The following is a reflection from an Advanced Administration course taken with The College of New Jersey this summer in Bangkok. More about the program later.
I haven’t always been a good listener. Growing up I wasn’t even a good reader. I was put in reading classes at an early age and fought tooth and nail with my mother to remove me because of the stigma attached to it. I hated being dragged out of class to go read with “the slow kids.” I was a slow kid. When I entered AP Biology my senior year in high school, still the most valuable class about life I’ve ever taken (thanks Ms. Hollings) I was amazed how some of my friends were able to just listen and retain all that information. They never needed to take notes. They always outperformed on the tests too.
I was younger than everyone in my class. The age difference can explain why my reading wasn’t up to the 6th grade level of my peers. I know now that I was cognitively less developed in comparison to the students born in January ( I was born in november of the same year). Surely a lot of other factors could have contributed to that as well. But that should have leveled off by the time I was a senior. It didn't. I was able to read, but I could retain the content that was presented to me.
I actively take notes to help me remember material. I envision someday going back to these notes to be able to help guide me through a troubled situation. I don't know if listening to stories will help me. I’d like to think the conversations we have with each other will stick. I know myself well enough to know that I don't learn that way. Should I avoid taking notes on our content and just listen? Well I know that won’t stick either. At least if I have the notes I know I can go back and review. I am a much more kinesthetic learner. I need to “move around” and “do” to learn. I still know how to extract DNA from a nucleus. I can dissect a frog and locate its organs. I appreciate role playing scenarios, real life encounters that we may face some day. This gives me the experience to apply what I’ve learned.
No doubt this class was insightful. I appreciate what everyone has to say. There is an aspect of story sharing that will allow me to bring it home, but I fear I won’t remember the solutions everyone tells when it’s time for me to be a leader. I will hopefully remember the skills. I know I won't be able to mitigate every issue I encounter, but if I can get a few “solid solutions” and methods to do so under my belt before I take on that role, I think it would be a nice perk. What I mean by role play is “ A heated employee walks into your room and demands your attention. How do you respond.? “ Or an irate parent”… “a disgruntled employee”…. etc..I do think discussion and story sharing is important to understand educational theories and debates. That will allow me to gain a better understanding of the responsibilities of an administrator. I also want to learn how to “do.” I am looking forward to the rest of the Month.
This summer I focused on crafting me message in education and honing in on my skills talents and beliefs. Through many different workshops and reflections, this is what I concluded is at the heart of my purpose.
Education can be boiled down to two factors: helping and protecting. We have to remember our students are children. As much as we want to focus on achievement and test scores, a crying student outside your classroom will change your objectives for the day. What we teach in school should help student prepare for this journey of life. Students should be able to look in their rear view mirror at what they learned in school to help determine what lies ahead. We are not just teaching, we are facilitating learning. Our job is to help students decide which road is best to travel to get to their destination. Teachers are meant to guide them along the way. Students will hit a few bumps and maybe even have some flat tires, but we will be there to help them get back on that road.
We also need to protect children, not just from the obvious physical harms of the world, but protect them from trying. If they try and fail they should be able to try again. We help students become brave enough to give it another go. Some children who come to school my not have the protection at home that they do in the classroom. School should be the happiest part of their day, everyday. We need to help them with whatever issues arise. Students need to be protected and feel safe to make decisions in our classrooms that the world won't hurt them for making. When they run out of school at the end of the day, it’s not because they don’t like it, but it’s because they can’t wait to tell their parents what they learned today.
This summer I decided to take Principal certification courses with The College of New Jersey. An instructor asked us to write a brief story about a moment in our careers that made us want to be a Head of a school. Here is my story.
Being a teacher who works abroad I sometimes find it hard to fill my vacation days. That’s an odd way to start out a reason as to why I want to lead a school but let me explain. Every 3 months we have a week off, or two, or three. But my first year working in Vietnam I made one of the most incredible decisions of my life.
