Next up, we have Christie who is currently a Year 4 History major. Christie did her MOE internship at Whitley Secondary School and enjoyed her five-weeks stint there. Read on to find out what she feels about teaching History and how it should be taught!
1. Why did you decide to apply for the MOE internship?
Initially I had no plans for my final summer break, but when some of my Year 3 friends were discussing about internships, I decided to apply for one “just for fun”. The MOE Internship was particularly appealing because of the reasonably short commitment time of five weeks, so it fit my schedule perfectly. Many of my friends have gone through the MOE internship programme, so that perked my interest. I have once considered teaching as one of my career options too. :)
2. Tell us more about your internship.
The internship was five weeks long from the end of June to end of July. Prior to that, all interns had to attend a 3-day training programme organized by MOE. The MOE trainers, some who were teachers, shared with us the core values of being an educator, some teaching strategies, classroom management and their personal experiences as educators. All the information came in handy during the actual 5-week stint.
I did some relief teaching, actual teaching, and attended their CCA and staff meetings. I was assigned Social Studies and History as my teaching subjects, and I was attached to five Upper Secondary classes. For the Social Studies class, I taught on “Conflict in Northern Ireland”, and this was also tested for their upcoming Common Test. (I hope they did well, haha!) For the Secondary 4 Pure History class, I got to choose a case study from their textbook, and I chose the Dutch East Indies.
I feel that the knowledge I gained from my History classes in NUS helped me tremendously in my lesson preparation.
3. Share with us about your fellow colleagues and how did they make your internship stint more enjoyable?
Oh, I really enjoyed the company of the fellow interns; most of them are undergraduates from NUS. The workroom where we were seated at was a place where we shared our stories, funny anecdotes about “what happened in class” and did our work. The other full-time teachers were also extremely helpful, genuine and friendly. They showed us around the staffroom and were very open with sharing about their experiences as educators. All in all, I am really thankful to have had such wonderful colleagues. :)
4. Having gone through this internship, was there any similiarity/difference in how history was taught when you were a student as compared to now?
The content taught in the Combined History syllabus remained largely the same (The Two World Wars, Single-Party States, and the Cold War), but the way History was taught was quite different. The school placed a heavy emphasis on “visual learning”, so mind-maps and the use of PowerPoint slides was a key feature of their lessons. It was not uncommon for teachers to show videos once a week during their History lessons. Some students could also remember the content better and were more engaged when different forms of media were used. So, for my Pure History class, I let them watch Max Havelaar, and drew parallels to what they learnt in the textbook. This was quite different from when I was a student, as watching videos and having media was considered a luxury.
5. In your opinion, how do you think history should be taught to students these days?
No longer can a History teacher read directly from a textbook. I think History has to “come alive” and be taught in a creative manner. Many students, across all levels, have burning questions about History, but they do not see it as having much “value”. Thus, the teacher has to help the student realize the value of History in his/her personal life, and how events and people from the past have shaped our world today.
A lot of it has to come from the teacher’s own passion for the subject matter too. I believe his/her enthusiasm can rub off on the students.
6. What was the most memorable part of your internship?
It’s really difficult to choose “one” memorable aspect of my internship, as every day was memorable. Well, one of the most memorable parts of my internship was probably teaching. It was really fun, trying to engage the students and even answer some of their “thought-provoking” questions on issues like “culture”, equality, meritocracy and multiracialism. Also, inculcating life values and helping them reach their full potential. :)
Commemorating Racial Harmony Day and the events that led up to National Day was another highlight. Also, on the last week of the internship, a few of us remaining interns got to accompany the students to watch the “LKY” musical. It was also part of the school’s “SG50” celebration, as National Day was around the corner. It was a real treat!
Also…on another unrelated point, I must say the wonton mee stall in the canteen was definitely a major highlight for me because it is so delicious! I think I ate it almost every day. Haha!
7. So…will you be moulding the future of our nation after you graduate? Haha
Haha, maybe! :) I would highly recommend the MOE Teaching Internship Programme to any History undergraduate who is considering teaching as a career option! The best part about the Teaching Internship Programme (TIP) would be the safe environment to make “mistakes” and grow. From my experience, the teaching fraternity is very supportive and encouraging.
If you wish to know more about her internship experience, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org