Principals' hands-on approach changes lives
For both of these principals, one retiring and one moving to another school, there is one thing in common.
They have directly involved themselves with their students, and have seen how being hands-on have shaped their lives.
Their contributions, and those of retiring principals and senior education officers who had served as principals, were recognised at the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals yesterday.
Mr Wong Siew Hoong, director-general of Education at MOE, presented the Letter of Appointment to 61 principals.
Madam Tan Bin Eng, 61, was principal of St Andrews Junior School (SAJS) for six years. She has retired after being in the education business for 33 years.
"My sessions with them are to make sure they won't give up on themselves.
"When they look at me with bright eyes full of hope, that's my greatest takeaway," she said.
"Becoming a teacher was the best decision of my life.
"Since I was young, I've always wanted to do things that would help people.
"I find a sense of purpose in teaching - to nurture young people. And this passion continued to grow over the years."
When they look at me with bright eyes full of hope, that's my greatest takeaway.Madam Tan Bin Eng
As SAJS principal, she had individual chats with Primary 6 pupils to encourage them for the Primary School Leaving Examinations.
Before SAJS, Madam Tan was vice-principal at Jiemin Primary School and principal of Tampines Primary School for seven years.
She forged a strong bond with her staff as well, emphasising that they should constantly think of new effective methods to engage students.
"As times change, teaching methods change as well. If we can grow our teachers, it will impact the students positively," Madam Tan said.
At the ceremony, Madam Rabiathul Bazriya, 48, was appointed as principal of Evergreen Primary School, after being principal of Seng Kang Primary School for seven years.
She has been in the education industry for 27 years.
She, too, interacts with her students on an individual level.
"Some of the students will come to me and share their life stories with me. They would even give me suggestions for improvements to the school," said Madam Rabiathul.
When the school underwent the MOE initiative, Programme for Rebuilding and Improving Existing schools (PRIME) in 2011, she asked each teacher to make a wish list of what they would like to see.
She said: "They gave me suggestions like having an interactive board to make learning fun, a "reading park" corner for students to donate and read books, and a staff lounge with a sofa and fridge. As long as it's reasonable and sustainable, I'd implement it."
For Madam Rabiathul, her hand in shaping her students' lives was especially meaningful.
"As a principal, my students, staff and parents come first. It's the impact that I've made in people's lives that's the greatest gift.
"Some of my ex-students even wrote to me saying that they've become teachers because of me.
"That was very heartwarming."