Will a Singapore teacher be allowed to have this kind of “sabbatical?”

I chanced upon this Travelling teacher blog on National Geographic Traveller magazine. The article shared about an educator, Diana Gross, from Garrison Forest School who decided to embark on a year long leave of absence with a “globe-spanning goal of digitally connecting students and teachers by bringing technology education and mobile video training to undeserved communities.” – Source: National Geographic Traveller magazine, Dec 2012/Jan2013.

Wow. I was intrigued. I googled her name and found several you-tubes and her blog where she shared how she used an “An iPad2 and tripod adaptor, a Canon Powershot, a Canon T3i camera, a Sennheiser lavalier mic, and a MacBook Air. This studio became a focal point of her work that year. “(Source: http://travelingteacherblog.com/about/)

She is the “Global Educational Correspondent” for Garrison Forest School, and is currently living in Cambodia.

Now I wonder, will any teacher in a Singapore school be allowed to have a sabbatical like hers?

I have worked for more than 20 years in various schools and am still contributing to education through OURF. I am also as a Academic Associate in local polytechnic 🙂
I left the Dean role in a local school in 2007 for a dream to help poor kids.

As a senior educator, I was entitled to be on “sabbatical” to study something. But I was not interested in doing another course or a phD.
I wonder if I have been brave enough to suggest what Diana Gross embarks to do. Actually I have no idea how I was to help poor kids when I left the teaching post to pursue my dream. I just wanted to use technology to help them. I simply felt that we in Singapore are so privileged. Our schools are well equipped with the latest technology tools.

So I did some work with Oracle Education Consultancy to use their platform for an Online High School project to help Vietnamese scholars learn English.
However, that was over in a year, and seriously I do not think I have that kind of impact that Diana has.

Perhaps the iPad wasn’t invented then so the technology was not right. Also internet was scarce in developing countries then. It was in Jan 2008 that I started OURF.
That aside, maybe I just needed time to fumble around, make some mistakes, help various NGOs and learn from them. In the few years, I helped Lions Gift of Sight, World Vision, Kampung Temasek and Singapore Bhutan Foundation. Some are worth my time, some really wasted my time and money. But I learn 🙂

In Feb 2013, I read this story about this real teacher, who is given a designation “Global Educational Correspondent” with her own local(home) school.

I read through her blog briefly and was amazed at how her simple gadgets helped to reach these poor communities.
She took the plunge in the first year and “The Traveling Teacher Project was funded during the first year from personal savings and a small sabbatical grant.” (Source: http://travelingteacherblog.com/support/)

Here is a sample youtube that she did with kids:
“Students from the Chey School in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia tell a brief history of their school. This video was recorded and edited entirely by students on an iPad2 as part of a ‘Tell Your Own Story’ project. To learn more about the Chey School, visit http://www.theplf.org. To involve your school or community in a video project, visit http://www.TellYourOwnStoryProject.org. To learn more about the WOWi team, visit http://www.WOWi-Austin.org”

Now, I wonder aloud, would a Singapore teacher be allowed to have this kind of “sabbatical”? Must sabbaticals always involve going to a reputed university for a course?
and what is my role in this?

Useful links:
The Travelling Teacher

Team building for Ai Tong Choir@HK

A session was held for the 37 students who were on a choir tour in Hong Kong from 6-10 Nov. They were on a school choir tour together with 4 of their teachers and 1 choir director. The itinerary included choir exchanges with renown choir like Hong Kong children’s choir as well as performing at the promenade@Avenue of the Stars. The team building session I conducted was to help the students to gel better and get to know one another’s strengths and motivators. It was held at the Harbour Plaza Resort City’s function room, a resort hotel that is in the New Territories, Hong Kong. Despite a full schedule in the day, they were enthusiastic and very engaged with the activities. Kudos to the Ai Tong students(P3-P6) who came across as well disciplined and keen to learn.

Click for more pix

Group sharing - the Chilli's
Group sharing - the Chilli's
What's your score? Scoring using Yong Tau Foo Team© scorecard
What's your score? Scoring using Yong Tau Foo Team© scorecard
Group pix - the Bittergourds
The puzzle

“Knowing Me, Knowing You”, workbook launch@Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves

The launch of  “Knowing Me, Knowing you”, a workbook for travelling together by OURF at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves at Westmall, Bukit Batok was a cosy affair.  Though there were a number of people who were unable to make it due to last minute work committments, the small party that turned up enjoyed themselves with the nice cuppa from CBTL machine as well as delicious cheese cakes and sandwiches to go along:) As our buzz for GE2011 heats up, the Yong Tau Foo Team© was put to good use when participants were asked to use their knowledge to give their take as to whether Mr Low Thia Kiang is a BeeHoon and Minister George Yeo, a Fishball or other perhaps Chilli or Bittergourd, based on their public profiles and reports by media:) It was a fun and enriching session.

Designed by a passionate educator, Pin Lay,

Knowing Me, Knowing You

this workbook is put together after 3 years of research and many many experiences with different types of people when leading trips, working together and conducting team building workshops.

Using case studies and Yong Tau Foo Team© to understand what makes people tick, the workbook shares about the “Terrible Twelve” – 12 archetypes which are the results of bad habits built over time! Do you know a Mr Shopaholic in your group? Do you have a Mr Latecomer who holds up everyone during the trip? Or a “Hao Lian” Chilli? A “Mr Fussy” Bittergourd? or a “Everything I want” Fishball? This workbook is designed for people travelling together to understand one another better. OURF! workbook “Knowing Me, Knowing You” helps you in having an enjoyable journey and have fun with group dynamics.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

Here’re some feedback from those at the launch:

“Very interesting experience! Having an innovative and eye-catching names like Chilli, Fishball, Bittergourd and BeeHoon would help to make learning fun and light-hearted. Thank you and well done on collating such a comprehensive workbook!”

“It was an interesting session. Of course nothing is absolute but using the metaphor of local food is refreshing.What is key is knowing how to manage self and others. Thank you. ”

“Pin Lay, I want to borrow your words, “LIM” – less is more! The workshop though short is pretty packed. You made learning easier and fun. Thanks for sharing!” – Ethel

“Presentation interesting. Enjoyed case studies” – SG

“Congrats to a wonderful session and the sharing of case studies was engaging…” – Shirlene

For more pix

Clare and Azizah
Our helpful staff from Coffee Bean with Ethel
Group Pix
Hey I am a Fishball!