Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finally I see a letter that supports the title of HPS

The last couple of weeks, since the announcement of the 20 schools, the newspapers have been publishing many comments on the 20 HPS, specifically why others did not get it. Most of the comments were very discouraging, complaining about more money given to schools that are already quite established, and how the money can be better used by lesser schools.
This is not to say that they did not have a point. Of course they do.
But what I like about the comment made in today's paper by a learned gentleman is that you cannot always wait for all the trains to catch up or the first train will forever be stuck in the same place. This is exactly the point of having these schools identified. It's like putting rankings to all the Ivy League universities. Why do people do that? It is because some universities do more than other universities and they reach further than others. So they are given due recognition and more resources. But then, with all the things they are given, much is also expected of them. Same with the 20 schools. The more they are given, the more expectations that are heaped on them.
For SA, many of us tremble. We have experienced the expectations on us when we were first given the cluster title. We received so many visitors and we were given so many things to do. Paper work almost killed some of us. Everything and anything is about doing things better and more diligently, and so getting everything and anything documented on paper. Whatever we had to do, had to be put on paper as proof. Pictures, reports, forms and all sorts had to be done/prepared. The teaching staff had to buck up. The office staff had to improve. The students had to show they were capable and could exceed beyond expectations. The stress on all of us was frightening and ... sad. Now, with this title on us, even more is expected of us. Yes, we are all going to be stressed about all sorts of things. But ... hold on. Isn't this what life and education is about? Progressing and going beyond the horizon?
I hope and I wish that we can all work together and work out something for the school and make everyone who is remotely connected with us ... proud of us. Much as I am afraid of change and progress, I am ready. I am scared, but I am ready. I might struggle with many things, but I am willing to learn and try my hardest to justify my position in a school deemed excellent.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The 4 J Lohs

All the grandsons in the Loh family, my husband's family have a Christian name that starts with J and all of them have the initials of J Loh. Well, here is a picture of all 4 of them. This was taken in a restaurant in Evergreen Laurel, Penang during one of the family dinners we had. My three JLohs simply adore their adult cousin.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CNY and family

It has always been about family. CNY is never about angpows and food (though I love receiving and am learning to enjoy giving angpows, as well as loving the food). It is not even about the trips we go out to buy new clothes and other new things. It has always come back to the issue of family. It is a time when we renew ties with family members we only see once in a while. It is also time to catch up with what is going on with one another.
This year, my brother-in-law and his family came back from Australia during CNY for the first time since they migrated. In the past, they have always come back only during school holidays in Australia. It is probably a shock to their system how we celebrate over here. They are learning to visit all the relatives they can cover in the few days they are here, and still make time to sample the food they have missed and shop for things.
For my family, it is a good time to see them. My boys certainly enjoy spending time with their cousin. It was good being able to spend time chit-chatting with them, and having reunion dinner with them. It cost a bomb to eat out for reunion but it was just so wonderful to just not have to bother about cooking and cleaning, and just spend the time in fellowship.
We'll be off visiting some more soon. Will update, and hopefully include some photos when I am able to. Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is it okay to be racial? Or are we talking about being racist?

Is there a difference? What IS the meaning of either word anyway.

According to MY dictionary,
  • RACIAL means "relating to the relationships between different races of people who now live in the same country or area".
  • RACIST refers to "someone who believes that people of their own race are better than others, and who treat people from other races unfairly and sometimes violently".
So my question is : Are we all racial or racist in nature? Your answer is only true to yourself. Ask yourself which one describes you better. For more interesting reading on this, go to :

And this, by the way, is my 200th post in this blog.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The bashing and dissatisfaction

Since the list of 20 schools was announced, there have been comments and criticisms about the 20 that made it and the others that didn't. I am not going to defend all 20 schools. I can only defend mine. Talk to me personally if you wish to have a discussion on this.
SA, admittedly, is not a perfect school. We are also far from being the ideal school. But then, I don't think any school can claim to being that either. It is with humility that we, in SA, especially the staff, accept the honour. We can see how much work and effort we will have to put in to justify our appointment. It is an honour and that comes with lots of responsibility. In a way, it will drive me to work harder, to work with a better system and be more disciplined in my work.
I hope that the students too will see this as an achievement that they have to maintain. And I pray that we can all work together to make sure that we never put SA to shame in any way.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I am back with the 4SB girls

The trainee is gone. Prematurely, it seems but I am glad to be back with my girls although it means more work. It was a stress-inducing 3 weeks when I had to monitor and guide the trainee. Not just for me but for some others as well.
It was actually horrifying to some of us when we got our trainees. We were supposed to guide them as they go through their teaching practicum. Unfortunately, they turned out to be in need of more than just our help. Here are some of our grouses ... well, mine anyway :
  • English proficiency - I find that very lacking in them, my trainee anyway. Grammar was weak, vocabulary not that fantastic, obviously not well-read.
  • Confidence was severely lacking - It was apparent to the students she was not confident. At times she pretended to be strict but ... it just didn't work.
  • Lesson plans that were not properly done - I don't know what they taught her in the university but she really did not know how to write a proper lesson plan and she did not understand a lot of things which she was supposed to have learned.
  • Teaching aids - She did not use many of them, and even when she did, it was a lot of traditional aids. She was not IT savvy and didn't even bother to use our computers to print out materials.
  • Creativity - She lacked creativity in her lessons. She was too bound by the 4 walls of the classroom. Even when I suggested taking the students out of the classroom so that some activities could be done, she did not do it.
  • Enthusiasm - She lacked it. She was just plain doing things in a clockwork manner. There was no desire to impart knowledge or to "engage" in a lesson with the students.
  • "I don't know, so I don't do" attitude - This was a major frustration for me. Several times, when I told her something or questioned her ... all I got was that attitude.
I find it very frustrating. It's because I have such high expectations of these young trainees. Even if they don't have a lot of skills, that is fine, as long as they have the enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Skills and knowledge can be obtained and fine-tuned and polished. But not being enthusiastic! I don't know how she is going to be able to become a full-fledged teacher a few months down the line. And I fear for my children, if that is the kind of teachers they are going to get.

I hope I have not scared the 4SB girls now that I am back with them. Today itself I pretty much "killed" them with the word hunt exercise. But then that is what I want to do, make them think and not take for granted that they knew a lot of things. If any of you are reading this .... get ready for a tough time.