DAS Academy Graduation 2017

 

by Senior Lecturer Sylvia Foo

 

Each year the DAS Academy holds its graduation ceremony to celebrate and formally acknowledge the achievements of its many students on its training programmes.

 

I approach Graduation Day with a myriad of thoughts and emotions. As Master of Ceremony for this important occasion for the last two years, I feel extremely stressed by the onerous duty of having to navigate the proceedings from the start to the end. Beneath the dignified gown of learned authority is a wobbly jelly. As a lecturer, I feel like a proud parent to see the students whom I have helped to train and mentor, receive the final fruit of their hard work and sacrifice. It is like the delectable dessert at the end of a 12, 24 or 36-month meal. There is also the pleasure of catching up with past students and sharing their joy on this special day.

 

As I look at the sea of therapists and specialist teachers from the rostrum, I feel a sense of nostalgia. I recall the first flush of excitement during my first encounter with the Orton Gillingham approach during my initial training at the DAS. I was already not so young then but no less eager to embrace a new set of teaching principles to helping struggling learners. I did not know very much about dyslexia and literacy intervention at that time but I knew that I was being empowered to do something important and life-changing for the learners under my care.

 

I also think about my own learning journey in this vocation and fraternity. When I first joined the DAS as an educational therapist in September 1999, the organisation was but a fledgling. 25 years later, DAS and DAS Academy have grown in size, scope, and depth in their work. I ponder if I too have grown in the size, scope, and depth in my understanding and practice of educational therapy. Finally, graduation day fills me with thoughts of hope for the graduates: Hope that as they continue on their individual learning journeys, they would always remember the passion which led them to embark on their course of study and calling. Hope that as they help their learners to discover their potential, they too would discover themselves as professionals and the unique persons they are. Hope that they would see educational therapy as more than mechanically following a lesson plan. And hope that they will remember that it is alright to feel inadequate at times. Even seasoned teachers and lecturers doubt themselves when the going is tough.

 

Read it in FACETS: DAS Academy Graduation

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