After 16 years as a deputy superintendent in the police force, Mr Colin Wong decided to make a mid-career switch to become a teacher, forgoing potential promotion opportunities and taking a 50 per cent pay cut.
It also meant the 45-year-old had to start from scratch, alongside peers half his age.
"It was difficult leaving the force and my colleagues. But I felt that at this juncture of my life, I would like to use my experience to teach and give back to society," said Mr Wong, who took up a full-time postgraduate diploma in education (primary) course a year ago.
One of the rising number of professionals who have made a mid-career switch to teaching, he graduated yesterday from the National Institute of Education (NIE) with the Justice Choor Singh Book Prize for outstanding performance.
Currently, 25 per cent of all teachers have at least one year of prior working experience, up from 15 per cent in 2002. In 2013, there were 33,000 teachers in total.