Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Women’s History Month: Madam Emily Hong Yin Wah

In conjunction with Women’s History Month, we’re featuring women who have made a significant difference in the world of education.

Madam Emily Hong was born in Kluang, Johor and has been in the education line for 33 years. Her first experience in teaching started when she was in Form 6, tutoring a student from a Chinese private school. She felt a sense of fulfillment from enabling someone to understand what he needed to know.

When asked about what motivated her to pursue education, Madam Emily recalled her days as a student and two of her favourite teachers.

“I was motivated by two teachers. One of them is a very pretty young English Primary school teacher. I enjoyed her lessons and I looked forward to the drama we have to put up every year. Another teacher who inspired me was my Geography teacher. His lessons were never boring, there were lots of laughter and we all looked forward to him coming to class. Not only that, he was a friend to all of us.”

“When I started to think about my career, I thought, “Why not teaching?” I applied for a teaching scholarship from the state, got the scholarship and graduated with a BSc in Biology from University Malaya.”

In year 2000, Madam Emily became a Principal in SMK Puchong which was where she found a team of hardworking and committed teachers to work with. Together with the team, she managed to see the results in the school improve, win district level competitions and a decrease in discipline problems during her time there. Madam Emily helped turned the school from a run-down school with disciplinary problems and a high truancy rate to a school which won the district- and state-level in “Kebersihan, Kesihatan dan Keselamatan (3K)”* competitions, as well as in athletics and co-curricular activities.

*Translated from Bahasa Malaysia: Cleanliness, Safety, and Conducive environment

“I love the school despite the challenges for I believe every child is an asset.”

Later when she moved on to being Principal of SMK Assunta, Madam Emily helped the school raise RM 1.2 million to build a modern Art Centre, together with the help of teachers, the school board, the PIBG (Persatuan Ibubapa-Guru / Parent-Teacher Association), and Assunta alumni Datin Kathleen Yeoh. This art center was used to conduct the school’s enrichment programmes including art, music, literature, co-curricular and cultural activities.

Today, Madam Emily’s is a woman who is passionate about sharing her ideas and experiences with the FrogAsia team to enable and inspire teachers and school heads to be 21st century educators. She believes that good educators can inspire students to be self-motivated, creative and prepared for their roles in the future.

“I would give the thumbs up for any woman who wants to pursue a career in education because I strongly believe education helps build a person, the family, the community and the nation. Teachers shape the future because they educate the leaders of tomorrow. It is a noble profession.”

The energetic woman concluded with advice from a quote by Lola May, "There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly."

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