Meet the Form Class!

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All the talk about our deployment in 2016 is speculative and at best tentative, although it would not be far from the truth to say it is likely I will not be teaching them next year.

It is no secret that teachers have our ‘favourite’ ‘best fit’ classes; I am truly blessed that other than my very first form class in 2012, I had the chance to enjoy that kind of camaraderie and rapport with this class of munchkins who have won me so many times over this year with their awesomeness.

  1. When I shared with them the importance of sincerely showing appreciation to others and made them write ‘thank you’ notes to all their subject teachers, they happily obliged – some of those personal thank you messages so honest and thoughtful.

    (So many teachers were immensely touched when they received the handwritten thank-you notes. Hope they keep encouraging others to become better versions of ourselves!) 

  2. All 43 of them showed up – properly attired and on time – on the last day of school.
  3. All 43 of them showed up on time for the entire duration of their examinations. (I was hugely impressed also because of the haze.)
  4. Three-quarters of the class brought along gifts (wrapped!) under $5 so we could have our year-end gift exchange! :) I exchanged a deco-tape roller with a fragrance incense, a choc bar and some pens.
  5. They unanimously agreed to stay behind for pizza when the pizza could only be delivered an hour later! (Impressed by their class spirit, not their desire for free food.)
  6. The student representatives of the class helmed and prepared their service learning presentation entirely on their own – videos, PPT slides, reflections, Q&A. We teachers only gave them the guiding questions and criteria, and some teenyweeny advice. This really won me over – took a huge load off my chest, especially when some other classes had roles reversed when teachers prepared everything (right down to the script) for the students.
  7. The student groups really took to the children at PCF – and learned from working with the teachers there – perhaps through some challenging tough ways. They may not have impressed PCF completely, but I could see them grow as individuals as they challenged themselves to break out of their comfort zone.
  8. They were mighty disappointed because they did not have time for the boomnet activity at the level camp because we had to take the first ferry back. But after the initial disappointment (“Really? Couldn’t we just try? Maybe we could go now? What if…?”) they accepted it graciously and made the most out of the flying fox pool, just hanging out as a class and playing in the water.
  9. For their VIA project, the kids went to a little village in Bintan and helped to tile the floors with bricks for the village school. Seeing the way they all (yes, even the princesses) got down to work and interacted and played with the children made me proud.
  10. The class committee spearheaded the class tee-shirt orders – sourced and liased with the vendor, gathered the names of the students, feedback and a host of possible tee-shirt designs (although they all looked questionable at best with florals, weeds and skulls and I ended up helping with the design.).
  11. They are receptive to feedback. If you reason with them and set clear but realistic goals, there will almost always be visible improvement – be it about using their handphones, being on time for school, greeting a teacher properly, arranging the furniture neatly etc.
  12. They are hungry to learn. Some boys automatically started on their corrections on their end-of-year exam paper, and this was the dialogue it triggered:

    Me: Wow, are you doing corrections? I need to run through the rest of the questions to check for marking errors – there may not be time for that.

    Boys: You don’t want us to do corrections? Don’t you want us to improve??

    Me: Well… [to the whole class] If I print the marker’s report – it shows you the answers, and reasons why the marker accepted or did not accept some answers. You can attach that to your exam paper then and go through it later on your own. Would that be helpful? Who would be interested?

    80% of the hands shot up in the air.

  13. We won Second Place in the SG50 National Day Inter-class Competition! Some of the kids really impressed us with their sporting spirit – to dress up as  SG50 national day icons!
  14. The boys came in second place in the inter-class frisbee competition for Secondary 3s. (You should have seen them – they light up and transform on the field.) Then they offered up their extra medals to us teachers on Teachers’ Day. The girls came in a close third too!
  15. We won the Best Class Award for the Normal Academic stream in our school! :D This takes into consideration their attendance, results, achievements, attitude etc.

Thank you, 3T1, for giving much and striving hard this year. :)

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Wildflower

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Because it was Al’s last week as a bachelorette, we girlfriends decided to (finally) meet up for tea at Arteastiq. There was a strange sense of lingering bittersweetness as we listened to each of us share about our present stage of life. Almost fifteen years ago, we still donned our short haircuts looking like awkward schoolgirls on the edge of puberty, carrying our heavy schoolbags and making our way to school. Now years later, we have experimented with all sorts of hairstyles and lengths, negotiated fashion trends, and exchanged our boxy schoolbags for totes and hobos. Time has been kind to us; we have grown up well.

