Saturday, December 27, 2008

The One with the new appointment

I attended yesterday KP meeting, seeing some familiar and some unfamiliar faces, as we prepared the avalanche of things coming: School Opening Ceremony, EV for Autonomous Status, Preparation for the first day of school and so on and so for. For the uninitated , th last week of the school holidays is usually dedicated to the series of meetings and trainings so as to put the next year in place.

The swop of appointment was confirmed yesterday, I have relinquished my post as Subject Head History and take on a new appointment come February 2009. Perhaps after 3 years of toiling in this appointment, I have not really distinguish myself in the appointment which I have hope would catapult me to greater success. However I hope the swap would allow me to showcase what I am good at and allowed me to have a good all rounded perspective of the various leadership position that are open up for me. I look forward to the new challenges in 2009 and hope that 2009 would be as good or even better for me as 2008.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The One about the Christmas

So, christmas came and went.  As I laze infront of my hifi, listenign to the nonchalant tunes of Scott Hamiliton, I was quite surprised how time flies these cuples of days.  It seems not so long ago when I was eagerly anticipating my Perth Trip, and now I am back and tomorrow, I will be back in school for the mandatory key personnel meeting for the preparation of the new academic year.

I woke at an earthly hour at 6 this morning and act as Santa Claus, placing all the presents bought under the christmas tree.  I am not a Christian but after sharing with my daughter about the wonder of christmas, I think she would prefer to see her presents under the Christmas tree rather than receiving it from daddy or mummy.  You should see her face of misbelief and excitement when she saw that there were indeed presents under the tree.   My girl got a movie binoculars, those where they show images a la slide projector.  My boy got a toy car with donald the duck sitting in it, which made funny noises as it move.  My wife got a nice Braun Buffel handbag which was a little extravagant on m part.  As for me, I got a gift from my insincere wife who bought me along to buy the gift and also use the vouchers that I have gotten from Tangs to buy the gift for me.   YAh it is the thoughtless gift of a wallet which steered away from being over extravagant and practical.  Pretty much the type of gift I would expect from my wifey.

Anyway after a heavy lunch of a turkey, pork knuckle and a couple of red wine, I had a heavy seafood dinner with a couple of red wine in between...
I think I am going to be so fat and drunk

But then again, that is also the spirit of christmas, porking out and enjoyign the company of family.

I enjoyed the last few hours of X mas peacefully and in silent contemplation...

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The one with the end of the year reflections

It seems pretty masochistic, but I am actually looking forward to the start of the new academic year.

I realize I haven’t had this feeling for a very long time, since I joined the school. 2006 was a year of trepidations as I just joined the school. 2007 was also not much better as I was unhappy over a lot of thing that was going on in school. 2008 was slightly better, understanding how the school functions and finally getting the hang of things. In fact 2008 was supposed a year to look forward to as I was actually planning to take the escape route to move on to green pastures. 2008 come and go, and my dream of leaving the school did not materialize. Instead of feeling bitter about things to come, I was actually quite excited to be back. Perhap it was the whole thing about familiarity; maybe I have already build up some bonds and friendship with colleagues, maybe I have some bonds and attachment to the kids I am teaching. Or just maybe I actually enjoyed what I do now in the school…

The past few weeks since returning for my trip to Perth have been spent mostly in school, clearing up some backlog, preparing reports and of course getting psyched up for the new year. The challenges I am going to face next year is not something new, I will again be a form teacher of a graduating class, a sec 5 class again. The past few days had been busy with the students admission and meeting with parents. In fact this class seems so much more challenging than the previous one I had 2 years back. With the experience, I believe I can do a better job with this batch.

2009, here I come!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The thing about the performer streak

About a month back, the school ahd its own version of a Singapore Idol thingy where students are allowed to showcase their talents and perform in the school hall. the performance was entitled "The Big Bang" and what a bang it was for the teachers as we were told to put a performance by department. This was quite like the CHIJ Youth Day where teachers perform to the delight of the students. Anyway I happen to see this clip on youtube and decide it is worth trying something like this as part of the department performance. And here the fruit of our labour..

