Teacher Assistant, AWWA School
For the petite teacher assistant Ms Lau Yun Yi, her favourite movie is none other than Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars On Earth). Featuring Darsheel Safary in the lead role of an autistic 8-year-old student, the 2007 Indian movie explores the story of a teacher (played by Aamir Khan) who helps the said student achieve his dreams.
That is also what Ms Lau aims to do in her work at AWWA School. No one is more suitable than her because of her best attribute of quality – love for the kids. “I like to learn more about them, and to work with them. I find that every kid is special and unique in their own ways.”
Besides a love for the kids, it is also important that a teacher assistant be patient. This is because the students, with their autistic conditions ranging from low to high, often challenge them. In this situation, she has this strategy: “I stay calm, and explain to the student what the appropriate behaviour is. In addition, if they hurt other students or anyone, they have to apologise.” Her course, WSQ Diploma in Social Service, also came in handy in facilitating a better understanding of her charges. In one module, they were taught the family life cycle concept. Through the use of this concept, Ms Lau is now able to put herself in her student’s shoes, to be aware of their point of view in how they communicate with teachers, family or peers, and understand where they come from in terms of their behaviour. To her, the course is definitely relevant to those who want to understand more about social service, and make a difference.
That being said, if she could have super-power for a day, she would like the ability of mind-reading, to be able to delve into her students’ minds. This is because some of them throw tantrums, or cry, or are angered for no rhyme or reason, and yet they are not fully able to express themselves as to what is going on, or they just refuse to say. With mind-reading, she would be in a better position to know how the particular behaviour arose, and thus provide the necessary support to help them alleviate the emotion.
Outside of her work at AWWA School, Ms Lau is an adventurer and lover of nature. She loves to travel to nature places, and is currently contemplating a refresher course in diving in the near future, given that her open-water diving course was a long 4 years ago, and she haven’t really had the chance to dive more. To her, it can be pretty boring living in the city and looking at high-rise buildings all day long. So why not look under water, and be close to nature? In the meantime, there is one quote that inspires Ms Lau on a daily basis, a phrase by Frank Tyger (24 December 1929 – 2 May 2011), American editorial cartoonist, columnist for Trenton Times (now known as Times of Trenton), New Jersey.
“Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.”
To her, you can do what you like, but whatever you do, it must bring you happiness, which is why Ms Lau eagerly looks forward to each day with the kids.