On the aforementioned date a group of 28 NIE trainee teachers went on a heavily subsidised trip to an intensive 4-Day Resilience and Adaptability Course at OBS Pulau Ubin. Below are the reflections that I had to pen after a group reflection every morning

Morning Reflections 1

I sit down to observe almost everyone’s attributes, negative or not. How they react to people up to how they handle situations. Once that basic knowledge is concretised you go about to handle each individual or respond to them to the best of your ability.

What I continually learn here is to enhance skills in communication inference and public relations. It is so because I am thrusted into another new group of people, this time round without 4 colleagues who had prior last minute appointments and were thus unable to make it. Therefore, this becomes another scenario to which I could test my management and communication skills.

Also, I see this as a break to just take a step back, and be led, because I think that to be a good leader, you must learn to follow too. I have ended the tiring GESL endeavour and its multitude of different and sometimes problematic individuals and also the management of another event. So this is my respite, to be led without really having to worry about how to lead.

Morning Reflections 2

We just had our 2nd Morning Circle and I think it was better than yesterday’s. We were more upfront and shared much more. 
In this session, all the more I realised and humbled myself to the ability of following instead of just leading. I looked at some of the unofficial team leaders, observed and sometimes I wonder, am I like them, or at least one of them? If I was, I didnt like what I saw. It made me more aware and more sensitive to how I behave as a leader and also on what I should not do when given a chance to lead. 

Morning Reflections 3

This was the 3rd day, the morning after a long trek too which I was made the unofficial leader of my team. Stepping up not by choice but by circumstances, I relish that opportunity. I always felt that in activities, we should try to give opportunities to everyone to lead and if they do make mistakes help and advice them so that they improve as individuals. I realised thus that I have not utilised this part of me for some time. That 2 year experience at management level had sometimes numbed my feelings of apathy and understanding. Too long have I sat at that gilded throne feeling high and mighty, bouyed by the weight of past achievements. I know I can lead, my NUS years and even the GESL endeavour are proof of that. A friend of 6 years said to me 2 months back, ‘Naturally, you would be leading one way or another, sooner or later and almost always, people will follow you, well most will.’

But what I learnt today is that no man is an island or lives in a vacuum. No matter how good you think you are, or no matter how colourful your CV is, you need support from the people around you. It is not a show of weakness if you admit your mistakes or act like you know something when in truth that particular specialisation or branch of knowledge is way beyond you. When push comes to shove though, we must still don our best armour and not show our worst.

In short, in this OBS experience, I learnt more about myself by leading, following and learning from others.

OBS Summary

That cross island kayak, that countless kilometres of trekking carrying so heavy a load did push me physically, of course more so due to the current state of my (un)fitness. But the knowledge of having been able to bond the group together and make them enjoy the experience was priceless.

And of course, for that final day where I was planted as a victim that had to be carried by the rest in the wee hours of the morning. What happened was that the instructors had told me at 4am that I would be a victim of an injury and that I should keep it to myself. I must act that I would faint as we were trekking back.

So as i slowly fell to the ground in a heap, with the big backpack still tied to me, the people around me started panicking, half trying to revive me by slapping and some pincing. Then in my head I thought, its easier for me to be half awake and at time feign faintness. And so along that caservack, some had tears in their eyes (not sure if they were really worried about me or because they were damn tired). Some held my hand and told me to squeeze theirs to show that I’m still awake. Some slapped my face whenever I lost ‘conciousness’. Ultimately, it was a really great experience that would either show the best or the worst in a person. Fortunately, I saw the best in everyone, they really pushed themselves to the limit. Those who werent doin the caservack had at time 3 backpacks with them. And they moved at quite a pace. Utterly impressive. Ultimately a truly interesting experience.