Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some private thoughts on your final paper..

Dear 811 friend...
Yanping and I had a good time discussing til very late Fri night on how wonderful it was reading each of your NIs.  Well, I went home to focus on my next 'presentation'.... well, side-track a little… I have been invited to speak to a group of 800 teachers on an area- creativity in education. Not to boast of how 'good' i am but to share on how 'weak' and scared i really am feeling right now.  Somehow the fear of speaking to such a large audience has never been more overwhelming than this. Yet, somehow, just when I am still 'stuck' with thinking… what do these teachers want to hear on creativity… what would be helpful … what would be inspiring so that we can all be more creative teachers to inspire that creative difference in our children.

This tenuous thinking process strangely led to the question I asked you 2 weeks back- “What is a GREAT teacher?”
I revisited the flipcharts and then my Facebook postings. Truth of matter is, I don’t have a 'model answer'. (and I so apologise esp if I have misled  u to believing there is..) Yes, Kok Leong's group rightly pointed out Fri night that there will always have politically correct answers while with some hidden truths. Michael was upfront to say, "perhaps John was not satisfied with our politically correct replies that’s why he posted on his facebook..." Sorry but yes, I wasn't convinced that your answers were a clear distinction between Good and Great. I suspect one attribute of a great teacher is one who dares take risk- especially in our highly conformist system. I am not implying that having the courage to take risk is necessarily the best way... but from your all your NIs, I learnt that RISK THROUGH PERSONAL COURAGE is when you dare stand up for your students when others look down on these ‘losers’, risk is when you dare admit that we are not perfect teachers yet we need to live up to the expectations of others, risk is when your students (esp to the more 'challenging' classes like NT) make excessive demands upon your time and resources, risk is when you dare admit there are times we as teachers feel scared with what you have started, but gone ahead anyway.... risk is when, you know others will turn their back against you...

I am also ashamed to say that I myself have never written a complete 18 pages NI before.  Do you remember I asked you- Does winning some school or national award make you a GREAT teacher? Fact is, such awards do acknowledge your hard work. But yes,,, we give honor to the many other unsung heros. I was once awarded several awards too for a particular project on Service Learning... where I in my leadership position took the risk to give special 'rights' to do something that is different from all the other classes. I was questioned for my intentions by other teachers…  but I went ahead nonetheless.  This was a Sec 1 class that had MSG head over heels compared to all other classes. Yet, as the form teacher, I was saddened with this ‘high ability’ students who dare tell me in my face don't waste their time with unnecessary projects. Parents who say, let my child take a CCA take require minimal involvement as their are here to excel academically. In class, though a little fun loving, they lacked the camaraderie of other children. This was a class with an 'Attitude'! I wanted them to experience more important life lesson of humility and learning to work tog and CARING for others. I wanted them to experience that there is more than just academic excellence. I wanted this class to work on a mega-project work on Service Learning. They chose to raise funds for the Children Cancer Foundation (then, 'housed' under NKF) They worked hard to organise themselves, interacted with the cancer children and brought them to Jurong Bird Park and used their works to make into artifacts to raise funds through auction. Everything well as I planned and kids grew closer, genuinely caring for the less priviledge. In June, the NKF's TT Durai golden tap case was blown out and different ministries got involved. MOE gave a stern warning to stop all fund raising for NKF. My P called me to stop the project even though it was towards the end- right before the actual fund raising segment. I had to gather the kids and explained to them and of course to recognise their hardwork. Yet, magically, during the post SL reflection, the boy who once told me to don't waste time on non academic related project work matters, stood up and reminded the class why we did what we did. He said that while he was assigned to be Hafiz's buddy (the patient who needed to carry an oxygen tank everywhere he went) over the two days of interaction, he realised that he was so much more fortunate. This once proud and arrogrant boy said "Its not pity he wanted from us, its friendship" these words still etched in my heart til today. It was these words that got the whole class to tell me that I should not just stop this project so abruptly. I was beyond my wits. While the kids were crying becos each of them remembered the interaction they had with the patient buddy over the two days, I too was touched …but really I was beyonf my wits.  After that sobbing session, the boy came to apologise for what he said at the start of the year… he shared that he was abused by his step father as a child  and was often branded ‘useless’ by this step father. He told himself since than that he will work hard and not be looked down upon.  He reminded so much of myself. If u remember I once shared that as a child I was violated physically near school compound and no teachers believed in my story becos I  was a ‘bad boy’ who often fought with school prefects- I vowed to be a good teacher one day… and since then worked myself up both academically and in behaviour and rose to be a prefect… his convictions reminded me of who I was and why I wanted to become a teacher…