I owe it all to my colleague and math teacher, Seth. It was his idea to volunteer our time with a charity organization. He had some connections and prior experience with a company called All Hands. They go around the world and bring on anyone willing to lend a hand to a disaster relief site. One of the biggest restrictions an organization will face during a disaster is organization of resources, including persons and volunteers. There's usually a process to go through with lots of paper work, when all you want to do is just get up and help. All Hands lets you do that.
Around this time there was several disasters that struck the nearby country of the Philippines. An earthquake and a typhoon damaged several parts of the Eastern Islands. After a lengthy application Seth and I were approved to give a helping hand for 7 days. We spent our nights in tents, our days tearing down rubble and afternoons conversing with locals.
There was a nice mix of people at the campsite. You had some real ambitious workers, future non-profit volunteers, a handful of backpackers, and some people that just didn't know where they were going in life and wanted to help. It really was a fantastic mission. We assisted with tearing down broken School's classrooms, houses, and cement structures that were deemed unsafe to live or work in. In one house we were able to recover and elderly man’s reading glasses that was left in his bedroom drawer when his home collapsed. Luckily, he and his family made it out alive.
At the time, it seemed that most of the people in the camp were purely focused on moving from the demolition side of volunteerism to the construction side of things. That was the more serious volunteerism like Habitat for Humanity or Red Cross where you deal with emergencies and rebuilding. But Seth and I only had a week, so we had to make the most of it. We worked near schools and being teachers, we naturally engaged with the local students. They were excited to see us, as we were them. As the days went by we started to feel a bit more heartache and compassion for these children and families who all still showed up to school every day. They had nowhere to go. One school even put on this incredibly colorful performance for us during our lunch break. It was choreographed by the teachers and parents.
Being touched by the gratitude of these people, Seth and I went to a nearby market and bought jump ropes, soccer balls, basketballs, basketball nets and other items to throw around for the kids. We brought it to a nearby concrete slab and small cabin we had been working in. That location used to be their playground. Their school was no longer habitable, so the kids played outside as the parents and teachers monitored nearby.
As Seth and I began to play with the kids I saw how much joy it brought to their faces. It reminded me what it was like to be a child. “Duck, duck goose” suddenly became the coolest thing to do again. The roar the kids gave when I stuffed the basketball on Seth was the equivalent to Michael Jordan's entrance into a championship. Lifting a child up to dunk a basketball resulted in a line of children yelling, “me next.” If you didn't know any better, you would swear there was a free car giveaway. Jump rope, soccer and any other game you can imagine became the highlights of their day.
Upon returning to the campsite, we shared our story. A lot of the volunteers people thought that was very bold of us to engage with the community doing something other than our demo work. Filipino people are quite resilient, and they know that life must go on. I believe life must go on with smiles and laughs from our youth. That day I felt like I opened my own school. Even though it was only for a few hours, I felt the impact and joy that we brought to those children and families for days. That feeling of overseeing a school and giving back to the community was something I could do for the rest of my life.
We left All Hands leaving a large contribution of tools and toys to the campsite. I felt guilty leaving as we made our way to Bali. It was still the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. It pales in comparison to what other people do, but it enlightened me. I have much more respect for people who volunteer their time and effort around the world. From then forward, I looked to my administrators in search of the qualities I would like to bring to my repertoire of leadership: enthusiasm, willingness to take a risk, humor, candidness, sincerity, and devotion. I know this is not the typical categories a leader will have in a school, but I hope to someday give it a try.
I've been living in Asia for six years now. Everytime I travel I encounter some unknown situation that a guide book failed to mention. You can't prepare for everything, and its all part of the adventure when something unexpected happens. That could mean a late trip to the hospital, an evening reporting some lost items, stuck at a bus stop, ATM card not working, out of cash, or a missed flight (all of these have happened to me).
I compiled a short list of some friendly reminders to prevent any of the scenarios above. Most of these reminders are applicable anywhere, but geared towards Asia.
