Yesterday was grade consultation day and for the first time ever, I had more than 3 students come to me for consultation. The funny thing is for most of them, it wasn’t about their performance in their class that they came to talk to me about, but about other things they were feeling and going through. Some of them were struggling in their courses (and mind you, not in my subject!) and so they were asking what they should do next. They were feeling conflicted about whether they should stay in their current programs or whether they should shift to another. I told them I did not have an answer for them, and that only they can make that decision, but that they really have to think about a few things before making a choice. First off, what are they interested in? What are their strengths and weaknesses? After that I said they have to take into consideration their resources. Lastly, I asked them to think about what they want and what is holding them back from achieving this.Read More
This term I learned one important thing about myself as a teacher…I often am guilty of stereotyping
What I mean by this is that whenever I teach a class, I base my activities, behaviors, attitudes, and the like all too much on my preconceived notions of the group I am handling. I guess on one hand, there is some value to this practice, because it allows me to tap into the strengths and interests of the group. For example, when I handle business sections, I try to teach of social entrepreneurship and the like. So when I teach about ethics, I used the business setting as the base of my lecture. Makes sense, right?
However, there is also a danger to this. Because of preconceived notions, I may miss out on giving them opportunities that go beyond those ideas. Also, it leaves me defensive because I feel like I cannot connect with the students who like things I don’t understand or have a different wavelength. For example, I have no idea what cree xm-l LED’s are but I have students who talk about that and other electronics like it was nothing. As such, I cannot connect.
This term, I had to overcome that again. And because I did not hesitate to say I didn’t know what they meant, I was able to learn more and in the same way, I realized that they are also interested in other things outside of what I think they do. Lesson learnedRead More
There is no other word I can think of for this post but that. I am flabbergasted. Earlier today I gave my students an exam and I got asked the most jaw-dropping question…
In the essay part of the exam, I got asked not once, not twice, but a total of four times if they could answer it in bullet points. Um….how does one answer that??? Diplomatically, I mean? I guess my students are just used to me being so flexible but I felt quite disappointed with such questions, mainly because I thought the instruction was clear enough. Oh well.
Oh, I did regain my composure and answered them with a “Welll, if you think bullet points equals an essay, go ahead”.
Sigh…the non-joys of teaching.Read More
If there is one thing I wish I had the chance to do when I was younger, it was to have had the opportunity to become an exchange student…in Paris preferably. My eldest cousin was able to join a foreign exchange program at one point during his high school education and he was able to spend a year in a school in the United States and it was not just a fun opportunity, it really opened up a lot of doors for him. Obviously I never got to do it, but if I could, I really would have Although I would have wanted to do an exchange program to be immersed in a different culture in a school setting, other foreign exchange programs can either focus on touring/cultural exposure or on community service.
If I were a parent of a teenager, I would definitely encourage my son or daughter to try join one of those summer volunteer programs offered by various institutions and organizations. Some church groups, for example, even do teen summer community service activities which allows participants to truly engage in volunteer work. Not only do these programs allow let a teen volunteer abroad, this also allows the participant to explore his or her leadership abilities, as well as maximize their potentials.
Exchange programs, whether local or abroad, are definitely something worth investing in. Whether it is academic based, sports oriented or for socio-civic causes, the learning a teenager gets from this is truly priceless. This is really what learning is actually all about, in my opinion. It’s going beyond theory, it’s not just practice, but it’s actually living and breathing through what it is you try to learn, all done outside the four walls of a classroom.
The time has come once again for me to bid farewell to another group of students and classes that I have grown to know and love. It’s funny but this school year has, by far, been the most life changing one for me in so many ways and in so many facets of my life.
On a professional level, I have finally found a good balance between distance and closeness to my students, and I have the kids to thank for that. They have allowed me to see a side of me that I have tried hard not to get to know. As I posted on my “Teacher Ria” facebook page, these past few months have made me realize that there’s so much to teacher ria then i have allowed myself to know and that there is a whole wider world out there for me to learn from, if only i let it happen On a personal level, because I have embraced that openness and allowing-ness, I have become a much better person, I’d like to think.
As I end the term, I am exceptionally grateful for the students in both my developmental and clinical psychology classes for allowing me to learn from them as I tried to teach them more than just psychology, but about life in general.
