Friday, January 30, 2015

Random thoughts: Another high for my one week at work

Another happy thing that happened during my one week at work, I think I finally successfully facilitated a discussion session.

I have been to those many meetings and tiring discussion sessions. Some of the things that dishearten me in the past:

2) Staff dozing off
3) Lack of purpose, more of wayang than helping pupils.

Those in my line, or used to be in my line, know we have many professional learning community, sharing etc, I am speaking for myself only, but I find only 20% of these to be useful, 5% game changing, 30% harmless, and close to half the time, just plain WOT (waste of time)

I am very happy when I managed to avoid all 3 pitfalls, and I managed to stick to the time, no overrun.

I did the most thorough analysis in my 10 years of service. Usually, either I am so hard-pressed to do other distractions or I do not have enough ownership to do it. This time round, I burn several weekends nights to do it properly. I did it all by myself. I find it a waste of time for everyone to sit around the table and look at excel tables and give reasons why they didn't hit targets. WOT. I am more interested in what we can do.

So I show the team the analysis, identified the weakest areas back by data, and provide the focus and objectives of what I hope to see improve, both qualitatively and  quantitatively.

I did it all in 15 minutes, and I already see some disconnected.

Then I ask them the "how". I admitted I am very apprehensive when  I decided to split the team into 2 groups to do brainstorming, with the element of competition and reward of chocolate for every contribution. (I got the chocolate cheap at NTUC warehouse, see here), the group with more contributions get extra chocolates. One staff lamented that she does not want chocolate, I told her to give it to her pupil. Surprisingly, when I start, many had fun brainstorming, even the very senior teacher looked like a little girl when I reward her with chocolate. I told the team, all suggestions are welcomed, we do not need to consider if we have the resources to do it, there is also no need to debate on the validity of suggestions.

The senior teacher did point out some reservations, but it did not affect the mood of participation.

I told them it is brainstorming, and tapping on collective wisdom, the three final committees will finally decide what to adopt and what to do, aligned with objectives and targets, they can choose not to adopt any suggestions at all.

Many ideas did surfaced, and even before we go into details, I already seem to have a rough idea what can be done. So, when we finally split into the specific committee to come up with the action plan (yea, its a dirty word in the past), we did it within 30 minutes with the roles and timeline all decided. What really gave me the "Kick" is when a staff turn around and said very nonchalantly:" Thank you for this, I found this very purposeful, and really helping the pupils."

Shoik!!  My KPI for myself is for teachers to find their passion in teaching. It sound very vague, but with this simple remark, it really made my day and gave me the energy for the whole week.


Ya...This is my third post for the day. I very lor sor, cannot meh... not happy arh... call police la



  1. I think I have lost motivation in my work or maybe my life too.

    Sometime I still scratching hard to find what can motivate me.

    think I am in depression.

    1. Aiyo YEh,

      Dun be too hard on yourself, we all have those low moments. It's ok, especially since we might not always be feeling the pink of health.


  2. Hi SI,

    Wah, well done! Mind flip moment for you :) I think when you start to take ownership of the things you do, you'll put all the energy and effort into it and people can feel that sort of infectious passion :)

    I'm proud of you :) If ever teacher or HOD is like that, we can change the world - one teacher and one student at a time!

    1. Thank you LP,

      Feel so encouraged by your words. But your assessment is too much of a stretch, I am one of those ah bengs HOD, I rank myself at the bottom. You haven't seen the rest of them in action.

      Let's hope we make a difference to those who passed us by

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