Another dot in the blogosphere?

Push and pull factors

Posted on: May 24, 2014

Push Pull by rustman, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  rustman 


When removing a plaster (Band-Aid), it helps to pull it away quickly. I will do the blogging equivalent by stating that I will be vacating my position at the National Institute of Education, Singapore, on 31 July. I was offered a new contract but chose not to renew it.

I removed the plaster with the folks from Centre for e-Learning over a month ago. I had sensed the changes in the wider environment for over a year and have been preparing for the transition over the last six months.

Why leave at all? I will just say that my decision to leave was due to a combination of push and pull factors.

The pull factors from external agencies were always present. Whether it was my informal visits to these agencies or being courted by them, I have not faced a shortage of suitors. For that, I am truly thankful because that means that my work is a living portfolio instead of a static CV.

I do not wish to elaborate on the push factors except to say that they reached tipping point. I still believe in NIE’s teacher education mission and I hope to continue teaching here on a part-time basis. I absolutely love facilitating the two courses that I was given the opportunity to design from scratch (change management with ICT; flipped learning).

It is no secret that there will be changes in NIE’s leadership this July. This was revealed by various news channels in February. The change at the very top has rippled across the institute and caused changes within. I reasoned that this was an appropriate time for me to ride a wave and leave.

I have spent eight years at NIE. Half of my time here was as Head of the Centre for e-Learning. This role fit me like a glove. I recall no doubt about serving in this capacity when asked to step up four years ago. I recall no trepidation about leading the department because it felt very natural. I was sure of every strategic decision that I had to make early on.

The role as Head helped me flex my planning, implementing, and managing muscles. It widened my listening ear, opened my heart, and broadened my mind. I was blessed with industrious, adaptable, and intelligent people in the department. This made the job of developing change agents and pushing for change relatively easy. Relatively.

Leading this motley crew opened up many opportunities to work with people inside and outside of the organization. Through thick and thin, we found our niche and achieved more than I imagined. I am very proud of what we have achieved together.

All that said, living the life of Head of CeL reinforced my practice of trusting my instincts. It was my gut that told me whether to leave, when to leave, and how to leave.

I have no regrets.

5 Responses to "Push and pull factors"

Thanks for being a great boss, Dr Tan.


Very fortunate to be one of them. You have given opportunity for each CeL member to grow professionally. Thank you, I have learned so much under your leadership.


Thank you, Choo and Sally, for the kind words.


All the best sir!


Thank you. And I’m leaving to work more closely with schools. So you haven’t seen the last of me…


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