TRAVEL TIPS AND LOCAL FUN
Always stash a little cash where you'd least expect it. Keep a fifty or a hundred in a sock, or pair of dirty underwear. Plan to never use this. Its emergency only.
Buy souvenirs last- Your going to see that same item a dozen or so times. Each time it will change in price. You also don't want to lug around that sculpture the whole trip
Offline maps- Download offline maps of your entire country before you go.
Offline books- Always good to have the kindle app for the plane or long bus rides.
Offline apps- currency converters and google translate of languages can be very useful.
Do a google search- No matter where you go, someone's been there already, and has written about it. Use someone else's list. The internet is for sharing ideas.
Collect a few coins or bills- These make good tips at you hometown bar or for grandkids.
Medicine- Medicine can usually be bought over the counter in most of South East Asia. But check before you go. You may have some items easily available in your cabinet that you can't find here. like Neosporin
Paintings- Paintings make really good gifts. They are easy to roll up and bring home with you. But remember to buy them last
Money- Always change money first. If its a good deal then get it. Dot waste time and effort going back and forth over a few dollars. It's easier to have a little cash on hand once you arrive.
More money- Don't bother with the conversation once you arrive. Be sure to alert your bank before you leave. Then just use the local ATM. Try to make one transaction for your whole trip.
Always get data- Don't get me wrong, its great to get lost and talk to locals. But when you need to decompress and find your way, you don't want to find out later you missed an awesome event just a block away. Also helps you to call ubers or grab taxis.
Address - Long plane rides can mean a dead battery upon arrival Write down the hotel address and number. Call for hotel pick up if you want to splurge a little. Its usually worth it in unknown territory.
Photos- I'm not gonna tell you how to behave wherever you go. This isn't that type of blog post. Take as many photos as you want. but be aware of the culture. Some people may not want to be filmed. What do you actually do with all those selfies anyway? More importantly, take photos of you ID passport, credit cards, insurance etc.. email them to your self and a facebook message to friends or family in case you need help. You never know when you may need to prove your identity, or report a stolen phone
Pack light- This is the hardest one for me. In most places I try to leave clothes behind I no longer want and pick up a few new shirts. That being said, you can buy anything you need once your abroad. It helps if you buy it from a local, even if its used. You may make a nice friend a long the way.
Food- eat whatever you want. YOU WILL GET SICK! Bring some pepto dissolvables if you can to ease the pain. But always have a snack on you. Offer it to the people next to you on the bus, the kids in the street, the taxi driver etc.. Kids playing in the street love candy!
Don't be too cheap- Bargaining over one or two dollars may not break the bank for most people. It can mean a big difference for most people here. Don't be cheap and let the locals make a profit. But ask a few people what the prices are before you make a purchase your unsure about.
Try something new. You may never be here again. Even though you said you definitely will come back, you likely will plan to go somewhere else. Get out of your comfort zone, talk to locals, make new friends of different ethnicities, learn to say a few words and bring some smiles to people's faces. It goes a long way.
Recently, my coworker and friend, asked me to help her with the Mother Tongue day Assembly. Assemblies at our school happen once a month. they are usually organized by a small team of teachers or a department. They can be a lot of work. Because we don't have an official auditorium, we have to split up the middle school and High school assemblies. This worked in our favor this time because we got to perfect our act.
Deepa, was brewing deliciously strong coffee that day and I got fired up about an idea. We decided to make a 7 minute montage of songs from all corners of the earth and all different languages. We sang and had teachers and students dance/act it out. Wow was it a blast. And a huge hit. The kids were floored. The group of students who helped were so influential. if not for them we would have given up. But it was John who stole the show with his David Bowie rendition. Deepa can be seen doing her Indian cultural dance in the beginning. And Alex can be found singing his favorite Colombian song half way through.
Whole video of assembly
You can find my James Brown remake around 4:40 seconds.
