Why AGGA actress Samantha Tan left preschool teaching job of 10 years to join SGAG full-time

She developed an interest in early childhood education after dropping out of junior college.

Lee Wei Lin | July 26, 2022, 12:02 PM

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The name Samantha Tan might not ring a bell when you hear it -- after all, the 28-year-old is still getting started in showbiz.

What you might be more familiar with is these names she's associated with: she played recruit Goh Bee Bee in "Ah Girls Go Army", and recently signed with media company SGAG after quitting her longtime preschool teaching job.

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She is also a former Night Owl Cinematics (NOC) talent who got embroiled in a public spat last year after screenshots of NOC co-founder Sylvia Chan calling her a host of derogatory names emerged.

But we're not here to mull on the saga — instead, we delved into how she stumbled upon early childhood education, and why she made the brave decision to leave her comfort zone for an industry that has caused her pain.

Finding her passion after dropping out of JC

Tan recalls how her "couch potato" days after dropping out of junior college in 2011, when she watched all sorts of documentaries.

Among them were those on child rearing and parenting, which led her eldest sister to suggest that she look into early childhood education.

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That sparked her interest, and she worked in a preschool just to make sure that she was truly into this field.

When Tan was positive that this was something she wanted to do, she enrolled in Temasek Polytechnic to get a Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education.

After getting her diploma, she worked full-time for two years before starting on her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

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Making a difficult choice

In 2017, Tan started an Instagram account @askteachersam as she wanted to have a platform where she could share her thoughts on early childhood advocacy.

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A post shared by Samantha Tanyifen 🇸🇬 (@askteachersam)

She would work on projects such as illustrations and videos when she wasn't teaching at preschool.

But it was only when she was casted in "Ah Girls Go Army" that she realised that she enjoys the media realm "almost as much as (she) enjoys early childhood education".

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Admitting that she was "torn" about what she should do as she wanted to "have the best of both worlds", but wasn't able to do so because of how much commitment both jobs required.

Tan would have to give up a stable income and step out of her comfort zone, and it would take her four months of mulling before she handed in her resignation letter.

"This particular decision to move into media... I had to consider very hard because, uh," Tan trailed off.

"Yeah, because of some -- aiyo, how to say (laughs). I think jumping into media was a step I took out of faith and not sight. I mean, I'm Christian and I depend on my faith a lot in decisions like these."

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A post shared by † samantha (@samanthatyf)

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A post shared by † samantha (@samanthatyf)

She reasoned:

"Some might assume that I no longer love early childhood education because I left, but it's not that. It's just that there was a great opportunity (for me to join showbiz).


One of my friends also told me that I can be a preschool teacher any time in my life, but for acting, I think now is the time."


Having made the choice to further her career as an artiste, one might wonder why Tan decided to join SGAG, which made it big by playing epic pranks and posting memes.

She explained that she shopped around for some time before deciding on SGAG, as she felt "at peace" there and appreciates the environment that the company has, which she describes as "nurturing" and "honest".

She also felt that she could align herself with their mission  "to make every Singaporean's day a better one", which is why she feels "fulfilled" being a part of them.

Tan is part of SGAG's talent programme, which is also home to "Titoudao" actor Shawn Thia.

Among the projects that Tan will be working on are "lighthearted" songs that she said are reflective of what she's like as a person.

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She shared, "I enjoy jokes. I enjoy comedy. (When) anything comes my way I try and you know, see the best of it."

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Top photos from Samantha Tan's Instagram