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The thing about the  Mountain

so my big plans about scaling the mountain did not materialise :p
for the uninitiated, the july and early august period is an unsettling time for the teachers and the management.  This is when the annual opening posting starts and teachers are free to job hop in the big merry go round.  This is also the time, where negotiation between the schools management and the teachers take place, either to keep/"enslave" them for a long period in the promise of better job conditions, promotion, more /less responsibilities.  It is also a reality check for the teachers to see how highly the school valued you.  If you could see the management getting overly upset, using all sort of hard and soft persuasion and going into withdrawal syndrome because of your impending departure, congrats you must have done something really worthwhile in the lives of the students or in the lives of the management.
to be totally honest, i did venture to some interviews with a couple of schools.  It was more of a chance to hone my interview skills and to check if I would be able to do it in a brand new environment.  However the sad thing is that I am not able to leave as an appointment holder.  To cut the long story short, every teacher had a certain potential coming into the profession, it decrease with age and increase with the sweat and toil, and your ability to adjust and cope with the challenges that were given to the teacher.  sadly i dont have a high potential, at least not high enough to leave as a head of department.  Shocking isnt it? Not about why i have a low potential but how did i know about the school evaluation of me.. well that is the beauty of technology..
In fact i am not bitter about how things turn out, for I dont need others to determine my self worth. :)  What will not kill me, will make me stronger. :)
I guess I am kind of an optimist in this fashion.  Maybe...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The one about the June Holidays

The thing about being a teacher is that like all students, the post holiday blues set in and people get a bit grumpy about things.

For a teacher teaching in a secondary school in singapore, it is quite a luxury to have a week free from the daily routine of going back to school to clear stuff and to prepare for the next term. Things get worse when you are teaching a graduating class where they come back for the first 2 weeks of the June holidays for lessons. and then there is a whole schedule of meeting lined at the last week of the holidays. As I go through one meeting after another, it is a cruel reminder that the term is starting soon.

The morning assemblies, the mad rush for class, and running from class to class, deadline, markings, dealing with recaltricant students and of course the long and un-wirklife harmonius lifestyle again.... But then, it would have been foolhardy to merely want to enjoy with putting in effort now that the family of four need this bread and butter job. Sometimes it is quite an irony when teaching is supposed to be a calling from a higher being, to do what no man dare to do and yet the sad thing is that my perception had been a "live-a-day, eat-a-day, survive-a-day" mentality. Maybe it is the blues settling in...

The "mountain" is ripe for climbing... :P

Friday, May 30, 2008

The One about Pedra Branca

The reason behind why Singapore wanted Pedra Branca... other than the strategic location to guard our waters...

I hope I dont get sued like chee for something done tongue in cheek...


Friday, May 09, 2008

Things in my head

In the midst of the marking frenzy, i felt that there is a need to catch a breather in an attempt to regain my sanity.

things are getting unthinkably draining here. maybe it is just the mid year fatigue that I have failed to get used for the 8 plus years of my teaching career. I am sick of the uncertainities that is happening and would really want to get my options settled.

the thing about being up there making decisions is a draining process, if it is not about making the right decision, it is about why a decision is to be made, and finally how to translate a decision into a series of action and the course of action to be taken. Seriously i am a bit tired with this. Maybe it is just me , but there are alot of things that I dont see eye to eye up till now. Perhaps it is just about the tipping point that will move things to try something new.

I am thankful that i turned my back on remaining in familiar ground 3 years back and moving to a new environment for it gave me the courage to try again. A aprt of me had been dead as a result of this, the sense of belonging. Maybe with the benefit of hindsight, this had been a good training ground for me but there is still something that up till now i have been having difficulties reconciling.. people called it pride but it is about ownership and the sense of "pride" of your own work. Sadly these feeling of achievement had been strongly lacking for the past few years. It had become more of a job and a task to be completed.

The thing about being there at the middle is that you are judged by people and at the same time you must judge others. A bad judgement of those who you are supposed to judgement translate to your capabilities as a leader which in turn will affect the way people judged you. In a no win situation, the exasperating thing is to do the role of the bad guy. Maybe it is just me but I hate the idea of doing the judging. This is my 3rd year doing this, and I am still uncomfortable with that. The worst is when things is about "who" rather than "what", that is when this job become tougher. I am tired about this more than anything. Give me the judging of a student, give me the judging of a class anytime.

it is time to make a decision about things. Let hope God will answer my prayers for a solution. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The one with the first month celebration preparation

before i knew it , the one week holidays had come and go. As i busied myself typing and tidying all the loose ends of stuff before the mad rush tomorrow, my wife reminded me that we need to prepare for xuan xuan's first month celebration. Not that I did not have a good rest, althogh I have been spending time at home, but helping to look after the number 2 in the family dont really quantify as a restful week.

In about 2 weeks time, my baby boy is going to be one month old. after much deliberation and consideration, we finally decided to call him "Ng Jing Xuan Varick" 黄靖轩 After also much deliberation, we decided to use the original spelling of the name Varick instead of variant such as Verrick and Verick and Veric. The name Varick stand for a defender who defend and hopefully he will live up to the name literally.