I listened in to the various conversation threads at our tea table. We recognise that life is not all roses and chocolates and pastel colour shades. There are realities of wedding days that people may gloss over due to the hype and celebrations; there is unflattering truth that I have ballooned twice in size since I graduated from University. There is the private emptiness when a happy marriage has not bred children a few years later. There is that nagging torment that beneath our seemingly successful jobs, we are not all that happy, and looking for the next turn in life is at the corner of our minds. There is also that swell of courage that we need to brace ourselves with, when we get ready to welcome the possibility of change.

I am becoming more excited at the prospect of possible change, and am becoming more convinced that there is no harm in entertaining that possibility. Perhaps when time is ripe, circumstances will allow me to be more forthcoming in sharing.

How Can We Live No Differently?

I met up with an old old friend and sister-in-Christ this evening, only to be asked some really hard questions. I did not need to play ignorant or pretend that my current lifestyle and mental/emotional health is not reflective of my spiritual state. She knew the void that I was struggling with and how I desperately wanted to fix my eyes on something more — something higher than what I could see.

I shared with her my fear that I would still be in the same position, working equally hard, but still as a teacher, years from now. And she asked directly, Why do you need to know how you will advance? That question caught me unexpectedly, and I had no sure answer. Why did it matter so much that I know where I would be headed three years from now? Why did it matter that I ensured I advanced in my career, either on a teaching or leadership track? Things are different for us as Christians, she posited.

She also asked, What is your weakness? For her she confessed it boiled down to two things: Pride, in wanting to be in control, and the Desire for approval from others. I had not thought about it prior to hearing this question in my face. Why was I trying to do so much, what was keeping me from leaning on God?

I think it is a sense of self-pride, of wanting to be in control. I want to know where I am headed, and what I am capable of, and what is in store in the future. I also think it is slothfulness. Rather than spending my time efficiently, I give myself excuses far too easily to watch a movie, enjoy a good meal, or catch up on sleep. I think diligence should not come only in the form of long working hours, but time spent in a focus and driven manner as well.

Having established that, I realised that the way we make life decisions should differ from the way others do, as sound and solid their advice might be. Just like how we check ourselves when we wait for a partner for life, waiting in faith for God’s timeline to unfold in our lives, we should also have patience and godliness as we listen and humbly submit to His Will – even if I have no idea where my current life decisions will take me.

It is truly a time to kick myself awake and start making changes to my life. So how can we live no different from others, when we have the ultimate promise in an eternal living God? How can I struggle with the same jadedness and cynicism towards life and work, how can I claim to be a child of God, when I fight the same inner-demons to do my work with conviction and joy?

It is a troubling and embarrassing testimony of the power to freedom we have in Christ. I need to live a victorious life, and take on my challenges with wisdom and patience and humility. Colleagues may be difficult and challenges may be tough. But if God opens a way and I prayerfully submit to His will, I can only be certain that His good and perfect plan will unfold.

Time for change, hoshao. Time for change and plenty of prayer.

Finding Inspiration

That is the most uninspiring title for someone desperate for some inspiration. In previous years, I have spent Novembers crafting schemes of work, designing potential learning programmes, reimagining lessons and translating those visions into lesson materials for the upcoming year. Novembers would be a period of evaluation, preparation, reflection and creativity. But this November feels like a stalled vehicle with an engine that does little more than sputter and cough.

I spent a large part of November 2014 coming to terms with the emotions wracked up from a number of events that happened this year. I lost a friendship that still leaves me bewildered and embarrassed. I deleted her from my Facebook and Instagram accounts and left all mutual group chats so I need not have to deal with the constant reminder of what we lost. I struggle to accept my deployment for next year with joy, feeling indignation and jealousy toward some colleagues, and at the same time, trying to remind myself to give thanks to God for His providence (James 1:17). I struggle to get down to work – I have lost considerable momentum and inspiration in preparing for the coming year. I stare and stare at the schemes of work or at the resources and feel… nothing.

No idea comes to mind to make it better, or more accessible, or more relevant. No motivation comes either, and I am left sitting in front of my laptop, feeling shriveled and terribly uninspired and bored.

Hence the urge to find inspiration through WordPress. If I look back at 2011 to 2014 and ask myself what drove me these four years, what would I say?

