Thursday, August 18

After losing job during MCO, blind Kuching woman goes online to teach refugees, orphans


Yong (on screen) giving a lesson to her students on South-east Asian studies. — Picture courtesy of Ruth Yong/Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA (Sept 3): Ruth Yong Wang Theen has always believed that education should be accessible to everyone regardless of their background.

Yong who is blind due to premature birth told MalayMail that it was not an obstacle for her to reach her goals.

“Teaching is a tool that enables me to share my knowledge with my students and being blind is not a deterrent for me to continuously fuel my passion for teaching.

“And my love for teaching grew when I started teaching after losing my previous job as a telemarketer due to the movement control order.”

The 29-year-old said she came to know about the teaching job when her friend recommended her to teach online lessons to children at an orphanage and a refugee centre that are both based in Kuala Lumpur.

The 29-year-old who hails from Kuching has been teaching English, Bahasa Malaysia, and also South-east Asian studies since July this year.

On the interesting aspect about South-east Asian studies, Yong said that the subject allowed her to be closer to her refugee students.

“When I teach them about the history of Myanmar for example, I get to delve deeper into my students’ backgrounds and the kind of culture they had before coming to Malaysia.

“My refugee students on the other hand, get to know their country’s history and they get to share about their country during the online lessons.”

She also said that teaching through online platforms such as Zoom gave her the liberty to teach from the comforts of her home in Kuching.

“I am also fortunate to have a kind donor to help sponsor my lessons at both the refugee centre and orphanage.”

Yong also expressed that her desire to teach started when she taught at a group of blind adults at a blind centre in Kuching in 2012.

“It gave me an opportunity to help blind adults, those who are like me, to understand English concepts such as phrases and then progressing towards sentences.

“I made sure they learned the proper concepts first such as pronouncing the correct terms before teaching them proper sentence structures.

“Building relationships has been something that I’ve acquired too when I teach my students, as I get to help them work on their weaknesses on a particular subject matter.

“And that’s something that I enjoy alongside teaching them.”

Asked as to how teachers could stay connected and engaged to students via online platforms, Yong said that teachers needed to inject their creativity into their lessons.

“Sometimes, during breaks in between lessons, my students would ask English riddles, and all of us would have to guess and this creates a lot of fun during our online lessons.

“I would also make sure that I ask my students questions after teaching a few sentences about a particular topic or I would also allocate a time where I have a Q and A session with them.

“The main reason for this is for my students to feel comfortable and to get them to interact using English or Bahasa Malaysia, so that they would be confident to speak the language.”

Yong is also available to teach school students and adults English and Bahasa Malaysia lessons, and anyone keen can contact her at 014-6857727.