Today, we will get to know one of our most passionate and dedicated educators, Tan Yin Xuan!
With a love for working and teaching people, Yin Xuan’s foray into the tech industry to empower and educate her students definitely makes for an interesting story! Find out more about why she brings a unique perspective to her classroom!
Hi Yin Xuan, can you tell us more about yourself and your journey into teaching?
I am a graduate from NUS Sociology and I love to playing games or watch shows. I’m currently hooked onto the Animal Crossing video game and I also like to watch K- Dramas. I’m passionate about working with and teaching people, especially the kids! I participated in a community service project where we were mentors for low-income children back in 2019, and felt very inspired and had a great sense of fulfilment whenever my mentee manages to understand my guidance in her schoolwork. From there, I realized that I would love to teach children in the future!
Interesting! What made you decide to journey into teaching coding?
I was first exposed to coding at Coding Lab, through Scratch, the visual programming language. I was really amazed at the things we can do with a language meant for beginners and children, from simple things like controlling the actions of the sprite, to difficult challenges like making a game with different levels. From then, I learnt to program on other platforms like App Inventor, Thunkable and Python, and discovered the immense possibilities that you can achieve through coding!
It’s really remarkable that you decided to take up the challenge to learn coding. Why do you think it’s important to do so?
I think the logical way of thinking and problem solving behind coding (computational thinking!) is something that we can use in our daily lives! We often encounter problems in our lives that seem extremely difficult to solve, but coding skills help us to solve them. Back in school, I took a module on computational thinking where we had to make use of computational thinking to solve a real-life problem. Only then did I realise the importance of such skills.
What was your experience like picking up coding?
I was quite excited to be learning something new as I knew that coding is something that is very useful. Initially, I was a little apprehensive but I decided to give it a shot since I had the opportunity (along with great resources) to teach and continue to learn about coding!
With a background in Sociology, do you have a unique perspective that you bring to the classroom?
Sociology is a multifaceted discipline that trains us to think critically about social issues and relations. This has allowed me to view teaching and learning as a dual-way relationship, where teachers are not just simply instructing the students, but that the students also play a role.
“I believe that forming good relationships with them will help them to do well in their coding journey!”
That’s amazing! How has your journey been in Coding Lab as an educator been like?
I have been with Coding Lab since 2020 during the circuit breaker, so my first few months of teaching were all online. Initially, it was definitely challenging having to get used to the Zoom functions, and having to make sure that the students can focus while being at home is definitely an issue. That being said, comparing that to physical classes, teaching online has its perks as well, as some of the students, especially the older ones, who may be shyer in physical classes, are more willing to interact online!
That’s really wonderful to hear! What motivates you to keep teaching?
Everyone working here is really friendly and I’ve met many lovely students and parents over the years! The challenge of learning new things is also something I’ve enjoyed. I love seeing the smiles on the students’ faces whenever they manage to apply what they have learned, such as the Scratch students making their own project that they’re proud of, or having the Python students run their hundred lines of code successfully.
Do you have any stories you would like to share from your classroom?
I had a Scratch 1 student who “complained” from the start that coding was so hard as there were many blocks and sprites to code, but at the end of the day, when she successfully made her “I Can Touch and Count!” project (which was split into two lessons), she was so excited to show everyone her project! When I asked her if she could make something like that again, she happily told me “YES, it was fun” and was eventually able to make something that she was proud of in her Hackathon as well.
“Be friendly with them and joke around with them (but at the same time, establish some rules so that they won’t be out of control)!”
Last but not least, is there any advice you would like to pass on to other aspiring educators?
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! I did not expect myself to be teaching years ago, much less teaching coding, something that seemed extremely foreign just a couple of years ago!
Thank you for sharing your journey with us Yin Xuan. We look forward to seeing you inspire and nurture the future generation into becoming future leaders!
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