How have you surprised yourself this year?

By cryotosensei | diaperfinancingfund | 24 Nov 2023

I’m 43 this year and should be in the thrones of a mid-life crisis. Although I have been a teacher all my working life, my trajectory is nothing short of eclectic (some would say eccentric). I have taught students of all ages ranging from primary school to pre-university. I have taught both locally and overseas.  

As I look back at my career, I think I have remained true to myself as I dare to say that all my jobs are meaningful and help put food on the table. So, I have no doubts about the two big M’s in any employed person’s life - Money and Meaning.

But since I have dabbled in multiple jobs, I have increasingly come to feel a void inside me. What’s the legacy I am going to leave the world behind with? I don’t need to be famous or popular, but I don’t mind admitting my desire to leave my mark on the teaching field.  

So, I was quite confused about how to manage my career these few years. Until I was asked to be one of the conversation leaders for a physical party that the Educational Technology Division of the Ministry of Education was organising. It was the first face-to-face gathering they initiated since the COVID pandemic. I agreed to their request - an ego boost to being scouted - and decided to frame my sharing on “Leveraging ChatGPT in Teaching and Learning”. Hence, while I wouldn’t attach too much importance to their invitation, I nonetheless felt all the pieces of the puzzle coming to place in my narrative. I have had a fervent interest in artificial intelligence and robotics for a long time. I have kept track of the developments of Pepper the robotic assistant and Hotel Henna, the first robot-managed hotel in Japan. While large learning models function differently from robotics, I find that there is a lot of synergy in these two fields. So I find myself reading up on news of Generative AI. I even subscribed to LinkedIn Learning to avail myself of the videos and accelerate my knowledge of Generative AI.  

Next year, I am going to consolidate my experiences and deepen my expertise in ChatGPT and the like because this is how I want to make an impact on the teaching field in my country. I’m quite surprised that I managed to solve this legacy issue so serendipitously this year. It’s like, one thing led to another, everything felt right, and I am feeling at peace and am raring to go!

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