AnywAY, the class by consensus said they will take over since they know that my P did not allow this project to carry on. As 13 year old sec one students of the top class, they secretly called for a Meet the Parents Meeting and asked the P along as they presented their revised plan so that they could finish what they wanted to do. They coerced the parents to gather permission and to convince the P they will finish up their project by a month and not let their grades drop at all.  Scary to say, their revised plan was even more grand than what was initially planned for... I know I couldn't support it along and yes, poitically speaking, i should not. Some of colleagues heard about it and volunteered to help and gave their time over the weakends to be involved. Even other classes (both upper and lower sec classes volunteered to support this 'grand plan'). I really couldn’t do it at all and was fearful of the repercussions every step. Yet, in the end, it was the class, the volunteers- parents, other classes and my colleagues that showed me that it was possible.  In the end, this story was featured in the papers, it won awards but the credit was not mind. Minister Vivien Bala… on stage whispered “you must have been a great inspiring teacher…” but you know, I knew in my heart, perhaps it was just a brief moment of greatness with a lot of risk at stake- for which I could have been suspended or sacked from MOE for defying higher orders. But intuitively, I think I knew i just had to do it even with the risk at stake.  In that lesson session for 811, one of the things I was hoping, for which none of you said, but was reflected by someone else in my FB,  was the need for group learning- peer development. You know why teachers segment work from friendship- why cant departments grow becos they want to see the best in students- and are willing to unpack what defines ‘best’? I tell you… with all the work in LS that I do in schools… I outright reject schools that say, help us to show that LS can improve results…. I m sorry… improving results is a by-product. John Yeo loves John Dewey … ok perhaps I am getting overboard and pls great teachers should not get runk... This is not my NI… 
The crux of the matter is….Why do you really need to bother about the final paper… let me explain from a personal perspective… I did my masters in US… I wanted to really learn how to be a great teacher (even though we are all created different) to inspire teachers to teach more creatively (because teaching is really sometimes a ‘wicked’ job)…  and till this day, why I choice to b seconded to NIE even though I was given option to eb a school leader…. Becos I think teachers to recognize that their work is not in vain, tat we need to have research to encourage Singapore teachers to  continue the good work we are doing.   I was offered a teaching position with full scholarship in a US university… this to an Asian is a rare opportunity. To b reallllllllllllllllllllllllllllly honest, I miss being a classroom teacher, but I am clear why I m here. I believe strongly that research informs practice and we have so much good work going here in SG… I m jealous of the good work you are doing in the classroom but I know God put me here for a purpose… you know,,,, I lost my second  child due to a miscarriage when I was in US… yet my good wife told me, if you believe in what you hope to do, then persist. It was a difficult decision then to stay on, I was a top student in my cohort and my research project was gaining so much traction yet…. I believe sincerely that the way this final paper was crafted…. with all my heart that this VISION paper will be something that its all worthwhile as you truly seek for your own navigator. Look beyond the grades and write it ONLY FOR YOURSELF.
I feel sad. I feel sad that this is the last sem I am teaching 811, that I will miss the wonderful learning from each of you. Perhaps, unlike other modules where there is plenty of 'know-hows', just like Borko (2009) says a wicked problem has no one correct answer, that its contextually bound, dynamic and interrelated. May your time invested in the group project and final paper be a personally meaningful and fruitful learning experience. While I continue to think about how may I challenge these 800 teachers to greatness (I m not proposing that creative teaching as a mainspring of greatness)...  yes, this was also part of my own vision paper- to inspire teachers to be more creative educators.  I just like to thank each and everyone of you for such a wonderful learning experience for me in 811.
Before I close and perhaps to sober up to think about my 800 teachers presentation… teaching is an emotive work… why did you think I trick you into opening up and talking about the emotional labor of teaching in session 3… o my goodness…. Before I regret doing what I m doing…. Pls know I sincerely looked upon you as my friend n teacher in 811….
Sincere thoughts and blessings
P.S. in Chinese… they say.. jiu hou tu zhen qin… after wine, is where find the most ‘real’ you. I know it’s a risk, but hey… I don’t  really care… I just wish for each and every one of you to aspire greatness in what you can do and will do as a teacher and school leaders…. To me… there are just too few great teachers around. May 811 take you along for your journey of your Greatness..

