A Principal should be present to greet his students every morning, and all the more so after an extended school holiday and vacation. It was thus quite distressing to me that I had to deal with a terrible tummy on the Monday after the CNY holidays. It was no big deal – I am a fighter – a couple of carbon tablets and I can still continue the fight, but it was frustrating for me to be late for school on such an important day.
From the principal's desk
I realise I have readers who read this column who are neither students nor their parents. I thought I would reproduce the contents of my speech at the Chinese New Year celebrations (on 20 January 2017) for this post.
Before I begin, let me introduce to you a new member of the HWA family, Ms Katty Zhao, VP of Admissions, Marketing and Communications. She has lots of exciting ideas to contribute to the school, and I welcome this new addition.
There was a quiet knock at my door. My students are starting to understand and adopt proper school etiquette! I suppose my weeks after weeks of reminding the students to knock before they enter have borne fruit.
Three of my junior school girls came in, and they were not the usual ones who would come in to complain about one of their classmates. They came in, smiled, and asked if there were any more candies. I promised them that I would get Mrs Chan to get more candies. For some reason, my wife has become my Quartermaster of Candy, to my students.
It was great to see the smiling faces of the children, after the Christmas holidays. They returned to see a brand new playground area, with reconfigured playground equipment, swings and a trampoline to play on. Playground equipment are an important part of childhood, and they remain in the memories of children long after they become too old to play on them.
Most school administrators talk about their educational philosophies, their wonderful school facilities, or even their achievements and accolades. We can go on and on about those.
My posts have been absent for more than two weeks! It has really been a busy two weeks, with many matters taking me away from people who should really matter to me – the teachers, the parents and the students.
A lot has happened the past weeks, including hosting visits by the Shangrao city Education Bureau, a media interview with a Shenzhen channel “YaYa”, visits from a Chinese educational consortium and discussions with local expat media as we continue to make our presence felt both here and overseas.
I had a great tea session with my Grade 4 to 6 parents this week. All of these parents are not new to me, for I have interacted with them informally all these months I have been here at HWA.
It seems like the rain never stops in Singapore. I must have become so used to life overseas that I have forgotten how it is like to be living in the land of my birth and youth. They say that Singapore, despite being a tropical country, has four seasons too – hot, hotter, rain, rainier.
I was again busy sheltering students from the rain with my small foldable umbrella when I observed Isabel, a Grade 5 students, also opening up her umbrella to shelter three younger students. She was quite shy when she noticed that I have observed this, and came up to me to offer her umbrella.
It has been a great week after the holidays! We had the 10th Anniversary celebration held in conjunction with the International Day event on Friday, followed by the Halloween event on Sunday. The Halloween event, jointly organized by the Parents Support Group and the Hillside Neighbourhood Committee, was the first collaboration between the school community and the local community and totally blew me away with the scale and success of the event.
It has been a busy week for me during the one-week mid-semester holiday. It was also a most fruitful week, as I met up to discuss collaboration possibilities with Huijia Private School, and also found out that our bunch of Junior School students who were there on an exchange programme shall get to perform at a major event before government officials!