Jun 30, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Featured | 4 Comments

People who Inspire: Dr. Che Zablan-Salazar

Che is a medical doctor by profession and a truly caring person by heart. In her journey towards becoming the medical practitioner that she is today, she took the road less travelled and become a Doctor to the Barrios.

I first met Che back in college. I guess you can say we really weren’t instant friends. In fact, while our barkada technically got it’s start from Freshman year, it wasn’t till later on towards the end of the year that I became part of the group. Back then, I was still seen as the coño, rich kid na inglesera (not that that’s a bad thing!!!).  The truth, however, was just that I was painfully shy so I remained distant and unconcerned. However, Che and the rest of the gang soon adopted me into the fold and the rest was history.

Whenever my mom and I talk about my barkada, she always remembers Che with fondness and says as early as my debut when she first met Che, she knew she was a good soul. My mom’s a pretty good judge of character, (except perhaps when it comes to men!) and I know she is right about Che.

It’s been 14 years since we first met and in that span of time, Che has proven to be one of the best friends anyone can count on. Not only that, she is truly someone who inspires me to be a better person. In my darkest hour, she was one of the few who allowed me to wallow in that dark deep pit of pity without judging me or making me feel worse about it, nor did she coddle me and let me fester down there.

In my latest article at The Philippine Online Chronicles, I wrote a feature on the Doctor to the Barrios Program of the Department of Health. I was deeply honored and glad to have had the opportunity to have an in-depth look at Che’s experience and what her journey entailed.

In my interview with Che, she said she was inspired by Dr. Juan Flavier’s book about the DTTB program. I hope someday my article and Che’s story also inspires other people to become the best they can be.

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Jun 27, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

Theives among us

When I was a preschooler, I stole a red crayon. I will always remember how I had gotten caught with that elicit crayon and how I got a bad spanking for it. Not only that, I got a pretty long time out for it. Back then, I wasn’t really aware that taking things that weren’t mine was bad. After that incident, however, I knew better than to take things that were not mine.

Nowadays, students (as well as other people around)  in schools steal more than just crayons. Just last week, we received a memo in the school warning us about keeping our things safe, even inside our offices. Apparently, a department near us had an incident wherein someone’s laptop and other things had gotten stolen.

I guess because it’s our workspace, we take for granted that things are safe, but this incident served as a reminder to me to be more cautious, especially given how difficult times are now so many resort to stealing to make ends meet. It worries me sometimes because I am the type of teacher who cannot leave home without my laptop. I’ve actually thought about getting a laptop insurance policy, but I figured more than losing the actual laptop, it’s the data in it that matters most. Because of that, I started backing up all my files and making sure that I have equipment and gear that can keep my gadgets secure.  Also, I took down the serial number of my gadgets so in case of anything, I can have something to trace it with. Honestly, because of the incident, I began to appreciate the tiresome task of getting a laptop pass when we enter school!!!

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Jun 18, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, Featured, Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

The Seniors Go Investigating!

The first week of school has come and gone and I’d like to think we got off to a good start!

Like I mentioned in my previous post, majority of my students came from my class last school year so getting to know you activities are not as extensive. Also, since they are mostly familiar with the school, touring the facility was nothing new to them.

As such, I decided to make our school tour more than just a “getting to know my school” activity. I decided to do a thinking exercise to get our learning process started. I also thought that this would be a good way to assess their present capabilities and also gauge what my the two new additions to my class can do.

I started out with a drawing activity with the kids making a picture about what they think they can do, see, find or use in Playschool.

Here are a few examples of their responses:

Then we charted out their ideas and finally set off around the school to find out more about their hypotheses. After finding out if those things they drew were present in school or not, we also had brief discussions about what these were for, where it could be found and how to use these things. At the end, we had this chart:

It was a fun activity, although it was so hot so the kids and I ended up so sweaty and exhausted afterward!

