Thursday, February 24, 2011


on my Bday, i think i am a failure ...

F1. i inspire others to write narrative inquiries of their teaching practice and beliefs... but yet i can't even write a book for those I have inspired;

F2. i train others and design research on creativity... but yet i can't even find answers to my fundamental questions on creative thinking;

F3. i encourage principals to empower teachers with authentic assessment ... but yet this particular P just kept insisting the teachers must still give a defining grade with the use of rubrics;

F4. i help teachers recognise the importance of Lesson Study... but yet i can't even lead those i have partnered for months to understand what it means to 'see' learning from students' point of view;

F5. i bring educators to understand the liberating power of constructivism and learning by inquiry ...  but yet my wife purchases packs of exams papers for my  P1 son;

F6. i desire teachers to appreciate that education can be imaginative and exciting ... but yet my son's P1 form teacher sends weekly email to us parents on decontextualised modes of assessment- test, spelling and 听写;

F7. i demonstrate to Singapore teachers how to maintain a healthy lifestyle from my video in MOE OLIVE... but yet for months I have been walking with a limp;

F8. i exclaim that technology can transform the way digital natives learn and interact... but yet i kept editing and self-sensoring my own private thoughts for fear of backlash someday with my digital footprints;
F9. i tell others its important to help children know that its ok to be themselves  ... but yet i dont even dare to share the contents of this entry for fear i stumble i others;

F10. i  give creative parenting talks to other parents ... but yet i had to succumb using the cane to discipline my daughter;

F11. i long to carry my son the way i used to... but yet each morning he refuses even to say goodbye to daddy;

F12. i love my parents my deeply ... but yet i do not have the courage to say "I love you";

F13. i really want a loving relationship with my wife ... but yet I never seem to match up her standards of keeping my study room tidy;

F14. i (used to) teach others the harm alcohol does to the liver as a bio teacher ... but yet I drown my sorrows in wine;

F15. i lead worship in church ... but yet my own relationship with God is...broken.

In short ... i am a failure. F!

o ... one more F....  i have done well to help some local ministries and govt agencies take on innovation to a new level both locally and overseas.... but yet i detest the idea that i need to be back in green undergoing 20th C regimental training next few weeks for a force that claims to develop 21st C 'warriors'. So much for assessing performance indicators of success for NE! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A 'scholarly' disappointment

Its been so long since i have submitted any blog entries....been just so busy. At this moment of time, I am feeling a little adverse to words like 'reflection' or 'narratives'. Yet, I just need to 'pen' this down after the past 5 hours of toss and turn, on the morning of my 36th Bday. I am not sure how I will react to this entry years later but at least, I like to capture a glimpse of an important (failed) 'scholarly' aspiration.

I had this wish for this new 'beginning'- to accomplish some good academic writing so that I can grow towards being more than a good teacher-educator but really to step onto path of being a scholar.  But the email below from someone I respect was somewhat... devastating. Not sure why but this really seemed more painful then I can bear. 

Subject: Your understanding and support please!

Hi John,
I had an appointment with XXX to consult her on my application for XXX and XXX. She went through my files with me and pointed out to me that she found most of my XXX, especially the major ones, were co-authored with others, mainly with my XXX as the XXX in them. One important advice she offered to me was that I need to have more single-authored publications by myself to demonstrate by this year that I am capable of producing mature scholarship independently. My XXX under way this year are mostly around XXX to be co-authored with XXX and others. So I am writing to really seek your understanding and support in my editing alone the XXX  as a token to show my capacity of independent scholarship. See the XXX that I finished as attached. I will definitely be supporting you to finish the XXX with you as the XXX.  I cherish our wonderful and productive XXX year dearly. Hoping you understand my current urgent need for XXX for securing my XXX as I am finishing up my XXX in a few months' time. 
I just feel a terrible sense of ... disappointment? I have been very driven since end of last cohort as XX and I have had shared this vision of writing this book compiling some XXX from earlier classes and started our discussion and editing work. I do admit it's been hard to squeeze more time with the heavy XXX and preparing with the new course. But... To me, that vision was an important academic milestone. Something I have worked hard and really looking forward to. 

Many questions in me... Yes, perhaps academic writing is really not my cup of tea. But then, who am I to ask for anything given I am just a seconded staff and I really ought be grateful for the opportunity to learn, grow and be mentored? I feel this extreme sadness within, though I really sincerely wish XXX well and success.