Thoughts on teaching A-level and IB Literature (SOTA/ACS/SJI)


For A-level Literature, I have just completed teaching ‘The Woman Warrior’ and ‘Waterland’.  What an exhilarating journey for all. Kingston is a genius – so is Graham Swift – both works depict extravagance and necessity.

I love abstract stuff – the more abstract the concepts, the more I find it easier to understand and the more I love imparting them to my students. I have decided for all practical purposes and intents to focus on my students’ writing this time round, working out with them closely the answers and helping them to perfect their writing, or at least, come close to it. Discussing the book is always fun, full of drama – you can say it is almost a performance but the writing part is tedious but the key to doing well. I have devised a way to help them. It entails a lot of work on my part but it is worth it because it produces results!

When I was doing “Chinaman” in NUS, I was pretty affected by the text. I find it a lot more impactful. I shed tears reading of the men strapped precariously on the treacherous slope of the mountains. I learn so much about the past from Literature, in fact as much as from history texts. Maybe that is also another reason for my love for Literature because I am a History buff!

In addition to all my JC Lit students,  I am now teaching ‘Brodeck’s Report to a SOTA student. ‘Brodeck’s Report’ is a gem of a book but without any scholarships on it, at least not in English. So I have to find theories with which I could map the book on, to provide a framework for me to analyse the book. I learnt this during my time doing my Masters in Literary Studies in NUS. Now I am imparting this skill to my students. Sometimes I wonder if I am responsible for all my students going on to do H2 Lit and then majoring in Lit in the university! 🙂 I have a boy from ACSI who has set his sight on Medicine when he first started attending sessions with me and then two months ago, he told me he love the English Language and Literature so much, he is thinking of switching to Law. I told him to stick to medicine and be a playwright on the side. My daughter is in Medicine and writes plays. See one can have the best of both worlds!

I like it when I find my students becoming expressive and articulate with me. I just love listening to their stories. I learn as much from them as they from me. A symbiotic interaction is what my sessions are. Every session a fun-learning one in which my students move ever closer to their goals