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Sep 19, 2010

Posted by in Multimedia Center, Teaching Resources | 0 Comments

Story Stretchers: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

One of my favorite stories for class is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As I shared in a past post, I once was lucky enough to come across a real caterpillar about the same time we were discussing the story, thus we were able to use it as one great story stretcher. I also was able to use the story as an inspiration for my classroom decoration.

One other story stretcher that you can add to your collection is a video such as this:

For sure, the kids will love this!

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Sep 19, 2010

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

Kids in College

A few weeks ago, a boy stopped me by the elevator. He goes, “Hi, you’re JJ’s sister, right?“. I say, “yes”. And he goes on to say “Hi, I’m Cedric. I used to go to the same school as your brother. And I remember you were a teacher in our school before“. Yup, OMG moment for me right then!

I mean, I had gotten used to seeing kids from my old school in the university I teach in, but more because I had also graduated from that school, so I would find it amusing to see the kids who were gradeschoolers when I was in ICA become college students. But now…..I am beginning to see kids I used to teach.

To drive this shocking fact home: yesterday, my brother took the first of his college entrance exams. Jeesh. I still see him as the little boy I used to carry around, but now, he’s going to be a college freshman. It’s so hard to believe because it feels like only yesterday when I myself was in high school, picking out a prom dress and thinking about what to take for college!!!

Okay, okay….I’m getting old!!!!

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Sep 18, 2010

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Teacher’s Wishlist For Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, I can’t help but make a list of things I wish I had to make my teaching profession simpler, quicker and more fun. Even though I know we have the basic necessities already in our school, I wish we had the following as well:

  1. A larger playground with more interactive and attractive equipment, such as a spider-rope climb, tunnels to crawl into and monkey bars.
  2. A new computer that works quickly!
  3. A projector. Even though I don’t like letting the kids watch shows very much in school (they spend enough time watching TV at home!) I think it would be nice to have that because I can use it for brief film clips, animated versions of story books, plus it would be fun to use interactive powerpoints and the like to discuss concepts, right?
  4. A photocopy machine! This has always been my dream gadget…I’d even want one for my own house! And no: the all-in-one printers don’t count as a photocopy machine hehe. We used to have one of those machines in school but we had to give it up because for one, it was too expensive to maintain (in terms of repair) and second, it was an old model so finding toner was becoming more and more difficult (although having the web does make it easier now, for example if you were to look for the 108R00725 toner that is compatible with certain models of printers and copiers).
  5. A good sound system that actually works well. Long, long story behind this, but suffice it to say that many times, our sound system fails us!!!
  6. Centralized airconditioning.
  7. A nicely stocked arts supply cabinet. Ooooh…I love this. I even wish we’d have those long shelves to stack cartolina whole instead of rolled (kind of like those that are in National Bookstore)

I can think of many more for this wishlist, but I guess this is already good enough for the meantime. Oh dear Santa, please grant us this wishlist on Christmas!!!

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Sep 18, 2010

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

Kids Know More than We Think They Do

I am the type of person who gets irked easily and in class, that is one of the biggest struggles I face. While the kids rarely get my goat, I do lose my cool every now and then, especially when my colleagues are not meeting my expectations. This is why I try my best to do things on my own instead so I don’t have to make others feel bad.

However, one bad day, I kinda wasn’t able to hide it as much as I could, even though I thought I was doing a good job. I had gotten ticked off by a misunderstanding with my co-teacher with regards to an activity and so I thought I had taken a deep breath and let the incident slide. Apparently, my kids were honing in on that vibe. How did I know? Well, one of my kids pointed it out. He goes:

Kid 1: Teacher, mad ka ba sa amin? (Teacher are you mad at us?)

Me:  Oh no, T, I’m not mad at you guys.

Kid 2: Weh…you’re mad kaya, look at you. (Oh, but you are, just look at you!)

I had to burst out laughing with that. I guess even though I tried to veil my annoyance in a smile and all, the kids were aware of the change in mood and response.

I guess this is true, too, in other situations, such as in the home. For example, I had a little boy in class ask once, “Teacher, why when mommy and daddy are fighting, they talk in spelling? (hehe….we all do this when talking about sensitive stuff in front of kids, right? Spell out these words so they don’t understand?). So as much as we try to cloak things in a smile, kids really know more than we think they do.

