Free School Teacher – Lee Poh Peng

Free School Teacher - Lee Poh Peng

Exemplary Nalandian Volunteer

Text by Yap Sze Yinn

Mdm Lee Poh Peng is one of the most experienced teachers one might meet, with 27 years of teaching in the bag. For the last 5 years, she has been serving as the Deputy Principal of Serdang Baru Chinese Primary School, as well as carrying out her duties as a teacher-counselor.

Initially, Mdm Lee’s ambitions did not involve teaching. Due to financial constraints her family was facing then, her dream of pursuing studies overseas could not be fulfilled. Thus, she ventured into teaching to support her family. Although at first she felt disappointed for not being able to go abroad, she came to thoroughly enjoy her years at MPKI in Ipoh. Over the years, Mdm Lee continuously sought to improve herself by attending many courses related to education. Having attended a 3-month counselling course a few years back enabled her to achieve her current post as a Deputy Principal and teacher-counsellor.

However, teaching did not always go as smooth as she might have thought. Mdm Lee had her third child at the age of 39. At the same time, she was teaching Standard 6 classes. Having to juggle between her three kids and a whole class as well, the stress piled on and Mdm Lee felt herself buckling under the pressure, emotionally as well as physically. She pulled herself out of teaching for a short while to attend a course that would help her regain her fortitude. Looking back, she deems this as one of the greatest trials in her career and even her life, but ultimately the experience made her stronger than ever.

As a counsellor, Mdm Lee is able to communicate with students quite well. She commented that it is hard for her to stay detached from a student’s personal troubles as she guides them
through life. “There were times when I would be incredibly emotional; but I knew I had to pull myself out of it,” she said. Nevertheless, throughout the 5 years as a counsellor, she has learnt to appreciate the fundamental role teachers play in a child’s life. A student’s enthusiasm towards their studies only mirrors the approach the teachers develop in their teaching. Beyond that, she firmly believes that family is still the most integral part to develop a happy child. Mdm Lee’s career in education has been full of tribulations, but she does not see herself retiring any time soon! She loves her work and says, “A job that requires you to communicate with other people cannot possibly be boring, but would only become more interesting with time!