Monday, September 27, 2010

What has God got to do with Chicken Rice?

I was talking to a close brother in Christ- Edmund Nai on prayer and  I found it easy to ask him why I often felt so 'distant' from our heavenly Father. He asked me in return- "What do you teach about when someone asked you how to communicate effectively?" Interesting as I could sense where he was leading me with this abstraction exercise. I listed the following: Need to be honest and real, genuine interest to discuss, keep an open mind, active listening, waiting, pacing, body language, willingness to accept no response, not be judgemental, etc.  The logic than became a clear fit for me- have I practiced the above if I was genuinely communicating with God. Wonderful points of reflection!  Hearing God's voice was something we desired and he shared the need to have a strong desire and pure heart, laying aside our pre-conceptions and focus on communicating honestly with God as a process for spiritual growth.

Before we closed, Edmund invited me to close my eyes and ask- "What does God FEEL towards me?"  I clarified- 'think' OR 'feel'? Yes FEEL was the focus. In order to 'feel close' as that should be nothing that can hinder us from the love of God since the redemption has already been paid on the cross.  I was excited and ready, but was I really ready?   I prayed and asked but somehow, was unable to clear the olfactory, tempting,  distraction- wonderful fragrance of chicken rice that someone was dining in a nearby place. Quite shamefully, I opened my eyes and confessed that I was distracted .... by the smell of chicken rice. Edmund in that instant shared that he actually felt the urge to remind me while I closed my eyes that sometime God uses the immediate images to speak to us- and this had nothing to do with the chicken rice then.  He indicated that since what he felt was exactly how I was 'stuck' in that moment-  perhaps that 'smell' was so distinct and it really did not happen by chance. And perhaps this was also God's creative way of speaking. I closed my eyes and asked again, "God how do you feel towards me?". This time, the smell reminded me of how much I delight in food and that immediately connected to how God delights in my happy giving- giving to others, to enjoy fellowship or simply being who I really am- a happy and creative individual. I found peace in this strange yet comforting sense of understanding and chose to accept it. The next moment I opened my eyes, the guy eating the chicken rice had already left.

This unusal yet powerful experience was a timely reminder that we serve a very creative God.  While I often teach others to use the Visual Connections as a creative strategy to find new ideas, little did I know that God can use the same trick to enlighten me too!  If God places in me a desire to seek for novelty, than the Father of all Creation can use this same disposition to creatively connect with us- in a way that is most easy, comforting and close to our hearts. Unusual yet, beautifully meaningful at a personal level.

Creativity is the ability to look at the ordinary, and see the ... extraordinary.
Dewitt Jones

Friday, August 06, 2010

An interesting Facebook conversation from something so seemingly trivial

I posted this on Facebook last week after a conversation with Joshua.

On my FB wall, I wrote-  Son just asked me-" 爸爸, u r a science teacher, can u tell me why my teacher say when we put our underwear in the freezer, it can help save the earth?" I m trying v v hard to defer judgement.... What should I say ????

