CELEBRITY WORLD PH
By Crispina M. Belen
Winnie Wong: Teaching is also a Learning Process
It has been said that teaching is the noblest profession, but it could also be the most tasking vocation. And nobody knows this better than Winnie Wong, better known to her avid YouTube subscribers as Penelope Pop.
Not everyone knows that the social media sensation (who has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers) works full time at International School Manila where she teaches Graphic Design and Photography. She says that dealing with students with different personality types requires a great deal of patience and an innate love for teaching.
“One of the biggest challenges for me as a teacher is really trying to identify with key personality traits of every single student and being able to adapt to their learning. So, I have to find the balance to cater to all those students. It can be difficult to navigate in the beginning,” she explains.
She added that the transition from face-to-face learning to online schooling brought about by the pandemic also posed some challenges when it comes to developing a more direct interaction with her students.
A persistent student herself, Wong studied and earned her degrees in Canada (one from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the other from Vancouver College where she majored in Early Childhood Education). And, after a year of teaching children in Canada, she decided to fly back to Manila and continue her teaching career, this time for high school students.
Soft-spoken and petite, the pretty school teacher can easily pass off as a high school student herself, a fact that encourages some students to treat her with a little unwelcome flippancy and cheekiness. In cases like these, she finds that conducting herself with more firmness than usual works to put her message across.
She says, however, that the rewards that come from imparting her knowledge are innumerable. For one, she is able to build meaningful relationships with students who get to know her better and vice versa.
“I have some students that I still talk to up to now even if they’ve already graduated,” Wong remarks. “And that’s very educational because you get the youthful perspective of life from them. I feel like there’s a lot to learn as a teacher because you’re dealing with all sorts of people,” she adds.
In the future, she hopes to be able to grow into a position of leadership in school to effect more positive changes and implement steps that will develop the potential of every student to the fullest. But for now, like the avid learner that she is, Wong is acquiring more insights from her daily encounters with students and teachers alike.
“I’m still learning a lot as a teacher. There are still areas for growth and development,” she admits.