Life Check of a Teacher

I want to say Life hasn’t been good to me these days, but I think that would be unfair.

Last summer, I got a fellowship at a writing workshop in Bacolod. This semester, I flew to Cebu twice to facilitate and give a plenary talk in a seminar-training for public school teachers. Last month I visited Biliran to administer a test. This month a chance to write a textbook was opened. Just yesterday, I started writing test items for an educational company.

So I believe it’s unfair to say that life has been unfair.

Yet I can’t help but think that Life hasn’t been too good to me either. A month ago my boyfriend of three years broke up with me for reasons I think were unfair. In addition, work has been very loaded that my performance in MA has been substandard–in fact, for the first time in my life, a professor told me to “please study.” Right now, just as I am trying to pull myself together,  I got sick and had to ditch an event I have been working on for the past weeks and which my department had entrusted to me. Now, I’m lagging even more in my MA work. To top it all, I have been hurting and crying for the past month.

Quite unfair, really. Pathetic, mostly. When things fall apart,they seem to really fall apart, don’t they?

There’s no time to lose, however. I know no one’s rushing me to be ok and that I am entitled to whatever pain I am feeling, yet somehow I know I have to move on and face life just like how I have been facing it for the past twenty-four years; for life really doesn’t care how things are great or crappy. On the contrary, it’s quite indifferent. Sometimes, it is even conceited. As John Greene puts it in The Fault in Our Stars

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?”

So there. Life is life. No need to overthink it. I have to keep on living and focus on things that I can personally affect even when all the other things seem crappy. I’ll be doing that. I am starting.

When I Grow Up Day

When I Grow Up Day

For now, I’m just thankful that I still have the best clients in the infinite universe–and I am noticing you, universe, as I write this.

Iloilo Love Affair

So I went back to Iloilo as part of the Mentoring the Mentors Program (MMP). The only thing different (aside from my weight) is I have more confidence in my being a comparative literature major mainly because of better grades (shallow, don’t you think?).

Well, with that I have come to talk to daycare workers/teachers not just as a pedagogue but as a comparatist-in-the-making as well. If only all teachers were comparatists then everyone would be more critical with the things they teach–especially the literature they use no matter how young their students are.

As I believe in mother-tongue (MT) based teaching and as K+12 will be following principles of MT, I humbly reminded daycare teachers in Iloilo that they have to strengthen their student’s Hiligaynon culture by, at the very least, looking for stories and books in their native language.  Here, I found an example of such a book.

Translated into Hiligaynon by Genevieve Asenjo, this book may just open a child’s world from thinking as an Illonggo to thinking as a human being who is part of this world.

Epistaxis 😛

On a more personal note, the participants really loved my talk on storytelling for teachers (based on their smiles and faces). It was very humbling. I still can’t believe that people listen when I talk (or maybe they are simply forced to). I enjoyed sharing with them as much as I enjoyed listening to accounts of their experiences. Ewan ko ba. Ang saya talaga makipag-usap sa mga kapwa guro tungkol sa aming mga classroom, estudyante ang pagtuturo. Pero syempre, andun pa rin ang mga problema ng mga guro. Kahit saan naman sa Pilipinas madalas pare-pareho lang.

  1. sweldo
  2. mga pasaway na bata
  3. mga pasaway na magulang
  4. mga pagbabago

Anyhow, I love Iloilo. I fell for it the first time I visited to give a similar talk and I’m still in love with it. Kung pwede lang sa Iloilo na lang ako magtuturo. I love its airport, its food (Aligue rice!) its people, its languages, its culture. Though I admit two visits are probably not enough to give someone an accurate impression of the place. Eitherway, it was another happy experience. Another moment, another memory that will help me through days when I feel burnt-out as a teacher.

I love Iloilo. I love children’s literature. I love teaching.

P.S. Thanks to _geek_ for the cakes, coffee, books and the wonderful conversations! See you soon!

Mentoring the Mentors

There is hope. We just have to uplift teaching as a profession and inspire others that though it isn’t a lucrative job (there are more than enough people who have lucrative jobs anyway) this country desperately needs teachers and quality ones at that, not just teachers who teach to get by.

This year, I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities to have given talks and lectures on pedagogical storytelling and have presented  literature-based teaching demonstrations in different schools and institutions, and last Sunday, I have been blessed yet again to fly to Iloilo with a team of professionals and experts under the Mentoring the Mentors Program (MMP) to give a three-day seminar workshop to preschool and daycare workers.

As the country shifts to its K+12 educational system, the conference talked about mentoring, rekindling the love for teaching and different teaching strategies that these early grades teachers might need as they hold vital roles in every child’s crucial age as it is during this time that the child is prepared for things he will be needing to face life.

The speakers also reminded everyone of the concept of akin VS atin (mine vs ours) encouraging teachers to think about others rather than just thinking about one’s self.

It was a very humbling experience; for though I have barely finished my second year of teaching, participants of the conference and even my co-mentors listened (intently, I believe) to what I have to say, and what limited knowledge I have to share that in the end, I learned from them as much as they learned from me.

Madamong nga salamat sa tanan!

As I left the conference and bid goodbye to Iloilo and its wonderful culture of language, people, and history, I fervently prayed and hoped that I have inspired at least one teacher in this Visayan island and proudly say that I have made a difference as a Filipino and as a teacher.

There is hope because I have seen it–at least glimpses of it.

