- A Focused Developer -
One of our Founders is the ever-present Teck Sion. He's been in the tuition industry close to a decade now, so he's got a wealth of experience to share. Passionate about teaching and empowering others to teach, Teck Sion is strict with others and himself because he believes the best in everyone.
ECA : Can you tell us a little bit about how the idea of Edu Champ came about?
TECK SION : The idea actually came from Allen first, because he actually sees there’s the opportunity for Edu Champ, for tuition schools to grow. I actually wanted to explore up to what extent can a tuition school be developed into. Because in Brunei, a traditional class would be like, 4 classrooms, whiteboard, the teachers come and teach, and that’s it. But actually, it can be something more, or beyond that. So for us here, we want to give them the best environment to work. First things first is resources. We write down all the resources they require. Then second is we provide them the facilities to work in. And then the next one is not to burden them with admin administration. For example, like printing photocopies, calling the students, calling the parents… All this administration work can be actually done by the admin and then the teacher can commit themself to teach.
ECA : Speaking of teachers, you have a very interesting way of vetting teachers. You actually interview them personally. Can you tell us a little bit about what you look for in a teacher?
TECK SION : I wouldn’t say I have a full-scale system or a proper interview question to actually identify the best teacher. For me, it’s as long as someone is willing to teach. I would say, teaching cannot be learned from a classroom. Teaching comes from yourself, your passion and your willingness to teach. So I’ll talk to them and see how they actually answer the question. For example like, a scenario where kids aren’t paying attention, they’re playing with their phones, how would they handle the situation. Another thing is their time. Let’s say for teachers who actually stay at UBD hostel, you do not want them to actually travel all the way to Mentiri to teach, you have to give them an environment which is closer to them. That’s why we’re putting different tuition schools at different locations.
ECA : Oh. So that’s why you’re so strict with interviewing people because you want to surround yourself with the best possible people - people who have the same mindset you do. What’s the experience working with Sumi and Allen?
TECK SION : For Allen, I think he’s more people-oriented and he has those creative thinking about, how to reach out to people. You know. All the strategies that he has. And all these crazy ideas that he think. (Laughs) For Sumi side, it’s a bit different. Sumi is a bit more conservative. She really believes that before we grow, we make sure everyone is well-treated here. Because she's scared that once we grow, we kind of lose our way and don't treat people well, you know? For me, I would say I am the technical person. For example, I handle the Operations side. And the maintenance side. So, if there’s any teachers having problem teaching the kids, or if they have any problem with the syllabus, or their schedule, then they would come to me. Similarly to my day job, I have the tendency to fix things and solve problems. If Allen were to come up to me and say, like, we got this problem, or this opportunity, this is where I come in.
ECA : You are not only a teacher but you also have a day job on top of running a tuition school. How’s that working out for you?
TECK SION : (Laughs) First thing first, I have to admit myself I’m a workaholic. I sleep over at the tuition school. I think it’s because it’s how I been raised since young. Since my parents and my grandma treat me like this, I think it’s a very great thing. Even though, yes, the process is very tough. Like paying myself through UBD… surviving myself. But I think that's how you shape someone, before they actually go into the real world. In uni, you don’t know how competitive it is outside. The moment you graduate, you realise “Oh”, then it’s too late. So, I think, at early stage, you exposed to know, predicting how tough it is out there. So, as the moment you graduate, means you are ready already.
ECA : Any chance you’ll quit your day job and teach full-time?
TECK SION : Yes. My end goal or my dream is actually to become a lecturer. Right now, I’m doing my Masters in Management. So, next year, I’ll be graduating and then, I’ll move onto phD. My day job is because I feel there’s a lacking in experience. Normally, teachers can tell you, “You study physics, you can become engineers.” But you have to be more specific, like, if you learn this chapter, what you can do? Not all teacher can do that. So, I realised that this is one of the gaps that have to be filled. That’s why I’m doing my, at least, 10 year of industrial experience.
It's so inspiring to see the lengths Teck Sion has gone in order to achieve his goals. We hope you take us with you, as you reach new heights and attain your dreams! We'll follow you anywhere, boss!