University of Chicago
Written by: Jeron Sia (20S7J) and Rachelle Chua (20S65)
Every year, the University of Chicago provides newly admitted students with the opportunity to nominate stellar educators who have changed their lives through the latter’s lessons. This year, we are proud to share that two HCI educators have been conferred this prestigious award, Mr Isaac Koh (Lecturer / Economics) and Ms Liew Pei Li (Principal Consultant / English).
Mr Koh humbly opines that such an award is but an additional affirmation, as he finds the improvement of his students a more important barometer. His passion for teaching stems from his students – the joy of interacting with them, the thrill of opening their minds to new knowledge, and above all, the invaluable bonds forged with them.
To Mr Koh, who views teaching as his calling, improving his lessons does not only involve the enhancement of his pedagogies, but also finding new ways to touch his students emotionally. He believes that being an educator goes beyond the immediate academic milestones, but rather, the ability to reach out and care for students.
When he was asked of his reaction to his students nominating him for this award, he expresses his gratitude for their recognition, stating that “it is very kind of (them) to recognise the small contribution (he has) made towards (their) bright futures.” Moving forward, he hopes to continue touching the lives of his students, and become the best teacher he can.
Ms Liew’s thoughts mirror Mr Koh’s, as she reminisces upon how her dream profession has always been being a language teacher. “Like most children, I was an avid reader, so I aspired to be a language teacher, and I could continue to read story books every day,” explained Ms Liew.
Nevertheless, her students have gradually become her main driving force. She elaborates that she is “always inspired by the insights that students share during class discussions, the outstanding research they produce, and (their ability) to rise up to the occasion.” She wishes to impart her appreciation of the joy of learning into her students, encouraging them to embrace the boundless possibilities that it brings. Demonstrating her continuous enthusiasm in her vocation, Ms Liew comments, “My hope is that I will continue to love what I do each day!”
Above all, she is appreciative of the effort and thought behind Shi Kai’s nomination, noting that after you leave HCI’s gates and embark on a tertiary education, “it is often easier to get caught up in the excitement of being accepted into [one’s] dream school; to be swept along in the frenzy of preparing for a new stage in [one’s] life; or to just choose to chill and not put in the [nomination]”.
Finally, Ms Liew wishes Shi Kai well in his future, and thanks him for his contributions to the Humanities Programme. She said, “Thank you for all the wonderful memories in #HwachDeBAEs and #HCHumanatees. You have always demonstrated drive in achieving your goals, clarity in your thought and expression, as well as thoughtfulness in your interactions. May you continue to bloom where you are planted, and find joy in the everyday things around you!”