Pilandokan: Isang pakitang-turo

October 15, 2011. With my Grade 2 Lansones, I presented a teaching demonstration at the 3rd National Conference for Children’s Literature. Held at the Claro M. Recto Hall of the College of Arts and Letters, I had fun telling the kids a story and talking about it through engagement activities as participants of the conference observed how literature is used in pedagogy.

Turn-off-the-lights-surprise-teacher Scheme

A cake given by one of the parents for the K-2 Faculty 😀

My second year of teaching. My second celebration of World Teacher’s Day. My students surprised me (again). They turned off the lights and assigned a lookout–whose head and eyes peeked by the corner wall as he waited for me to come. I pretended I didn’t know, entered the rooom and then “HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY!”

Sweets: a slice of cake and candies

I don’t think this turn-off-the-lights-surprise-teacher scheme will ever grow old.

Our librarian and administrative secretary prepared this for us. Happiness 😀

Teaching is happiness. Happy World Teachers’ Day!

3rd National Conference on Children’s Literature

Four years ago, I was this lost kid who wanted to teach but didn’t have the guts to admit it; I was this kid who was overly inhibited to tell stories to children; I was this kid who enrolled in EDR 121 (Philippine Children’s Literature) under one of the best teachers I have met, Prof. Portia Padilla who introduced me to the magical world of children’s lit.

Fast forward to 2011, I am now going to be one of the demo-teachers at the 3rd National Conference on Children’s Literature on October 14-16, 2011 at the Claro M. Recto Hall, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman.

Excited and scared! I wonder how I’ll fair? I just wish I could bring my students with me and teach them in front of the conference participants. Hmmm…

The Official Poster of the 28th National Children’s Book Day: a Picture

(took this picture of the 28th NCBD poster. Art by Jonathan Ranola)

Posters are pieces of Literature and thus I was able to use this as a springboard for my lesson on capitalization. I started with identifying the parts of the poster.

  • art/design
  • title
  • slogan (to explain  this part, you can say famous slogans and let your children guess the company, product or event it is advertising or promoting. They loved this activity!)
  • date
  • sponsor

Afterwhich, I directed their attention to the title and asked them what they notice about the words (the first letters of the words are capitalized). I then proceeded teaching capitalization.

28th National Children’s Book Day

Every year, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) celebrates the National Children’s Book day. Aiming to develop children’s literature in the Philippines, they give out two major awards in Children’s Literature.

  • Salangga Award (Writer’s Prize)
  • Alcala Award (Illustrator’s Prize)

This year’s Salangga grand prize goes to Eugene Evasco’s Rizaldy (whose main character is named after the Rizal Day) while an honorable mention was given to Patricia Marie Grace Gomez’s Pepe’s Gift. 

The Alcala prize was awarded to

  • Yasmin Doctor (grand prize)
  • Leo Agtuca (honorable mention)
  • Jonathan Ranolla (honorable mention)

Here is one of Yasmin Doctor’s illustrations.

The awarding will be held on the 19th of July–this year’s National Children’s Book Day

To read more information on PBBY and the 28th National Children’s Book Day and to read the manuscript of Rizaldy and to have a look on the other illustrations, you may visit their website at http://www.pbby.org.ph/awardees_2011.html

Happy reading!

The Many Faces of the Teacher Call for Nominations

We have to admit this. That in the country, teaching isn’t a fancy course which people desperately want to get into; it isn’t a highly-paid job that will get you a BMW or a house in some executive village. Teaching is that unsung work that deserves so many things but barely gets any.

With this, teachers deserve awards such as this.

“Search for Exemplary Teachers For the many things they have done, teachers deserve appreciation, applause and admiration. It is time, once again, to say “thank you” to them. The Bato Balani Foundation Inc (BBFI) in cooperation with DIWA Learning Systems Inc. opens anew its search for remarkable teachers who continue to inspire their students and fellow educators with “The Many Faces of the Teacher” program.

“The Many Faces of the Teacher” is an advocacy of BBFI and DIWA, which extols the virtues of teaching by identifying role models among local educators who could inspire their colleagues towards excellence. This advocacy aims to recognize teachers not just for their skills and dedication to their craft, but also for their efforts in making a difference in the lives of their students, their colleagues, and to their local communities.

Organizers believe that the gesture of honoring the nobility of educators make every Filipino aware of the sublime nature and valuable contribution of a teacher to the community.

The search is open to teachers of all ages, to those teaching in private or public preschool, grade school, high school, and tertiary level. The outstanding teacher to be nominated must demonstrate exceptional performance in teaching; employs creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness in teaching; and more importantly, has impeccable values applied in teaching, family, and personal life. The nominee should also manifest a deep sense of nationalism and is committed to teaching for the benefit of the country and its people. He or she must be a respected person in the school and community, a role model for students, colleagues, and family, and is actively engaged in socio-civic activities

Partner organizations, local communities, school associations, religious organizations, students, teachers, school administrators and the Department of Education can nominate.

To secure a nomination form, go to http://www.tributetoteachers.batobalani.com or visit the office of Bato Balani Foundation Inc. located at 6/F PDCP Bank Center, V.A. Rufino cor. Leviste Streets, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City .

Nomination forms may be sent either through email to bbfi@diwamail.com or fax to 8926464 or via by post. Schools may also coordinate with the Diwa Learning Systems Specialists (LSS) assigned to them for the nomination process.

Deadline for nominations is on May 15, 2011. For more information, call 8925462 or email bbfi@diwamail.com