Today we welcomed some potential students and parents to AAVN. Its not my ideal way to spend a Saturday, but I made an exception because coffee and snacks were provided. I think its an appropriate request of the administration to ask teachers to come in and do a mock lesson. Its part of what keeps students coming here. Its also the reason I get paid every month.
This was a really fun day to try something that our students learn on day one of film class and "wow" our incoming students and parents. We used the green screen app on an ipad to bring our guests to a UNESCO world heritage site in Vietnam. They chose Ha Long Bay and were amazed by the results. Its really a simple tool that does all the work. The app is for sale for $3 on the App store. I know people who refuse to ever pay for an app, but it does such a better job than the free versions. Kids in my social Studies class use this to recreate a dramatic scene in history or predict what the global issues of the future will be.
One of the few luxuries I miss about life back West are homemade pancakes. Iv'e stumbled across a few good egg sandwich shops and proper English breakfast joints, but hardly ever do I find a good pancake. There was one location in District 2 called Villa Song that does good french toast and pancakes. This place has a view beside the river that's to die for, but at 160,000 VND (8 USD) plus a coffee and some sides, you leave there with a 15 USD breakfast. To me, that's unacceptable in Vietnam. I wouldn't pay $15 for eggs in the US. Not to mention the Vietnamese would think your crazy to spend that when you can have a perfectly good plate of com suan (rice and pork) for 35,000 VND ($1.50) pretty much anywhere,
A while back I read an article in one of the local magazines about the top breakfast spots in Saigon. For so long I couldn't find this place. I knew it was in Da Kao, and at the time I lived in Da Kao. Every weekend I drove around looking for this place. I forgot the name, the street and I couldn't find the article for the life of me. Then one day I went to a Cu Gach cafe, which is obvious from the side of the road. I noticed tucked back down a hem (alley) was a glowing little entry ( it glowed in my mind) and a sign that said "Bunker."
Since that day Bunker has been my go to pancake and weekend breakfast spot. They have lots on the menu to offer. They even started doing bottomless pancakes for 100,000 VND. ($5). Can't beat it! Good for a couple and small groups. Seating inside and out. Wait staff is awesome and bottomless coffee makes the conversation go round.
At the time of this blog entry, I've been in Saigon for a little more than 4 years. I've seen some incredible places and been on many fantastic journeys. One thing I always felt was missing was a good cabana bar by the beach. Growing up in Long Island, New York and working in the bars and restaurants of Freeport and Long Beach made me a sharp critic of a good beach bar. Fortunately, that bar has finally come to my recent home of Vietnam.
The selfish side of me wants to keep this place a secret to prevent an overflow of cheap backpackers, however, it would be a crime to deny the hard working people and family run restaurant from making a business. Cocobeachcamp, though owned and operated for 13 years by the same friendly owner, has just recently come on the scene as a worthwhile beach destination. They have done a fantastic job of promoting sustainability, enveloping their bungalows with a duck pond and vegetable gardens. Their small shacks and retrofitted campers are painted by a talented young French artist. They are a selfie goer's dream come true. During the weekday they have a very affordable dollar menu which includes beers and food.
Cocobeachcamp, three hours by bus (150,000 VND or 7.5 dollars) offers visitors tents for couples and large families. The tents have fans, pillows, sheets, mattresses and electricity available. Public showers and bathrooms are available to all. The campers, and huts range from 30- 50 USD a night, depending on the season. If your a foreigner, try to avoid the Vietnamese holidays, unless you want a real dose of the culture. Vietnamese flock to this place to picnic, photo op and enjoy the beach. Its no secret to the locals anymore, as there isn't a whole lot to do in the town of Lagi. Please be appreciative of the hard work and effort that 40 plus staff memebrs work in sync to make available to you. This type of service would cost you a minimum of 6 USD a beer back in the Western world. If you do make the trip and decide to go elsewhere there are a few knockoffs just beside Cocobeachcamp. There is also a little bit more luxury and isolation a few hundred meters North. If you want an entertaining DJ performance (music stops at 11ish), a seaside BBQ, fresh squeezed juices with custom cocktails, not to mention the variety of sporting activities offered during the day, Ccocbeaccamp is the place. Check it out and keep this hidden gem beautiful. Be nice to the staff. They are awesome people!
