experiences they encounter in school. This allows parents to share with and guide their kids to make better decisions.”
Ng says he spends quality time with each of his kids individually as often as he can. “I remembered taking part in a three-day father-child bonding camp with my first son shortly after his primary six graduation. It was a crucial period of his life as he was transitioning from primary to secondary education, and I wanted to be there for him and build rapport with him. I am going for a sandcastle bonding event with my second son soon.”
The educator’s own school career began in Guangyang Primary School, followed by Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution). Ng went on to Hwa Chong Junior College and took up a government scholarship to read psychology in Australia. That was where he met his wife-to-be. From the time he was in school, Ng had always been keen to impart knowledge—he used to tutor younger students.
Ng and his wife joined City Harvest Church in 1998, before leaving for London for a two-year Masters of Science in Educational Psychology program. They became active members of the church upon their return in 2000. Now serving under their cell group leader and zone supervisor Marie Skogvard, the husband-and-wife team actively help out in their cell group and are also leaders in their respective ministries.
Ng hopes that educators realize the full potential of their uniqueness and what they are called to do. “There are many good principals and teachers out there but there is only one ‘me’. We don’t have to be the best educator—we just need to be best at who we are and believe the class or school that is placed under our care is the right one. By doing so, we are able to reach our charges in ways others can’t.”
He feels that this is even more relevant for Christian educators as they represent Christ in the institutions they belong to, and suggests that it is important for Christian educators to pray for their students.
Ng Yeow Ling’s school North View Primary School recently launched a Kindness In Action @ NVPS as part of the Singapore Kindness Movement.
NG YEOW LING’S 4 TIPS FOR BEING A BETTER TEACHER
THINK OF OTHERS
“The focus of education is always others-driven, hence an educator seeks out the best interest of his charges. It is never a job for self-promotion and self-glorification.”
“Unlike any other job, an educator’s committment is to see your pupils through the entire academic year.”
LOOK AT POSSIBILITIES
“An educator learns by seeing with renewed vision.”
HARNESS YOUR STRENGTHS AND DISTINCTIVENESS
“Each of us is unique and brings to teaching something no one else can replace.”