Students who enjoy learning
When they start to pick up confidence in themselves and believe that they can achieve their personal goals, they start to enjoy the process of learning… and in turn, they inspire you.

Being a part of their growing up
Students grow and mature in a variety of ways, and one of the best parts of the job is to simply be a part of their life when it happens. To watch a student participate in a competition, rise to occasion, and win, is gold. To watch them grow in ability and confidence, is pure bliss.

Being thanked for being a part
Sometimes the student turns back and thank you, and most of the other times, the student does not. Nonetheless, you experience joy on both occasions – and you wish for them to succeed over and over again, even if they do not recognise you or thank you for it.

When a programme works
At other times, I also feel happy when a learning programme is implemented and is proven to work – either it reaps visible results that pleases others, or it receives outstandingly great feedback from teachers and students, or students enjoy it so much they ask about it again, or your team of colleagues believe in the project so much they want to do it again, and better.

These are the things that drive me. When I work this holiday, it has to contribute to at least one of the four things that drives me.

But as humans we do wear out and get tired, and I think we need a higher purpose to sustain us in the long run. Colossians 3: 23 and 24 says:

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

This principle, although familiar, is different from the rhetoric that we are so used to. The world tells us that we ought to add fuel to what drives us – our goals, our ambitions, our emotions – and these should be in essence, good virtuous things. But this drive is personal, and therefore has to be narrow-mindedly conceived.

On the contrary, the Bible tells us that our goals should not merely be what would give us pleasure. Perhaps one day, I may be called to do something with all my heart, even if it does not interest me. Perhaps one day, I may be called to do what I have personally never dreamed of doing. Instead, we are asked to work at everything with all my heart because we are working – we are living – for the Lord. The last thing we want is to serve ourselves based on our very narrow-minded goals. Our God is omniscient, I think that truth alone is sufficient to convince me to trust in the Lord and His plans for me. (Psalm 3: 5,6)

Coming back to this issue of being inspired, I think what I lack is not inspiration for work, but inspiration to work. And this ill, can only be treated by the spiritual intimacy to bring me back to Christ.

May our hearts be soothed.

Take My Life

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I sat across from my two teacher friends at Bakers & Cook last week hearing them take turns to tell their moving and empowering tales on Teachers’ Day. As one friend recounted her experience, the other friend wiped tears off her cheeks, gushing at the sentimentality of the moment. As they recounted their versions of Teachers’ Day 2014, my mind was working to find a way to divert their attention onto something else. I had no inspirational Teacher’s Day story or memorable gift from a student that reaffirmed my calling, and I did not want to be in the position to have to answer another, “So, how was your Teachers’ Day?” question. My Teachers’ Day was spent ordinarily. My form class gave me an obligatory Teachers’ Day notebook, most of the messages reading “Happy Teachers’ Day!”. I walked into class and distributed their results slips, and they behaved the exact same way they usually do.

I know we are not in this job for the recognition, praise or thanks, but truth be told, sometimes that is what we need to keep us going. And this year, I felt trashy and tired and tired of having to keep up with the smiles and grins. I feel under-appreciated by the school, and by the students. I need to find my bearings again. I need to refuel my soul and remember why I am in this profession. I have spent this entire week savouring the times spent alone and with friends, and wondering if it is time to move on. But half the time I spend beating myself up over why such a question even exists to plague me. If I believed with all my heart that teaching is a calling, then why do I struggle so hard to find out if it is time to change courses and move on? It is either I commit what I do every day into the Lord’s hands, no matter the amount of acknowledgement or praise because I want to labour for the Lord; or I have taken it upon myself to decide what career and future I want.

My principal wrote and shared a personal poem with us on Teachers’ Day. It may have been the most meaningful point that day for me:

Dear God, who am I to be so blessed
with this motley crew who call me ‘captain’
That You in Your infinite wisdom
gifted me when my posting did happen?
In my third year now, I give you thanks
for this precious gift, wondrously fine,
of colleagues, with loving hearts of gold,
Team _, one I’m proud to call mine.

Teachers, on this, most sacred of days,
may the ideals which influenced your choice
of this noble profession remain
and give cause to make your hearts rejoice
May today be a gentle reminder
that while rocky days may un-inspire,
you are much loved and held dear, for truly
you have the power to set hearts afire!

I pray you’ll enjoy, until you retire
many more years to lead, care and inspire! 

