Turns out that once you have so much to do at work that your head starts spinning, you no longer really remember that you’re in Singapore. Well, you do get reminders — the guy in the cafeteria stir-fries you a special dish of vegetarian noodles, kids in your office are translating your suggestions into Korean for their parents, and we’re all hard at work in the first week of August — but for the most part, my office itself could be anywhere. I’m lucky to be working with a great team of counselors:
That photo includes two ninth grade counselors (seated, Sue in black and Dawn in a blue/black print), one psychologist (seated, Jeff in blue), one amazing assistant who is currently doing the job of three people (standing far right, Jullaiha), and seven grade 10-12 counselors (back row, me, Lisa, Kristen, Rich, and Melissa; seated, Steve in black; and lying down, Trevor).
It’s a huge group, and while we’re all supposed to work entirely in sync in terms of policies and procedures, it doesn’t always end up working that way in practice. Still, the notion of consistency is far more on my mind here than it ever was at Park. I’m trying to get used to the idea of having to wait to make big decisions by committee rather than turning to Liz and saying, “well, how should we do this today?”
I’m also adjusting myself to an AP (Advanced Placement) curriculum. We offer more AP classes than I can count, and for the first time today, I had (1) a senior sign up for six AP classes, each harder than the next, and (2) a sophomore march through every course in the program of studies asking, “can I take this AP class?” I think the only one she missed was AP Studio Art. I’m going to have my work cut out for me in selling kids on trying to present themselves in more interesting (if perhaps less “rigorous”) ways.
The pace of the office is fast, expectations are high, and training has been minimal. That turns out to suit me pretty well, though I’m trying to figure out how not to let the job take over my life. It helps that there are so many fun things to do at the end of the day. These are some of the things we’ve done with our evenings:
- Thrown a frisbee in the field behind our house
- Stopped for ice cream on the way home from work
- Gone to a stand-up comedy show (Prescott)
- Had cocktails with a group of Yale professors visiting Yale-NUS (Tina)
- Worked out
- Gone to the pool