I think it makes more sense to admit that you are upset rather than hide it and pretend. I have learned to say “Yes, Teacher is upset because she does not like (whatever behavior happened)” and the kids have responded well. Plus, this had been good for me, I think. This realization highlights one thing for me: kids think and understand things more than we expect them to.

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Sep 16, 2010

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Making the Most of the World Wide Web

I have been so busy these past three days because we are starting a new trimester at the university I teach in. On one hand, I am glad that the classes I am teaching now are those that I have handled in the past, thus I don’t have to start everything from scratch, but on the other, I miss the challenge of learning a new subject.

One thing that never changes, however, despite the subjects I handle, is that I always remind my students to maximize resources available for them to make learning my subject easily. For example, while I still emphasize that Wikipedia should not be used as a formal source for research and papers they write, they are free to browse it and read the articles there because it really helps simplify more complex topics.

For someone like me, who grew up hating reading books and journals, having the web sure makes things easier, and it’s not just for academic stuff. From canvassing the best prices for gadgets, to getting the best life insurance quotes, and tracking down rare items for collections, the World Wide Web makes everything more accessible. Add to this, isn’t it more fun than browsing through catalogs and dusty books in a library?!?

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Sep 12, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Life Lessons, Reflections, Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

Rekindling the Passion

yes, this is why I teach….

When this school year started, I knew I was sure about my decision to once again, hang up my Preschool Teacher Hat and move on to more “grown-up” stuff. I was looking forward to being more of a blogger and a writer for the various publications and sites I work for on the side. In preparation, I bought several other domains to start working on, with the idea that once I end the year, I can go full blast into maintaining these sites.

I was so sure of leaving that, unconsciously, I started to distance myself from the kids. While I was there to be their teacher in the classroom, I did not let myself get emotionally connected to them the way I used to. I avoided giving them pet names or using my usual terms of endearment towards them. I suppose in someway, I was preparing myself emotionally to say good-bye to them and to the profession.

However, in the past few months I’ve started questioning this resolve. Am I really sure I want to give this up?

Today, I was invited to give a workshop to a group of preschool teachers from various public schools around the Manila. At first I agreed to do the talk mainly because of my fervent belief that preschool teachers play one of the most essential roles in a child’s future. What made me say this was my own experience with my preschool teacher who went way above the call of duty to help me overcome an emerging learning problem she noted in me. As a child, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and I believe that it was her early intervention efforts that allowed me to make it through school in a relatively painless fashion. Sure, reading tasks have always been (and always will be) tedious and effort-full task for me, I have learned to enjoy it. My main goal for the workshop was just to get that message across.

However, as I ended the workshop, I realized, or should I say, REMEMBERED why I teach in the first place….

….I teach to touch lives and make change happen….

…I teach to watch children discover their full potential…

…I teach to see amazing things happen….

…I teach to see what pure joy means…

…I teach to remember what living life to the fullest means….

…I teach because this is where I learned life’s ABC’s.*…

…I teach because it makes me happy….

While I have not yet made up my mind at this point in time, I felt a spark rekindled in me. I am determined to make my teaching, both in the preschool and college levels, even better. I think part of the loss of interest was because of the fact that I’m just so tired, that I can barely enjoy myself with what I’m doing. I guess it’s also because I haven’t been taking care of my health too much. For one, I allowed myself to get fat again!  Seriously though, these things make it difficult for me to feel the joy of teaching on a regular basis.

Today, however, I saw my passion for teaching rekindled.

*life’s ABC’s, as published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Youngblood Section, July 2007. Click here for the article :-)

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Sep 6, 2010

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

Thank You!

In anticipation of our upcoming Family Day activity next week, I am having my kids prepare thank you cards for their mommies, daddies, grannies or even nannies (whoever they want to make it for for that matter!). As I was preparing the materials this morning, I got to thinking about what who and what I am grateful for these past few months. I was suddenly reminded of the National Thank You Day celebration that Toblerone had last year, wherein I even held a contest in this blog sponsored by them.

And while Thank You Day is still weeks away, I still want to take this chance to say thank you to those that made this term especially meaningful. So as I close out the term (yes, grades included :-) ) let me just say thank you….