My career this year (and hilariously by extension, my life) seems to have paled in comparison to previous years. I wish I relied on God in the pursuit of my career achievements and choices. I wish I had prayed before I took on roles and responsibilities, before I decided to binge and mark, before I decided to run my life in a way that I approved of. I had allowed my emotions to cloud my judgment in my job and at many points, probably was not in the best shape to give my students my all. I feel ashamed when I see the extent to which my friends have given up my holiday and time and sleep to work with their students to build them up.

I do have plans for change, but God needs to to come before those plans first. It never is easy to put your thoughts in words, especially when it is this close to midnight. My prayer is just that I continue to seek out God’s will and figure out all these infinite possibilities with His direction.

Chin Up… ?

Most of the time the entries I begin typing do not make it to the public blogsphere. By the time I am halfway through my posts, I either A, lose focus, B, have received sufficient therapeutic release, or C, think they are too negative and unconstructive to be shared. (Which may be the outcome of this post too.) They eventually end up as drafts or in the dumps and forgotten forever.

Disappointment 

Just in the past two days, I have received 5 emails from one of my bosses with a list of to-dos. This may have come at a bad time when there were other pressing matters I had on my mind to settle, and the onslaught of emailing what was required of us to do, but it did not sit well with me.

I thought of what I expected a boss to be, and these are some qualities I want to make sure I meet should I end up taking on roles with higher authority in future.

A mentor who nurtures

A leader is not just someone who delegates or gives directives. It is easier to give instructions than to develop and groom your team – the difference being the former does not require a personal investment or interest, while the latter demands your consideration and your time. You cannot ‘groom’ people under you if you do not first care for them and seek to understand them. But sometimes just a genuine concern for your staff can lift them up and drive them to work heartily.

A leader by example

You may not be a charismatic speaker or a highly-influential head of the pack, but if you lead by example, you gain respect among your team. We always speak fondly of bosses who would grind their teeth with you, take on the excess of the load, or just simply not shirk responsibilities. On the other hand, bosses whose intention is mainly to relief their own responsibilities is hardly deserving of one’s respect. Moreover, a leader cannot lead if you did not experience what your team is going through – you cannot relate to the challenges, and you surely cannot guide the team to greater heights without that shared understanding and support.

I am reaching my limits of annoyance because all I see are directives and forwarded emails. There is no evidence of one supporting the team or understanding the task at hand when all one does is email. Furthermore, if bosses do not experience the dirt for themselves, they can not begin to understand the amount of time and effort the task requires.

A person who thinks with his heart and mind

You need to plan and delegate and plan even more. But as a leader, you need to understand that your team members is your resource and your strength – and you must envision plans with your intellect and your compassion. You must understand that your men needs to be encouraged and supported: One may have the ability, but not the heart to do a task. Similarly, one may have the passion in a certain task but lacks the support and experience to do it well with confidence. You need to string all those multiple complexities together and paint a better picture with it. Delegating irresponsibly without keeping in mind your team’s strengths, interests and welfare, is an act of long-term suicide. If you fail to do that, your team may just feel undervalued and annoyed at your perceived incompetency.

Adopt a positive mindset 

That being said, I am trying very hard to adopt a positive mindset towards the excess trimmings of my work and not be bogged down by other inefficiencies and disappointments. A colleague at work reminded me that when we put things in perspective by constantly reminding ourselves that we work for God and not for man, many other things fall more sensibly into place.

I may not see eye to eye with people I work with or work under, but it does not mean that I challenge every rule I am introduced and grumble at every setback I face. When my bosses throw unreasonable and inconvenient demands at me, one response we can have is to cringe and complain and growl in angst and frustration (which I must admit has been my reaction all along), and another (which may make less sense to some) is to suck it up and do what we were allotted.

I hope that this intense period is a time to build up our resilience – and this period ends soon.

 

Don’t Know Where To Go

About two weeks ago I went to Changi Airport to send a friend off. He had come at the beginning of the year and was assigned to work with me. At first a little aloof, we soon warmed up to become friends. It was comfortable working with him and exchanging different opinions. He was also sweet, giving little gifts like a birthday and teachers’ day card, and graciously accepting mine as well. Being able to work well and honestly with someone is something I have learnt not to take for granted. He was a blessing in 2013, and may we go on to bless others as well.