    • Frederick Chong Tell teacher,"My daddy tried but he's no superhero still.."
      Thursday at 10:45pm · ·
    • John Yeo Good one Fred... Thanks for reminder. Now to go look for my red cape. Maybe my old and torn crocodile undies be helpful too...
      Thursday at 10:54pm · · 2 peopleLoading... ·
    • John C Lim i really would like to know what is the teacher's answer to that remark. If he/she cannot give an acceptable answer, MOE should need to answer parents what kind of teacher they had employed to
      Thursday at 11:24pm · ·
    • Loo Kang Lawrence Wee not everything people say is true. Decide and verify yourself the validity of that hypothesis
      Thursday at 11:40pm · ·
    • John C Lim
      allow me to rephrase. "kids are kids. they are in a learning mode. They will absorb what their teachers teach to be true. It is good that Josh will ask Teacher Daddy, but not all parents pay extra attention to what their kids learn, and for... some when parents ask, they simply do not respond, so, the children assume what they learn in school is correct. My daughter will came home one day and argue with me about 'rain rain go away', because the tune was somewhat out of rhythm, i corrected her. Her reply was, 'no, teacher teach me is like that'. so, kids accept what their teacher teach to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Of course if we are talking to a secondary school kids or jc student, they are already at the stage where they know how to judge whether the teacher is teaching or joking. but at early childhood teaching, for me, age between 2 up to, even primary school, primary 3-6, we cannot expect children to judge accordingly. So, if there are teachers who teach such things, we as responsible parents should be ask what kind of teacher is that? and we should also ask, whether Singapore is really in a state of shortage of teachers, when we should take in 'tom, dick and harry' to teach our children? (of course, i had known good responsible teachers but this one is a black-sheep among the white ones.)"See More
      Yesterday at 12:38am · ·
    • John Yeo
      Wow... Thanks for the very thoughtful comment guys. Interesting it's all the daddies staging this discussion. I think it's a matter of perspectives. Firstly, from a child's perspective, did he interpret what the teacher said accurately? At ...the very least, the teacher was highly successful in helping the child inquire about some scientific principles. There is a high level of logical reasoning involved here and I sincerely celebrate that the teacher was able to stir the curiosity of the young mind. Hypothetically, what does it mean to 'save the world'? Look at the quick connection Fred made immediately in his first comment. Rather then passing off as thinking it was a silly joke, is there value in verifying that question? Digging deeper, could there be certain excretory substance that contain some catalyst that can be activated below zero degree c? Ever wondered how Viagra, penicillin, or post-its came about? From a parenting perspective, I am more curious to ask my wife why she wanted Josh to ask me that question- was it stemming from an intent of ignorance, of wonder (and amusement) or of (loving) trust that the scientific father may know better??? Now I am really curious ....See More
      Yesterday at 4:43am · ·
    • Frederick Chong
      I can't help but think everyone is over-analysing this simple statement. 1. Cold gonads, less thinking of reproduction, hence less over-population.
      2. Cold gonads, prolonged sensation of feeling cool, hence less need for air-conditioning (think electricity, heat, fossil fuels)See More
      23 hours ago · ·
    • Allan Yeo wow i need to hang out with all of you more. Science out of my area and after reading this post, i've already learnt so much more about my freezer
      13 hours ago · ·

 Sometimes you really never know what social media platforms like FB can do in terms of knowledge co-creation. From the above discussion, there was so much to learn about critical and creative thinking and more importantly, how people can read/ misread information. All said and done, I am lurving it!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Brick

The following story received was an encouragement during days where I felt constantly 'heated' while roving on the roads. I was 'hateful' of so many different drivers- those zooming past recklessly, those far too slow-and-steady type, the lady drivers who don't seem to give a hoot of external road conditions. I always ended feeling angry.  I may only drive a humble red Honda jazz but this still serves as a timely reminder.

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!

He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, 'What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money Why did you do it?' The young boy was apologetic. 'Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do,' He pleaded. 'I threw the brick because no one else would stop...' With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. 'It's my brother, 'he said 'He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up.'   

  Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, 'Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me.'

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. 'Thank you and may God bless you,' the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy! push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.  

 It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:'Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!'   God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice to listen or not.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Its so hard to say Goodbye 2

From a very special group of fun loving yet hardworking students, the poster and the shirt were some of the most sentimental farewell gifts I received many years ago. Unfortunately, the poster needs to be taken down from my study room after all these years.  Thank God for technology and how Blogs can help preserve memories....

Sigh... This was indeed a very special class to me. The unforgettable 2N1. They were initially a pretty tough bunch to motivate  them to learn Science during Sec 1. However, getting to know their interest better, I realised that the best strategy was simply to find wacky themes that were related to the topic I was teaching.

I can vaguely remember some of the topics:
  • Using Super heroes on learning about the physics topic of Forces  (yes, I wore a red underwear outside my pants to class);
  • Frying Chay Tow Kway on learning about Heat Changes  and 
  • Playing with Lego bricks to build sperms and eggs to learn about sexual reproduction.

It was definitely pretty wild to teach science back then with such crazy ideas. Thankfully, I managed also to 'wow' them.

Shortly after I left the school, the class appeared on the local news ...

BUT little did I realise, I was also 'posted' onto youtube ...

As the students have all graduated and moved on in their lives, I can but only cherish such fond memories of the days I was still a classroom teacher! 2N1 rockx!!!

