Students call her 'mummy': ITE lecturer goes extra mile and inspires students
Most students would address their teachers by their last names, but for one teacher, the students call her "mummy".
Ms Vinothini Mariappan, 42, has been a lecturer for the early childhood education course at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) for five years.
She treats her students as if they are her own children.
She once monitored a student who had a history of attempting suicide. When the student first enrolled in ITE, she went missing and skipped classes, prompting the school to consider taking disciplinary action against her.
But Ms Vinothini fought for her to be given a second chance.
It is a good feeling to be recognised, but the greater reward is seeing my students achieve so much more.ITE Teacher Award winner Vinothini Mariappan
She said: "When students first come to ITE, they come in with low morale and self-esteem. But they have so much potential, and they just need to be inspired and encouraged for them to achieve."
She later discovered the student did not have a computer to complete her assignments as her family could not afford one.
Ms Vinothini then stayed back late in school with the student so the teenager could use her laptop.
She said: "I see my students like my own children. As she did her work, I realised she had not eaten and went to buy her food.
"I did not think much of it at the time."
But that incident left a huge impact on the student, who recounted it in detail to Ms Vinothini's superior.
Several other students shared similar testimonies about Ms Vinothini, fondly referring to her as "mummy".
For showing such care for students and going the extra mile, Ms Vinothini was presented with the ITE Teacher Award on Nov 23.
The award was given to 15 outstanding lecturers for excellence in teaching and dedication towards making a positive difference in their students' lives.
Ms Vinothini said she was grateful for the award and the recognition for her actions made her feel appreciated.
She said: "It is a good feeling to be recognised, but the greater reward is seeing my students achieve so much more.
"This will motivate me to keep doing my best for them."
Another award recipient was Mr Oh Wei Siang, 39, a senior lecturer for the product design course.
Passionate about photography, he taught students how to do infrared photography using photo-editing mobile applications.
He also travels around the island to find the best locations for students to capture such photos.
Mr Oh does not see learning as a one-way process.
He said: "I may be a lecturer, but I am learning as well from the students.
"Learning is not about status or age. Knowledge should be shared by all."