Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seng Kang Primary

Just finished a whole-day meeting at school. I must admit it was not what I expected.

Firstly, the principal, Mrs Lew, although she prefers to be called Lan Chin. She's more from the Miss Chua Soh Leng-type (Punggol Pri) of principal. She looks like Shirley, and from what I can observe, possesses a true Christ-like character. Her words are so encouraging and she used her sharing to marvellous effect.

While other principals would deign to use the time to talk about policies and programmes, she did it differently. Yes, she was talking about a new initiative called Invitational Education, but she talked about it with such conviction and belief that she really sold me on the idea. I'll probably even use it in Professionals for our module on communication, and I told her so.

I could sense that God knew I needed some encouragement as I was not doing a good job of getting used to teaching life again. Her session on something called unintentional disinvitation (or being unintentionally disinviting) resonated with me. It's basically a scenario where people unwittingly make themselves unapproachable. We were asked to give a personal experience of this, and she shared her example of aunties asking nephews/nieces when they are getting married every CNY - they mean well, but it's just a complete turn-off. *winks to Yinglei*

My example was just as explicit, and I believe God was giving me an opportunity to be open to my colleagues. Bear in mind that I knew 5% of the people in the room, and that some have never talked to me or even seen me. I shared my experience of people recommending cures of eczema to me and how despite their good intentions, it was a bugbear for me. It allowed me to appeal for their understanding, as well as help them understand how to relate to me with me on this sensitive issue. I told them to keep their cures to themselves, and tell me when my skin looks good not bad. I sincerely hope my honesty will make it easier for me to break the ice with them, as I'm not a very sociable person and struggle to make close friends outside of church.

Throughout the session, Lan Chin was encouraging and effusive with praise of people's honesty, and found ways to use visuals to get her ideas across. I badly wanted to pee/doze off, but I found I didn't dare to, lest I miss something important/interesting - such was the engagement.

To top it all off, she asked for a volunteer to read a list out, and I just felt compelled to volunteer, partly cos I haven't heard my radio voice in a while. After I had read the meaningful list of paradoxical commandments, she turned around and told everyone she was giving me the book I had just read from. What a gesture! I really admire her optimism and zest for life and such infectious leadership has sort of hooked me. That's the power of inspirational leadership by example.

I hope to do that some day, where someone turns around and says I've inspired them. Till then, I have next week's lesson plans to write. =[

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