This feature was first published in Journeys Winter 2018.
This article was written by Communications Intern Sunny Ham.
“I can’t wait to get out of here!”
This is a familiar refrain as you walk along the hallways of Singapore American School at the end of a school day.
However, eight years ago, we had an exception. Lynsey Howitt (Class of 1996), was hired as a faculty member to teach kindergarten. “I loved SAS. It was such a positive experience, which is why I’m back here with my own family,” said Howitt as she took a trip down memory lane.
Howitt was a typical third-culture kid thanks to her pilot father whose job required frequent relocation. She lived in Canada, Greece, before moving to Singapore in 1990 as a petite, enthusiastic eighth grader. She says, “I wasn’t one of those kids that got disappointed about moving. I was really excited to have a new experience here and from the moment we first arrived at Changi Airport, I remember thinking this was going to be pretty awesome!”
Alongside her younger brother, Brad Crowe (Class of 2001), and sister, Lori Crowe (Class of 1998), Howitt thoroughly enjoyed her experience at SAS and created fond memories with her siblings, especially with Lori, as they were both passionate dancers. She recalls with excitement, “I remember one of the best things was that we choreographed and danced in shows together and that was really special. Some of our pictures are still in the dance rooms here!” Howitt’s younger brother pursued theater during his time at SAS and is now making movies in Los Angeles.
Not only was Howitt a zealous dancer, but she was also a very engaged student. She was involved in several different clubs like SAVE and the yearbook club, which are still offered today. She often volunteered to help kids at Dover Court International School as part of another service club that has now been discontinued. Thanks to her experiences at SAS, Howitt felt prepared for university. With Paula Silverman as her dance teacher, Howitt participated in cultural conventions and the dance exchanges. “And then, of course, there was the all-time favorite Interim Semester. Pretty much no one else that I met in university had the opportunity to do stuff like that!”
After graduating from SAS in 1996, Howitt moved back to Canada and enrolled into University of Alberta with a dream of becoming a veterinarian. However, she quickly realized this wasn’t the right path for her. Instead, she decided to channel her immense love for children into becoming a child psychologist. Little did she know that even after a degree in psychology, there would be another last-minute diversion. “I decided I was going to be a teacher! I loved kids so much and I wanted to spend time with them while they were happy, engaged in learning, and doing all the things they love to do,” she explained. She went on to obtain a two-year degree in education and taught in Canada for a few years after. Howitt also earned a masters degree in education from Michigan State University.
During Howitt’s time teaching in Canada, an unexpected event led to yet another life-changing moment. Teachers started going on strike. To avoid this situation, Howitt and Cody Howitt, who she had met in university, decided they would move overseas and ended up in Shanghai. Her time in Shanghai was extremely eventful; she got married, and had two sons, Ben and Lukas, who are now in fifth and second grade here at SAS. With encouragement from the superintendent at SAS and her parents who were living in Singapore, Howitt made the decision to leave Shanghai and return to the Lion City, and work at SAS. Not only that, but she also had her third son, Jamie, who is almost three! Howitt now teaches pre-kindergarten at the early learning center at SAS and her husband teaches middle school math.
The early learning center is inspired in many ways by Reggio Emilia’s philosophy which endorses the concept of children being capable and competent learners and emphasizing the importance of relationships between teachers and students. This seemed to fit Howitt’s perspective towards teaching, allowing her to further fall in love with her job. “The best part is the relationships that you form with the kids. When you see how happy they are to be here, how engaged in learning they are, and just the surprise and wonder on their faces,” quips Howitt.
Not only is Howitt glad to be back and teaching at SAS, but she couldn’t be happier about her children attending this school.
- class of 1996
- third culture kid