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Jul 11, 2012

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Alternative Education

Over the past few months, I have been appreciating the idea of alternative education more and more. Don’t get me wrong: I still am an advocate  for  the educational system and for classroom  learning  experiences. I  do recognize, however, that for some  people, alternative forms  of  learning are just  as important and life changing as higher learning. Case  in point: Steve Jobs.

Nonetheless I believe that earning a degree is still  a  pivotal  component of  success. It’s just not the only one. Personality factors, opportunities presented, and availability of resources, for  example,  can also  contribute to  success. As such, some one who  has been  homeschooled all their lives or perhaps did not  formally finish high  school or college in a formal institution can still excel.

The educational system  now  is  so  different, we all must admit. There are lots of  new ways to learn and even entrance exams and the like are readily available. More so, these resources allow  us to tap into  different types  of intelligences and  lifestyles. For example, should you decide to go to  graduate school, you  can maintain  your  regular schedule and still accomplish  that through an online education. Heck, we can even enroll in online gre programs.

In my classes, I  really try too veer away from just  plain  lecturing. I try my best to incorporate as many  alternative learning exercises and opportunities for my  students. These include exploration activities, creative outputs and even immersions. What about  you? As a parent or educator  how do you give alternative learning?

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Jul 11, 2012

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Read, read, read….

I haven’t  read this much  in years, I  tell ya. Har. In the past  seven months, since I started on working on my  final thesis, I’ve read countless journal  articles,  references, and the like. I feel like I’m in college all over again! Oh, and lets not forget that  I have a whole bunch of teacher training references to read! Yikes!

Am I enjoying it  though? Hmm…I guess the  teacher training part I  can say yes, but the journals…they’ve been so hard. How i wish they  were simpler!

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Jun 23, 2012

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Just A Random Artsy Fartsy Day

If there is one thing I miss from being a preschool teacher, it’s the daily opportunity to get my hands dirty with all sorts of art projects. I loved getting my hands all sticky with glue and covered in glitters. I enjoyed spritzing colored water on walls and watching it make rainbows. It was a whole lot of fun trying to figure out creative ways of transforming the ordinary and mundane, from toilet paper rolls to fire hose fittings, into amazing little projects.

Yesterday I got the chance to tap into my artsy side again and did some glass painting experiments. Lookit…

 

Not bad for a first timer, yes? :)

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Jun 13, 2012

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Teacher Goes Back to School!

Last year, I gave up my preschool teaching career. I didn’t know why or what would be out there for me. I didn’t know what I’d do next. All I knew was that it was the right thing for me.

I did think of a lot of things I wanted to do. I wanted to enroll in French lessons, I wanted to become a full-time blogger, I wanted to throw everything in the wind and take a new course, like maybe carpentry so I can experiment on power tools such as the festool kapex miter saw or perhaps creative writing which I have always loved. I really just did not know what I wanted.

In between, while trying to figure things out, I continued on with my yoga practice until I decided that I wanted to do a Yoga Teacher Training. And then I came across a kids yoga class and found what it is exactly I want to do. I will be a yoga teacher working with kids and adolescents with a leaning towards yoga as therapy. Woot.

I know I have found my place in the sun. Finally :)

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Jun 3, 2012

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Kuya vs. Manong

Today I had an interesting conversation about the whole “kuya” and “manong” thing. Notice how we Filipinos tend to address vendors, the janitors, photocopy people, etcetera like this? I never gave it much thought before but today, I accompanied a visiting teacher from New York around Greenhills and I addressed many of the guards and sellers as kuya (or ate when applicable). She asked me what kuya meant and if it was a Filipino word for excuse me or something like that.

Over the course of our conversation I came to realize that I prefer using kuya/ate over manong/manang nowadays. In a way, I kinda feel like its a more respectful way of addressing people in the service industry. When I said that, my friend said that she resonated with that and asked what perhaps, would make someone a manong or a kuya versus a sir. She said something about how although there is no caste system here such as that in India, there still is that kind of a divide. Maybe not with regards to the mingling of people and whatnot, but there was still that separation. Eventually as we talked I realized that often times, it all boils down to the fact that when those in the service industry often have limited access to education. It kind of made me realize how much I take things for granted. For example, I would love more than anything to buy a new iMac but majority of Filipinos have to rely on internet cafes to really have access. I’m sure they’d be more than thrilled to receive even a very old used pc desktop and here I am complaining about my old laptop.

Random realizations today.

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Jun 3, 2012

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Welcome AY 2012-2013!

