Oct 20, 2009

Posted by in Advocacies | 6 Comments

A Time to Be Thankful.

In 2007, the Great Reader’s Digest Global Courtesy Test rated Manila as the 22nd least courteous city in the world. Despite the Filipino people being known for it’s spirit of hospitality, the attitude of gratitude was missing. In an effort to disprove these findings and to rekindle the trait of thankfulness in the Philippines, Toblerone launched the first National Thank You Day. Since it’s launch two years ago, the Philippines rose to the challenge and is now recognized as the Most Courteous Asian Country in recent surveys.

In the same year, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has done in 2007 when he passed a city ordinance declaring October 20 as the city’s official Thank You Day. Following suit, Congresswoman Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas has also passed House Bill No.5466 to recommend that, because of its merits, National Thank You Day be recognized as a national holiday.

I enjoin you to check out www.thankyoudayphilippines.com and check out the efforts being made in order to pass on the message of how important expressing genuine gratitude really is, especially at this time when being grateful despite our recent tragedies is an important step in healing our battered country’s spirit. You can also check out my thank you day contest sponsored by Toblerone.

Today is truly a day to be thankful. While we may commemorate National Thank You Day on October 20,  let us keep the attitude of gratitude, appreciation and thanks alive everyday.

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Oct 15, 2009

Posted by in Advocacies, Teaching Resources | 6 Comments

Blog Action Day: Teaching Kids that it’s Never Too Early To Care about Climate Change.

Today the blogosphere marks BLOG ACTION DAY with a very timely and appropriate theme: Climate Change. I will be the first to admit that for the longest time, I was apathetic to the issue, always just believing that being an individual, I can only do so much. Also, being a big fan of the comforts and luxury that modern life has brought, I often forget to think twice about how my actions today can affect future generations. It also has not dawned on me until now how much we lose if we don’t start caring. However, in light of recent events not just in the Philippines but around the world, it hit me that I AM AN INDIVIDUAL THAT CAN MAKE CHANGE. And simply by caring enough, even my one small contribution can lead to a solution to the negative effect climate change has already brought us.

Going beyond just what I can do myself, I realized that my platform, both as a blogger and a teacher, can hopefully snowball into something bigger than me. Though I may be teaching preschoolers, I have to instill in them that its never too early to care about climate change. I figured, training them as early as now to watch out for their actions and strike a good balance between enjoying modern technologies and lessening our collective carbon footprints in this world. I’d like to believe that this will make a marked difference in their lives. As a Bible verse says, Train up a child the way he should go and when he grows old, he shall never depart from it. Similarly, learning theorists say that through conditioning, behaviors can become automatic.

So what I am doing as a teacher about climate change is implementing little changes and adjustments to my routine in the classroom. These include:

1. Teaching my 3-5 year olds how to segregate trash. Most classrooms only have one trash bin. I propose that we start adding a few more so we can show kids what “biodegradable” and “nonbiodegradable” is. It is a well-known fact that we are contributing to global warming everyday by consuming more and more plastic products that are often thrown away callously. These plastics take years to break down and in the meantime, it clogs up our drainage systems and piles up in dump sites. I have three small boxes in the corner of my room now. Each one is labeled with a photo which allows the kids to know what should go where. There’s one for paper, one for juice cartons/bottles/tetra packs, and one for tissues and similar waste products.

2. Incorporating recycled materials in everyday activities. I used to love a fresh new sheet of paper. I’d make sure I’d have a stack of these papers on hand for what ever activity/exercise I do in class. Using scratch paper was a rarity for me. I used to say that it would be a shame to have the kids make a great painting/drawing that cannot be fully appreciated because the markings on the backside of the paper that is recycled can be seen. Now, the kids do not have fresh papers all the time. In place, I have a box of used papers (from reports and papers of my college students) that they can use for scribbling, writing exercises and similar drills.  Also, other materials such as toilet paper rolls, P.E.T. bottles and empty jars have found its way to the arts and crafts table.

