Saturday, March 03, 2007

How significant is a teacher's contribution to a student's success? The following represents the equation I referred to in the last entry:

Let x be the effort of the student.
Let y be the effort of the teacher.
x(y) = Z, where Z = the result of the course of study.

So for increasing values of x and y > 0, Z increases exponentially.

No tricks, no secret techniques, no shortcuts. Teachers can only value-add to the effort students put into their studies. No value multiplied by 0 can increase the value of 0. Both have to work together to achieve a desirable Z.

I daresay success breeds success. The shock and awe of the 2006 results showed us that great results can be achievable. That should give 2007 the confidence that working our collective arses off will indeed bring considerable returns in the end.

Friday, March 02, 2007

College is celebrating 'cos our 2006 batch has done amazingly well in the As, pulling in one of the best results in our history. While we are all pleasantly surprised and are speculating about what we actually did right last year, I would say that the biggest contributor to our success was that the kids got serious and studied. It's such a simple equation, there's no other way to explain it.

Guess I should be happy with my students' results, though for them I really do subscribe to the idea that they worked hard for their own acheivements. Congrats to you all!

Of course, despite the success, there will always be casualties and I can't help thinking about and empathizing with them. The Career Guidance team organized a briefing session immediately after the release of the results for these students, but perhaps 'immediate' was a bit premature. Only a handful of students showed up, while the others couldn't bring themselves to attend it.

Usually, a period of self-reflection would be what the students need the most first, and once the initital emotional baggage has been dealt with, then they can start thinking about what their next step could possibly be. With a clear head, new options become easier to see.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A level results out tomorrow. As always, it's tense even for us teaching staff 'cos we hope and pray for the best results for our students too. Regardless of whether they were monkeys or angels last year, we do want them to be happy and move on in life. So, A6 and S6A, I'm holding my breath in anticipation for y'all!

To keep our spirits up today, Staff Welfare arranged for a mass lo-hei lunch. No raw fish (to avoid mass food poisoning), but the salad and condiments were piled high ready for tossing. Cynth catered a rather non-traditional variety of buffet food items including pizza, quiche, hotdog wieners and Swedish meatballs, but I doubt anyone will complain 'cos it was quite delish. The mini-eclairs were heavenly, if limited in supply.

But I must hand it to Management which really knows how to make staff happy. Many of us have been labouring with laptops that were getting slower and slower with each new upgrade to the campus network. Our laptops had actually passed their use-by dates in January this year, and, lo, the Israelites lamented and wailed, decrying the horrendous lag that was the curse of system obsolescence. But today, only after a mere month of expectant resignation, we who had the oldest laptops got issued spanking new ones that promise all sorts of droolsome bells and whistles begging to be played with and explored. There's no unhappiness that can't be solved with the right technology. Yes.

My new lappy.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I've taken charge of the Debate squad over and above the journos this year, in case people don't know it yet. These 2 aspects of my now consolidated CCA are a world of difference from each other. Even I, Master of Compromise, am somewhat at a loss as to how the 2 could possibly work together without me suffering some kind of schizophrenic damage to my psyche.

For the moment, I've got more journos than debaters, though the CCA is generally referred to as 'Debate'. The journos have been putting out more visible, tangible impact on campus due to our weekly updates of campus news in NYconneX, though I don't really know how wide the reach actually is among our student body. NYconneX isn't likely to win any awards 'cos there aren't any awards out there to be won for our product (are there?). God knows, we need some recognition.

On the other hand, Debate takes the lion's share of my annual budget because debate coaches don't come cheap. The coach we've taken on can't come on Wednesday, so a concurrent CCA day is not possible for both segments. We've taken on the coach by faith as currently we don't actually have a debate team yet, while the existing JC1s are in 1st term transition. I don't know what the appeal of Debate is for the new batch, so I have no guarantee that I will recruit a team once term 2 begins.

So, yeah, huge worries for my consolidated yet fractured CCA that I sometimes wonder if anyone else besides myself cares about.

Still, in attending Debate training sessions for the remnants of our JC2 debaters, I've found the debaters to be committed, self-reliant, motivated and organized. And they haven't given up yet. Without a coach today, they trained themselves, and I learned enough to see that debate training can actually be quite good even for the weaker GP students. Debating is systematic, logical and structured, mature and critical (in the critical thinking sense), everything we hope our GP kids to be. Could there be some way to turn this observation into something practical and useful...?