Jan 5, 2011

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Countdown Begins

There’s a song in my head tonight and part of it goes:

Clean up clean up everybody everywhere. Clean up clean up everybody do your share.

Yes, that’s a Barney song right there, haha. Today we cleaned up the school in preparation for the last stretch of the school year and that song kinda got stuck in my head. It’s funny how I so hate that song,but I can’t stop singing it!!!

Once again, it’s a little bittersweet for me because as we spruced up the school and while dusting off those artificial flowers by the grotto I couldn’t help but think (in between my sneezing and scratching from all that cleaning) there’s just a few more weeks to go before it’s bye-bye Teacher Ria. Errr…50 days give or take….siiigh.

When I stop and think about it, albeit I am at peace with my decision to leave the preschool, I still feel a little tug of loneliness whenever I find myself in this spot. I have always loved my role as a preschool teacher, and I think I always will, but I have gotten to the point where I have to say I can no longer do the waking up every morning all bright and sunshiney for the children. I have difficulty bearing with the noise and bending over to pick things up and lift the kids when they’re owie because, um, I get all owie too! Yes, teacher has gotten older. However, I still wish I can lend a hand in terms of decorating the school and planning events and the like :) I remember one of the most fun things (errr….but admittedly painstakingly difficult and tiring!) was create a flower garden on my classroom wall. I took the inspiration from an arrangement of  tropical artificial flowers I saw in the mall once and I decided to use paper cut outs glued on the wall in a decoupage fashion :-) It came out beautifully, I must say, but sadly, I don’t have photos of it. That, I think, I’d like to do more of :)

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Jan 3, 2011

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The Teachers New Clothes

Over the holidays, teacher went on a shopping spree. Yes, I spent every last cent of my baking money on clothes. EVERYTHING. Egaaaad…what was I thinking. Then again, after losing 30 pounds, I guess it’s okay to buy new clothes, right? The old ones didn’t fit anymore, after all (rationalize, rationalize, rationalize :-))

However, after shopping for all of those clothes I realized….I forgot to buy pants. Yes…I have a whole lot of tops, and lots of pretty new dresses, a couple of leggings but no pants. Genius. Then again, I’m pretty used to chasing after the kids in dresses so I shouldn’t really care much, right? Haha….

Seriously, though, I’ve always had a problem buying jeans because they never could fit right, I tell ya. But I’m hoping now that I’m losing weight, I can finally get into a good pair. Oooh…random…have you seen those rocawear jeans? Oh so nice!!! Maybe soon… :)

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Jan 3, 2011

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

Welcome Back to School!

The whole holiday season seems to have passed by like a blur and in the next few days, most kids (preschoolers and other grades alike) will be trooping back to school. While I have the customary “gaaah…back to work” feeling, there’s a little part of me that has all sorts of mixed emotions. After all, I only have three months left with my preschoolers. It’s a happy and sad feeling, to say the least.

I do hope that before those three months are up I am able to accomplish the following, in terms of leaving behind something to the school that has been my home for such a long time.

  1. I hope to be able to store my old activity outputs (i.e. the body cut-out we did showing the inside of the human body, storybooks written by the kids, etc) so that the next teachers can also use them too.
  2. Have the school sound system replaced (well, shop for it at least haha). I’d love for them to have a good audio-visual system that works, complete with microphones,wireless speakers, and yes, even a projector.
  3. Set up a system that works for the school library. For some reason, we can’t seem to get this right!
  4. Clean up the art supply closet!!!
  5. Laminate and repair all the teacher made materials, put them in boxes and label them neatly so these all can be maximized. Currently, its sadly underutilized.

The most important thing I want to do, however, of course besides get my kids ready for the big school, is to truly enjoy every last moment till it’s time to hang up my teachers hat for good. Wish me luck.

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Jan 2, 2011

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Start The Year Right with a ToyWatch from ToyWatch Philippines

One of the things I hate the most, be it in my students or people I work with (in fact, even with friends) is how often punctuality is not observed. I really hate how the whole construct of  “Filipino Time” has become such a deeply ingrained habit in many. I have to admit, because people around me are often late and have that mentality, I tend to think along those lines every now and then, but I really hate it to bits so I try my best to be on time.

Now, if you are one of those people who are always late, perhaps it’s time for you to change that! Wouldn’t that be a neat New Years Resolution? One big step to accomplishing that is by investing in a good watch. However, if you’re feeling Fun, Colorful, Fabulous or Bold, you can have the chance to snag one of these snazzy watches by simply submitting your photo in one of the four categories in the ToyWatch photo contest.Mechanics are quite simple to follow and the prizes at stake are more than just fun, colorful, fabulous and bold!!!