Thank you Abpsych students for making me laugh every meeting, even if you were always, always so kulit :-)

Thank you Psycho1 students for putting up with the technological challenges we had throughout the term…from the leaky roof, to the projector that wouldn’t project and the classroom without an aircon :-) And more so, for trying to convince me to teach Psycho2 so we can be in the same class again (although it didn’t work hahaha!)

Thank you LBYPSY class (lab class) for making every Tuesday afternoon a comedy of errors…both on your parts and mine. And yes, Kevs, Robbie, and Don, three times in a row is TOOO much :-)

Thank you PERSEF1 EW for giving me something to smile about always. Well, at least I think I was smiling.

Thank you Teacher Trina for being my lab partner :-) And for putting up with my weird moods and crazy ideas all the time! And for the car rides too….even if they did turn out…um….challenging every now and then.

Thank you Sir Robert for cheering me on with my  “Project Prettify Me”…and for trying to convince me to finish my thesis even though it makes me mad when you do :-) But best of all, thank you for recognizing that I am a good teacher, with or without my M.S. :-)

Thank you Teacher Pia for…well, where do I begin with this? I guess I can start it off with thank you for making that detour to the green school, even for a bit, because it changed my life in so many ways. More than you know, in fact :-) Thank you too for helping me find that spark of inspiration that I was starting to lose again and for reminding me to keep that little girl inside of me alive :-)

This list can go on for much longer, but I gotta get ready for class :-) But once more, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU :-)

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Sep 6, 2010

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Social Security, Education, and a Lack Thereof

In the news last night, I caught a report about how millions of senior citizens may find themselves displaced in terms of claiming their social security benefits due to budget constraints or something like that. I wasn’t really able to catch the entire news segment because I was busy reading my students’ essays. However, that brief snippet got me to thinking about how sad it is that social security, alongside education, is often pushed to the back burner when it comes to government priority, unlike in other countries that really give a high premium on these. I hope by some sheer miracle this can change. I have a feeling that if this is made more secure, we can see a lot of great things happen.

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Sep 6, 2010

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Lessons that Matter Most

In the past three weeks, I have had my share of ups and downs with regards to myself and my competence in this teaching world that I belong in. I guess it really comes from the fact that I’m a different kind of teacher and although I can appreciate the value of that most of the time, every now and then, I find myself in painted into a corner, especially when it comes to doing things by the book. Same goes for standardized assessments.

What kind of teacher am I to begin with? Well, I definitely am not the conventional type of educator. Perhaps this is one reason why I adapted very well to the transformative learning framework that the university I teach in employs. Since the very beginning of my college teaching days, I already used alternative means of getting my kids to learn. I’ve always loved having toys and storybooks around to make my lessons more real to the people I teach. My philosophy of teaching, after all, is not just to know the facts and figures but to understand, appreciate and make sense of them all, because what’s the point of just knowing if you can’t apply it, right?

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Sep 1, 2010

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

Unexpected Surprises

I love you Teacher!

Today I woke up feeling a wee bit under the weather and with very little inspiration in my heart. Add to that, tired eyes from another sleepless night compounded by endless palpitations that was driving me nuts. I don’t really know what it was, but I just knew I was starting things off on the wrong foot. Before leaving for work, I posted a message on my Plurk page saying that I was feeling a bit emotionally, physically and mentally tired and that I could really use a hug, which my Plurk buddies readily gave. However, I still found myself wishing for something more. Like I said, I don’t really know where it was coming from, but I just felt soooo zapped of all positive energy in me and I was feeling kinda low.

Just before classes started, I checked on my Facebook page and saw a wall post from a friend who was wishing me well because of my earlier messages and I quickly sent back a reply before beginning circle time which said: “i am okay thank you very much :-) i could use a hug and some positive energy, but im fine :-) see you later”. Just as I logged off from my mobile connection, one of my little kiddos suddenly came up to me and just threw his arms around me and gave me a loooong squeeze and said, “I love you, Teacher”.

*heart melts*

I wasn’t really expecting it and when it happened, all I could think of was how amazing it is to work with kids. We kinda think it is us giving something to them and touching their lives to make a difference, but the truth is, often times, it’s the other way around. Today my heart was full of joy because of that unexpected surprise.

This is truly one of the priceless joys of preschool teaching.

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