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Republic Poly Lecturer Wears Costumes To Class, Students Create Viral Videos For Hands-On Learning

Lecturer Uses Costumes To Teach Students About Virality

Picture this: You’re sitting in class with the rest of your classmates while waiting for your lecturer to show up.

But, instead of someone in “smart” attire, a giant inflatable dinosaur comes through the door.

Such is an example of the fun antics the students of 43-year-old Republic Polytechnic (RP) associate lecturer Teeny Teh have come to know her for.

Image by MS News.

Facilitating the Leisure Events and Entertainment Management, Project Management, and Marketing modules, Teeny seems to have found a way to teach her students how to promote an event with real-world experiments — all while putting a smile on their faces.

Speaking to MS News, the mother of two shares how she came into the education sector, the rationale behind the viral videos of her coming to class in crazy costumes, and the reactions to her unconventional teaching style.

RP lecturer used to run Halloween events for Wildlife Reserve Singapore

To understand the educator’s penchant for costumes, we need to go back a few years to before Teeny became a lecturer.

In a past life, she was a marketing manager for five-and-a-half years with the former Wildlife Reserves Singapore (now the Mandai Wildlife Reserve).

Back then, she handled marketing, advertising, promotional activities, and events for Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, and Jurong Bird Park.

Her most memorable project, or what she calls her “biggest baby”, was Halloween Horrors at the Night Safari.

Source: Republic Polytechnic on Facebook

That event gave her the opportunity to work with some polytechnic students for their final-year project. Her organisation had a partnership with their school and Teeny advised them on how to run the event.

Working with the students left such an impression that she eventually decided to switch to lecturing.

“It’s largely the passion and talent in that age group – they have all this energy. For myself, as a lecturer, I’m just trying to channel that energy into something spectacular or something useful.”

Crucial to connect with students before correcting them, says Teeny Teh

Coming into RP, Teeny learned that there is much more to being a lecturer than just teaching students. She now has to facilitate industry partnerships and internships on top of her regular classes.

However, she does not mind it as it is all for the benefit of the students, she said.

Image by MS News.

Describing her teaching style as “going to [the student’s] level”, Teeny feels it is crucial to match where they are and relate to them and their interests. This is especially so for students of polytechnic-going age.

She added, “That has worked for me so far, along with infusing a lot of fun into learning. I think I want to see myself as a source of positivity and fun whenever they see me.”

Teeny remarked that it is very heartwarming to see her students learning through fun in her class.

Lecturer wears costumes to class & goes viral

Naturally, this brings the spotlight onto the classes Teeny has since gone viral for.

The lecturer recently made headlines for showing up to class as No-Face from the popular Hayao Miyazaki film ‘Spirited Away’, complete with special effects such as dry ice.

Prior to that, she has also donned an inflatable dinosaur costume, and even conducted a virtual class as a guard from ‘Squid Game’. 

The lecturer explained that she tries to dress up in costumes for her marketing module when it coincides with Halloween.

She would take the opportunity to teach the class about the history of the festival, why people dress up, and how it became one of the most important festivals in an event promoter’s calendar.

Her inaugural costumed class was as a chimpanzee back in 2015, she recalled.

One of the reasons why she does this is because she wants her students to have fun in her class and look forward to learning as that is how they learn best.

However, the main point of the costumes is to teach students how to launch a viral video through a real-life experiment.

Costumes give her students content to experiment & play with

As part of her module, Teeny needs to teach her students how to market an event – and what better way to do that than through having a viral video on social media?

When she comes to class in outrageous outfits, the students now have content they can use to create their own viral videos.

Image by MS News.

They can then observe and monitor the reactions, reception, and impact of their content under Teeny’s guidance.

“Most of the time, [the videos of me in costume] work. But there have actually been some which didn’t, but they make great learning as well as get to analyse why they didn’t work.”

Through her antics, Teeny intentionally lets her students learn about virality in a real, authentic way.

Image by MS News.

“Instead of telling them about the platforms available and the hashtags they need to use, this allows them to try it out for themselves,” added Teeny.

“It’s real-life learning using this as a trigger, and that’s what I really like. The students are all so involved and so excited, and that’s what I want for class.”

Uses negative comments to teach students how to take things in stride

Of course, with such an out-of-the-box approach to her lessons, Teeny and her students have gotten some negative reactions from the public.

They have apparently seen comments from detractors who say things like, “Studying is now a joke” or even “This lecturer is going to such lengths to impress the kids, spoil market”.

Image by MS News.

In response, Teeny simply uses these comments as yet another learning point: “You can have the best intentions, but there will always be the haters.”

She pointed out, “Next time when they grow up to be event planners and they have their own events, even if it’s the best event in the world, somebody is going to say it’s terrible or it’s a waste of money.’

“I want to use this example to tell them not to allow that to get to them. There are just so many life lessons they can take back from this one experience.”

Husband & daughters are her biggest fans

Despite the naysayers, Teeny has a solid support system consisting of not just her students, but her family as well.

Her two daughters, aged 11 and 12, are her biggest fans, said the educator.

“They’ll always be like, ‘Mummy, can we try on the costumes?’, and they’ll play around with them.”

Her daughters will also share the viral videos of their mother to their peers, which Teeny is very happy about.

Image by MS News.

“I’m very proud that they are proud of me,” she reflected.

On top of that, her husband loves what she does so much that he joined in on the fun on one occasion.

Back in 2017, the lecturer and her husband donned a pair of rabbit mascot costumes and performed a fully choreographed routine to a K-Pop song.

Image courtesy of Teeny Teh.

“We rehearsed for around three months and we’d give each other feedback, like, ‘Our movements need to be sharper here’ or ‘We need to be more in-sync here’.”

Lecturer wears costumes to class out of love for her students & their learning

Admittedly, waddling around in giant costumes is “quite embarrassing”, but Teeny is willing to do everything it takes and sacrifice herself for her students and their learning.

“I really love them. They are so loveable, so passionate, so enthusiastic – you cannot not love them,” she gushed.

Image courtesy of Teeny Teh.

“For me, it’s always been two things: Love for my students and love for the subject I’m teaching. So, when you have these two, everything else will fall into place.”

When asked if she had anything else she would like her students to know, she said:

“Ms Teh loves you. Whatever you do, just keep having fun, don’t take yourself too seriously. Just keep having that passion, energy, and enthusiasm, and you’ll be able to overcome anything.”

Know an inspirational figure you’d like us to feature? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image by MS News. Photography by Iskandar Rossali.

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