Training teachers in Chiang Mai redefined my purpose as an educator

Two countries, one purpose

By Ling Bee Lain 

In February this year, Dr Jacqueline Chung and I had the privilege to visit the Siriaunda School in Chiang Mai to train a team of educators. 

Siriaunda School, also known as St. Andrew’s Anglican School, is a bilingual school that offers programmes in English and Thai to children from ages 3 to 6 years. The English educators are responsible for most of the curriculum, so thankfully there was not much communication barrier! 

The school was started in 2014, as part of the Anglican Church in Thailand’s outreach to plant a northern church hub in Chiang Mai. Situated in St. Andrew’s Centre, Siriaunda School seeks to be a beacon of light and love to the people in Chiang Mai by providing quality and nurturing education to children, parents and their families. 

Over three days of intensive training, we covered an overview of the Key To Learning (KTL) and MATAL curriculum and shared how values and education philosophy extend to the learning environment. For example, how interacting with the “Environment as the Third Teacher” helps children learn better

Reconnecting with the teachers and children

Bee (left) and Jackie (centre) with Singaporean missionary Yahui (right)

It was my second visit to the school, and I was thrilled to reconnect with Yahui, a Singaporean missionary who is the Head of Chaplaincy and English Curriculum at Siriaunda School. She excitedly shared that they are turning 10 this year!  

I first met Yahui 10 years ago when she visited St. James’ Church Kindergarten (Harding) where I was a class teacher then. We connected over curriculum matters, as Yahui was to be part of the team to set up a Kindergarten in Chiang Mai. Since then,Yahui has faithfully helped to grow Siriaunda School from 6 children when it first started to more than 60 children today. 

The children were keen to connect with us as I expected. They greeted us politely as we entered the classroom, asked us a few questions: “Who are you?”, “Why are you here?” before turning their attention to the teacher and comfortably engaged in the lesson. 

Redefining my calling

Children in Siriaunda School during a lesson

During a lesson observation, the children were seated neatly in a circle with a paint brush in hand, waiting patiently for the teacher to prepare the paint. A little girl caught my attention. She held the brush in a firm grip and unassumingly brushed it over her lips and cheeks, ensuring that she got a perfectly printed lip. This image took me back to a pact I had with God not too many years ago. 

Back in my early years as a teacher at SJCK (Harding), I remember clearly asking God to take me to a place where I would learn new things. It was divine how I connected with Jackie and soon became part of the APS family.

A student painting her lips and cheek with a brush left a deep impression on me

It has been 12 years, and my journey with SJCK has been the engine behind everything that I do; It has given me the energy and the strength to stay on course. The culture and values have formed my beliefs, where every child matters, every educator matters; nothing matters more to God than people. God steers the direction; we work on the gears.  

Renewing a common purpose

The school compounds of Siriaunda School brought back memories of the SJCK (Harding) campus

It takes perseverance, humility and determination to be on the vessel with Christ

Likewise, the team of five foreign educators from the US, UK and South Africa shared a common purpose as we gathered with the local educators, to build a space where we can sow seeds and transform lives. We shared nuggets of wisdom about teaching experiences in Singapore and found that they were very similar!  

What keeps these educators going? 

One of the educators said, “If I teach my children Math and Science, but not teach them to love, then I have not taught.” 

This jolted me back to reality. In my busyness, have I forgotten to reflect on the value of the work I do? Have I invited God to use me for His purpose? Have I responded to bring him delight?  

One of the foreign educators conducting a math lesson with the children using plasticine

Despite the short duration, this trip to Chiang Mai has stirred in me a stronger connection and passion to continue this collaborative work with our Chiang Mai partners so that we can serve with the same purpose. 

Truly, the children and families are blessed to have a team of dedicated teachers who come up with ways to create an environment conducive for learning as well as leaders who value professional training and believe in building quality educators that can impact children and families.  

We are also blessed to work with children, as they remind us that God is growing us to fulfill His purposes in us. 

Teachers presenting their ideas on how to create learning centres activities

I am thankful to the leaders of the Siriaunda School for their warmth and kindness as much as they appreciate us for availing our time and resources. In our interactions with them, I am overwhelmed by a sense of belonging, meaning, and purpose. Most of all, I am honored to be a part of APS’s far-reaching influence that knows no bounds, just like our God.  

To find out more about our preschools, visit

Ling Bee Lain is the Academic Head (Early Childhood Development Centres – Training & Standards) of Anglican Preschool Services.

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