Award-winning Chemistry Teacher in Ipoh Goes Above and Beyond for Students

By Mei Kuan

Komathy Veerasinghan, an award-winning Excellent Teacher (ET) of Chemistry, added another feather to her cap as she was recently honoured with the prestigious Global Teacher Award 2021 for outstanding contribution to the profession and in community building. With 14 years of expertise in her field teaching Form 4 and 5 students, she emerged as one of the eight Malaysians recipients this year.

Ipoh Echo caught up with the Ipoh-born 38-year-old to learn more about her chemistry-based innovations for secondary education with a major theme of environmental sustainability which had led to her win.

To begin with, she designed student-centred kits with a fun-learning approach, namely the Chem-Ester Kit, Chem-Atom Kit and Chem-Maze Kit which all have comprehensive notes complete with QR codes featuring interactive video clips and self-assessment quizzes.

Komathy Veerasinghan at an exhibition booth of her Chem-Ester Kit

Meanwhile, her creative innovations aimed towards a sustainable environment include a biomass activated carbon (BAC) filter for removal of toxic dyes, BAC-bio enzyme powder for removal of oil spills, the BAC bio-battery, BAC bio-plastic and biofuel from waste cooking oil using BAC.

“Since young, Science and Mathematics have been my favourite subjects and Chemistry is actually the best combination of both these subjects. Then in Upper Secondary, I was doing quite well in Chemistry too,” the alumni of SMK Seri Puteri Ipoh recalled.

When asked about how she has adapted to teaching in the new norms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she explained, “When I was doing my Bachelor of Science in Education (Hons), my minor subject was ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Therefore I was trained in computer literacy and that strong foundation helps me to embrace the current teaching methods. On top of that, I always seek new pedagogies, methods, skills and knowledge because I do not want my students to get bored in my class. I try to bring in a variety of tools for assessment and delivery.”

“Chemistry itself is full of formulae and so on. Students really need to be motivated in order to do their studies. I have been integrating fun-learning approaches in my classroom which I find to really give a great impact on students’ learning,” the amiable educator highlighted, adding that her motive is to make Chemistry a subject that is close to her students’ heart. 

Apart from going the extra mile to attract students’ attention to the subject, Komathy also ensured that no child is left behind by preparing modules for those who were having difficulties with online lessons. She then personally delivered the modules to their houses. 

As everyone has a smartphone nowadays, she uses WhatsApp and Telegram as the platforms to deliver her lessons as well, besides online teaching. 

“When we make the effort to create the interest among students towards any subject, they will be able to perform at their utmost. Once they like the subject and the learning environment, whatever instruction or work is given, they will do it freely. Each and every child is different; we as educators have to adopt differentiated learning and try to integrate fun-learning approaches in the classroom. Do not stay in the comfort zone, take it as a challenge and explore things which we can use to inspire our students. When we as students’ role models have a very positive attitude and passion in teaching, it will inspire them to do better,” she advised.

Currently pursuing a Doctorate in chemistry education at UPSI Tanjong Malim, the full-time Chemistry teacher at SMK Ave Maria Convent is also a mother of three primary school kids. 

“My 24 hours are really fully occupied. I will balance up everything. When we enjoy whatever we are doing, we do not feel the pinch or stress. In my free time, I teach and conduct free tutoring classes for poor students with financial difficulties to further their studies. I also like cooking and gardening. I enjoy my life!” she shared with Ipoh Echo, citing her trust in God as her biggest motivation as she keeps moving forward.

“At the moment I’m doing my doctorate studies in chemistry education where I’m intending to develop a framework to promote creative teaching in Chemistry classrooms,” she added.

Regarding the latest Global Teacher Award, the changemaker expressed, “I feel very honoured and also grateful to God for all the blessings.”


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