Special Needs Teacher, APSN
Khaiyisha would like to tell those thinking of joining the social service sector, or who would like to give back to society in some way to “Go for it” if you have that voice or feeling in your heart. “Start from that small fire,” she asserts.
Certainly, that fire is what has propelled her onto an unexpected, yet meaningful, mid-career switch that she is now confidently flourishing in.
Before becoming a teacher at the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN), Khaiyisha was teaching in a mainstream school for about nine years.
Throughout her time there, she came across students facing challenges at school, which made her contemplate the assistance they—and others like them— would require in order to succeed. In her words, something “clicked in her mind”, and she realised she could do something more to help them reach their full potential.
In her last two years teaching at a mainstream school, Khaiyisha was also studying for her Degree in Counselling. Inspired by a lecturer’s advice, and through exploring options to upgrade her professional skills, Khaiyisha eventually enrolled for an Advanced Certificate in Supported Employment (ACSE), offered by SSI. She was the only applicant not nominated by a employer, yet the ACSE was exactly what she was looking for. Khaiyisha gained industry know-how on how to support students with disabilities and build up their employment capability. Sharing by other professionals with diverse backgrounds in the course, also allowed her a better view of the disability sub sector in Singapore.
||"Just keep going. Always believe that things will be better. One day, everything will fall in place. This is what is keeping me going."
An incredible opportunity to work with APSN presented itself to Khaiyisha, midway through the course. Although her decision to enrol in the ACSE course was purely to improve herself, it was also her chance to put all her learning to use. Thus, Khaiyisha decided to seize the opportunity,and applied for the position at APSN.
The knowledge she gained from her experience with ACSE has helped her to become more effective and intelligent in working with students with a diversity of special needs. She spends her day teaching personal management skills to her students and helping them to strengthen their character, learn how to communicate effectively with others and behave appropriately in public.
Khaiyisha finds her work very rewarding, especially when her students achieve particular milestones. She is especially proud of them when they tell her they managed to say “Hello” to their neighbour, or when they show her selfies they take with their family.
Still, Khaiyisha is far from resting on her laurels and wants to learn more from the abundance of information and views out there.
“Often, we think we know enough of a particular subject…But we do not know what we do not know. For instance, we might think we know how to talk to people, yet there are more ways to engage others in conversation than the ways we already know. That’s why I am motivated to keep on learning to find ways to impart various techniques to my students, and provide them to the skills and support they need to succeed in life,” she shares.
One can be sure that Khaiyisha will continue to sharpen her skills and acquire more knowledge to benefit her students and her work.