Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer
This year, a new position has been created to enhance the diversity and the multi-functionality of the ECE professional teaching team: ECE Student Support Teacher. The aim of this position is to provide additional support for children, teachers and parents in all aspects of the Early Childhood programme.
Sil Lee moved to Shanghai from Taipei, Taiwan where she had been working as a Learning Support Teacher from Nursery to Year 6 for eight years in an international school. She holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood General Education and Early Childhood Special Education in Syracuse University in New York State (USA) and worked as an Early Childhood Special Education Consultant for San Francisco Unified School District. She is also a mom of two boys (in Year 5 and K4 at YCIS). Let’s meet her directly!
According to specialists in Learning Support in Shanghai, your profile is extremely demanding and your Korean language background makes you even more unique! Why did you choose to study Early Childhood Special Education?
I have always been interested in education and as I was doing my student teaching for my Bachelor’s in Spanish teaching for High School students in Seoul, Korea, I realized that students having difficulties in learning had actually accumulated their gaps across their learning journey. I thought that if they were helped when they were small, they might have had different learning experiences and have had a higher chance at reaching their full potential. That is why I decided to learn more about Early Childhood Special Education.
Early Years are a magical time of learning and growth. Every child is unique, special and full of possibilities. I’m privileged to work with young children not only because I get to help them, but also they teach me a lot!
What made you move to Shanghai? Why did you choose to join YCIS?
My husband has been working in China for almost 3 years now, and I wanted to join him this year. Initially, as I don’t like change much, I was reluctant to relocate; however, I find myself enjoying the diversity, beautiful scenery and rich culture Shanghai offers. I am also lucky to be working at YCIS with wonderful young children and amazing, fully committed colleagues.
What does your role consist in?
My primary responsibility is to provide support to students, teachers and parents. I work with children who need extra support in their development, learning English language or extending their skills. Also, I often meet with parents and teachers to listen to them and provide any strategies or help where needed.
What techniques do you use?
They vary depending on the needs of the students. I share specific techniques or strategies with teachers and parents when needs arise. I am also planning for a parent workshop in the second semester regarding ‘Developing pre-literacy skills.’ If you are interested in the topic, please watch this space!
What’s the most challenging aspect of your position?
Some of the most difficult moments are when I have to tell a parent that their child is experiencing difficulties. I, also as a parent, know how hard it is to hear and accept when someone tells you that your child is not “perfect.” However, I need to remind myself and the parents it is okay to be different and to have different needs. What is important is to recognize their strengths and build on them.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
When you work with children, every moment is rewarding! It is magical when you see children light up when they found something interesting, when they tried something new and finally did it by themselves, or simply when I watch them indulge in their play and develop important life skills while having fun.
Any advice you would like to share with our parents?
Every child is unique and different. They all have their own strengths, interests, and needs. Allow them to grow at their own pace and in their own way, but support and encourage them when they need you.