Rose shares about her education and the realization that she knew how to perform on tests, but not think for herself. After joining the staff at The Lighthouse Centre (TLC), she grew to think and learn differently  and to teach kids differently too. 

Rose sits in her classroom at The Lighthouse Centre, one of SIM's ministries in Asia - Photo by Violet Chiang.

Rose sits in her classroom at The Lighthouse Centre, one of SIM's ministries in Asia - Photo by Violet Chiang.

Personal details in this story have been changed.

Parents of the students that I teach at TLC often ask, “Why is this school so different? Why are your students smiling? Why are you so patient and so calm?”

They aren't used to education looking this way. Really, before I came here, neither was I.

I was not always satisfied with the education system here in my city. I used to work with college students, and many of them were not learning – many didn't want to learn. They thought they were failures and had this huge pressure to pass their tests. From what I’ve observed, students memorize but don’t always think critically – they aren’t taught to value that.

And I was just like them. I knew how to pass tests, I had those skills, but there was a tension in my heart because I didn’t know anything outside of that.

Then, when I first came to work at TLC, Jeyne, who runs the center asked me to read a newspaper article. When I finished she asked for my opinions on the story. I didn’t know how to answer her – I had not been taught to think for myself. Growing up, my mother was a forceful person, so I didn’t like conflict. I thought any kind of conflict was bad and that I shouldn’t have my own opinions or express my emotions because that would cause tension.

Since working at TLC, I’ve learned to express my emotions and opinions in a meaningful way. I’ve also learned to think more critically: I think about how to do things better, how to plan good lessons, and how to handle conflicts. This is a caring and supportive place. The staff read the Bible together and we share our difficulties, praying together each day. Jeyne has also challenged me to grow in different areas. I’m a teacher, but I’m also on the management team, so I feel like I’m being stretched all the time!

Our vision is to support families to become healthy spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Our families feel like we are different – like we’re very joyful and that we really care for them. The families who are interested in our faith are connected with other Christian families who invite them into their homes and build relationships with them.

Rose attends extracurricular courses in her spare time. Photo by Violet Chiang.

Rose attends extracurricular courses in her spare time. Photo by Violet Chiang.

We’re different from some schools and training centers here whose purpose is just to make money. Some will push you to buy their services so that your child will “succeed.” We want to grow our children in a different way – help them think for themselves and express themselves in meaningful ways.

And we really do see the children change. There was one boy who was very strong-willed and often acted out. He had gone to another kindergarten before TLC and the teachers there shouted at him because of his behavior. After only a semester of coming to TLC it was obvious he had changed. He became more gentle and more able to express his thoughts and emotions, instead of running around and misbehaving. Our teachers had been patient with him. His mom went through some of our parenting classes. And we prayed for him so much! Every day when we would share prayer requests in staff meetings, his name would come up. We could see the power of our prayers at work.

I think this is why children and their families love to be here. This is why TLC is so different – because we make people feel safe and accepted. This is why I love being here too! I see God blessing me and helping me to grow because of the team at TLC and I am proud to pass that on to each one of the children we serve.

The Lighthouse Centre

The Lighthouse Centre (TLC) is a missional business initiative in Asia that seeks to foster God's love by equipping and supporting families to be spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, educationally and socially healthy and strong.

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AuthorDenise Poon