A Promotion


When I went back to my school to get my mails, my application to the School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC+) post came through.  And they relocate me some 80km away from my current work station, which is fine, considering that is what I’ve listed in my application.  I recalled in my previous post how I averagely serve 4 short years at one station,  this time I am relocated after 1 year, 10 months of service.  I like to think because I’m capable and therefore people from different departments all welcome me with open arms.  Hopefully it’s not because they can’t wait to disperse me.

Anyway, the post SISC+ is relatively new.  I am the 4th cohort and attended the interview last September.  Generally, those in DG44 grade stand a better chance.  However, fresh grad in DG41 could apply too.  There is currently no black and white stating the prospect of the post.  Hence, much speculation that this is just another White Elephant project that will soon die off.  Many are also sceptical about accepting the post and work office hours from 8am to 5pm, 5 days a week; sacrificing 175 days of school holidays in exchange for a max 35 days annual leave.  Technically it is a ‘promotion’, but not in pay.  For this, I will update once I have more solid info.

Update 14.2.2015  There will be an interview in the coming March.  Apply direct (submit the application form) to your PPD or JPN.

My reason of applying and accepting the post is somewhat noble; because I want to share and help fellow colleagues.  You see, over my 16 years of service, I have come to terms that our national education system is flawed and imperfect, but it is not unredeemable.  I’ve noticed how those that criticise and comment about the flaws in the system are often doing it as outsiders.  I’d really prefer to rectify, or do something about it.  So I choose to stay in the system.  Hopefully I do whatever within my means to make a change, even a small one counts.

An SISC+ is placed in the District Education Office.  I only know that 1 secondary school SISC+ vacancy for each District Education Office.  There are more than 1 for primary school SISC+ in a District Education Office, I don’t know the exact number though.

SISC+ works closely with school teachers; normally those identified or suggested by the Principals.  An SISC+ could coach a maximum of 30 25 teachers.  If you know (if you still don’t know anything about GTP, read here:  http://www.pemandu.gov.my/gtp/), or heard of the Government Transformation Program, one of it is to improve students’ outcomes.  And this is the popular topic to any interview you will attend.  Nah, I’m just joking.  From GTP comes the Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia or PPPM (oh….).  This plan aims to transform or change the current education scenario to the better.  And it is carried out from 2013-2025, spanning across in three phrases.  There will be 11 main shifts under the plan, with SISC+ programme the 6th shift where local district offices are empowered to help those schools under their care.

When I was ‘forced’ to read up PPPM or GTP or attend all those in-house trainings on the policy, I realised one thing.  This is a brilliant plan.  In fact, I think this is the best and the ideal plan we need to fix all those flaws, visible and invisible of the system.  Nonetheless, I’ve also always thought that we suck in implementing whatever brilliant ideas that are thrown to us.  We just somehow screw up along the way.  And it just makes me think, what if I stay on and implement it just like what has been planned?  If I think others have been doing a lousy job in following instructions/orders, I probably can do better.

I was interviewed by the Deputy Director (Education) of the state, the Director of Education Technology Department and a Department Head in the state office.  When I was interviewed for the post, the panel asked me how would I make sure that the teachers ‘change’ (transform) and that they sustain the ‘change’.  I told them I cannot make the teachers ‘change’ if they don’t want to.  I cannot prescribe and offer them a solution.  If I’m a coach, I have to be an observer.  I observe and analyse the teacher’s strength and weakness.  I become his/her sounding board to identify his/her problem(s).  He/She will have to test and retest different solutions to find the best cure.  If I provide them a solution, that is MY solution.  Of course, they won’t sustain the ‘change’ when I’ve left.  But, if they have gone through the ‘quest for truth’, they will hold on to what they’ve discovered.  They will constantly seek to perfect what they’ve known.

The interview was probably to seek the qualities of a coach.  I shared the above answer because another candidate that applied for the same district didn’t know how to answer.  He said he felt he was grilled and he had cold sweat.  Well, he could have been rejected because he was fairly a green horn based on what I’ve observed.  One thing for sure, do read a lot and read some more.  It is not like the olden days, where interview is just a ‘show’, a ‘protocol’; time has passed, things have changed.  There is a reason why people are the Director and you are just a minion.

I’ve reported duty on 9th January 2015, making me officially an ‘officer’ in the District Education Office. Well, we are ‘officers’ anyway when we are teachers, Educational Service Officer.  I’ve drove 80km to report duty and found out that I was given an office, a parking lot, and access to cheap local durians and fresh seafood supplies.

Toast to a great start in 2015.