In the second of a four-part series celebrating teachers, Jasmine Ho, a volunteer in the Tuition Ministry, tells us why she loves to tutor youths.
Jasmine Ho came to City Harvest Church in 2002 when she was starting her second year at the National University of Singapore. “As a young Christian, I saw many others serving in the church as ushers, photographers, TV crew, song leaders, choir; and there were those in hospitality and the bookstore ministry. I wanted to be part of a ministry too, to serve God with what He has given me,” she says.
She started asking God what she could do. After many months of prayer, she heard an announcement for the Tuition Ministry recruitment drive. “Immediately, I knew: this was it!” she recalls.
LEARNING TO OVERCOME DOUBTS
Back in the day, CHC’s tuition programmes were managed by City College (a private school which began life as City Harvest Education Centre). “The first two years of ministry were tough! I was given one student to teach each year. Both were sitting for their ‘O’ levels with CHEC and they were older than me,” Jasmine recounts.
Needless to say, the first few tuition sessions were fairly awkward. Over the next two years, Jasmine constantly doubted herself and it became hard for her to serve. “Into the second year of ministry, I thought that I was only given one student to teach because I was not good enough to teach a class,” she shares with a laugh. “I thought they wanted to minimise their risk by giving me only one student.”
She later found out that those first two years were really her training ground. “Because I was found faithful in doing what I did, Kenny offered me a teaching position with CHEC,” she said. Kenny Low was the principal of CHEC.
“That was how I started my 10 years of full-time teaching in CHEC,” Jasmine said. Even while she was teaching in CHEC, Jasmine continued serving in the church’s Tuition Ministry and helping to run the ministry.
After Jasmine left CHEC in 2014, she kept serving. “It is the one thing I am good at. As Pastor Bobby once said, ‘If you only have talent at one thing, just do it’,” she shared. Bobby Chaw is CHC’s executive pastor.
Her years with CHEC and the Tuition Ministry gave her the experience to meet students where they are. “For slower students, I scaffold and plan their practices to ensure they progress level by level,” she shares. “I tend to provide more help and guidance for them.” After class, she would text each student to make sure they understood what she had taught.
STEPPING INTO A NEW ERA
However, when the Covid pandemic hit the shores of Singapore and the island went into lockdown, CHC’s tuition programmes came to a sudden halt. Jasmine found herself without a ministry to serve in.
In August 2021, CHC relaunched its Church Without Walls programme. Jasmine started serving in other short-term CWW projects, like helping Dialect Service deliver gift packs. She even roped in her father, who is a non-believer and her 6-year-old nephew to help. “But nothing beats teaching,” she admits.
The good news came when tuition programmes restarted as a CWW initiative. Its focus at that time was on students preparing to sit for their GCE ‘N’ and ‘O’ Levels that October. Jasmine was one of the volunteers providing online tuition to these students.
“Teaching lessons on Zoom was tough and I had to think of ways to ensure that I could still explain and teach the concepts clearly and in a way that students could understand,” Jasmine relates. To ensure a smooth process, she conducted trial lessons with her friends several times before the actual lesson.
2023 marks her second year serving as a tutor with CWW and Jasmine could not be happier. “I just want to serve the youths and use the talent that God has given me,” she says. “I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach and mentor them.”
She adds, “As a tutor, I want to impart the knowledge that the youths need. The most rewarding thing to me is seeing them nodding their head after listening to my explanations. The smiles on their faces as they say, ‘’Cher, after your explanation, I understand so much better!’” (“Cher” is a slang term for “teacher”.)
To those who are at a loss as to which ministry they should serve in, Jasmine says, “Try a ministry that speaks to your heart. Once you take the first step, God will lead you to the right door.”