This is the first year I didn't dress up for TET. The outfit I bought last year bleed color and my neck was blue for several days. I guess that's what you get for buying a cheap dress. But that didn't stop me from having a blast with my Vietnamese friends colleagues and students. This is their holiday and being a guest in their country I want to embrace and be a part of it as much as possible.
The kids put on an incredible performance this year. It was a mix of Vietnamese and English but it really helped me understand the holiday and difficulties that come along with it. It was a parody much like my our National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Our stage decor was the best its ever been. Each year our students and the Vietnamese teachers that organize it out due themselves. And my colleague, Frank, was nominated as a fund raiser to be taped to the pole. It was really a lot of laughs.
Psychology class has been such a rewarding experience. It’s a lot of work, but I strongly feel every class is so valuable to the students lives. I am anxious to come home and read the text book and find clever new ways to apply and share the concepts with class.
We watched some really fun prank videos that portray perception, analyzed experiments conducted by famous researchers like Milgram and his study of obedience, demonstrated some in-class activities on shaping and conditioning behavior, and learned how we learned by recreating studies like Bandura's bobo the clown experiment. The second half of the year we will focus on about 5 more chapters while simultaneously preparing them for their semester long research project. They will either create an experiment or create their own. I am very anxious to see what they come up with. Of Course, Syracuse requires I guide them, and thoroughly review them along the way.
This year I have two Technology Education assistants. This is more easily described as an internship for them. They are working closely beside me and learning how to use the latest gadgets at our school. We just received 2 new Go Pro 5, two DJI Osmos and Phantom drone. Additionally, they will be teaching other students how to use these items.
But this program is not all fun and games. I have asked them to make a year long goal sheet to share with me and each other. They will host workshops for teachers and students that focus on technology education "101" seminars. The whole year is going to be about learning and teaching themselves. They will shadow me, but I'll try to let them figure out as much on their own as possible.
Student Henry really wants to learn the Adobe products and create Adobe 101 lessons for students and teachers. Amy is really good at advertising and design so she'll make some graphics for school clubs. What got us really moving along was the advancements Google Sites has made. We share a page to communicate and mark down our ideas. I'm really looking forward to building these students into leaders and experts.
We recently purchased some google cardboard. Henry and Amy created a 7th grade science lesson. Students watched a 360 tour of inside the human cell. They were asked to identify several items and then label it on a handout. We could have lowered our expectations because all students had different phones and app restrictions by their parents made it difficult to get everyone on task. It worked much better to simulate a "Zombie attack" in my 11th grade global issues class. See images below.
Our school has a fantastic college preparation program they adopted from the United States. Syracuse University Project Advance trains teachers on their campus at Syracuse to instruct introductory level courses. Last year I had the opportunity to study Entrepreneurship. It was a semester long course with with sections. It was fast paced and very much learn on the go. Like AP or IB, SUPA sets the bar very high. The workload is three x times a high school class. If it's your first time teaching a college course, you may feel constantly unprepared. However, the thrill of providing a class of this stature to your students makes it all worth it in the end. If the students successfully complete the course, they will receive three transferable college credits from Syracuse.
This year I applied for Psychology. We figured it's one of the most common courses taken by an undergraduate student. The course will be one section, one year long. This should make it easier to focus on fundamentals and in depth coverage.It should be a challenge for me, academically, but I am confident Syracuse has given me the material and training to provide a quality instruction.
