Let’s get to know our wonderful educator, Salena Arsad! Having had experience teaching core subjects with the Ministry of Education, she decided to broaden her horizons and challenged herself to learn and teach programming at Coding Lab. Her bright and cheerful disposition is sure to encourage her students to learn as best as they can!
Hi Salena, tell us more about yourself!
Hello, I’m Salena and I graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a Master of Education specialising in Developmental Psychology!
It’s amazing that you graduated with a Master of Education! How did your passion for education ignite?
I would say that my passion for teaching appeared gradually. Just before I got my undergraduate degree, there was this period of uncertainty whereby one would decide which career path to follow. My family and friends suggested that I should try teaching because of my character and personality. I was sceptical but took a leap of faith and it kind of snowballed from there. Now, I’ve set my mind that teaching is my path.
What made you take the leap from teaching core subjects in primary schools to teaching programming at Coding Lab?
I guess a bout of bravery to dive into something entirely new. I just felt that it was time for me to challenge myself and see whether I would be able to open up and pick up a whole new world of knowledge. It’s never too late to learn a new skill!
Why do you think it is important to teach coding to our kids?
Over the years, there’s been this continuous shift towards a more technologically inclined society. From the initiation of coding classes as a Primary 6 post-PSLE programme to the recent Home-Based Learning during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can see why we need to be tech-savvy in order to survive in the coming years.
That’s why I think that it is important to teach coding to kids as it will give them a head start to live in this type of society. Of course, in coding, there are other aspects such as analytical skills and problem-solving skills, and all these are relevant in everyday life too.
What encourages you to keep teaching?
What keeps me going is the determination to learn as much as I can (in coding, teaching, and even from my students!), my intrinsic motivation to nurture the future generation and the sense of satisfaction I get when I see positive end results. Plus, where else would you get a group of children who would look at you starry-eyed and wowing as they realise that they are learning interesting materials? But classes are not always fun and games! There are some instances of seriousness, and there will also be excitement and laughter.
“Where else would you get a group of children who would look at you starry-eyed and wowing as they realise that they are learning interesting materials?”
What is your most memorable teaching experience thus far?
One of my most memorable teaching experiences was during a Young Computer Scientists class. Our project that day was one that would draw circles in different sizes and colours. When I showed my students the demo project and pressed random keys to create a random artwork, they were immediately mesmerised and couldn’t wait to programme it.
As they coded, there were countless “Wow”s and “Wah”s from so many students. One particular student was so intrigued and touched that he got to learn something so cool that he started thanking me for teaching him this fantastic project. I was so amused at his reaction that I remember it to this day.
Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m an avid reader so I enjoy reading a variety of materials such as fiction books, manhwa (South Korean comics), and manga. Random fun fact: I finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 8 hours straight back when I was in Primary 5. I was such a bookworm even as a kid. Besides reading, I also enjoy exploring new places like cafes and limited-time attractions. It’s so fun to wander around new locations and get lost along the way. What an adventure!
Thank you, Salena, for sharing your exciting journey with us! We know that you’ll continue to inspire and impart worthwhile coding knowledge to our young and budding coders.
(Written by Zulaikha)
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