By Samoore Ladjahali, District-in-charge, Indanan South, Sulu Division; and SEAMEO-INNOTECH DSLP Graduate
We were conscious about our obligations as graduates of District Supervisory Leadership Program (DSLP) of SEAMEO-INNOTECH. Much has been spent to enhance our capacity and much is expected of us. Together with topnotchers of the National Qualifying Examination for School Heads (NQESH), we participated in the Program Implementation Review (PIR) and Planning Workshop for BEE and BSE teams. Videos intersperse with PowerPoint presentations, innovative practices with open forum, NAT with RAMSEA results.
Then lights were turn off with a soft utterance for the participants to lie down on their back with their pillows. I ask myself, is this going to be a sleeping session? We realized this is going to be a dreaming exercise. As we lay on our back, the facilitator started to usher us to sleep, telling us about our strengths, about our peak experiences, about our recent successes, about our key learning.
For the next hour and as we were usher to dream, we were reminded to think only of one thing, “think DepEd-ARMM!”. As we went to dream about want we need or want for DepEd-ARMM, for the ARMM children, for our schools; we can feel a general silence in the room. The soft music in the background was setting the mood. In no time, we have entered the sea of dreams. It did not matter what is our sleeping style.
Half asleep I can recall some of the instrumental songs playing in the background. Elton John’s ‘Sacrifice’ remains me of the patience we have to endure to make a difference; Whitney Houston’s ‘One moment in time’ reminds me of the need to seize the opportunity as we will only pass this way but once; the song ‘I want to know what love is’ reminds us about its power, how love can move us to be selfless, to be giving, to look for those under our care.
The moment turns into minutes, the minutes into an hour. The lights were turn on gradually as we heard the voice of our facilitator ushering us to wake up. We felt so comfortable! It was like sleeping for hours! As we were all awaken and back into consciousness, the facilitator requested us to write one word we got from our dreaming exercise. One word we can associate with ‘think DepEd-ARMM’. One metacard after another was posted on the board - commitment, commit, wake up, transform, advance, children, dream, recollect, awesome, excel, change, bold, peaceful, love, act, reality, align, free, moving, innovation, teachers, terrific, teach, leaders, assist, fortitude, innovate, holistic, equated ad performance. Afterwards, we were dismissed for the remaining of the afternoon.
We have a bold dream
Where leaders assist their teachers
Teachers aligned with their leaders
Where teachers teach with love
Where children are free, awesome and terrific
In a peaceful reality
We recollect, wake up and act
By our commitment and fortitude
Moving towards change and transformation
Where we innovate and excel holistically
Our performance equated with competitiveness and advancement
Thus is my ‘dreaming exercise’ experience. While most program reviews and planning workshops are cognitive, i.e. appealing to the mind; this one appealed to our heart. With our heart and mind connected, we were awakening to strength-based planning called ‘Appreciative Inquiry’. This experience forever changed our mindset. I am reminded of my Islamic roots – education is not just about ta’allum (cognition) or tarbiyah (training), it is also about ta’dib (attitude, change of heart).