3. Reminding the children to turn off the lights and electric fan/airconditioner when we leave the room. I have to admit, I am guilty of leaving electricity on when I step out of my room, rationalizing that I’ll be back shortly. However, sometimes it is a good 20 minutes before I return. A full-20 minutes of waste!

4. “Green”ifying my classroom! I’ll be honest, I still need ideas on how to do this better, but for now, I will try to have a greener classroom by lessening the use of plastic materials (i.e. containers, food items that come in such containers, styrofoam, straw, etc.). I will also continue to hold on to the belief that I should not use food items as art materials (i.e. vegetables for vegetable prints, macaroni for painting and stringing, etc.).

In the next few weeks, I hope to explore more ways I can make my classroom greener for me, the kids and the future to come. Perhaps I can add some experiments to my science lesson plans to illustrate climate change. I can also try to find more storybooks on global warming, recycling, caring for the earth and climate change. Do you have any suggestions?  What are you doing to teach your kids about climate change.

Oh, and before I forget, one thing I will be doing beyond this Blog Action Day post on Climate Change is being an example to my little preschoolers.

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Oct 5, 2009

Posted by in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Happy World Teacher’s Day!

Three cheers to all my fellow teachers out there! Hats off to you!!!

Today, being Teachers Day and all, I got to reflecting about how I ended up being Teacher Ria. It still amazes me to this day that I am a teacher, especially since  as a little girl, I never imagined my future career being in the field of education. As a child, I filled up autograph books and made countless drawings of what I’d be when I grew up and not once do I recall choosing “teacher” as one of them. I always said I’d be a doctor or a nurse, a child psychiatrist, a lawyer, and even a gymnast of ballet dancer but teacher, never. However, by some sheer twist of fate, I found myself in front of a class of little kids (eventually big kids too) and it just fit. Not only that, I found myself a teacher here in the Philippines where a teachers financial value is quite low.

I don’t think I would be the teacher I am today if not for the teachers I had in my life too. Whether they be a classroom teacher,  an adviser, or mentor, these teachers have inspired me to push on with the task on hand and to always keep going. While I may have had my favorite teachers in the past, I realize that even my not-so-favorite ones have left indelible marks in my life

Being a teacher is not always an easy job, although with preschoolers, it is often made easy by many of the fun times I have with the kids. On occasion, having difficult parents to work with can make the task more tedious and burdensome but these are often outweighed by the parents who give thanks and recognize the changes their kids show after weeks or months of school. With college students, it can not only be NOT EASY, but extremely thankless too. But I’m still here. Sometimes I wonder why I stay and persevere in this career I found myself in. I still don’t have an answer. It can’t be the money, I suppose. I don’t think it’s also the hours I get to keep. However, what keeps me going still I think is seeing how the kids in my life turn out in the future. I suppose, in that regard, I teach for selfish reasons, even just a little. So today as my students wished me a Happy Teachers Day, I will also take time out and thank my students for

…making me enjoy going to work most of the time, even though it’s so early in the morning!…

…kisses and hugs and unconditional love, even when they get sad faces….

…keeping me young at heart, even though I am starting to feel the effects of aging coming on…

…filling my heart with joy and laughter at the simplest things…

…and for showing me how I am a part of something bigger than just me…

It saddens me a little bit, however, when I look back and remember I never aspired to be a teacher. What’s even more saddening is the fact that less and less students dream of becoming teachers now. I think it’s because of the hard fact that teaching won’t necessarily translate to a good financial future. While the psychic reward is great, the needs of reality may be greater. With that, I take the time today to challenge educational institutions and departments to help improve the status of teachers everywhere. Let’s give them what it is they truly deserve. Perhaps with that, more kids will aspire to become teachers for the future.

In the past few months I began to question again why I am a teacher in the Philippines (or a teacher to begin with), especially with the financial crunch and all. In the end, my answer remains the same: kinararangal kong tawaging Teacher sa Pinas.

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