God Has A Plan
by Ms Wong Ee Yuing (2004)
Irene is the current TCF Co-Chairperson and Principal of Sunbeam Kindergarten. She worships at Bethesda Serangoon.
1. What made you join teaching back in 1956?
It was God’s will. My father did not want me to be a teacher because he said that it was "the noblest of all professions but the saddest of all trades". However, I sent in my application to be a trainee teacher without much thought. The first response was that I was rejected and this made me think seriously whether teaching was for me. Looking at the school across the field near my house made me realise that I could only look at it from the outside but not work in one such a school, unless it was God’s will. So I prayed for His will to be done, be it joining the administrative/clerical line or teaching. The very next day after this prayer, I received a letter from MOE informing me to treat the previous letter as cancelled and to report for duty and training. I believe that God wanted me to know for sure what I should do. The assurance of God’s will kept me steady in times of trouble.
(QUOTE: God wanted me to know for sure…)
2. How did you get involved with TCF?
I attended activities organised by the Teachers’ College Christian Fellowship (TCCF) during my training days in the late fifties. I kept in touch with my peers and juniors in the sixties through activities like helping out in camps and attending seminars. When TCF was inaugurated in 1968, I was one of the members. Throughout the seventies, I was only a participant in the events organised by TCF. It was only in 1980 that I finally joined the TCF executive committee and became the treasurer. Never did I dream that I would chair the fellowship for almost two decades. The post came about as a result of my immediate predecessor leaving for further studies abroad and asking me to hold the fort for a few months till the AGM. However, nobody wanted the chair and so those few months in early 1983 lasted till late 1999 when Lucy Tay consented to co-chair. Thank God for Lucy! During this time, there were two occasions when I almost succeeded in getting a successor but just before the AGM, the would-be chairs got their promotions and declined the post.
(QUOTE: Never did I dream…)
3. What role has TCF played in your life?
TCF provides the opportunity to get to know people beyond the walls of my church and school. I have an avenue to interact not only with those in schools but also those in NIE and MOE HQ. [TCF prayer meetings and some of her functions also provide teachers opportunity to pray for their own profession. I count it a privilege to be able to gather for corporate prayer with Christians from various sectors of MOE
(from junior teachers to seniors in NIE and HQ) for pupils, teachers, decision makers and others involved with education.]
I have access to members in other sectional groups. When dealing with sensitive issues like delinquency and teenage pregnancies, inputs by LCF (Lawyers Christian Fellowship), FCCP (Fellowship of Christian Care Professionals), CMDF (Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship) and theologians within the fellowship will give teachers a better insight into the problem and the intervention needed.
Meeting members from the various sections and working in committees either within TCF or with other sectional groups has enriched my life and widened by horizons.
4. What did you do when you retired?
Three years before I opted for early retirement, I asked God for His leading. I have been constantly reminded of the hymn "O Love that will not let me go" where the writer wrote the third to fifth line of the first verse thus:-
"I gave Thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be."
So when my retirement came, I was already in the TCF ministry and soon became more and more involved in the production, collating and mailing out of the TCF newsletters and sitting in committees to organise workshops, seminars and the production of other publications. The Dedication Service which started in 1983 is still carried on. In church, I was approached to help those who were weak in English with the O level paper. Later, a former colleague introduced two siblings from Hong Kong to prepare them for admission to a Singapore school and this led me to prepare other foreigners with the same purpose. I persuaded the parents of these boys to allow them to attend Sunday School for better exposure to English and interaction with children of the same age group rather than allowing them to spend their weekends at arcades or shopping centres. Tutoring foreigners lasted till 1998. In the meantime, I became involved in the pre-school ministry which my church started in 1997. This time it is ministry to the very young in their formative years.
Someone jokingly remarked that I was not retired but "retyred", meaning that I was rethreaded for some other use. So after retirement, I have been involved in the TCF ministry, ministry through being a tutor, and now kindergarten work. For each job, it has been God’s leading – not by choice or plan.
(QUOTE: I was not retired but "retyred")
5. Any words of wisdom or encouragement for teachers in general?
Just three suggestions for consideration.
Firstly, it is of vital importance to know and do God’s will because there will come a time when you wonder if you made the right decision or choice. When you find that your superior/s are not supporting you and your colleagues cannot do anything and even God does not seem to hear your prayers, you have to fall back on the fact that it has been God’s will that you are in your present post and so have to wait patiently for deliverance. In my case, deliverance has often come in a marvelous ways "above all we ask or think" (Eph 3:20).
Secondly, God has a plan for each of us. If you keep standing in God’s way by giving up without His telling you to, you will have your own way but not experience what is best for you. God’s best for your life and the praise and glory due to Him will not be manifested and you will miss being a blessing to others.
(QUOTE: …you will have your own way but…)
Thirdly, be ready for the unexpected. When you are assigned a task for which you have no training, take it as a challenge. Who knows, you might just blaze a trail for others to follow. It can turn out to be something fresh and practical. Even if you can do a job well, you should still ask yourself, whether there is any room for improvement. If you are always on the look out for something novel and exciting, you will not end up saying "it’s the same old thing" or "what, something new again!" By being ready for change, your life will be less stressful and more challenging.
Interviewed by Ms Wong Ee Yuing, TCF Staff Worker