Professional Development in Singapore
Having the opportunity to travel to another country for professional development still seems so decadent. But, in fact, I was scheduled to teach until the final period on the day we were to leave for Singapore. Earlier, during a morning staff meeting, the Indonesian staff knowingly advised leaving at lunch time, allowing a 5 hour window, but were unheeded. Until . . . it kept raining. And raining. And Raining.
Jakarta was flooding. Living in a suburb of this notable city, our principals were not convinced that everybody was required to leave early because our neighborhood remained relatively calm. But as I was in my fourth hour class, I was suddenly whisked away to a waiting taxi so that we could leave for the airport 5 hours before boarding. Originally, we were told to leave with 2 hours wiggle room. However, some people who had left for an earlier flight were texting pictures from taxis indicating the toll road was flooded.
Our driver took a back way, so no dramatic photos for us. We arrived at the airport in record time. Only to hear that back at school, the food service staff had been sent home. The remaining students and staff would queue up for lunch with those who had not left right away. Also, we began receiving emails that school would be canceled the following day. We were missing our first flood day.
Not to make light of it. Reports of extreme devastation near our sister school, downtown Jakarta.
We arrived in Singapore and quickly hailed a cab just as my 2 companions realized they had no Singaporean dollars. Luckily I had saved some from my previous trip and was willing to donate.
I was scheduled to room with a colleague in the Indonesian department. On different occasions, parents had mistaken us for each other. I would finally have the opportunity to spend time with my Indonesian doppelganger, Bernia. She and her husband had just recently moved back to Indonesia from Peru. So graceful and kind. Being mistaken for her was an unearned compliment.
The next couple days were a whirlwind of IB (International Baccalaureate) meetings, MYP (Middle Years Program) Language B hands-on seminars, coffee breaks, discount shopping and the opportunity to get to know teachers from around the world. There was Susan from Hanoi with whom I swapped Unit Planners. Ana Maria from Busan tempted me with a glowing report from this port city of my birth. HanHan from Singapore agreed to be my “autumn partner” at the last minute. Dani from Pondok Indah and Minnie from Lippo, right near our school, explored Singapore by bus and MRT (Singapore’s pristine subway system) with Bernia and me in the evenings.
I often feel like a newborn chick in a world of robins when it comes to the the MYP manual: Criterion strands, moderation, and formative assessments. Life long learning begins sometimes in manuals, but also in exploring where and with whom this shared text has been translated.
Global colleagues. There’s always that off chance when the stars align and we meet up again. Who knows the time or place?