It is hard for me to believe that I have only been in Singapore for a few days…
My Fulbright is being hosted by the Academy of Singapore Teachers (AST), part of the Ministry of Education (MOE). AST is really an amazing organization, serving the needs of teachers in Singapore’s government schools.
From what I understand, AST is divided into three sections, the business side (which organized and is supporting my visit), professional development (which provides many free workshops and other support to Singapore’s teachers), and research (which monitors how Singapore’s students are faring, conducts research, and stays abreast of current trends in education).
One of the most amazing things about this organization is that it is mostly staffed by teachers. While they are still in the classroom, teachers can apply for an AST position (as Master Teacher, for example), and serve a stint (usually 3 years). And then? Most return to teaching. So, teachers recently in the classroom are helping to shape the policy and practice of Singapore’s MOE and its teachers.
And then, folks, there’s the library… a full floor of books dedicated to the theory and practice of education. It is truly awe-inspiring. (Never mind the ABBA musak…) I spent some time in the library yesterday gleefully reading books about the ties between spirituality, character development, and education.
Several AST folks took me to lunch yesterday to a Turkish restaurant on Arab Street. The food was divine, the company inspiring, and the atmosphere historic and intriguing. I can’t wait to head back there with my camera…
I visited Victoria Junior College yesterday and spent the day at La Salle College of the Arts today. Both of these visits each warrant its own rather lengthy blog post. It will have to wait for another day; I’m up early tomorrow for my first appointment at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).