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Teaching physics, astronomy and other sciences at the Science Centre Singapore.

Teaching physics is more than just a classroom job for Mok Li Hui.

Beyond seeing the bright faces of her students, the science educator also helps out at the Science Centre Singapore's Observatory, spotting planets and star constellations in the night sky.

Who: Mok Li Hui, 30
Occupation: Science Educator
Studied: Bachelor in Science (Physics), National University of Singapore (NUS)

Tell us more about yourself!

I graduated from NUS Physics in 2009, and I've been with the Science Centre Singapore ever since. It's been about eight years!

What's your job scope?

I'm under the department of physical sciences, where we teach physics, chemistry, mathematics, and sometimes the Earth sciences as well.

We all start by conducting enrichment programmes, then other programmes that either complement the school syllabus or things that are in trend.

In my first year I started helping at the Observatory, where I had to learn astronomy from scratch. It's all learning on the job; as we conduct more stargazing sessions, we get more familiar with it.

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The most number of visitors Li Hui has experienced was over 6,000 people coming for the Picnic Under the Planets event in April 2017.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/AMIRA RAHMAN

How did you first get into this job and why?

I've always wanted to do something related to teaching. I want to share the fun side of physics with other people and students who are struggling to learn about it, or think that physics is very boring. 

So I just did a random search online and realised that Science Centre was recruiting educators. That's when I wrote in to them, and here I am today.

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Li Hui shares stories behind the night sky constellations inside a portable planetarium.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/AMIRA RAHMAN

Describe a typical day at work.

We come in to prepare for any classes, programmes or special events before the students arrive, and teach from 9.30am until about 11am. After lunch, we have another class in the afternoon that would take until 4.30pm or 5pm. 

In between classes, we would prepare for all the other upcoming events or develop new programmes. On Fridays, we'd have to come over to the Observatory to set up for the night stargazing session.

 

Check out these three astronomy fun facts we learnt from Li Hui!

What are some challenges you face working as a science educator? 

The content part is quite a challenge. When my fresh graduate colleagues and I first went over the topics to teach, we realised that whatever our school taught us wasn't enough for the working world.

To us, teaching students the wrong thing is a very grave mistake. To avoid that, we learn more to make sure that our content is correct and very good.

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Sometimes, science educators only have a few days to learn something that they have to present to students.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCIENCE CENTRE SINGAPORE

What are some tips or advice you would give to youths who are also looking to be science educators? 

Firstly, you have to know that science isn't scary at all. If we have a personal interest, that's when we can learn best and be able to share what we know with others.

So if you really want to get into this job, love science first.

Educational requirements: Must have studied pure science in university.

Qualities needed: Presentation skills and a strong desire to share knowledge with others.

Salary range: Minimum salary for an entry-level science educator is more than $2,000.

Working hours: 8.30am to 6pm from Mondays to Thursdays, 8.30am to 5.30pm on Fridays. When there are night stargazing sessions at the Observatory, 12pm to 10pm. Occasionally work weekends and public holidays.

Career prospects: Project officer, marketing, teaching at primary or secondary schools.

TEASER AND BANNER PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/AMIRA RAHMAN