As I sat in the car after, air-con at full blast, staring at the iconic Singapore Changi Airport control tower from down below, watching the number on the clock switch, it suddenly all fell into place: I had no idea what I wanted to do, nor where I wanted to go. I had planned to find a quiet spot in the airport to do some reading and writing, I had brought my novella, my school readings (just in case), my journal, and had even spent hours debating whether I should have packed along my laptop, cable and hard disk (just in case). I was such a person – one who could not really figure out what she wanted, and hence was better off preparing for anything and everything.

Wherever the tides would take me, that would have been my motto. I would do what my heart felt like doing. Well, it turned out that that morning, I had no idea what my heart felt like doing. Maybe it did not feel like doing anything. So I sat there in the car, thinking about where to go and what to do the entire rest of the day, and wondering what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in my life.

In the past, it was easy to sweep away the residue that accompanied the difficult questions and say, Let’s just wait and seeMy priority to teach became my verbal promise to whoever asked about “my future plans” and a weak excuse for my indecision. That really meant that I need not make any effort to get what I wanted, heck, I was too lazy to even decide what I wanted to do. Making decisions require effort, and the actions that are required to follow after can persuade one to run in the opposite direction. But at this moment, I had a few options presented me and they all require me to make some kind of effort.

Further study? I need to do some research, plan some budget, speak to some people, fill up lots of paperwork and apply for the courses. Some of my colleagues and friends have done that – I look at them juggle the workload and I think them mad. But secretly I applaud them for their desire to translate their dream into reality.

A managerial position? I need to do some soul-searching, set some objectives and clearly defined goals, then work towards equipping myself if I prayerfully want to contribute in that area. This scares me because I do not see any like-minded colleagues working with me, in fact, the opposite is true, and the politicking is stifling. But if God calls you to play a particular role, there is nothing shunworthy about it, is there.

Just a teacher, more and more effective? I really enjoy interacting with the students and teaching them. But can I stretch myself in this aspect in this school?

Transfer? There are just so many reasons shouting against it, but I am dying of curiosity to see how other schools are like and if I would enjoy it better there.

Stay? Can I stay and be a more resilient and effective worker, able to contribute to the students and the school?

On a less serious note, a last option would be to focus on finding a partner and settling down. Ha ha ha. Decisions, decisions, decisions, aye.

In our stride

One day ago I was dealt with a rather overwhelming blow at work. To sum it up, there were some deployment changes that meant my effort and time put into work the past few weeks are entirely discounted and no longer contributes to my preparation for school next year. My supervisor unfortunately, did not have the courtesy to explain this change to me personally, but assumed that I would do her bidding – as always. To top it off, my new role seemed thoughtlessly thrust upon me for the sake of convenience. I felt that I was tasked to do the “dirty work” because others did not bother with it enough. I felt hurt and undermined, because I felt disrespected as a person. As an employee, I would suck it up and do it, but as a person, I was angry and upset at the way she handled things.

I realised I spend a great deal of time moping and brooding over something that bothers me. I was hurling words of anger and angst all around, and upon hindsight, am not proud of it. I was with a good friend yesterday afternoon, who accepted me as a rather emotional companion. (Thank you, See.) I confided in several of my teaching friends, thankful that I had at least a sister-in-Christ who was committed to praying for me to get back on track. Even that was not enough, I bought Auntie Anne’s pretzels for supper, and ate it before dinner because I was just feeling so “blah”.

My first thoughts as I opened my eyes this morning, was about the same matter. Obviously, I had not found peace before the sun set yesterday, and had harboured my frustrations and worries throughout the night. On some level, it must have plagued my dreams. It was a large burden that weighed my mind down.

Then I opened my devotional, for my Quiet Time with God this morning. The reading was on working for Christ. We forget that our God is sovereign – and that every little detail in our life is planned and rolled out by Him. I forget that it is not my supervisor who threw me such a heavy matter to deal with, but God, who allowed me to be thrown such a heavy matter to grow from. I forget my place. I grumbled, I complained, and I threw a fit because I forget that my God is greater than any supervisor or employer I had, have or will ever have.

I rest my head in shame, because certainly God knew the conflict it would cause in me. I must not forget that my Creator God has things in His hand.

It does change the game. I know that I will submit to higher authority and the lot they have allotted me, not because they are higher authority, but because God is the highest authority. This is not just a game of playing your pawns on a chess board; this is a game of staying faithfully to the calling of your Lord.

