Teacher Work Attachment at S.E.A. Aquarium: Expectations vs Reality

From 26 February till 30 March 2018, Emily Fang, HOD of Science at Keming Primary School, underwent four weeks of Teacher Work Attachment at S.E.A. Aquarium. Turns out, her experience was a far cry from what she had anticipated – in a positive way. Emily shares her story.



My Teacher Work Attachment at S.E.A. Aquarium over the past 4 weeks was a great contrast from what I had expected it to be.

The initial intention was to find out more about the Educational Programmes so that I could bring the students to the aquarium to learn about the different adaptive features of marine animals, as required by the MOE school syllabus. However, after my attachment to the different teams at S.E.A. Aquarium, it has completely transformed what I think about the work done at the aquarium.

Education

Initially, I thought that the planning of educational programmes at S.E.A. Aquarium is a very straightforward process, and that it will be focused on facts about the different marine animals. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much effort and coordination it takes to run an educational programme.

Apart from carefully choosing which marine animals to focus on, the Education Team has to work very closely with the Conservation Team to plant messages on marine conservation as part of the tour. They also have to work with the S.E.A.A. Operations team to ensure the educational facilitators are well trained and equipped with the right knowledge.

I helped out at an educator’s preview earlier this year where we showcased educational programmes at the Maritime Experiential Museum.

In order to engage with schools, the Education Team actively arranges previews for educators to inform them about the variety of educational programmes available for their students in both the Maritime Experiential Museum and S.E.A. Aquarium.

Conservation

Conservation is a very hot topic given the amount of environmental problems we are currently facing.

My initial perception of what the Conservation Team does is that they just talk to the public to educate them on marine conservation topics. Although that is what the team does, there are plenty of other things that they do as well.

They are highly involved in collaborative works with local schools, such as the Bring Your Own (BYO) programme. They also work internally with other departments in Resorts World Sentosa to push for greener initiatives within S.E.A. Aquarium and other attractions. An example would be the reduction of plastic products found within S.E.A. Aquarium.

That’s me manning the booth at a careers fair for early childhood educators. My job was to inform the educators about our preschool educational programme – Mai’s Underwater Journey.

Additionally, the Conservation Team looks after S.E.A. Aquarium’s very own conservation group, Guardians of the S.E.A.A., where they engage and gather like-minded people to participate in activities to protect our oceans and the animals that live in them.

Curatorial

Before my attachment with the Curatorial Team, I thought that the job of an aquarist would be fairly simple. All they had to do was to feed the fish and clean the tanks, how hard could it be? Well I found out that it can be pretty tough, especially when you have over 100,000 marine animals, all of different sizes and needs, in over 50 different habitats to care for!

Luckily, the aquarists at S.E.A. Aquarium are so passionate about marine animals that they do a fantastic job looking after every single fish, whether tiny or gigantic, fragile or sturdy. They take special care to ensure that the animals are feeding well by hand prepping all their food each morning, including peeling prawns and chopping up fish and squid into manageable sizes.

To keep the habitats well-maintained, they painstakingly scrub the habitats to ensure that the animals in the aquarium thrive for a long, long time. Kudos to the Curatorial Team!

Group photo with the Education Team.
Lunch with the Conservation Team.

And thank you S.E.A. Aquarium for all the great work done to protect our ocean, and encouraging others to do the same so that there will still be a rich marine life in the future!

Teacher Work Attachment (TWA) at S.E.A. Aquarium

S.E.A. Aquarium’s Teacher Work Attachment (TWA) is a 4 to 12-week professional development programme where teachers work alongside our Conservation and Education unit, as well as other business units within the aquarium such as the Curatorial unit.

By working closely with these professionals, they pick up new skills and experiences. More importantly, they get to broaden their perspectives of an aquarium facility, particularly the roles in which education and conservation play.

After their attachment, the teachers can apply the new knowledge and skills back in their classrooms to enhance their teaching methods and student engagement.

How to apply

Teachers interested in applying for TWA can do so through the Academy of Singapore Teachers. Simply indicate your interest in joining the Conservation and Education team at S.E.A. Aquarium and specify your attachment period. Please note that only one teacher attachment is available at any one time.

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