To my Devpsyc students, thank you for the sweetest note ever I am glad you got to enjoy our “child-like” activities from time to time. Thank you too for always having such a lively discussion with me. It still makes me laugh when I remember how our classroom discussions would often go all sorts of directions because you guys were always so open to giving your ideas, opinions and all. You also made me think a lot. It has definitely been one of the most enjoyable developmental psychology classes EVER.
From your essays, I take with me very important lessons. Yes, I know I give too many essays and just yesterday, two of you were teasing me about how I loooooove reading essays and my answer to you was: reading essays? toink. no. learning from my kids, yes
This term I had so many great essays to read, and while there were those that made me want to pull my hair out, there were some that simply took my breath away and made me say, wow. These are but a few very important life lessons I will take with me from what I’ve learned from you. And if I helped you learn this, then I am blessed.
- “this realization has taught me to live in the present and not worry about the mistakes I’ve done in the past because there’s no use stressing over something that cannot be undone. Instead, I should learn from [these] mistakes and make sure not to repeat it; and not to over think the future because it will eventually come, there’s no use planning every single detail of tomorrow when many uncontrollable things can always get in the way”
- “[Life] is like playing Tetris where you have to find out how to win every level to be able to go on to the next; every one of them a different challenge”
- “I learned that throughout our life span, we develop because it is our nature to develop…to adapt to our surroundings and to try to survive the world. [As we pass through different stages] we arrive at the pit-stops of our lives. [Conflicts that exist] may possibly shake or weaken us, [but] we must learn to surpass them in order to…move on to the next stage”
- “They say that the most valuable lessons are not learned in school. Well, I beg to differ. The things you learn in school are just as valuable as the outside”
- “[Life can be difficult] but I always put in mind that there are no challenges that are meant not to be surpassed because that is the way it is [and that] is what life is all about: learning to breathe and take a step forward”
- “All in all an equally significant ideology I have grasped from this term in developmental psychology is the acceptance that change is the only permanent thing we have. No matter how much you want certain things to be preserved and remain the same, we must not struggle to hold on to them when the right time has come. All these things we must shed are part of growing up and are a part of life. Overstaying the welcome of things will hurt no one but the one who persists on keeping it and at times the object itself. This is how the world works whether we like it or not. But this does not mean we don’t have a hand in how these changes are made; in fact, I believe the most important changes are based on our decisions. I t is how we react to such things that truly define, shape and develop who we are”
And yes, this made reading all your essays oh-so-worth it. There were so many other brilliantly written ones but I will stop with these
And to my dear CLINPSY students…THANK YOU. I tried to teach you the skills and characteristics needed by a therapist/clinician, and though many of you said in our final class that you realized it isn’t for you, I would beg to disagree. In your own little ways, you all (okay, most of you haha), have the potential to be good therapists. Believe me when I say you guys have given me soooo much healing and insight after an exceedingly difficult second term. Being with you guys allowed me to, once more, love what I do and for that, I will always be grateful.
To be honest, I’ve always made it a point not to have classes on my birthday (which this term’s last day of class ended with!), but for some reason, I just wanted to be with you guys on that day. And yes, it made my day extra special
I will miss you guys oh so very, very much
Here’s to a new school year ahead!
As I was making my final exam for the developmental psychology class I am teaching this trimester, I was suddenly reminded of the movie Higher Learning. It’s been quite a long time since that film was released, but it dawned on me that the movie was still relevant to many of the concepts I was teaching.
The story revolved around three college freshmen who realized that going to school was more than just a quest to getting their college degrees, rather, it is really a stop in one’s life journey. The learned that the important lessons in life were not just taken from within the four walls of the classroom but that it really went beyond that.
In my class, we did talk about the changing dynamics of education, especially in the past few years. As an educator, I have seen an influx of very, very young students in masters programs in various universities. In fact, some of my old students ask me to fill up endorsement forms and letters of recommendation for graduate school immediately after they graduate. This lead us to questioning how these decisions influence later life choices and developmental needs and goals. Suffice it to say, these class discussions have really given me a new perspective on the way my students think and how different things are from the time of the movie I mentioned earlier. While there may be differences, however, I think the core components of this life stage still remain: this is the period where adolescents and young adults really search for their identity and step on a path that leads them to their future.Read More
Last Thursday I had a great laugh courtesy of my crazy Clinpsy students.
