Alissa S. Mendoza currently teaches at Chatsworth International School in Singapore that uses Primary Years Program (PYP) of International Baccalaureate Education. Teacher Sassa a seasoned educator, comes with more than 15 years of teaching experience, is a multi-skilled and talented Filipino national who sees teaching as an opportunity that is beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world says Nelson Mandela. In support of his statement, Education facilitates learning to acquire knowledge and changes people into something better. An all rounded education from the early stage until tertiary is important in the upbringing of a future game changer, leaders, catalyst of change who are able to take on the challenges of an ever-changing world.
However, education cannot be reinforced without the dedicated individuals who are committed to transform the world, in this matter, to revolutionize and give light to a different perspective through the eyes of every child. Who portrays this role? Our Teachers also known as our Educators. They are the people behind the world’s development. From ages, teachers have been the driving force on igniting talents and capabilities of a young mind. A well-developed society needs a new generation of talented and honest youth. This youth is trained and taught by teachers. Thus, they are the architects of tomorrow.
It is very important for us here in Supermomglobal to share with all of you the value of our beloved teachers. Therefore, we have interviewed an inspirational individual who is not just successful in the education field, but also continuously making every fellow teachers proud to be called teachers because of her contribution to the high-quality standards of teaching. We asked her how she see’s the importance of early childhood education and why is it utmost imperative during this fundamental years for a kid to be exposed to a suitable way of teaching and learning.
How did you develop your passion towards child learning development? When did it ever start to begin with?
Ms. Sassa : I was 18 when I discovered my passion to teach. My involvement in our church’s youth group ministry had given me the validation that I have the heart to teach. I would normally join youth camps and lead a group every summer. This really made me pursue and apply for a specialization in order to be able to teach.
How did you discover that you want to be an Educator or a Teacher?
Ms. Sassa: There was so much joy teaching children and working with kids of different ages. That time when I was really active in my church ministry, it made me realize that it was something that I could do for a living. I actually come from a family of educators, so I guess it runs in the family.
If you are going to educate a child between the age of 3-6 years old (most commonly known as the fundamental years of a growing kid), what would be the learning journey/ strategy to drive the key development of a child (in terms of verbal, written and capability to read)?
Ms. Sassa: Let children play! Children make sense of the world around them through play. They develop their socio-emotional, cognitive and psycho motor skills through different forms of play. They learn to problem solve, communicate and be creative in various ways according to their preference. Structured or unstructured, kids exposure to play is very vital. Child readiness is also one factor to note as each kids develops on different timing, some are early some are just right on their age.
What do you think are the most effective learning methodologies for the kids of this generation?
Ms. Sassa: Kids learn best when learning involves things that interests them, this is called “student agency”. Learning becomes more voluntary for the children, making it more meaningful. Let the children pursue what they are curious about,teachers have to be flexible and able to adjust on how they see fit depending on the interest of a kid. Kids will take ownership on their learning if the interest is there without being forced. Another thing I like employing in my classroom is the fact that “mistakes are okay and encouraged.” When kids are comfortable making mistakes, they learn better and become more adept in problem-solving situations.
Could you share some of your success stories on your experience being an educator?
Ms. Sassa: I take time to give every child in my classroom a chance to be successful. I give a lot of encouragement. I always focus on what kids CAN do and motivate them consistently. I’ve had a lot of success working with kids who tend to have behavioral problems. Gaining their trust is the most important thing. Children need to know that you are on their side, that you are someone who believes in what they are capable of, no matter what. This builds up their confidence and helps them work better in and outside of the classroom and become a better version of themselves.
What are the most common challenges you experienced when it comes to handling kids that has no classroom experience or first time to be in the school environment? What are the ways that you used to pacify them?
Ms. Sassa: Every kid is different, some kids can easily be independent on their first exposure in school and some kids needs more time to get themselves familiarize with their new environment. Some kids become more comfortable if you pair them with another student in the classroom. I try to look at different personalities and see which ones match. I usually ask for volunteers who are willing to become a buddy for the day or the week, having that one constant person for the beginning of their school experience helps with consistency and familiarity. Some kids, on the other hand, prefer to be with the teacher and I would give that extra attention for the first few days of class and eventually wean them from it. There are also kids who prefer to observe and be alone for a bit and I give them their space as well. It’s a matter of really observing a child and see which strategy would be beneficial to them.
As a passionate educator, do you agree that a challenged kid must be given a chance to be exposed in a normal school set-up in order to adapt like any other kids?
Ms. Sassa: To a certain extent, yes. It also depends on the kind of challenge a kid faces. Is it neurological? physical? behavioral? Is being in a normal school set-up be more beneficial or would it do more harm? There are many factors to consider. But I do believe that students should be taught how to be kind to everyone. Students being exposed to children with special needs or challenges help them become more compassionate individuals. I think as educators, it is always important to instill understanding and kindness to your students by teaching them about how people have different needs.
What is your aspiration towards child development?
Ms. Sassa: More and more research shows the benefit of play to a child’s development. I hope that more schools would give value to the importance of play and teachers get more training in play-based learning. I believe that if teachers are well equipped with the ways of teaching through play, all the more that we can maximize not just the potential of the children to learn but for us to teach them effectively as well.
There are so many teachers in the world, but it takes one ardent individual to be a teacher. “Idealistic teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own”,said famous Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis.
We hope that you all enjoyed reading our feature about Teacher Sassa. Tell us what you think about the importance of early education and why is it necessary for the teachers of this generation to really understand each kids during this fundamental years. Drop us a comment below and we would love to know what you think, because Supermomglobal always cares.
To learn more about Miss Alissa Mendoza’s biography and experience, visit her linkedin account at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alissa-mendoza-17573a85