From Super Yeo... presenting my 2 little Super Heros!!!

Its so hard to say Goodbye 1

Torn between NOKIA  and IPHONE

I loved my Nokia-s!!!

Was deleting Air Supply's "Goodbye" from my list of ringtones and the lyrics lingered. After more than 15 years of sticking faithfully to Nokia, I have decided to abandon ship for a new found love- iphone.... (now waiting to lay my hands on iPhone 4). However, with my last Nokia E63 I had a habit of collecting some of the more meaningful/ interesting/ crazy/ encouraging/egoistic sms-es. Here's my attempt to re-capture them before I bid these memories a final sayonara..then re-adjusting to the new sms interface in iphone.

My Favorite SMSes - Stored Memories in Nokia (in nearly chronological order-bkwds)

From my wife- On my ups and downs from  June 2009  to May 2010......
"Pls also honor your work by doing well too. Love you"
"Hubby, you got 2 lots of dbs@ 15.30 and 1 lot @15.02"
"After what u did, I m falling very much in love with you again"
"We are alright. Yr son didn't want to speak with you. I guess he is upset and misses you. He told me he feels like crying in school but didn't. Then he told me he's a good boy."
"You are most welcome. I stayed up to wait for you although sleepy. Because I missed you and your supper... ha ha"
"Don't be. Whatever difficult times and impossible, we (with our helper) have coped through those times. There is no mountain too big to move. You can do it and will be bk to SG next wk. Why don't you go out and hav some fun... lonely and freedom days for you going to b over soon.  We love you. Joanna is better already. Thank God!"

From F* (NIE MLS student, I/2010)- On my teaching style ...
"I've always thought u have your unique ways of connecting with people. And beyond the intellectual facade, you are a very interesting fellow- a very real person with good witty humor."
"You are amazing. What you shared in class earlier was so enlightening. Thats what made you stand out as our tutor! Oh...  $ the big flashy smile... how do you keep that smile when you are teaching a half-dead class from 6-9pm???"

 From L*, MEd student in 811 (HOD, Sports School, I/2010)- Writing his Narrative Inquiry ...

"Thanks for the email encouragement ..."Overwhelmed by complexity" is what I'm facing is much easier to comment on pedagogy or critique research than to confront myself (and back it up with literature)"

From Z*,  MEd student in 811 (LH, B** Pri, I/2010)- Drawing courage to confront a professional dilemma ...
"It has always been a privilege to be challenged by you... thank you for always provoking us to think in so many more dimensions. After yr class last night, I realised that my students are the ONLY reason left for staying in the service. I may decline the promotion but at least I am clearer why. Thk u John"

From K*T*,   MEd student in 811 (Dover ITE)- Just a random question I guess...
"If d bottom line for bizs is profit, what is d bottom line for public schs?"

From M*,  MEd student in 811 (Pre-school business owner) - Her reflection of the class...
" Definitely its a learning journey we take together. But self-disappointment is somethg th needs to b addressed in the process. It was a pleasure to cook for you all. Won't take up any more of yr time... Anyway, ur feedback and post essay thoughts gave me some ideas on how to further my business. Thks...Sleep tight"

From T*, (MLS student) ... (something i can't really remember) ....
"Refer to the tree metaphor you drew in class. Maybe u r at a stage of deciding whether u shd grow a new branch?! Or graft another species?!"

From J*,  MEd student in 803 (Nanyang Poly lecturer) -Group's presentation ...
" Thank you john for being sensitive. Honestly, I realised thgs didnt turn out as we planned.  The grp spent many hours trying to find our how we can put our journey together. I enjoyed the process n realised my own gaps in my professional learning, n d gifts i brought to d grp learning. Just a qn, my ideas about a future curricula i admit is radical, bt i wake up every morning knowing deep in my psyche that this is my purpose in life. I just dnt know whr to channel this belief towards. There are far too many challenges leading my dept... I wish you can be our advisor, can?"

From Siew Huey - How CPS revealed some deep 'Ahas'...
"Oh I also wanted to thank you for the insight - that we should focus on creating solutions that we have direct control over rather than attempting to change our clients. I'd been taking that latter approach and frankly, it has been very exasperating.  So basic yet so easily overlooked!"