Lemme put it in context: a few weeks ago in class, I was dressed in this bright red dress and one of my students randomly made a comment about her red pair of Keds that were too big for her and asked if I would be interested in buying it from her. One of her classmates suddenly quipped: Miss, you know pa ba what Keds are?? TOIIINK!!!!
Anyway, her point was that she had never seen me wearing anything but stilettos (or wedges at the very least) and so it seemed implausible for me to actually ever wear flats.
Well, in some ways it’s true because since around July of last year I had stopped wearing flats. If ever I did, it would be flip flops but for the most part, it was always heels. So when my friend told me to wear flats or rubber shoes when we went to the 16th Hot Air Balloon Fest a few weeks ago, I had to dig out my old Crocs. While we were in Clark, I decided to stop and take a photo of my feet since it had been way too long since I had last worn flats. While I was doing so, my friend snapped a shot of me too:
And so when she posted this on Facebook, I had to show my kooky students that indeed, I do wear flats too. Haha. Of course I had to invade some other walls to do that because I absolutely refuse to add students to my own account haha….too much drama I swear.
Anyway, after I did, I kinda regretted it a bit, because I realized I would never live it down, but well, it’s too late now.
And so when I went to class last Thursday I was greeted by that statement:
Oh my gaaaawd she’s human after all. Haha.
Funny, funny things that happen in class I tell ya.
In class today we were playing one of those games where you throw out a question and the students answer whatever comes to mind.
Yes, I joined in and got toinked.
Question: If you were transported to cartoonland and can take on the personality of a cartoon character, who would it be.
My answer: Rainbow Brite.
Students: Rainbow who?
Warning: this is an All About Miss Ria post Haha.
Among the things I like about teaching in the undergrad are random moments of flattery from my students, whether they are aware of it or not. It always makes me feel good about my choice of profession, even though it is often times quite difficult.
Things I have loved hearing (or overhearing for that matter) include:
- Oh, Miss, your cologne smells so nice (as I walk by )
- How cool is this assignment? weee….
- How cute naman your outfit Miss!
- Miss, that whole metaphor thing…amazing (oooh…they actually listen!)
- On the elevators
- Student 1: Who’s the prof for that subject?
- Student 2: I don’t know who to pick nga e, Tirazona or (names of other prof)
- Student 1: Oh, go pick Tirazona, she’s so fun!
- While standing by the window waiting for the projector to light up, I was facing out, back turned to the students and then one goes.. “Wow Miss Ria, you’re getting payat na (thin already!) WOOT! Yes, flattered much.
Things I feel uncomfortable hearing or reading however, include
- Negative comments about fellow colleagues
- Questions/comments about alcohol and partying. Yes, I may do these things but it’s not for class consumption
- In the same manner, topics like what are the best diet pills or weight loss techniques. Much as I may be working at my own weight loss, I feel I shouldn’t be advising or talking about these to my students because they may just go and do it (eeep….)
- Hearing them bully or tease other students
- Complaints about education being useless
- Asking what the “prize” is if they submit tasks early
Overall, however, while I may have listed more things I don’t like than those I like, one thing I know for sure is I SO LOVE TEACHING MY COLLEGE KIDSRead More
In class these past few days, I used the line “back when I….” so many times over I had to literally laugh out loud. Every time I would say it, I would literally chuckle and tell my students that when I hear myself say that, I suddenly feel so very old. And yes, each time I say that, my students get a good laugh out of it!!! In all honesty, sometimes I forget that things have changed so much from “my time”. I still remember that our “big” issues back then were about whether or not to pluck our eyebrows or what acne products would work best for our skin type and whether or not our hair should be teased or straightened or what not. Today, the issues and concerns are so very different that it’s somewhat overwhelming. I have students as young as 16 or 17 coming to me about feelings that I never felt till I was much older! On one hand, it scares me to bits, on the other, I feel like it’s a good thing. What I’ve realized however, that whether it is back in my time or in my student’s time today, one thing still remains true: that no matter how hard we try, there are just so many things we can’t understand. Hehe. At the end of the day what I am reminded of, and what I tell them all the time, is that it doesn’t really matter why or how things happen, but what counts is what we do with these things that happen.Read More
Hello there Dears,
Yes, it is me again, your teacher.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this side of me…the side that gets soooo overwhelmed and upset with the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can’t not let your behavior get to me. And like last time, I find myself so frustrated with things that happened in class and I thought it best to let you know how I feel about it.
