Dyslexic graduate overcomes challenges to pursue teaching
His struggle motivates him to learn teaching strategies to cater to students' different learning needs
Dyslexia creates challenges for many students, but teachers can suffer from this learning disorder too.
Mr Ryan Lim, who is in his 20s, is dyslexic but managed to pursue his passion for teaching despite the odds.
He was among the 932 new and returning teachers whowere part of Nanyang Technological University- National Institute of Education's (NTU-NIE) virtual Teachers' Investiture Ceremony for the Class of 2021 held yesterday.
On how dyslexia affected his self- esteem as a student, the history and social studies teacher at Guangyang Secondary School, who earned a Bachelor of Arts (Education), told The New Paper: "My working memory is not as strong as that of people my age. This forces me to laboriously look back and forth from the whiteboard when copying notes.
"I frequently made careless spelling mistakes on even seemingly easy words. In maths and science, I would often copy numbers or spell key terms wrongly."
Mr Lim's personal experience reminds him that "students learn differently from one another and have personal circumstances that affect their learning".
"This motivated me to learn more teaching strategies so I can better cater to my students' different learning needs," he said.
Not only does Mr Lim take an interest in supporting students with special needs in his school, he has also conducted research into how augmented reality can be integrated into teaching history.
He said: "I hope to share my experience and struggle with dyslexia with my students, so that I can reinforce the message that one's circumstances need not stop one from achieving his or her goals."
Teaching was also not a walk in the park for fellow graduate Nashrah Alwi, even though it seemed like the natural choice for someone who grew up in a family of educators, from her grandfather and mother to aunts and uncles.
The 22-year-old English teacher at Ngee Ann Secondary School said: "Despite the high commitment level of the job, my family kept at it because they loved it and they loved their students.
"I see how rewarding it can be, and when students from years ago still come up to you and tell you how much of a great teacher you are, that is something I hope to experience too."
While Ms Nashrah was inspired and supported most by her mother, developing a "teacher's identity and teacher's presence", as well as not succumbing to self-doubt, were issues she dealt with while finding her feet.
She said: "I spoke to my cooperating teachers and supervisor about these problems, and they gave me a lot of insight and advice on lesson planning and lesson enactment.
"Talking to my batchmates about their experiences in school also reassured me that I was not the only one feeling that way and that it was part and parcel of the teaching journey."