From Helen, student I taught 10 years ago in Temasek Poly-  Hopelessly 'jia lat' at work ...
" Dear God, bless uncle john with extra grace to go thru this, extra productively to faster complete the work, extra strength to carry on, extra rest to feel refresh and extra joy to replace any depressive feelings and extra dose of your presence too! In Jesus name we pray, amen! :)  Jia you... ha3. I'm also saying tat prayer for myself as well, while tearing hair liaoz..."

From Kay Yen (NUS buddy, Zoo-mates, my best man, Josh's presch P) - Joshua-my son...
" ... and so Joshua said, "Are you strong Mr Kayne?". "I think I am.", I replied. "I think I'm stronger, because I'm wearing power ranger cloths today." :)
"Your boy has yr creative streak, and shows consideration for others too. Think he got good alleles man. Good job dude. I believe he can rise to the occasion."

From Carol, Godly sis since MOE 07- Our 'unofficial' marriage and family counsellor ...
" You can pray! There are many things we cannot do but only He can! Esp when it comes to issues dealing with the hearts of our spouses. Have faith! We can move mountains if we hv faith as small as a mustard seed.  Speak to the mountains of hopelessness and hostility and command them to be removed in the name of Jesus.  U r the spiritual head of ur home, and u hv been given much power by God to lead ur family. Ur children need ur spiritual covering. This is spiritual warfare at work. Visualise a peaceful morning at home- Everyone waking up with a smile. U praying for each one after breakfast. It may involve u being more involved with the morning routines. Or there may be children's christian music in the bkgrd to help build energy into the kids and the home atmosphere. Or reward the family with a treat when there is peace. Many creative ways to set up the home to achieve the outcomes u want. It all starts with prayers and vision :>"

"Remember to  PUSH... Pray until Something Happens, my fren."

"Hi John and Van. It's always a pleasure to hang out with ur family. U r blessed with great kids.  Its a huge milestone when our kids enter P1 and I had my share of anxieties.  I was reminded that my kids are not mine, but His. We r but stewards, specially picked by Him to raise the kids. He entrusted  into our hands. So, he will give us wisdom and guidance on how best to raise His kids. He will plant the right pp in our paths and open the right doors at the right time. So long as we stay close to Him and lean on Him. He has blessed me in my parenting journey and He'll bless you too. Cast yr cares on Him." 

From Carol - Parenting Talk on Creativity...
"I m planning for another parents meet-up at Grace Kids. Is there anything in ur heart tt u wish more parents should know and tt u cld share with them on? Nurturing creativity? Thinking skills?"

From OTT (ex-colleague in CPDD) - Review on creativity workshops & Apple-s...
" Bro, how r u? Just 2 let u know that the creativity workshops were well received. I did 2 runs. Btw, this message was sent from my new iPhone, impress? Thinking of getting a MacBook now, leaving the pc camp, middle age crisis, I suppose...."

From Vara (ex-colleague from LL1) - God's blessings for my new job...
"As you begin a new season of yr life I pray for you God's blessings. May you find favor with oyur leaders and your peers and may you grow to be a blessing to others in yr new workplace."
"Psalms 84:10-12. If God has said no, He has a good reason. Trust Him :)"

From Martin (ex-colleague from LL1)- 'OP' during a CPDD seminar...
" Fluency: ME- Clearly comfortable with language but some mumbling and slurring at end of sentences. Awareness of Audience: EE- Excellent eye contact, appropriate hand gestures, effort made to scan and address whole room, friendly, and confident. Dullness of content not his fault"

From Cindy (ex-colleague from LL1)- Challenges in Action Research...
" I've been struggling with same qns. I think like what we agreed, motivation to succeed (leading to hardwork on students' part) is the basic reqmt w we hardly can observe from lack of commitment to task. WE team works cos the blending of diversity needs boys to hold onto their beliefs, views, and bring them to gp.  That's why we even hardly observe friction due to difference in opinions cos this lack of creative abrasion may b necessary to bring about productivity n that may lead to creative products due to synergy from interaction. Th said, it illuminated for us some essential reqmt for WEteams for education n this ripple effect observation in itself is results for our initial hypothesis."

From Lyvenne (ex-colleague from CPDD) - Missing me?!!#! ...
"I think you and yr team did such a great job your presence was sorely missed. Thank you for re-energising the whole CPDD... you sure kept Ms Ho dancing and leaping..."

