Education Services Team consisting of (L - R) Caryn, Jolene, Charissa & Wy Lyn.
The 1st of August 2017 marked the beginning of my 4th year in GG as a full time Education Services staff. Looking back, my whole journey in the education field started purely by coincidence. My journey with Generasi Gemilang (GG) began while I was taking an indefinite break from work. The long hours in advertising and client servicing had taken it's toll on me and I decided to resign without another job waiting. People asked me what I was going to do and honestly I had no idea, except for the fact that I wanted a change in my career direction.
I had a lot of free time, so my mum encouraged me to volunteer with her at Pusat Bimbingan Pelajar (PBP), where she had been mentoring primary school students from the community in Mathematics & English. I had already registered as a volunteer previously but was too busy to commit, so this time I thought, "Why not?"
Wy Lyn with the PBP children on an outing during her internship.
I volunteered for 2 months and realised how much I love teaching. However, I wasn't sure if a 25 year old like me (then) could contribute much to a non-profit organisation like GG, so I decided to join as an intern to sort of test things out first. One thing led to another, and I would never have imagined my volunteering stint turning into an internship and ultimately a full time career commitment.
Do I regret it? No, not a single bit.
I would never have imagined my volunteering stint turning into an internship and ultimately a full time career commitment.
I decided to eventually make this my career because compared to what I used to do, the work here gave me purpose. Compared to my parents' generation where most jobs were taken up to fulfill a need for the family, most people from my generation who don't have to make that choice would want to do something different--create something that will last beyond our lifetime.
Most corporate jobs require just the necessary skills and talent to be hired. But when I applied for GG, I knew that beyond skills and talent, I needed to have a passion for helping others because the work was beyond planning for an event or making sure a marketing campaign was successful; it was about impacting the lives of others.
Wy Lyn and a PBP student at the optometrist when she helped her student replace her broken spectacles.
Working in the communities has given me a clearer picture of what Malaysia is really like. I have heard and read about the poor and marginalised, but my knowledge was all just the tip of the iceberg. It was through serving the community, that I was able to see and experience a little bit more of how poverty affects lives. I never thought it would be that easy for my students to be forgotten, to fall through the cracks of our education system, but it is. There are so many factors that contribute to this and it is heartbreaking to watch.
In PBP, I met a girl who was in Standard 5 but she could not do simple addition and subtraction. Many other students are also unable to master Mathematics beyond subtraction because they find multiplication and division very complicated. Then there are also students who stare blankly when spoken to in English, and many others who don't know how to spell simple words such as ‘lorry’ or ‘cupboard’.
And all these are things you would think a primary school child would have learnt from school. So what happened? Are these students really ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ as they are commonly labelled? Absolutely not!
Wy Lyn sharing her story at the GG volunteer awards back in 2014.
Throughout my journey as an Education staff, what I have learnt is that these students need guidance and attention by someone who believes in them in order to steer them in the right direction. Despite the various family struggles that they may be facing, these students have the potential to excel academically and holistically. All it takes is someone who is willing to be a mentor, friend and a positive influence to encourage change in their attitude, outlook on life and their studies.
It’s amazing what a little sacrifice (of time, energy, knowledge sharing) can do to impact the lives of our next generation. I know now that what I'm doing will definitely last beyond my lifetime, and hopefully these children will learn to do the same and help change the lives of others.
Generasi Gemilang is looking for educators or young and passionate people like Wy Lyn to join us in the Education Services team. You'll get to work with primary & secondary students from the under-served communities and a children's home to help them receive better education opportunities. Find out more about this position at https://www.gengemilang.org/careers-and-internships.