Sunday, 24 February 2013

EMPOWERING THE YOUNG


How a couple nurtured and encouraged their daughter who was keen to teach.

One of the challenges which Teachers’ Christian Fellowship (TCF) Malaysia faces is the reluctance of many Christian parents to allow their children to become teachers. Even those who are teachers themselves actively discourage their children from following their footsteps. Many young people who are keen to teach fail to join the teaching profession as their parents want them to go into more lucrative careers like medicine, law, engineering or accountancy.  

TCF sought Dr and Mrs Lim Poh Ann for their views as parents on teaching as a career for young people. Their daughter, Priscilla Lim, is a teacher in Pulau Ketam under the first batch of the Teach for Malaysia (TFM) programme.

TCF: Did you actively encourage your daughter to go into teaching?

Seeing Priscilla's gentleness and her love for children, we did harbour a desire that she will one day become a pre-school teacher. So we gently encouraged her along that path. We believe very young children, who are in the most impressionable years of their lives, should be handled by qualified teachers.

However, she seems to have found a calling to teach older students. After her training stint with Youth with A Mission (YWAM) in Sabah, she felt a strong prompting from God to work under TFM. 

TCF: Reflecting on her experience as a teacher with TFM in Pulau Ketam, do you think she has made the right choice?

We believe she is spiritually sensitive and mature enough to hear from God personally. It is the right choice if it is God's choice for her even though the going might be tough.  

Frankly, some friends have hinted that we are wasting Priscilla's potential by encouraging her to go into teaching. But we do not measure her success according to how much she can earn. We know that God can use her to touch many young lives as she is a person who loves to give.

Personally, we think TFM is making a tremendous difference in our country. It has raised the bar to another level as far as setting standards for the teaching profession is concerned. We also appreciate the leadership training and exposure that Priscilla receives from TFM.  

TCF: How would you advise parents who wish to encourage their children to go into teaching?

Parents need to impress on their children's mind that teachers can make a great impact on the lives of the younger generation. They need to gently nurture in their children a love for teaching and help them to view teaching, not only as a career, but as a calling. However, the children themselves also need to pray whether it is God’s will for them to go into teaching.

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.  – Tom Brokaw

The above article was first published in the newsletter of Teachers’ Christian Fellowship (TCF), Malaysia, 2012, Vol 24 Issue 4. Used with permission.

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