Tomorrow marks the first day of the school year for many schools around the metro. As far as I understand, it is also the beginning of the K-12 program in the public school system here in the Philippines. For a teacher, I must admit I haven’t given that much attention, primarily because I no longer am in the preschool setting. I’ll be exploring the whole program soon, though, just to see what it’s all about. I hope that with this change in the set-up, a wider change can also happen in the entire school system. Granted that given the limited funds, schools might not be able to avail of hi-tech computer systems or updated laboratory equipment and so on and so forth, but I do hope there will be a change.

In any case, here’s to School Year 2012-2013!!!

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May 29, 2012

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Teacher Goes Full Circle

I started my new job last week and it has been quite an experience. Suffice it to say being in a new campus makes me feel like a child again because it takes me back to being the new girl in school. Literally. It’s an interesting feeling. I don’t really know yet what to make of it, and how I feel about it, but to be honest, being the new girl is not something I really like feeling :( It makes me a little anxious, especially since I have no one to really chat with yet. Add to that the fact that I really am not the open and sociable type, right? Well, lets see how this goes nonetheless :)

 

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May 13, 2012

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Campus on the Green

I’m looking forward to starting out a new teaching position soon…pending of course the finalization of a few details but for the most part, I’m super excited for things to come. It’s gonna be on a greener campus (well, I’m not sure if that’s the right word for it). What I mean is that this will be in a campus that’s more rustic and not as surrounded by steel buildings. Excited much. I guess that’s really why I also decided to teach rather than work in an office building. I don’t think I’ll do very well in office buildings all day long. I need space to move around and lots of air to breathe in. Anyway, when things fall into place, I shall post pictures of my new workplace :)

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May 9, 2012

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We’re All A Little Different…

If there’s one important thing I learned to appreciate through because of writing my thesis, it’s the fact that we’re all a little different. I was reminded of this a lot because I struggled greatly with writing that darned paper. It was so frustrating because I am a good writer. At least I think I am. Seriously though, I would like to think that I am a good creative writer. However, technical writing is really not my thing.

I began to appreciate the fact that we’re all a little different because of that. One of my colleagues, for example, is really good at the technical stuff, but not at the creative stuff. I guess that’s also true for kids who can be very good at math but sucky in sports. I remember one time I had a student who could memorize the entire atlas, name all the different species of dinosaurs, identify every possible power tool and construction equipment, and even differentiate between nail bits and end mills, but when I’d ask him to answer reading comprehension questions, he could never do it.

And so like I was saying, through my thesis I learned to appreciate that we all are indeed different learners. As such, while I may have completed my research, I can’t help but feel that I gave too much of a literary tone to it. Oh well. Haha.

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May 5, 2012

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Schoolyard Picking

I’ve been watching re-runs of the show Survivor China and I couldn’t help but think about how I hate the practice of schoolyard picking. Schoolyard picking refers to the practice of having two or more team leaders pick out their team members from a line of their peers. No matter what you say, there will always be one who will be picked last.  All too often, the one who gets picked last. Many times, the one who gets picked last are those who are overweight, less competent in the activity, or simply put, less socially acceptable because of whatever reason. It isn’t a nice feeling. I prefer using techniques such as counting off or random selections for groupings. I feel it’s more fair. What do you think???

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Apr 30, 2012

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News Bit: Homeschooling Conference

Sharing with you guys some information that was sent to me :)

I don’t really know much about how homeschooling is really done and monitored here in the Philippines, but I do have a lot of friends who have embraced the philosophy of homeschooling. As such, I cannot really say much about the practice but for those looking for alternatives for the education of their children, I strongly encourage you to check out this conference :)

Details of the press release are as follows:

This year’s Homeschooling Conference is themed “Laying a Strong Foundation.” It will feature lectures from esteemed homeschooling authorities both here and abroad including: noted inspirational speaker, best-selling author and homeschool parent, Bo Sanchez; and former high school and college educator and best-selling author of award-winning books like “Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling,” “Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens,” and “Ultimate Planners for Moms, Teens and Students,” Debra Bell.

The event is supported by the 3,000-strong force of Filipino families, who are currently homeschooling by choice and discovering its priceless benefits.

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Apr 24, 2012

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Channeling Mary Poppins

This thesis writing thing is leaving me defeated and uber challenged. I’m THIS close to throwing in the towel. Seriously. I kinda feel all this emotional and mental turmoil is not worth it. I wanna just channel Mary Poppins and be a nanny abroad, hanging on to a gutter brush on one hand and an umbrella on the other, while singing cutesy little songs. Sigh.

