I Started My Training Journey in the Life Sciences. I Intend to Continue the Journey.

In the numerous networking events I've attended, after telling others what I do now, many of them have asked how I started as a trainer.

I tell them that I started by training in the topic I studied - Biotechnology - in the Secondary School I graduated from - Chung Cheng High School (Main) [CCHMS].

Life Sciences in Schools - Singapore - Microbiology 01
Life Sciences in School - Singapore - Microbiology 02

And I'm still teaching it in different schools across Singapore for two simple reasons: I love the subject and I love what I do - inspiring minds (especially young ones) through a complicated-sounding topic introduced in an easy-to-digest way.

Yes, doing public workshops, conducting corporate training, and having speaking engagements are all fantastic and well-paying.

Life Sciences in School - Singapore - Heart Dissection 01

That said, I want to stay rooted to my beginnings, especially considering how 'perfect' the combination was. As long as there is a demand for education in the life sciences, I want to be a part of it.

Life Sciences in School - Singapore - DNA and Genetics 01

Reminder: It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It

One of the larger projects I'm working on this year is as the main trainer of a collaboration between the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and the National Cadet Corps (NCC) of different schools in Singapore.

This is an initiative to have NCC cadets become ambassadors for a smoke-free lifestyle in their respective schools. To push this initiative forward, the Singapore Cancer Society has come up with a talk with a series of activities and projects aimed at getting these cadets ready to take on their roles.

Since different schools have different cultures and different behavioural norms, I found it important to change my delivery each time I presented the talk and run the activities. It doesn't always go smoothly at the start, but, by the end, the NCC cadets are engaged, enthusiastic and ready for the next step.

Of course, there will be a small minority that are smokers (all under the radar, of course) and these individuals will pose some challenges.

I have found that the key is to integrate them into the whole rather than make them feel ostracised by the message. To do this, I found it necessary to change my delivery of the information and steer the flow of the discussions towards a 'softer', more emotion-based engagement. The key information remains the same, of course.

This has been yet another reminder of a philosophy I stand strongly by:

It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Kicking Off 2016 with Projects and a Trip!

This post was actually started before the last one, so I thought I'd finish it:

So here I am, after a week of intense curriculum design and polish.

Yes, I'm back to producing curriculum again, this time for a company I've been working with for the past decade or so.

My main job is actually to revamp, update and polish the existing curriculum (and I think it's high time to do so). Apart from that, I'm being asked to take charge of the running of a 12-week long project at one of our local secondary schools.

Truth be told, I've never been particularly interested in project management, despite having done it in varying capacities over the past ten years. Nevertheless, new year, new experiences. 

There will also be a 30-week long project at a different school that requires quite a bit of research, planning and logistics. For this, I'll be working alongside the overall project manager so I won't need to feel too stressed.

Trying to get as much as done as possible before I fly off to Vietnam next week so I may be curriculum-ing through the weekend. Not the way I really want to spend my weekend, but it pays the bills, so let's get through this!


The School Holidays are Upon Us!

It's that time of year again, when our streets will be crowded by gleeful students who won't have to wear a uniform for the next month or two.

Of course, the Secondary 4 students are still in the midst of their O-level examinations. I've always told my students that they are likely to do better than they think. The bell curve by which they will be graded is an international one, and we are very privileged to be in a country of high literacy and education.

Now, I am no fan of examinations. I haven't been since I was a student myself. I've always felt that they sap the joy of learning. That said, we can't abolish all examinations since they still perform their function of helping us to separate students into their affinities. It's not a perfect system, but it's one that is familiar and does work somewhat.

To all students, happy holidays!