So, I was reading through my copy of The Straits Times the other day on the way to work in the best underground transit system on the planet. It’s clean, always on time, and it tells you where you are and where you’re going. It even has air-con and wifi. Yes, I said wifi. In the subway. And it never drops.
The MRT in Singapore is so good that it’s easy to look past it, kind of like it’s easy to look past the world right in front of us as we set our mind on the gates of the international schools waiting for us. After all, what could be more important?
What I learned from the paper was that the community outside my door was struggling with the same issues we often face as international school leaders. It’s just that we rarely take the time to compare.
On page six, I learned that in nearby South Korea, government and industry was perplexed by the lack of productivity and high burnout due to people working long hours but not necessarily in a healthy or productive way. They were taking measures to explore the impact of a top-down culture and ways to improve employee voice to enhance the worker climate.
On page one, the Singapore Ministry of Education was making plans to shakeup the testing environment that determined a child’s future in a high stakes tests at around age 12. Instead, they have decided to ‘increase the bandwidth’ of the acceptable range of talents and skills that each child may possess, so that more students will focus less on an outcome number and more on outcome talent (sort of).
And at a local school I have been in contact with (how many of you know where the nearest local school is?), I found out that they are struggling with the same issues around developing innovative practice and managing stress and wellness as we are at our school. And they’re right down the street.
And a week ago, I was lucky enough to host a local performance poet artist for lunch who happened to be featured on Tedx in 2013 and asked the question whether or not the people in her native country were dreamers. Aren’t we asking ourselves the same questions?
So, before you swipe your card at the security gate and whisk yourself to that all important meeting about IB courses or the next maker space or data driven decision, take a look around you and think about why you’re in international education.
You’d be amazed at what’s right before your very eyes. (It’s old school but still sweet).
And to get you feeling stronger every day through these last few weeks, play this next one loudly. The horns are amazing. Who knew that guys with cheap plastic headsets and a high school recording studio could create such a classic?