And this is a game which we have already emerged victors. This is a game we have already won.

Glimpse

I have taught for two and a half years This year has challenged me to work harder beyond what I had expected for myself, question my ideals more than ever, and struggled to find a balance in my life. It has been exhausting and a constant battle, and perhaps in time, I will be able to negotiate an outcome from all these.

There has been much ongoing dialogue about the workload of teachers and what our focus at work should be. This has obviously led to some disagreements, unpleasant exchange of opinions, and hopefully also helped  to shed some light on the real situation on the ground in schools. Not just elite schools, or specific-tiered schools, but schools dealing with all range of student profiles.

The education system we work under is not perfect; but no system is perfect, and I don’t think we should blame the system. It is at most an inanimate set of structures, procedures, and guidelines, managed by people and applied across all schools. The problem, I believe, lies in the transference of a system (developed with an ideal, good purpose behind it) onto a group of teachers and students. Teaching is a laborious, painstakingly human job, and you can not apply a system without giving due consideration to the people it concerns. When you take away the heart of the matter behind education, commercialise it, and run it as a business, it tears the ideals and purpose of education apart. So easily your students and their parents become your clients, stakeholders become opportunities to profit (mostly in the form of raising the school’s reputation, or fulfilling some targets), and teachers and staff inevitably become units of labour.

There are many things that frustrates me as a teacher. As a disclaimer, no school is alike, and one teacher’s experience should not be generalised as others’. However, I believe most educators would be in agreement of this: that an outsider to the education system, should not assume knowledge of the challenges of a teacher. Let us not even go into the issue of our pay and how deserving we are of it. One of the biggest personal peeves is when someone assumes that teaching is simple.

“Those who can’t, teach.” 

“It’s the holidays now, right? So you should be freer?” 

“Oh, so it’s the exam period now? So it’s like holidays for you? You just need to invigilate, right.”  

It is easy to misunderstand the requirements of being a teacher when you have not stepped into the classroom or taught in a school. This is why I am in full agreement for the contract teacher schemes that are offered to interested applicants for the job. Some people are cut out for it, and others are simply not suitable.

For the past two weeks I have, together with my colleagues and teaching friends, marked till late at night just to clear our pre and post-examination marking. After 1:30pm (which is our official dismissal time), we strategically visit some local (very kind!) cafes and sit there with coffee and a quick lunch, and mark till late – often past 9 pm, before we pack up and head home. I had 9 classes of papers to mark in 10 days – a reasonable load, thankfully, but still a challenge when you have to mark for an average of 8 hours straight every day.  We could work faster if we had the luxury of marking during school hours, but unfortunately, there is also the organisation of post-exam activities, keying in of marks for the summative assessment, writing student remarks, writing school reports that consume our time and concentration.

I have tried my reasonable best to work less (work smart) this year. I have become more selective about meeting deadlines (because there often more pressing things to do) and more strategic in directing my efforts to completing tasks (some require more work while others, minimal effort). There are afternoons when I make myself take some time off early to go watch a movie, shopping, or just hang out with good friends and colleagues at a cafe to chill out. I am really thankful that I have not yet driven myself to the ground with the support of people around me, especially my colleagues and friends. But on most other days, we find ourselves working till at least 5pm, and work does not end there – we take it home, work at night, and half the time this does not even involve preparing for lessons the next day. Much of my weekend is spent ensuring that I am ready for work responsibly when Monday comes – and often this means missing family appointments or other additional activities that may require my time and attention.

I know not every teacher spends his or her weekday or weekend this way, uptight about work, but for someone who is still struggling to manage my self, teaching is not giving me an easy time.

I can empathise very closely when people remark on how our attention on teaching is being diverted onto other things that “counts for something”. These include sending out emails (with your initial on it), organising programmes for students, preparing excel templates for marks analysis, writing reports for official school documents for recording or auditing purposes, writing remarks for students… and the list goes on. If you prove yourself able to these things that count towards something on your KPI, you are almost guaranteed to be on the right track when it comes to promotions and career advancement opportunities.

It is not that these tasks are unimportant and ridiculous. Targets are there to help make things better, or at least they should. But when we lose sight of the purpose behind the targets we work towards to achieve, when we forget that our purpose is to add value and teach our students to become educated, keen learners of good character… when we work towards these targets at the expense of the soul of teaching, then we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if there is a necessity to realign our priorities.