Alumni Alumni Stories Becoming a stronger Educational Therapist amidst challenges

Becoming a stronger Educational Therapist amidst challenges

Becoming a stronger Educational Therapist amidst challenges

Our alumna, Zaidah d/o Mohamed Jaffar shares her experience working at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). She completed her Master of Education (Majoring in Leadership and Management) in 2018.


What are you up to right now?

I graduated from James Cook University in July 2018. Currently, I am working as a Senior Educational Therapist in the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). I provide remediation to students from Primary level to Secondary level. My main duties and responsibilities are to conduct lessons in a group setting consisting of 4 to 5 students in a class. I have to develop teaching materials that meets their learning needs. I am also a Member of the Register of Educational Therapist (Asia) otherwise known as RETA.

Can you tell us more about your current role and what made you decide to take on this role?

Zaidah dyslexia

At DAS, I help students diagnosed with dyslexia and other specific learning differences. My main role is providing remediation on students’ literacy difficulties. I took up a dual specialisation to teach the iReaCH™ programme. The main aim of the iReaCH™ programme is to support learners in Reading Comprehension and Writing.

I was enticed by DAS as I believe that this is an organisation where I could contribute and give back to the learning community. I wanted to scale up my teaching experience upon graduating from JCU’s Master of Education degree. When I saw that DAS offered special needs teaching, I decided to write in and apply for the position of Trainee Educational Therapist. Apart from that, DAS offers many opportunities other than teaching where I can grow further as a person.

If you could highlight one memorable experience in your working experience so far, what would that be?

Of course, there are many wonderful working experiences that I have experienced thus far in DAS. However, one of the many memorable experiences was being involved in the DAS annual event known as World Dyslexia Awareness Month (WDAM). The Move for Dyslexia campaign in 2021 was organised by DAS, which aimed to raise funds and awareness about dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Participants were encouraged to complete at least 30 km of walking, running or cycling during the month of October to December 2021. I contributed to this event during the DAS 30th Anniversary in 2021. I had a lot of fun participating as well as getting others to participate in the Move for Dyslexia initiative. I was a contributing member in the Move for Dyslexia committee. I initiated the idea to include cycling in the 2021 Move for Dyslexia event. In addition, I also assisted in promoting the event to members of the public to join in and raise funds.

What are some of the lessons learned or challenges faced?

One particular lesson I learnt in DAS is to remain patient and hopeful in the face of any challenging situation. The challenges during the pandemic, such as moving physical lessons to online lessons, have moulded me to become a stronger Educational Therapist. There were many challenges teaching online as some students did not have a secure internet connection or computer devices at home. It is different from teaching in a physical setting as I had to capture their attention during online lessons. However, I am glad that my students co-operated with me and we braced through this challenging period together. It was my students who showed me that even when we were physically apart from one another, our hearts remained together. We had enjoyable lessons online. This is truly one test which has been a blessing in disguise for me.

How do you feel studying at the Singapore campus of James Cook University has helped you? What do you miss the most about your time at JCU?

I was a part-time student attending evening classes while being a full-time employee during the day. It was definitely not an easy feat. I would spend most of my block lecture days and free time in the JCU Library. The deadlines of back-to-back assignments have trained me to become task-oriented and disciplined.

Nonetheless, I especially miss the western food and eating in the air-conditioned canteen while doing my assignments.

What would be your advice for current students?

Consistency is the key to success! No matter how bleak it might seem at times, always remain positive and persistent in working towards your goal. There will be days where you fall but remember to pick yourself up and finish the race. You will be proud of yourself when you look back one day.

So what's next for you?

I think I will continue to seize whatever opportunity granted to me. I consider myself as an all-rounder who is always hungry to try out new things, as I believe in living life to the fullest.

Lastly, JCU’s Strategic intent is ‘Creating a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide through graduates and discoveries that make a difference’. How do you think you have made (or are making) a difference?

In JCU, I learnt through the lens of being a student. In DAS, I learnt to become a better educator. In life, I learnt to become more human. I believe that I am making a positive difference each and every single day to the people I meet and interact with.