One of my biggest complaints of living in Ho Chi Minh City is that there just aren't enough "arts." Of course I am referring to the classical forms of entertainment. But every now and then something pops up that surprises you. This HSBO Symphony has been returning to HCMC for several years now. I was finally able to make it sometime this past year. Tickets were really affordable, around 15 USD (300,000 VND). The Opera house offers other forms of entertainment. Check in on ticketbox.vn for the best and latest deals. Coupons can also be found in and around down if you are a member of a certain school, or eat at a particular restaurant.
The Sunbear Sound launched their second film festival towards the end of the school year. It was bigger and more entertaining than ever. It topok me a few weeks to get this post together because the end of the year is just jam packed with special events. I'm always the first to jump at a role in a big project. Thankfully, most of my colleagues enjoy team work. It makes collaboration much easier and likely to happen.
This year we had more students involved in film making than the previous year. We had 27 video submissions. Some of them were really well done. It was difficut process to chose the winner. We decided to let the students narrow down the top seven. In order to prevent any bias voting towards friends, myself and two other teachers picked the top three.
It was one of our team members who helped promote the event. His trailer was the reason so many people joined. We had to play it again at the beginning of our event. Below you kind find the link. The student who created this is currently in 10th grade and will be joining our team again next year. The kids all received trophies and certificates recognizing their valiant effort.
We successfully completed our first TEDx event. TEDxISHCMCAmericanAcademy was a year in the making. This was hands down the most exciting part of my career. I am thankful to all those who helped make it possible.
To orchestrate a successful event, you don't need a rule book. You'll need about 100 rulebooks. TED has guidelines for you to adapt the TEDx Brand legally. If it was an easy event, everyone would be doing it. What made it possible was the incredible Co Organizer I had, the incredible support I got from teachers and the hidden talent held by our students.
For the schools or teachers that are eager to run their own TEDx event, I would like to give you three key pieces of advice. First and foremost, make sure its something everyone wants to do. Without buy-in, you'll never get off the ground. Administration marketing, teachers and parents all need to know in advance this is a school priority. Secondly, be certain you have a core group of teachers and students to head the event. Explaining the complicated jargon TED uses and weeding through the fine print is a full time job. Without a team to do this, you'll burn your teachers out. Students or a TEDx club can be an invaluable resource. And third, start small. There is no need to make this the biggest event your school has ever seen. The more speakers you bring in, the more time the event will take, the more training you have to do. All this will lead to less quality and overlooking of detail. Paying attention to detail is so crucial.
If you still need some advice on whether or not a TEDx event is for you, let me tell you,it is! It won't be easy, but it will all be worth it. I suggest going to a nearby TEDx event and participating in the follow-up dialogues held a day after.
Please take a look at our event and watch some of the students Tedx Talks here
This was the 4th TET(Lunar New Year) I celebrated in Vietnam. Its a fun Holiday I've come to understand and appreciate. It's also an opportunity to see the Vietnamese students celebrate their heritage with games, food, songs, dance and plays. As you can see from the photos, some of us dress the part to show our respect and involvement in the day. There are calligraphy drawing stations, student run food stands, build your own dessert stations, throw a sponge at your teacher etc.. its a visual and a gastronomic spectacle. Each year our kids organize this whole event with the help of our Vietnamese teachers. Its an event not to be missed.
It's really exciting to see how the students react to this holiday. Tet is mainly a secular holiday passed down from the traditions of ancient China. This Lunar New Year is the celebration of the Rooster. You can find out what year you match up according to the Chinese Zodiac here . If you want to know more about the holiday, read this article from the Huffington Post. I found it very insightful. This year, I will stay local and travel to the country side with some of my Vietnamese friends. Its nice to get a break from the city. The country side family celebration consists of eating drinking sleeping and playing card games. Its a relaxing way to bring in the new year.
Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis. It can bog you down in the day to day speed of things. It's easy to forget that this is a country of lush forests and pristine coastline. Just 3 hours north of Ho Chi Minh City is Tri An lake. Apparently this hydropower damn supplies a large portion of energy to the city.
