So You Want My Job?

Donna gives us a les­son on work­ing with from the heart.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - YOUR LIFE, YOUR RULES! -

Name: Zyphe­nie Donna Chai

Age: 28 Job: Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Teacher

What made you choose this line of pro­fes­sion?

I had very limited knowl­edge about spe­cial needs chil­dren un­til my aunt in­tro­duced me to The Learn­ing Con­nec­tion Sdn Bhd (TLC). It’s a cen­tre that caters to chil­dren with spe­cial needs and it’s where I de­vel­oped my pas­sion to teach stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties. I started as a prac­ti­cal stu­dent and cur­rently work as one of the head teach­ers at the cen­tre.

The sweet­est thing a stu­dent has ever done for you would be ...

When a nine-year-old autis­tic boy with speech de­lay said my name for the first time and hugged me at my farewell party. It meant so much be­cause in the two years I taught this boy I’ve never heard a word from him un­til then.

What course did you pur­sue to get into this field?

I did my bach­e­lors de­gree in psy­chol­ogy, ma­jor­ing in child and fam­ily psy­chol­ogy at Univer­sity Malaysia Sabah. And then my masters of ed­u­ca­tion in spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion at Univer­sity of New South Wales, Aus­tralia.

A typ­i­cal day at work would be?

In a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion set­ting, ev­ery­day is dif­fer­ent. Some days are good and some days can be very chal­leng­ing but this is why I love my job. There are no bor­ing rou­tines and ev­ery mo­ment is un­pre­dictable.

What's the best part of your job?

I’ve learned to ap­pre­ci­ate life by be­ing around these beau­ti­ful kids. No mat­ter what goes on in my per­sonal life, once these kids are in front of me, my brain switches to work mode. I need to make sure that they’re safe and learn­ing suc­cess­fully and at the

What are some of the chal­lenges you face as a teacher?

In school, we have to deal with var­i­ous chal­leng­ing be­hav­iours but t hav­ing the sup­port of col­leagues re­ally helps. Out­side of school, we have to deal with com­mu­nity ac­cep­tance. People stare dur­ing our out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, some avoid us but some­times we do get to meet nice people. Our so­ci­etyy still lacks aware­ness re­gard­ing dis­abil­i­ties but the cen­tre holds ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote aware­ness.

“78 9: ; <=> @w to be ;Ay, BCE, F GHJKN no "#$ at.”

awaren es­son Rais­ing meDay.

Syn­dro World Down

A class that eats to­gether, sticks to­gether! same time recog­nise their strengths hs and bring out the best in them. When lessons get tough, they kick back to re­lax.

Class is in ses­sion ssion Donna’s stu­dents all geared up in their CNY best.

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