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“Heart” work pays off for two lecturers

The first NP-level teaching award recognises and celebrates two of the polytechnic’s best lecturers


When a student fractured his leg in an accident last semester, Dr Lim Gaik Bee, a lecturer from the School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology, visited him in the hospital to teach him personally. 

Following his recuperation days, she also arranged with his other lecturers to go to his home to administer the common tests that he had missed. 

This is just one of the many acts of dedication – some big, some small, performed on a daily basis by lecturers who put their hearts into their work and their students.

In May, Dr Lim became one of two recipients for the first-ever NP Academic Award (Teaching), a polytechnic-level teaching award. Sharing the same honour with her was Mr Matthew Pon Tien Chee from the School of Business & Accounting (BA). Both lecturers were presented with the prestigious award by Principal Mr Chia Mia Chiang, during their respective schools’ graduation ceremony.

“It is a little flattering but I’m happy that NP recognises our efforts in teaching,” said Mr Pon. The six-time recipient of the School Teaching Award (STA) was pleasantly shocked when he was informed of the news, as he did not know of the distinction between the awards.

In the past years, there were only two academic awards for staff namely, the STA – a school-level teaching award, and the NP Academic Award (Development) – a polytechnic-level award given to schools who develop new and innovative teaching and learning strategies.

The NP Academic Award (Teaching) was introduced after a review of the awards system. Regular reviews are conducted to ensure that the system complements the current teaching climate and practice in NP.

“The award process has put in place a structure for staff recognition and development over the years. The recipients for this new award should be able to contribute to the teaching and learning climate of the whole polytechnic, not just of a particular diploma or module,” said Ms Shirley Williams, Director of the Teaching & Learning Centre (TLC). The TLC is responsible for training and developing both current staff and new hires – many of who do not have a background in teaching.

Both lecturers reflected that their teaching experience thus far have been most rewarding.

“I would say it’s a learning experience, and I’m still learning! Something that works very well with one group may fall flat with another, so you’re always on your toes, adjusting to the group you are teaching,” said Dr. Lim.

While seeing his students grow psychologically and academically gives him a great sense of satisfaction, Mr Pon also pointed out that since that the students, having come from different backgrounds, have sometimes taught him “a thing or two about life”.

“So it doesn’t mean that the teacher is always teaching the students. Sometimes our students also teach us to be patient as well, especially the naughty ones,” he quipped.

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