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Apr 16, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Giving books a new life

One of my favorite places to shop in are those Book Sale kiosks or stalls. I love how old books find new homes through these kinds of  stores, especially since brand new books are quite expensive. This is especially true for text books, more so when we are talking about college text books. I know that for the early grades, it’s a little more difficult to recycle text books because of the fact that there are answer sheets that have to be completed after each chapter.

My bookcase is filled with all sorts of old books. A lot of them are textbooks. From Physics to Statistics, Psychology and Biology, the list is endless. My brothers also have their share of old textbooks, and in fact, next week they will be getting a new set for the upcoming school year. There is a solution I can think of, however: Sell textbooks! By selling these old textbooks, I can free up space as well as make money out of something I am not using anymore. Perhaps, donating can also be an option.

Come to think of it, Book Sale also has a  lot of text books available at much lower prices. However, the hassle with Book Sale is the way books are organized in the shelves. It’s kind of hard to see the titles and a lot of times, you only get books by chance. I wish there was an online book center, such as the one here . By going online, it’s easier to find what you are looking for. This site actually gives you the opportunity to sell books too. For more details, check out the faq page.

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Apr 16, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 1 Comment

Go Away, Freak and other Mixed Messages

In class one day, one of the little boys said to his classmate: “You’re such a loser!”.

I overheard him call his classmate that and I immediately called his attention on it. I asked him why he had said it and what it meant to him, and all he could tell me was that he had seen it in TV. He didn’t even really know what it meant, except that it was something you said when someone made a mistake. In this case, the classmate had dropped his snack box cover on the floor.

I explained to him how what he had done was wrong and I gave him a “sad face” mark on his hand to remind him not to do it anymore. Since then, I never heard him say it again. However, i got to thinking about how we adults give kids mixed messages when it comes to what is right and wrong. Take for example the local television show Agua Bendita. It tells the story of two young girls, born as twins but very different. One is a typical, normal looking child, while the other one takes on a water form when in dry land. Overlooking the impossibility of the concept, let me just focus on the behavior the grandmother teaches the young girl named Bendita. She teaches her granddaughter to call her sister Agua a “freak”. Granted that she is indeed freakish, I think it is a very wrong thing to teach children. Because of the show, calling others “freak” becomes an acceptable behavior. Yes, I know it is television, but I think there could have been steps taken to show that is is unacceptable and wrong. Throughout the series, I have not yet heard Bendita being reprimanded for calling her sister a freak.

Shows like this, as well as other cartoons that have characters calling each other stupid, idiot, moron, and the like with no reprimand or means of correcting these behaviors give kids mixed messages about what is right and wrong. For young children, being consistent and firm is essential in making sure they learn the right messages that will lead to better behaviors in the future.

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Apr 11, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Do Looks Really Matter?

Seriously, do they?

In the past few months, I have observed how television commercials and similar media have seemed to place so much more value on looks, even more than they used to. For example, I was appalled at a TV ad that featured whitening lotion for teens and pre-teens. Seriously??? In an article I had read, the author even pointed out that the ad said something about “start white, start right” (or vice versa). Bottom line, the point was to make it far, you have to have white skin. With that, I got to thinking if looks really matter.

In a perfect world, the answer should be no. However, in the world we live in, sadly often times the answer is yes. For me, I personally see how looks do affect interactions I engage in, but that doesn’t mean I approve of judging others by their looks. What I mean here is that as I have gotten older (and it is physically obvious now) I seem to be able to get more respect from my students. It’s like they see me more as an authority figure as compared to when I was still quite young. As such, I see how looks can make a difference. In this case, it was a “good” effect, but many times, people can use looks as a means for discrimination which I TOTALLY DO NOT CONDONE! Going back to my intro, for example, having darker skin should not be an issue.

I believe that more than changing the way we look through these supposed magic creams, treatments and  plastic surgery, which are big trends nowadays. More than emphasizing that we will be “better” with these,  we need to be able to highlight that we don’t need to CHANGE who we are, but to change OUR PERSPECTIVE of who we are and this can be done by taking good care of physical selves. For example, I struggle with a mild case of hirsutism, which is an off-shoot of a hormonal problem I have. As such, I have a lot of unsightly unwanted hairs on my upper lip and chin. Perhaps, taking steps to remove these hairs such as waxing, threading or the like can be helpful. Checking out a site featuring Laser Hair Removal in Los Angeles made me think also about seeking permanent hair removal treatments for my problem. The thing is, I’m not so sure how well I can tolerate that and if I can afford it for that matter.

On a personal level, at this point in my life, I can still say I will not opt for any physical treatments  such as Botox Treatment Los Angeles. I have nothing against those who want to have it done, and who knows if five, ten years down the line I’d feel the same. I guess as long as you educate yourself and read the WebMD Botox Information thoroughly, you can make a better decision for yourself.

As I’ve said,  it’s not just physical looks per se that matter, but really how we take care of ourselves.The thing is, we don’t really get to get that message across to people, especially young and impressionable individuals. So do looks really matter? Yes, they do. But this doesn’t mean you have to dislike the way you look: you just have to learn to accentuate and highlight your personal beauty strengths.

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Apr 11, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Rewriting Filipino Time.

I used to be a very punctual person growing up.  Now, I catch myself being late a lot. To be fair, I still am generally prompt  when it comes to meetings and appointments. However, because of the notion of Filipino Time, sometimes I find myself dilly dallying instead of getting ready as early as I would have normally used to do.

The idea that it is okay to be late because the event (be it a meeting, party or what not) doesn’t start on time anyway seems to have been so ingrained into todays society that many have lost a sense of value for time. Perhaps this attitude prevails because it has become an accepted behavior among most of us, very much like Pavlov’s classical conditioning. I suppose we also make it acceptable by our response to these kinds of behaviors.

Just this term, the university I work for introduced a program to really emphasize the importance of being on time. Every now and then, we would receive emails reminding us about how we should be in the classrooms on time, even though our students tend to come in later. I guess part of the reason why the students come late too is because they know the teachers are aware they come late so they aren’t 100% prompt 100% of the time. Plus they get away with it anyway.

This coming term, I am going to try to rewrite Filipino time, at least for myself. Perhaps by being more self-aware about my being prompt and conscientious about this, I can affect change around me, after all, this is why I’m called teacher, right?

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Apr 5, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 1 Comment

Tests, tests and more tests.

I’m over my head with papers, quizes and tests that need to be checked :-(  Next to having to wake up early, this is one part of the job that can really challenge me. I guess most teachers will feel the same way, or at least I hope they do! While tests are essential ways in measuring or assessing how much students have learned, sometimes I think there are other measures that can also be as rich in data and perhaps for some, more appropriate.

This coming summer I will be giving a workshop on embracing different learners in the classroom. I hope this will be helpful to all teachers and parents out there who have a passion for making their classrooms fair for all their students. Nonetheless, while trying to embrace all types of learners is a goal I have in my class, I still cannot avoid having to be a traditional test-giving teacher from time to time. At times, I turn to my test bank or perhaps a quiz generator to help me come up with the best test possible to accommodate all the different students in my class. I guess one way I try to keep it fair is by giving my students test taking tips and sample exercises so that they can hone their skills and be able to cope with the academic demands of classes. I think this is especially important for school systems that tend to be more traditional and structured, just like what we have here in the Philippines. I’m glad that the school I currently teach in focuses on a more transformative learning pedagogy which allows me to be a more flexible teacher both in terms of teaching concepts and assessing student’s progress.

I will post more about the details of the workshop when I have them, but I hope I do see you there!

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