EL Heon Mak

Ms Heon Mak

Growing up, I have always been one to revel in what is familiar. In fact, my choice of career as a teacher could very well be attributed to that.

I am grateful to have enjoyed school exponentially more as I advanced in years, to the point where I practically ‘lived’ in school throughout junior college, being heavily involved in my CCA, and actually did stay on campus throughout university. Having so enjoyed school, it was in a way, a natural progression for me to consider a career as an educator. Receiving the Teaching Award after my A-Levels cemented my commitment to teaching and I eventually graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences in English Language (Second Upper Honours).

Having had the privilege of teaching in 4 secondary schools pre-service, I was posted to a junior college as a Beginning Teacher to teach General Paper (GP) and Project Work (PW). Despite the initial challenges of learning to teach both subjects ‘on the job’, I deeply appreciated the complexities of both knowledge skills subjects and am fortunate to be able to guide 3 cohorts to the A-Levels for GP in my 4.5 years there. Loving the arts, I enjoyed serving as Deputy Head of the Arts and Aesthetics (A&A) Committee. Some of my proudest achievements in A&A include the National Arts Education Glow Award, in recognition of the college’s vibrant arts culture, and choreographing and performing for the finale of the bienniale combined performing arts production.

Although I often gravitate towards the familiar, my 4-year stay in a NUS Hall of Residence and the resulting exploration of diverse hall activities (to obtain sufficient points to stay on) encouraged me to reach further beyond my comfort zone. The positive experiences gleaned from this ‘adventuring’, lent me the courage to adopt the growth mindset in my hope to develop further as an educator, traversing beyond familiar terrain into the relative unknown that was curriculum planning and development. As a curriculum planning officer in CPDD, MOE, I cherished the exposure to the macro perspective of syllabus and programme reviews, gaining a deeper understanding of the wider implications in various approaches to teaching and learning for GP, PW and English Language and Linguistics (ELL). It was a joy re-discovering my passion for ELL when I took on the role of ELL Team Lead. Being the officer-in-charge of the Pre-University Seminar was also a rich learning experience, with one highlight being the opportunity to work with our political office holders, crafting speeches for the ceremonies and being privy to their hopes and plans for the future leaders of Singapore. I am also grateful to have been recognised with the MOE Service Excellence Award.

Gradually getting better acquainted with the idea of stepping outside my comfort zone, I now face the exciting prospect of being both a new mother and a new member of staff at a new-ish college. While this may have caused some measure of anxiety in a younger version of myself, I am heartened by how kind past ‘new experiences’ have been to me, and am eager to serve and contribute to the Eunoia community to the best of my ability.