So here it goes: like in my last letter to you, I’d like to remind you that while I may be one of the most lenient and “child”- centered teachers you will ever meet, please don’t forget that I am human too….and that I can only take so much pushing before I tip over and lose the smile I try to keep while we’re together. Please remember that I ask very little of you, especially since I am one of those teachers who firmly believes that it is not the facts and figures that you remember in my class that matters, but that you actually liked what you learned and how you got to learn this in my class. I like letting you have fun because for me, this is what really makes learning more meaningful and life changing. As I often tell you in class, aanhin mo naman lahat ng theories kung hindi mo rin gagamitin, diba? Also, please remember that more than just doing well in my activities and exams, what really counts for me is to see you become better people and this is not measured simply by scores in tests, but by your character, behavior and attitude. I feel at times that no matter how hard I try to help you find it, the lost art of respect, gratitude and proper etiquette is an impossibility…..but I am trying very hard not to believe that, because what kind of a world would we have if that becomes a fact, right?
So yes, today I got my buttons pushed by you guys and yes, I tried hard to remain calm and focused on the bigger picture. What I ask from you now, however, is that you not make it too hard for me to keep on wanting to do what I do in class because believe me, in as much as I looooove it to bits, there are days when I have to think about it.
Oh, do know while today may not have been such a wonderful day for me, do know that I have had so much fun and felt so much joy while teaching you guys. If you could only see my Facebook wall after class, more often than not I sing (well, you know what I mean!) praises of you all the time because many, many times, I take away more than I would have expected from class. The little jokes we exchange, the pseudo-intellectual conversations we carry on, and yes, the heartfelt discussions we have really make my day. And yes…that’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me stay true to being not just a teacher, but a teacher here in the Philippines despite the fact that my contemporaries have found greener pastures elsewhere.
Till next time, but hopefully in better circumstances,
Miss RiaRead More
One of the storybooks I like reading to my undergraduate students is the Scholastic Book The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. I often use this when discussing the topic cultural sensitivity in my Personal Effectiveness classes. The students love the fact that I read them a kids book in class (although I’d like to think this is an older kids’ type of book ) and I love how the story reminds them to look at the bigger picture when coming up with decisions or making assessments.
I end the discussion by telling them that we are often guided by “traditional fairy tales” we’ve heard in the past, thus we do things mindlessly and draw conclusions that may not be valid or apt for a given situation. Also, I remind them that one reason we always feel so inadequate in our social environments is because of the fact that we allow these stereotypes and assumptions dictate who we are and how we should behave in our world. As such, we fail to see the bigger picture. Perhaps this is why even adolescents now go get plastic surgery and take all sorts of diet supplements and even inject themselves or take pills that have human growth hormones just so they become thinner, taller, whiter, and so on and so forth.What matters most at the end of the day, I like to tell them, is that we like who we are on the insideRead More
There are a few excuses I hate to get from my students. For one, I hate it when they come to class late and offer up the lame reason “Miss, it was traffic, eh”. Some even have the audacity to say, “I come pa kasi from Alabang” (I still come from Alabang). I reply: so did I.
I also hate it when they forget to bring in their homework. What gets my goat is when they say “But Miss, my printer didn’t have ink” or “But Miss, the line in the internet shop outside was so long!” and to top it off “The computer shop cant open .docx files”. Um…hello?
What irks me most, however, is when the students seem to forget common sense. For example, I can’t get why students think that walking into an elevator at the same time those inside are trying to walk out. Isn’t it common sense?
The other day, I was consoling a friend as she was checking her students’ tests, many of which were extremely low. She was feeling low about it, especially since she knew she gave the kids adequate resources to do well in the test. She even pointed out that some items used rephrased terms that came from her lectures. That set off an endless barrage of comments between us, pointing out how sometimes, the students don’t think hard enough or even analyze what they are taking. It’s as if it’s all a game for them. That got me to talking about the lack of common sense or perhaps, the lack of care for common sense. My friend jokingly replied, that’s not a lack of common sense…kulang lang sa prenatal vitamins at gatas yan! (It’s probably not a lack of common sense….maybe it’s a lack of prenatal vitamins and milk growing up, that’s why!)
To be fair, there are those who do well and care deeply for their grades, and do think before they act. I think one reason why students behave the way they do is because of the changes in the way life is nowadays. While we still live in a very social world, it’s more of an online social world that makes the dynamics of working with others quite different.
Sorry, World…you had to make it through a teacher rant!Read More