Have you ever imagined having your hobby as your career? Divya Venkatachary has. Being an avid reader, Divya is passionate about inculcating the habit of reading in children and works as a Teacher Librarian at Middleton International School Tampines. She believes reading opens up the mind to many worlds and can be food for the soul.
In this Meet & Greet, we find out her inspiration for becoming an educator and sharing her love of reading with children.
1. Tell us more about yourself!
I am Divya, and I have been teaching in schools and other educational institutions for over 10 years. I grew up in India, and Singapore is home now. I have been living in Singapore with my family and loving it for the past 11 years.
When I am not working, I love curling up with a book, exploring the nature trails in the city and travelling with friends and family.
2. What inspired you to be an educator?
Many of the lovely teachers I have had the pleasure of learning from inspired me to be an educator. Over the years, I've realised you never forget the teachers who have impacted you. Even today, I look back fondly on some of the moments from my school life. While I started my career teaching adult learners, there is nothing more inspiring than learning alongside children. They have the ability to surprise you constantly and they make you unlearn and rethink what you know.
3. Share with us one of your most memorable moments in your teaching career at Middleton?
I especially cherish the moments when a student has enjoyed a recommended book that was way out of their comfort zone and requests other books in the same series or books of a similar genre.
4. What makes Middleton International School special?
The focus that Middleton puts on mindfulness and mental well-being. I admire how Middleton has seamlessly integrated both into everyday school life. There is also a strong sense of community and support in the school. A lot of independence and autonomy is given to the teachers, and this motivates us to be innovative and continuously push our boundaries.
5. What is something about you that is not known to some?
I love reading children's fantasy fiction. The world of witches, elves, vampires, warwolves, goblins, dragons and other magical creatures fascinates me. My love for it stemmed from growing up reading Harry Potter - my all-time favourite. I am always on the lookout for the next great magical series. Other than this, I enjoy reading books of the mystery/thriller genre and regularly troll Goodreads for new releases.
6. What are some ways to encourage reading at home?
Read, read and read. Start by setting up a routine. Pick a specific time or place at home to sit and read regularly. Share about what you have read with your family and engage with them. It helps when parents take the time to read aloud or together for a few minutes every day. Make the question 'What are you reading now?' a part of your daily life. All it takes is the right book to hook you on to the habit of reading.