Why would you give up such a good opportunity? Are you sure? You worked so hard to get there! My decision to stop practising law and teach instead was often met with shock and disbelief. However, it was an organic and inevitable decision for me to leave my position as a litigation lawyer at a top-tier law firm in Singapore. Akin to a homing pigeon, I had no qualms giving up the apparent allure and prestige of being a lawyer to find my way back to where my heart belongs – the lifelong profession of educating, empowering and inspiring young minds.
Teaching has always been second nature to me. When I was schooling, it was commonplace for my schoolmates who had trouble understanding various subjects to seek help from me. This was due to my innate ability to distill complex ideas into easily comprehensible information and to explain complicated concepts in a clear and simple fashion. Interestingly, it was through these exchanges that I discovered my budding passion for teaching. Accordingly, upon graduating from junior college, I instinctively ventured into tutoring on a part-time basis as a source of income, during which I attained my “Ikigai” – which is a Japanese concept for “a reason for being”. With the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear to me that my career as a lawyer was no more than a short hiatus from fulfilling my calling as an educator.
Some may ask, “Why the English language?”
Having taught nearly the full spectrum of subjects offered to Primary and Secondary school students throughout the years, I derived the greatest joy and satisfaction from imparting my knowledge and expertise in the English language. In my view, the English language, although an art form, is a practical tool of communication. Mastery of the language is essential for the next generation of leaders, especially in this digital day and age where information can be rapidly disseminated with a click of the finger. With this, the ability to be an outstanding orator and compelling communicator has never been so important.
On a more personal note, I understand first-hand the struggles of learning English as a non-native speaker and the difficulties of excelling in it. Drawing from my past experience as a student coming from a Mandarin-speaking family has better prepared me as an educator in the English language. It was through this personal experience that I was bestowed with a thorough understanding of how I could cater to the potential needs of students from varying backgrounds. All in all, I trust that in leading by example, my students will be inspired to pursue their own progress in mastering the use of the English language. Confucius suggests, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Thankfully, the responsibility of developing students through the medium of English is hardly work as it is not only my mission but also a job I love.