“Matuwid na Pamamahala Tungo sa ARMM na Masagana’t Mapayapa”

Monday, February 11, 2013

Feature: Our Brunei Journey of School Leadership

By Honeyma A. Amboloto (Principal), Noaima D. Metmug and Aslia B. Mabaning, School Leadership Program (SLP) Trainees, Institute for Leadership Innovation and Advancement, Universiti Brunei Darussalam 

A single journey can change the course of life! The farther we go, the wider the horizon, the richer our experiences and the more we learn about life and about yourself. As a school head and as teachers, we have attended numerous trainings frequent in our division, quite a number in the regional and national level, few of which were training for trainers. These, along with our actual experiences in school helped us surmount all challenges in the School Leadership Program (SLP) that we recently attended in Brunei Darussalam last June to September 2012. 

The SLP was our first training outside the Philippines. We were proven right in accepting the offer – It was an experience of a lifetime. Although, there were the lingering anxieties and pressures as we made our first trip to this tiny Malay kingdom. They felt so heavy. In our hearts, we know we have every intention to do our best. For us teaching is our calling. Back home our schools district is counting on us to share what we will learn. We have every intention to share our learning and contribute to make our schools competitive. We want our whole DepEd ARMM family to be proud of us. These are some of the expectations made clear to us. More than anything else, we appreciate the trust in our capacity to represent and survive the 4-month program. 

Our anxieties started to wane as we spotted the SLP project manager and his companion waiting for us at the Brunei Airport. They brought us to the hotel where we would be staying for 9 days. He told us to take some sleep as it was just 4 o’clock in the morning when we arrived there. We were informed us that the facilitators would meet us there in the afternoon to brief us on the program and to socialize with us. “Us” is now bigger with the Indonesian participants’ arrival. Even though we came from different countries and speaking different languages, there is a common and familiar “Asian” and “Muslim” bond that allows us to be comfortable with each other. 

The SLP workshop was simultaneously challenging and interesting. We spent significant contact hours learning the value of ‘school team’ and concept of developing leaders across the school hierarchy from Professor Noel Tichy of the University of Michigan. School team and leadership succession provide high degree of possibilities for a successful cascading of the program in schools. We had the opportunity to meet and interact with teams from participating schools. 

Within the four-month period, we had 3 major workshops, active peer mentoring, back-to-school practicum and, intensive coaching from our training adviser. Gradually, we saw improvement in our individual leadership skills and team performance. We enjoyed our time working with other school leaders and in applying varied and new tools in our back-to-school practicum. 

The session on school transformation was a lively one with participants actively engaging the presenter in a marathon of “question and answer”. We appreciated the active discussion because it allows us to see different views and to sharpen loose ends in our proposal. We appreciate the commitment of Brunei participants – focused on the task at hand, always sticking to rules and every small gain was milestone for them. Something we take for granted back home. They reminded us the value of hard work, rule of law and in celebrating gains no matter how minute they are. 

As school head and teachers, we are at home when in the midst of school children. The visit to five (5) participating schools in Brunei was very invigorating. We had the chance to witness first hand peer mentoring and leadership supervision. What we like the most is to see “concepts” turning into real classroom and school practice. As Muslims, we also appreciate Islamic practices incorporated into the school system. 

At the close of the program, we had presentation of our school practice. Our team won 2nd place in teacher mentoring. We were enthusiastic to be seated next to diplomats and guests during our graduation dinner as part of our prize. We were even more enthusiastic to come home because of the thought that we can now continue sharing our learning. This is what we did and continue to do so - passing and sharing new concepts and tools around - so that we continue our journey of school leadership towards excellence, as Allah would have wanted all Muslims to become Muhsineen, those who strive to excel in their own field of endeavor. 

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"Matuwid na pamamahala tungo sa ARMM sa masagana't mapayapa"

English - "Good governance for a progressive and peaceful ARMM."

Sinama - "Hap pamarinta tudju ARMM na sambu maka salamat"

Bahasa Sug - "Dan mabuntul tudju pa ARMM masambu iban mahatul"

Meranaw - "Mathitu a kandatu sa ARMM ko katagompiya go kalilintad"