For the really uninitiated, it is customary that 1st month celebration for babies are celebrated with apblomb, to tell the world that the baby is strong and healthy, to tell the world that the mum can go out, and start bingeing on Macdonalds and wearing her slinky dresses and strappy heels. But then again I digress. As a result, I decide to arrange for 2 sessions, a buffet lunch in the afternoon for our colleagues and friends and a buffet dinner for our relatives. This promised to be a long day for us in 2 weeks time. After looking at the myriad of menus of food and stuff, I was confounded with an equally perplexing task of arranging timeslot ( yes you read this correctly) a la school's meet the parents session ( in this case meet the baby session) so that I will not have a situation when I have too many guests and unable to entertain them at the same time. However my missus also reminded me to be "extra careful' when arranging some of the ex colleagues and the present colleagues. This is just in case that I may, or they may accidentally blurt out things which was not meant to be heard by the public ear.

I think this whole thing is more stressful that whether to have teriyaki chicken wings or pizza bauguettes. Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The one with the baby

according to the script, Varick was born on 28 february 2008 after much anticipation.  I was wide awake and had a hard time trying to get to sleep on the night before.  Woke up at 4am and had difficulties falling asleep again.  Maybe it is the 2nd time jitters of being a dad again.  Decided to watch the movie "indiana Jones and the last crusade" a movie shot eons ago, with a dash of adventure and appropriately depicted the relationship between the Snr Jones and the younger Indiana Jones.  Having a boy is going to change the way I manage the family and of course him. Well I guess that is part of the challenge for me in 2008.
Anyway, both boy and mum are fine after the operation and Varick ( Veric or Verrick, we havent really made up our mind which variant to use) was born at 1056 am and I was busy smsing everyone I know to spread the good news.  I thank all the avalanche of good news from all my good friends, ex colleagues, family members and colleagues. 
Anyway enough of all the blogging.  I think the most important thing is to show all how the little guy look like...As a result of me been more awake than I was when Vernice was born, I was able to take a video of him and of course do some dummy-proof editing on my macbook,  Thus decided to "show-off" my skills and do a edited video of him been born at the operating table.  Not for the faint-hearted. Without further ado, I introduce to all of you - Varick Ng

For those who have given the video a skip, I have included pictures of my baby boy.  See if the little fellow looks like papa or mama :P
This is Vernice, the jie jie holding to Varick

The cute baby.. see the curly hair
Pix was taken before the cleaning, wondering why he is frothing in his mouth
Mummy and Varick
Daddy with Varick

Enjoy! will post more when i have the time

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The One with the O Level Results

Yeah I have tons to things to blog... and i can finally find the opportunity to do so... I am in an unusually bubbly mood since the start of the year. and that had been my new year resolution- to be optimissitic... daunting task but I believe in my usual optimisstic tone it should be doable.

The O levels results was released on Thursday and I was surprised that I had a sleepless night the night before. Actually for those who know me, it is really an overstatement, I had a fitful sleep and woke up looking like the "thing" will smith kill during "I am legend". Well behind the shagged look and the bloodshot eyes, I was worried for my sec 5 class, worried if they will be able to clear the hurdle and move to the next lap of their tertiary education. My sentiments were shared by my co form teacher a young malay teacher who is taking a graduating class for the first time. As a Kp I got to know about the result as early as 8 am. Counting the L1B4 and glancing through the summary report, the management heaved a sign of relief as we managed to do just as well as we did last year sans a couple of drop in percentage passes and distinctions. My Sec 5 survived except 1, all except 1 made it to poly, and about 8 managed to get a grade good enough to go to a JC. I was happy for them except for the poor student who had wasted his year in Sec 5. ITE is now his only choice for an education. I remember the teachers and even the Prinicpal tried so hard to get him to focus and study for exams. His ability was not there and yet his attitude was lacking until it was a case of too late. But like him, the school and I we had to move on to focus on the issue at hand, the next batch of sec 4 taking the exams at the end of the year.

I was pleasantly surprised with our humanities results. The results was an improvement from last year whether it is distinctions or percentage passes. It also showed to me that I had a great department to work in. The history unit had also done well and our MSG was actually better than the georgaphy unit for the combined humanities... it also proved to me that I have improved in my management of the department. In my days in IJ my best results for hist humanities had been a impressive 47% distinction and 100% passes with my 15 girls form IK 2005 batch. There an then I thought my best results had passed me. I never expected that in YTSS I was able to help the top band class achieve a 57% distinctions and 100% passes. And what had made this even more impressive was the fact that this was a full class of 33 students as compared to the 15 i had in 2005. I was shocked and pleased... I guess it also tell me, that where I go, I can do it. :)

Let see what 2008 had to offer...