This is definitely the kind of things I will miss when I “retire” from being a preschool teacher. Like many of my readers know, I am planning to make this year my last teaching year because I am no spring chicken anymore! I can feel the age creeping in. Although I do hope I can still do some consultancy or administrative work in the preschool level in the future. However, while it may be physically gentler for me, I’m sure it will be an adjustment to me, especially when it comes to the nitty-gritty details of the job such as filing business credit reports, wading through paperwork, attending to payroll, and making sure the bills are paid on time. Plus of course making sure the teachers get their benefits and the school turns a profit. Now that I think about it, it appears that teaching the kids may be a wiser decision!!!

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Jun 18, 2010

Posted by in The Library | 0 Comments

Giving credit where it’s due

In the past few days, I have been thinking about the constructs of being fair, integrity and justice. Strange as this may seem, it is through teaching kids that I am reminded of these. Because of their innocence and bright-eyed optimism, I am reminded to not be jaded and to be open minded about things around us.

That started out as a random thought that came to mind as I drove to school but later on today, I read a Plurk thread from a friend celebrating the quick service he got when getting his NBI clearance and other government issued cards. I jokingly replied: “it’s a PGMA legacy”, a sarcastic throwback at the television ads touting President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s legacy.

I will admit: every single time I see those ads, it riles me up. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about how her people have the audacity to claim such things.

But then all emotions and disdain for a leader that I dislike aside, I realize that when credit is due, it must be given. Perhaps right now I don’t appreciate it, but maybe somewhere in her administration, she did something right.

While it is hard to see the benefits of the Arroyo administration, more so to appreciate it, it should be done. In the same manner, all the failures must not be overlooked. Although books on public policy and politics aren’t really up my alley, it would be interesting to check out Beating the Odds, a book that takes a look at the state of policy making, decision-making and action-taking in the last nine years under PGMA’s rule. The book gives readers a close-up analysis of several key issues surrounding the country and how the President responded to these challenges.

One of the biggest issues the Presidency faced is the growing budget deficit that continues to debilitate our economy. While issues of corruption and endless evidences of funds gone awry, such as the ZTE broadband deal and the infamous Le Cirque dinner will always haunt her legacy, the book will give readers a look into how she was able to make positive strides in the economic growth of the country.

Another issue tackled by the book is the Mindanao Peace Process and concerns surrounding it. Through her leadership, she was able to forge talks with Moro rebels that contributed to ceasefire agreements that still are in place today. She likewise tried to make strides towards the rehabilitation of war-torn Mindanao.

Other issues tackled in the book include terrorism, threats to her leadership by attempted coup d’etats, the SARS outbreak, and increasing drug threats.

The book promises to be an insightful look at what it is like to be the Chief Executive of a nation and how the Philippine beauracracy works. Readers of this book will likely see a new side of the presidency, governance and our country and perhaps be more aware of the nitty-gritty details of the job.

As for me, I will try not to smirk anymore at the legacy commercials, but I’m not really promising much. I will, however, recognize that when credit is due, to GMA or anyone else in her governance, it should be given.

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Jun 14, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

The Power of Information

I believe very strongly in the power of information. More than any weapon, information empowers and individual to make the right choices and to affect change in their lives. This is why I believe in including an updated version of health education in the school systems, including talking about sex, drugs, alcohol and it’s consequences in one’s life.

While many may argue that talking about these things only spark their curiosity, I  would argue that it quells the curiosity as answers are given. Because these things lose it’s enticing qualities, it can be seen in a more matter-of-fact, direct point of view. Of course I think that boundaries should be set and observed while discussing these things. Also, it should be age-appropriate. For example, talking to adolescent girls about proper weight loss and the pros and cons of using diet pills such as Lipovox allows them to have a more realistic view about body image and issues surrounding it. This helps them realize that what friends or movies say may not necessarily be correct.

Of course this should be taken with caution. For me, my mom was always very open about issues and concerns. Given that she is a smoker, she never gave me falsehoods about it, which I think contributed to the reason why I never did it myself.

Empowering people with information is a preventive measure. Rather than solving the problem after it happens, by giving people the right information at the right time gives them better opportunities for the right choice.

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