She was once a young, idealistic graduate who couldn’t wait to make her mark in the corporate world. But after a few years of working, Rosalind Ong started to get disillusioned about life.
“Despite performing well, I was uncertain about my future…I needed to seek meaning in the work I do,” said the former executive in a pharmaceutical company.
Instead of looking for another job, Rosalind left the company and packed her bags for Seoul, South Korea in 2011. She enrolled in a six-month language course in Yonsei university.
“I needed some time to realign myself and naturally I thought of leaving my comfort zone,” she said.
Out of comfort zone
Home for her was a room as small as a prison cell, where she had to cook her own meals. She also struggled to communicate with the locals initially.
It was as if she’s learning to live again like a new born child.
But as what leadership guru Robin Sharma said — all change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and so gorgeous at the end.
The challenges made her feel alive more than anything else — she had woken up from her cubicle, no longer a corporate zombie.
She travelled the entire South Korea to fulfil her wanderlust (and perhaps longing for a handsome oppa).
By the end of six months, she could speak Korean fluently. The learning experience allowed her to re-discover her first love — language.
“I was more convinced than ever that I wanted to make a career out of languages,” said the 33-year-old.
Getting a pharmacy degree and climbing the corporate ladder were choices that she had made with her head — not her heart.
She’s now clear about what she was born to do — helping kids to find the joy in learning Chinese and English.
Becoming a teacher
After returning to Singapore, Rosalind became a language teacher.
She set up her own education practice as well as an e-learning portal — Fun Language Learning (fllacademy.com).
Rosalind has her own vision — she doesn’t want to be an educator who only teaches students how to ace exams. Instead she wants to help them to gain confidence as a person, and find the joy in learning languages.
For her, improvement in grades is a by-product of good teaching.
She has taught over 300 students so far. Her primary school students usually improve their results by at least a single grade, while secondary school students usually see improvements from D7 to B3.
One of her students Koh had low self-esteem as his classmates laughed at his poor command of Chinese. His parents declined to reveal his full name.
Koh attended her class just two months before the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). His improvement? From a borderline pass to a ‘B’ for PSLE. Now a secondary one student, he recently scored 42/60 or A2 for his Chinese essay exam.
Said Rosalind: “I won’t say there is a huge jump in the language capability per se
“But it’s really a shift in the mindset that led to him achieving a lot more than what he could have achieved when he had those limiting beliefs.
“Nobody wants to do badly… what’s stopping him was some negative comments so he had low confidence in whatever he’s doing.
“For me, it’s to give him the playing space to do what he is doing without thinking about what others are judging him by.
“I want to help students achieve their potential without them feeling that they are not good enough so it’s not that I don’t care what grades they attain either; I don’t just think about grades when I teach them.
“Grades is a by-product of good coaching.”
It’s clear that Rosalind is much more passionate about her work as a teacher compared to her previous work in the pharmaceutical industry.
What’s notable is that she didn’t know that teaching was what she wanted to do until her sabbatical in South Korea. Sometimes you need space and time to think about what to do in your life.
Rosalind has written a guest post about her entire experience in South Korea: http://happinessnotebook.com/found-purpose-life-travelling/
Check it out to gain a deeper insight. Who knows you might be inspired to embark on a similar adventure — and in the process change your life!
I hope you have gained insights from Rosalind’s story. As always, remember to take action because knowledge becomes a power only when you act on it. If you support what I am doing here for Happiness Notebook, share this post on Facebook or WhatsApp or any of your preferred social media.