Friday, August 3, 2018

Raondom thoughts: Over attachment to results

We all like good results.

Investors like growing earnings in the companies they invested in. As a teacher, I look for improvement too.

But recently, I have make a strong mental effort to be not emotionally excited or disappointed with results.

It helped me coped better. In fact, not only did the decoupling of expectation of results not cause a deterioration of motivation, it actually allowed me to push my pupils harder, without questioning myself so much.

When a staff talk to me about the stress of producing results, I am.not too sure why I suddenly retorted " I am sicked of results, just do your best for your kid"

I think I mean I am sick of attaching so much emotions to crossing of a particular arbitrary benchmark of results ...

I am very pleased that a pupil of mine has start to speak loudly and is able to quickly answer oral questions. She still fail, but I am already very pleased with her development. However, I know she is doing this to clear her exams and I hope she does.

I have extreme case for the other spectrum, pupil who did reasonably well during practices and is one of my better pupils but end up becoming the worst pupil in the exam. In the past, I will usually be very flustered, this time round, I simply speak with her, and ask her to try harder. I do what I can, I leave it to karma of mine and theirs to decide the final results.

So, what has worked? Actually, my boss always ask me what strategies to.improve results. I am quite sick of that question. She ask me why there are still failures, whereas my colleague walk to me and ask how I made a particular boy read and speak. They taught him in previous years and remember him as one who refuse to speak or read.

My answer is really simple, but never accepted. U can Ask me to think deeper, but I am stupid, so I can't find a better answer.

It's just 人盯人。 1 to 1 coaching and motivating. Encouraging them and giving them small successes. Then, Its practices after practices. When they are very sianz, talk to them. When they give u the "I want to give up face", u be around to remind not give up without a fight. Most of the time, its a losing battle. Things like games, pie face game, piggyback on song, use of PC, flash cards, group work etc are things I do something to break the montonous of the teaching, because I know energy level is low and they are very bored too. But 80 percent of the time, they are practising questions after questions and I explain answers after answers. Sometime I crack a joke or 2, but those are time fillers, the icing on the cake, they are not the killer moves. I did ask many of my colleagues who are able to turn pupils around, I ask them what is their sauce very sincerely. I hear what they say, and see what they do, I dun think they are any far off in my approach. No fanciful stuff that u see in the internet.

I dun know how to be creative and innovative and do less learn more. I am happy with do more learn more.

So, if I am useless in showcasing the lastest flavor of the month, and slogans, I am truly sorry. I want my pupils to do well in examination and hence I focus on teaching to the test. I am not ashamed.


  1. We are paid (grade) directly or indirectly based on our results (performance). If not, why should we care?

    1. CW,

      I used to agree. But I see the ills of these. Hahahaha

      I never disagree with having benchmarks, looking at numbers.

  2. Sillyinvestor,

    Recently, I was a bit stumped to discover we are calling the heads of our ITE and Polytechnics CEOs!?

    CEOs... That says a lot...

    I guess the pendulum has moved to the other side...

    Crash got sound. I guess when we have our "SMRT" moment, the pendulum will swing back from the focus on profitability KPIs back to the original purpose of our SMRT trains - passengers.


    1. Smol,

      Read what I wrote in my reply to intj below. The swing has begun.

      But it's the trader turn value investor delusion moment.

      Value investors can earn a lot of money, traders can earn a lot of money.

      But value investors can earn a lot of money trading, how that sounds to u?

  3. Hi Sillyinvestor,

    The education system is more focused on churning results and stratifying students rather than giving students a holistic eduction and generate a genuine interest for learning (bell curve grading etc). I am speaking as a by-product of this system. Most managers prefer quantifiable results over genuine growth to fulfil their KPI. Focus on what is important IMHO and manage your manager expectations accordingly.

    To ensure the students survive, simply focus on the KPI and make them get the results they need to survive the short term. Hopefully, if the students reflect on what was taught along the way, they generate a genuine interest of the subject and continue learning.

    In Singapore, it is more costly to screw up the MOE subsidised and approved education, and less costly if the pupils generate and pursue their personal interests / passion outside the curriculum.

    1. INTJ,

      I beg to differs. Actually MOE wanted a shift to the other side. Joy in learning, critical thinking, collaboration and inquiry base learning ... just to name a few.

      Great, all very forward looking.

      The only problem and also The biggest problem is they expect academIc results too. Both are not mutually exclusive, but the overlap becomes smaller and smaller as the pupils get weaker.

      Whay I see is skin deep implementation of those great education approach. Like someone who claim they arw both value investors and traders, and we know how that sound.

    2. Hi silly investor

      I hope you can successfully implement the changes expoused by this new philosophy towards teaching / learning . Singapore need passionate teachers like you to move the country forward. The booming private tuition industry is a symptom of today's education system shortcomings.

      I sincerely hope that the top preach what they practise and not flip flop when they have to meet immediate KPIs over long term fundamental changes. Stay strong and do the best for your students!

    3. Hahaha..
      Very much as I would like to, I cannot take the compliment. Just want to keep my rice bowl doing what I can as long as possible.

      Thank you for the kind words thou

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