“The day she let go of the things that were weighing her down, was the day she began to shine the brightest.”

Katrina Mayer

Hi, I am Helen Gillan

I am an ex-teacher of English and Head of Year at a major international school. I have 11 years of experience teaching in Singapore and 4 years in the UK. During my career as a teacher and pastoral leader I began to lead mindfulness sessions for my students and found that a mix of yoga, breathwork and meditation was effective and became a popular after-school club especially for students doing exams.

Recognising the high levels of stress on adolescents, I would often incorporate these techniques into my English lessons and found the students to be receptive and as a result, focused and productive. As an extra-curricular activity for students in their final two years, the sessions became popular.

I am British, I grew up in South Africa and studied in the UK. In 2006 I moved to Singapore and I am married with two young boys. Since leaving teaching to be with my two young children, I have studied Usui Reiki to Level 2 (IMTA) and taken several other courses in meditation and breathwork. I practise yoga weekly with a master of yoga.

Student Testimonial

Dear Ms Penry,
I just wanted to thank you for everything that you’ve done for our year throughout our time in Sixth Form
– I speak for everyone when I say that we’ve been really, really lucky to have a Head of Year as passionate and caring as you.

From my first week at Tanglin, the door of your office has always been open, and you’ve always been ready with a smile and a kind word for anyone in need of it, which is what makes you such a lovely Head of Year. Your genuine concern for our well-being and your enthusiasm when it comes to sharing ideas and activities with us, such as mindfulness and the singing bowl session we had, has really been appreciated by all of us.

Speaking just for myself, I don’t think I would have managed to make it through the two years of Sixth Form in one sane piece if it weren’t for you. Your support, from the countless times you greeted me in the hallway with a cheery smile, to the times when you had a little chat with me when I was stressed or unhappy, has truly made me feel like I have safe places and people to trust in school, which is one of the best things that Tanglin has done for me.

I can clearly remember you congratulating me on my report grades after the first term of Year 12, because the realisation that someone else recognised an achievement on my part gave me a glowing feeling that motivated me to continue putting the maximum amount of care and effort into everything I do; I plan to take this quality, which I have seen manifested so many times in the way you go about doing things, with me wherever I go and whatever I do in life.

Another specific thing that I have to thank you for is how easy you made it for me to drop Maths at such an unusual time, right before the A2 mocks – although I was a little unsure about how good a decision it was at the time, it has really made my academic life so much more enjoyable, because I love my other subjects and am incredibly excited to pursue them at university and during later life. Without the amazing support of you and Ms Valerie, that decision would have been a lot harder to make and to have finalised, and I was lucky to be in the year group who had both of you dedicated to our pastoral care.

I can’t express how grateful I am to have come into contact with you in the last two years, and I am sure I am not alone in feeling this way.

Mallika Sriram

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