When Your Child Teaches For Malaysia: Jasmine

What happens when your child tells you, after graduating with a law degree from the UK, that she has decided to teach in a high need school for two years? We ask 2012 Fellow Jasmine Ong and her mother Choo Joon Keng to reflect on their journey through the Teach For Malaysia Fellowship.


JASMINE ONG

“When I first told my parents about the Fellowship, they were very apprehensive, upset, confused and puzzled. This concept was so new to them and I never really mentioned that I wanted to be a teacher. I guess this was a curve ball for them. But as I progressed through the Fellowship, they definitely changed. I think they are now one of my biggest supporters! They love listening to my stories, offer to help mark papers and even sponsor some stuff. They even have the TFM car sticker on their cars!

I think my mom especially has really grown to support the cause. She’s open to listening about TFM activities, she’s always trying to support TFM by carrying our non-woven bags and using our pens and post-its just to raise awareness amongst her community.”

CHOO JOON KENG   

“When my daughter first mentioned wanting to join Teach For Malaysia, I was a little confused because she’d never mentioned that she wanted to be a teacher. I was also shocked to know that she wants to do something so different from law. We pegged her to be a lawyer from the start and never knew she had a love for education.

As the program was new, we were unsure about her career trajectory after the Fellowship. It’s so different from law! My husband and I worried that she would lose out on time and opportunities when it came to the legal world. As you know, time is of the essence in anything. We just didn’t want her to be set back from her peers.

I used to be skeptical about the program, but this has changed as time progressed. Now, I feel that this is an excellent program for young people as they not only help others but also help themselves. I’ve seen many young people come and go over the years and feel that TFM Fellows have a certain X-Factor or “edge” that makes them different from the rest. I think that TFM is a good platform for any young person starting out.

The biggest change I’ve seen in Jasmine as she goes through the Fellowship is that she’s now more humble and really understands what humility is about. She also appreciates life and the people around her more. Overall, I think she’s grown in terms of character and outlook in life.

The best piece of advice I can give other parents whose children are thinking about joining the Fellowship is to trust them and give them your blessings. They have enough to fight for out there – they really need all the support they can get.”