From a G* (P of a eastern top sch) - Managing teachers and credibility...
"This is my pet peeve... I will be like "Do yr job well b4 we talk about welfare. Cos those who r great relationally in my sch tend to suck at credibility! One reason why sending me bk to *** is not a grand idea cos I have a reputation as the empress dowager even as a HOD. Anyway I v stressed... am curious abt upping my social part. Those are some of the issues I struggle wif w is y i tend not to place emphasis on social when the so called 'core' isnt done. But then again, you are somewhat correct- to others, the 'core' might be the social aspects."

From Mark (SH, St Gabs Sec)- Stoning....
"If no pebbles, cannot appreciate ripples. Somebody has to be the stone. I kinda fit that description well. Today I super stone."

From JJ- Thoughts creativity and brainstorming ...
"Visuals serve as powerful reminders of basic trigger point- explicit about its edge. Celebrating the experience rather than product (high touch) invite clients to experiment n create their own experience. Cold stone ice cream- this is where u get to invent yr ultimate indulgence. Same raw materials but mixes in somthg original n memorable... co-creation and empowerment."
"Changing the behaviours of small parts of experience can make big difference- So what r we generalising about behavioural preferences? Eg. Turning public toilet exp inside our- see thru 2-way mirror. Defining element is the experience." 
"What's the big deal w style over substance? Selling a mood n sensibility wrapped with design, story telling and humor. Results- market appeal proved its point. SO what's dull? Its only as dull as yr imagination."

From Ai Noi (ODD)- Thoughts on Workshop...
"ha3.. can see dat u were tired after the workshop. :) U gave new light to the common tools, thats my greatest takeaway. Dat there is more than 1 ay of using and lookg at these tools. Also discover we share some similar perspectives towards curriculum and pedagogy. Many of folks commented that you are highly reflective person and yr experience really was v helpful to all of us.. thanks!"

From Peggy (TN)- Joint consultation with SCGS...
" Thanks John.. I leArnt so much just watching u in action. I particularly like yr composure n professionalism. I think i m ADHD type of tr. U r v reassuring to e trs. Good content knowledge and if since u could use so many strategies of engagement, u got all the lady trs go ga-ga over you. U win liao."

From Edwin (old old friend and creative collaborator) -Library book...
 "Can you pl help me borrow a book 'Curriculum Theory: conflicting visions and enduring concerns' by Micheal Schiro. I can come to Punggol to get the book from you."
From Moses (my other creative collaborator)-... I can't remember ...
" Was riding on the shoulders of giants. Or maybe as they say, great minds think alike. And fools seldom differ.  Ha3!"
From Dianna L (old dancing partner in Synergy NUS)- Secret research ...
"What r u, edwin and moses plannin- sounds mysterious and exciting. Anways, be awesome! Vincent is holding a health talk, come if you can"

From Yan -On something v interesting but I can't remember the context ...
"Btw, I told ed abt yr wish to have another kid. He says u dun hav to wait 40yrs or when u r 40. Just wait another 40days."

From George Lim (Crusade bro in NUS) -Temptation ...
"Its not easy, and we have to keep trying. There are 3 phases to temptn: 1. your heart desires. 2. you try to rationalise whether or not to yield to it. 3. you test it out... once pass phase 2, chances are there is little turning back. So, once you recognise you're in phase 1 or 2, quickly curb it. No temptation has seized us except what is common to man. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. Lets FLEE from Temptn tog!"

From Carol - .My struggles during my studies ...
 God is stretching u and thru the process strengthening u. Its also a chance for everyone in family to grow and better understd their capabilities. Be assured that everything is under HIS control. He has a good plan for you and yr family. Stay the course my fren. "

From Weixiu - More on struggling abroad during my studies...
"Be strong k? He will take care of u - Josh will grow up to be a man like u taking care of mum and sis"

From Hong Li -  Family disputes...
"A word for both you and me. Deposit your love bank, not withdraw. Van love john for God. John, listen to your wife for God. Not easy for both of you. But I know God's miracle will happen in your marriage. Let your marriage work out in Christ. Pray for one another and the children."

From Ban Heng (Friend and colleague in RVHS)
"I guess relationships take time to build. I am learning to let God take the centre focus, and direction of our lives. Treasure all that you have and hav that total dependency upon Go to have real contentment and peace and rest."