For me, this is what I would love to win from ToyWatch Philippines :)

Pretty, right? This is only one of the many chic and sassy ToyWatch designs . These watches range from about Php 12,000 to Php 35,000 and are available Rustan’s Gateway Mall, Shangri-la, and Makati.

These time pieces have been known to grace many a celebrities wrists. Wouldn’t it be so fab to have one too?  So what are you waiting for? You have only till January 4, 2011 to snap up that winning shot :) Good luck!!!

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Dec 27, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Father George

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as a teacher and as a human being general, is that you can only do so much. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you give, you can’t make people change or want to do things they don’t really want to do, like want to learn, for example. This has always been a struggle for me in the classes I teach, especially when I have students who don’t really care about my subject. When I first started teaching in the college, I often found myself in tears when my students don’t do well in my quizzes and activities, and I often would catch myself blaming myself for it.

After one particularly trying day in class, I lost my temper and I walked out of class. Yes, the complete utter drama of things!!!

The next meeting, before I dismissed them, I faced the students and apologized for the last session and asked them to work with me in making the class better for all. After the session, one of my students, a graduate student from Ghana named Fr. George (he had to take prerequisite subjects and General Psychology was one of them) came up to me and, in his fatherly tone, reproached me for apologizing. He said to this effect to me, why say sorry for something that wasn’t wrong? So what if they don’t like what you do, you still go do what you HAVE to do, and pleasing them or gaining their approval is not necessarily what you have to do.

Ouch. He was right. I was worried about not getting them to like me and my class. Chalk it up to being a young teacher, or perhaps the fact that I expect something from my students that they can’t measure up to or perhaps even the bright eyed optimism of an idealistic educator…whatever it was, I just wanted to make my students like learning in my subject not because of the grade but for the sheer reward of life lessons learned. toink. asa pa.

From then on I have tried to learn just that: to take things as they are and not apologize to just make things better. I’ve tried to accept things as they are and lower my expectations towards my students and life in general, but not to the point that I don’t make an effort to set the stage for learning to happen. I have learned to give all that I can, without expecting anything in return and just knowing that even if it is not reciprocated upon, even if it is not taken or accepted, I did my part, and I did it well. But I have also learned that I cannot give up ALL of me because that would leave none for me. In the same manner, I have come to terms with the fact that I am a capable individual who can do most things on her own but that I do not have to do it alone and all I need to do is ask for help when I need it. Most importantly, I have learned to listen to noise, to chaos but more so, to silence.

True, I still slip up every now and then and I get hit in the head with that proverbial hammer, but I’m beginning to appreciate that fact more and more, and that I’m okay with that. I can’t make my students do the work and get a 4.0 if they don’t want to, but I can try to inspire them to and if that doesn’t work, then maybe a 1.0 is all they need, right? At the end of the day, I just need to do what I need to do and the rest is not up to me anymore.

Every now and then Fr. George still sends me messages, either through email or text and he is a constant reminder of my mission as a teacher. Today after struggling through a night of feeling stuck in a rut, professionally, personally and in all other ways,  I was reminded of him and was inspired to pray this prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

Thank you, Fr. George, for coming into my class and making me a better teacher and for your little reminders and abundant prayers :)

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Dec 18, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, Lesson Plans, Preschool, Teaching Resources | 0 Comments

Stop, Look and Listen!

A few weeks ago, we were discussing transportation in our classes. The kids had a blast pretending to be traffic enforcers and learning all about stop lights. We made them little cardboard signs that we used to signal the drivers and they had so much fun doing that!

Other things we did (or can do for that matter) in discussing this topic includes:

  • For the older kids, we made a stop light as an indicator of their “warnings” in class. Beside each color (red, yellow, green) is a little pocket where I put in their names if they are misbehaving in class.
  • Cut and pasting art activity where the kids get to make their own stoplights
  • In the juniors they did a “read” and color activity
  • Car wash day!
  • Invite resource speakers like a police officer or a roadside assistance club worker who can show them how to set up an early hazard device and talk about how to be safe on the road

Any other ideas?

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Dec 17, 2010

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When Information is A Hazard

Being a teacher, I am all for educating people and informing them about what options, alternatives and the like are available for them. However, sometimes, I get a bit alarmed at how easily accessible information is. For one, it makes for lazy students. All they do is type in a search term, such as best digital camera for beginner or easiest way to lose weight or  phentermine reviews etcetera, and all the information is at their fingertips. What is lacking, sometimes, are complete warnings or write ups about the other side of the story. Another example is when they use blogs or wikis as references but fail to look deeper into the veracity of information. Sometimes it seems they forget that opinions are different from facts.

