My name is Foong Kwin and my family name is Tan. My kindergarten students call me Ms. Kwin, my trainee teachers call me Mrs. Tan and my boys call me Mum. And as if that is not enough I also have an English given name, so you can call me Queenie.
Hi there! I’m Queenie Tan and I’m Asia’s elite parenting coach, a published author, podcaster and international speaker (…..and a lover of puppies and hot chocolate). I help parents by developing their parenting intelligence so that they are better able to ‘read’ their children’s cues, to interpret them accurately and to respond appropriately.
I am a dyslexic mom to two boys, Charles aged 13 (who is also dyslexic) and Kevin aged 10 (who’s gifted). We all have one thing in common…….all 3 of us don’t fit in at school because the school system was developed for a very specific (and small) group of students who would thrive in a didactic, rote-learning and convergent-thinking way.
For the rest of us who learn using our different intelligence’s, who can only make sense of things when we have hands-on learning and who are highly creative individuals, schools will not suit our purpose. Luckily for me, I didn’t pay very much attention at school, despite being branded as ‘stupid’ and ‘lazy’. I spent a lot of time day-dreaming, coming up with super hands-on and creative ideas and flexing my entrepreneurial skills. I knew this to be true when I was 10 years old and in 4th grade and I won an inventor’s competition…..that was also the year that I learnt to read my first book, I can vividly remember it to be Enid Blyton’s ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’.
I was failing in class but I quickly noticed that I was outdoing my friends in just about everything else……well, not sports though. I did well in choral speaking, inventors competitions and in selling the most raffle tickets and making the most money for the school fundraiser as an individual student, I came really close to beating the amount made by huge groups of students.
I absolutely hated school because aside from the small competitions that I won from time to time, they were not ‘recognized’ as anything that amounted to any importance……and I was still dealing with failing grades despite burning the midnight oil, and being made to stand on the table after I find out that I’d successfully flunked my exams with flying colors……again.
As soon as I got out of school, I was determined to become the teacher that I never had. I wanted so badly to help children and students like me. So the most sensible thing to do was to get certified as a Montessori teacher. Back in the 1990’s, Montessori teaching certification was extremely hard to obtain and being certified as a Montessori teacher meant that we were the cream of the crop and were deemed as the ‘experts’ in the field. This training gave me the solid foundation to be the teacher that I’d always needed. FYI, I also used the Montessori approach to help me make sense of reading (face palm) and it was then that I realized that this is something that could help a lot of children (and grown ups too).
I love teaching young children! I love their creative energies that mirror mine! Most importantly, I love how children respond to me, especially those who have had a tough time in other teacher’s classes. I love children whom my colleagues call ‘the difficult children’ because I was able to connect with them…..it almost feels as if it takes one ‘difficult’ student to understand another!
One thing that I love as much as teaching…….is learning. Every time I’m lost or confused or struggle with anything, my insatiable quest to learn kicks in. And as you guessed, this awareness began soon after I started teaching and was starting to meet more and more children with different learning needs and styles. It didn’t take long before I was enrolled in a Bachelors in Education and after that, in a Masters in Education programs, specializing in early childhood education.
I love research! I love the wealth of information regarding research into early childhood education, and in no time, I was devouring it all up……despite my difficulties with reading and writing. I graduated from my degree program with a strong GPA of 6/7 and I finished with a strong credit in my masters program where I was the second youngest to graduate with a masters at the age of 23 years (yes, I lost to a record holder who graduated a month younger than I did, a year before I did).
At that point, I realized that I wasn’t actually ‘dumb’ and ‘lazy’. It was the school system that failed me and not I who failed the system (like I was made to believe), …… its like expecting a round peg to fit into a square hole…..or as Albert Einstein puts it,
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Luckily, I didn’t believe I was stupid for too long. Since that realization, I have devoted my entire career to using alternative ways of dealing with and educating children and even though I didn’t have a pleasant experience with school, I did whatever I could to send my own two boys to the best school that we could afford in a desperate attempt to give them a schooling experience that was better than my own.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t meant to be as like everyone else, my boys had very different learning needs than what the school system could provide and I then made the decision (as of end of 2017) to pull them both out of their fancy private school and to embark on our little world-schooling journey where we travel to different parts of the world to live amongst the locals, to learn their culture and languages.
This journey was clouded with uncertainty (no amount of preparation and research can possibly prepare you for doing something so different from the norm) but it was well worth it. I wasn’t exactly sure how it would unfold but the one thing that I was certain of was that I can’t possibly mess up as badly as the school system, and my skepticism was met with a huge sense of satisfaction when my boys thrived in this new environment. They were able to take charge of their learning, be immersed in it and be motivated to go on their own learning quests.
My wish for every parent is to teach them how to increase their Parenting Intelligence so that they are able to:
I am trying to empower parents with the ability to say that they are the best teachers of their children and the one who understands their needs the most. With this in mind, I have put together my bespoke parent mentoring programs as well as a Mastermind group so that I can provide continual support (yes, it’s a learning journey rather than a final destination) to parents efforts to grow their Parenting Intelligence, I have also created communities of like-minded parents so that they can provide each other with support and I’ve recently started running retreats for parents and families so that I can better address the needs of both parents and children.
PS – If you haven’t already, do pop down to my Facebook page and introduce yourself. I’d love to get to know you better.