Why I Teach For Malaysia: Stephanie’s Story


As our 2013 Cohort experience their first few months of teaching, the realities of a high-need classroom and the struggles of its students become more and more apparent. However, passion for the larger mission remains, bolstered by an even greater sense of urgency to bring about change – one small step at a time.

Here, we revisit the very reasons why 2013 Fellow Stephanie Tan chose to Teach For Malaysia and why she continues on her fight against education inequity. In her classroom in rural Perak, Stephanie continues on her mission to set her students on a path fueled by creativity, critical thinking and a lifelong passion for learning.

Stephanie Tan, TFM 2013 Fellow

“My hope is to get students to think more creatively and critically. And beyond that, my desire would be to see students learn not just for school, but for life – that the skills and materials they learn in classrooms are not just for exams, but have relevant and practical applications.

Students can be guided so they understand that everything they are taught is and can be of value, but they also need to begin discovering the application for themselves. Through that, then they can become independent learners and thinkers.

Teach For Malaysia stands for education, but I believe that within that is the idea of opening the eyes of students to see what the world has to offer besides the typical routes. I want students to know that their passions can lead to their careers or that career and passion don’t need to be mutually exclusive, and to help nurture their talents accordingly.”