In any case, I do feel giving information is essential in making wiser choices. Monitoring and censuring information is not whay I’m saying here, but that information should be complete, full disclosure must be given and that readers should be discerning about what they read. Then again, that’s just my opinion :)

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Dec 14, 2010

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Teacher’s Super Duper Happy Day

Last Sunday our school head sent me a text message asking me to come to school a wee bit earlier than usual. According to her, we needed to practice some new numbers for our program, so if I could, please try to be early. Errr….much as waking up in the mornings and dealing with traffic so early seems to have gotten much harder these past months, I readily complied, albeit with some struggling teeheeeheee…the upside, I was thinking, was that it was Monday and for the most part, Mondays are my Happy Days because it’s the one day in the week that I have the lightest load of work.

Little did I know that it was all a ruse…apparently, they had a surprise for me….

My little Cara came to visit!!! Well, she’s not so little anymore but she still is my adorable little cutiepatootey Cara :-)

Happy, happy day :-) And like I said in my Facebook page, despite the fact that I wasn’t all prettified the way I usually am (literally sans any makeup, hair in a bun and not dolled up at all!), and let’s say despite being all rested over the weekend, I was bloating like all hell because I ate a whole lotta stuff I shouldn’t thus the chubby cheeks and teeny tiny eyes, plus the fact that I wasn’t really looking forward to the rest of the days tasks because unlike other Mondays, I had to work, it truly was an extra special day for me :-)

Um…I was soooo happy I fell of my chair. Ktnxbai :-)

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Dec 9, 2010

Posted by in Multimedia Center | 0 Comments

Teacher Wants a Netbook

This Christmas, Teacher really, really wishes she gets a netbook. Or an iPad. Teeheeeheee

I know that I already have a laptop, but for the past few months, my laptop has become, errr….a portable desktop? Haha. It no longer works without it’s charger because I think I accidentally killed my battery, thus it no longer carries any juice at all. According to the Mac store, I used up all the charge cycles already. They blamed it on the fact that I very rarely recalibrated the battery and that I was not very consistent in draining it or what not.

So, while I still super duper love my Mac, I still want a netbook for the holidays….I need the portability!!! Haha. The question is, what are the best netbooks to choose from???

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Dec 8, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, Preschool, Teacher's Corner | 4 Comments

Term End Thank You’s!!!

It’s hard to believe how quickly the term has gone…it seems like only yesterday when I wrote my thank you post for the first trimester but here I am again, sitting and reflecting about what I am thankful for this term.

Admittedly, given the fact that this isn’t a very good day for me, and that this term has been, um…extremely challenging to say the least. After such a heart-warming and fulfilling term, this one came as a sudden surprise, but more in the personal level rather than professional, mainly because of the fact that my schedule was not so great this term mainly because it meant I wouldn’t get to see my friends in the department too often. Plus of course the fact that there were some people and things missing as well in the department (ktnxbai :-)). On the professional side, however, this term started quite well I still am trying to find the silver lining to the term.

So here goes….

Thank you that the LCD projectors now have virtual remotes (even though I still don’t like where it’s set up because it is sooo hard to manipulate. plus let’s not forget the lighting in some of my classrooms is not all that great so it’s either I’m plunged in darkness or stuck in brightness because all the lights are connected to one switch only).

Thank you that it wasn’t too rainy and stormy throughout the term so I didn’t have to worry too much about the weather.

Thank you that my “Miss Ria’s Exams bring Natural Disasters” curse broke!!! Haha. Yes….my exams have happened at the same time as earthquakes, sudden rainstorms and freak floods.

Thank you to my thesis mentees for, well, finding a way to make research interesting. Then again, when we talk about shopping, how can you go wrong, right?

Thank you for that little corner in the Andrew Library which made my Wednesdays bearable because otherwise, it would have been very, very lonely to make the trek back to the department in between classes.

Thank you to the random people who kept me sane and grounded throughout the term by sharing their bits of advice, positivity and love whether in person, online or through text.

Thank you to my Persef2 classes, the Bio majors and the errr….what was that again? Management? Marketing??? (haha) for making classes fun all the time.

Thank you to my Persef1 classes for….um….well….challenging me beyond belief. Yes, I ranted a lot about you guys, wrote several blog posts because of you, but I would like to hold on to the notion that no matter what, things happen for a reason.

but most of all THANK YOU to my Clinpsy students who made teaching a joy for me this term, even though I think I did talk a weeeeee bit too much about myself this term hahaha. Remember: what we talked about stays inside those four walls, okay?? haha. Oh, but of course you MUST take what you learned about Clinical Psych outside of our classroom. But seriously, THANK YOU for a wonderful term. I learned so much through you, with you and because of you :)

Miss Ria

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