HOWEVER, I love teaching all too much to give up on it. Why oh why does writing this paper have to be so difficult??? Gaaaah.

 

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Apr 15, 2012

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I Don’t Wanna Wear Shoes…

This will be one of the most random posts ever. You have been warned :)

For the longest time, I was known for my stilettos and my flair for the dramatic when I get all dolled up. Even when I was teaching in preschool, I would wear heels to school. Daily. Always. No matter when. Sometimes it would be a wedge, sometimes pumps, but more often than not, stilettos. I’d also always been in pretty dresses and accessorized to the hilt…dangly earrings, emerald rings. chunk necklaces, you name it I wore it.

However, since I have fallen in love with yoga, I have stopped wearing shoes…and now I long for a job that won’t require me to wear shoes on a daily basis. Flip flops will do, no more shoes, please :) I wear stretchy pants and tank tops, and pearl studs if ever, are now my daily attire.

Nope, I’m not becoming unfashionable, I’ve just changed gears.

And now I know what I wanna do…I wanna be a yoga teacher. When I do, I can still say I am an accidental teacher, I guess. Teaching yoga was something I never thought I’d do, but right now, with all my heart, I know it is what I am meant to do :)

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Apr 3, 2012

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Spell What?

All too often, I have parents come to me and ask about why their kids have difficulty in reading and spelling. They’re good in all other aspects, they say, but when it comes to this, they’re lagging behind. I often tell these parents to first take a deep breath and assess the situation. In what instances, for example, do they have difficulty in? In what context? Often times I observe that the children, even at age 4, are expected  to know how to read and spell words that are beyond what would be age-appropriate. Um…how can you expect a child to spell out physician or understand what an annuity quote is when you read through a brochure in the doctor’s office, for example? Give them books that are suited for their age, I say, and perhaps you’ll see that they do better. Also, I tell them not to pressure their kids into spelling words out correctly immediately (at the preschool level). I am a big fan, after all, of invented spelling. This is their way of learning and discovering phonics and so giving them time to explore will allow for the development of skills. At the end of the day, I feel that too many a time, parents and teachers forget that kids are just that…kids.

Random thoughts from Teacher Ri.

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Apr 1, 2012

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Summer Activities For Kids

It’s that time of the year again: Summer Vacation! Three full months of freedom: no waking up early, no teachers, no homework and all fun, fun, fuuuun! However, this does not mean that kids have nothing to do all summer. In fact, my mommy friends say that summertime is actually just as busy (if not even more!) than the school year. What with the many different activities their kids are enrolled in.

As a teacher, what I suggest is that kids get to participate in activities that are less academic based. While I have nothing against taking advanced lessons, doing programs like Kumon or Enopi, and other school-like activities, I feel it would be nicer if the kids be given a chance to explore other areas of interest. Here are some things I can think of:

1. Sports. Enrolling kids in sports programs are excellent ways to improve their social skills and build self-esteem. They also learn sportsmanship and discipline. Plus its a good way to expend excess energies. Team sports are best, but activities like swimming, kids yoga and the like are also highly recommended.

2. Art and Music. These programs will allow the kids to tap into their creative sides. They can also learn how to be more imaginative, to experiment, and to tap into their hidden potential. Since Mother’s Day comes during the summer, perhaps a project they can explore is putting on a show for mom or perhaps making beaded mother day rings to give to them. This can teach them the concepts of sharing and generosity, as well as patience and perseverance.

3. Writing and Literature. Although these may seem a little “school-like”, allowing them to take creative writing courses can help them build their writing skills both in terms of technical writing (how to write good essays) and creative expression.

There are many other things kids can do over the summer. Hopefully they don’t spend majority of their days watching tv and just doing nothing. Happy Summer everyone!

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Apr 1, 2012

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Teacher Who?

Ten years later, I am still stuck in my masteral program. Egaaad. Am I making progress, yes. Am I getting to the finish line? Not really. Hayz. I do love teaching more than anything, but this thesis is really getting the better of me. I have invested so much time, effort and not to mention money in it but I am soooo stuck. What makes it worse is the fact that I want to study something else now. Oh noes. I soon may need to enroll in a debt management program because of my many changing interests. Har. Seriously though, this new thing I wanna study, it’s soooo completely different from everything else I’ve done. And yeah, after it I don’t end up in the academe. Teaching still, yes, but in a different venue. Wish me luck, will ya? But yeah, I wanna get my degree. Heeelp.

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