Tri An lake makes for a beautiful bike ride. Its relatively flat land, a couple big climbs here and there, but its the air that really captures you. After living in Asia for 5 years, I value fresh air more than anything. If your a serious cyclist you may decide to bike there on your own. I can't imagine how long that would take. But if you appreciate a little down time and join a crew of cyclist with the Bike Shop in Thao Dien, you can really save your energy and enjoy yourself. They organize trips weekly. This one will cost you about 600,000 VND with food and transportation provided. Bike costs is separate. The food will be at a homestay nearby. You can spend the night and do many more activities once there.
Tet is coming! TET is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. I aligns with most of Asia in their Lunar New Year. This whole continent is celebrating at the same time. But each country has its own unique culture and storyline for this holiday. All sorts of delicious snacks like, bánh chưng (see below) are created for this holiday. Teams of dragon performers run around the city banging on drums. There used to be an awesome display of fireworks, but the government recently put a crack down on that. You can read about it in this english version of Vietnamese news online Tuoitrenews.com or Saigoneer
I've been studying vietnamese for a bit over a year now (on an off). I wish I would have started earlier. It really is a fun language to learn (once you get it). Tonal and complicated, words don't sound like words and the letters all sound different from what you think they sound like. To my ear I'll say a word correctly, but a vietnamese person will have no idea what I mean until I guess the tone a few more times. Know the language or not, the vietnamese people are very curious about us foreigners. Particularly in the country side, vietnamese people will ask you a lot of personal questions. This is just their way of showing they are interested in you. The first 3 questions are almost always: :Where are you from? How old are you? Are you married yet? Even in cities you'll be greeted with a smile by a taxi driving lounging on his motorcyle reading the newspaper while having a coffee and smoke. It's an incredible place to live, and the sights never get old. You may become immune to the #stuffonthebacksofbikes , but its always exciting to face the road and watch.
Recently, I have been studying with VLS. They are very professional, welcoming, accommodating and enthusiastic about teaching. As a teacher myself, I find it nice to be on the other end of the table and have a professional teach (try to teach) me. They run field trips and charity programs. They are passionate about what they do. When they asked me to be in a video to promote their school, as embarrassing as I knew it would be, I knew I was helping them with their business. If it can helps them continue the awesome program they are doing,I'll make a video every week.
We've made some significant improvements since last year. Things are growing! It helps to have a massive rainy season. But with the rain came floods. We had a few emergencies with the drainage on our roof and in our garden beds. With a bit more time on our hands, Mr Tatloack and I have been able to experiment with a few projects. We got some funding to buy plants thanks to our AD Darren. It actually looks like a garden now. Now that rainy season is over we are hoping to get some coverage from the blazing sun soon to keep our plants alive. Plants grow well, vegetables need a lot of care. Take a look at the most recent photo and see how much fun these kids have after school.
Learning2 just took place, in Ho chi Minh City.It was the second L2 I attended. I suggested it for most of my colleagues. Though it was applicable to most of them, you usually get out what you put in. I attended all three days of the event. Last year I came away with hundreds of ideas and I tried to implement all of them at once!. This time around I told myself I was going to try to hone in on one great idea. Well... that didn't work. Though my plans for this school year aren't as grandiose, there are many ways I can have a positive impact on the school. Two major projects I am taking away are: To build our schools technology department so we have a team of tech teachers to integrate technology, Ensure all our students have a blog/ online presence that they can build and take with them when the graduate. This may even be a portfolio for them to keep all their work.I'll try to start this by helping increase student awareness of social media with our school twitter account and twitter beam.
But what I was most proud of was the performance my students made. For about 3 weeks we prepared a presentation to give to teachers from around the world. Three students of the Sunbearsound put together an incredible presentation to show off what they've been doing for the last year. Actually, L2 is where the idea came from. When I was in Manila I saw a group of students present about the Bamboo Telegraph. My principal and colleagues we so impressed by the presentation they give. They even put together their own video for the event. Have a look below
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