As a child educator for almost all my adult life, i have always known that the best way to learn is through play, art, story telling, and music and movement. now, i’m looking forward...
Happy World Teachers Day! Every now and then, I still find myself questioning why and how I happened to fall into teaching. I still haven’t figured out the answer to that, but every...
Join the Rainbow Kids Yoga Tea...1
I Teach Because They Taught Me...2
Rekindling the Passion3
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! Plus I don’t really sleep well often and and it’s toooo cold lately in the morning for me to feel any joy when I wake up and Bubba keeps leaving early in the morning, and the genius takes my blanket with him!!! (maybe I should use my lolo’s old electric blanket to keep me warm, I bet he wouldn’t steal that!). 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 articleRead More
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 YOURead More
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.Read More
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?Read More
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”.
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.Read More
Even though I have been teaching for so, so long, I still find myself surprised at how quickly a trimester goes. It feels like we just started yesterday, but here I am again, checking their papers and working on grades. Despite this term starting off on the wrong foot for me (for some reason I had difficulty getting into the groove of things, why I don’t really know, but it was not as natural and spontaneous for me this time), I enjoyed my classes very much. I also liked the outputs that came out of my various classes, especially the advocacy and information dissemination campaigns we did, both for abnormal psychology and for another subject.
My goal for these projects was simple: to campaign for understanding for their assigned mental disorder (for abnormal psychology) and to promote solutions for simple day to day social problems.
In their projects, I had the students make videos that would make their assigned issue simple and understandable to an ordinary person. I told them to also supplement these with inspirational posters that will drive their messages home. I also encouraged them to make their campaigns as multi-modal as possible. Some of them designed pins and buttons with funny quotes and some even made board games about their topics. There were some who even designed shirts (similar to those Cafepress funny tshirts) to highlight how simple it can be to solve everyday problems if we just try.
Those projects were definitely the highlight of my term I loved how this also engaged the students in a different type of learning activity that let them tap into their different potentials. Overall, I have to say the effort of my batch of kids this term made me feel good about teaching, especially since I tend to be a more non-traditional teacher. This term, I felt that for the most part, they appreciated that tooRead More
I would be lying if I said I don’t have class favorites.
Let me qualify that statement: I have kids who I feel more connected to compared to others, but this does not mean I don’t treat my kids equally. Some of them just have the uncanny ability of tugging at my heartstrings. To be fair, I keep my emotions in check when I work with the children in class, and I make sure to have my partner tell me if she feels I am paying too much attention to one over the other.
The thing is, as hard as I try not to get attached to some other kids, I can’t help but fall for some of them. Perhaps it’s because of a certain need they have, or a difficulty we worked through together, or simply because he or she is simply adorable and can make me laugh, whatever it is, some of them creep slowly into my heart and stay there for a long, long time.
Cara was one of those little kids who touched my heart and has stayed there despite the fact that she has been gone for the past two school years already.
I guess what made Cara so special to me was that she was in the first class I taught after returning from my two year retirement from preschool teaching and she was one of my biggest success stories ever! She transformed from a very clingy (yes, with matching cry, kick and may-I-throw-you-a-tantrum daily) little girl who refused to talk to anyone except her cousin Rafa and her nanny to a confident and sociable child in a few months. At first she would not allow me to hold her and would really cry if her yaya was asked to wait in the nanny area already.Read More
Often times in a preschool teachers life she will find that no matter how well in advance she has planned her lessons, things happen that change the course of this discussion. In my personal experience, this has happened countless times, both for the good and the bad. Sometimes these changes are due to faulty equipment or at times due to a more pressing interest in another topic or stimuli, whatever it is, the teachers job is to adjust to these changes and not get caught up with the “plan”.
When I was starting out, I occasionally struggled with that. It took some time for me to really embrace the idea that no matter what I do or say, if the children are intent on something else, I better just go with it. And what I realized from this is by going with the children’s flow, I would find they learned better and they remembered these lessons even years later.
One example of these sudden changes was when I ran into Mother Nature as I taught my kids about animals and bugs. As part of our Math lesson, I had them go through an investigative bug hunt. The task was for them to look for the plastic bugs and pictures of animals I had hidden around the playground and to count the number of legs these bugs had, then we were to chart this and compare which had more or less . Armed with a magnifying glass and a record sheet, we set out in search for these little critters.Read More
It is a sad fact that good quality learning materials are costly. While it is true that cheaper and more affordable alternatives are readily available, their quality is not always as good. For example, I was able to buy a relatively affordable pocket chart for my class, but compared to the more expensive one that I got a few years back, it broke more quickly than the old one. Another example is how the low-cost building blocks can really not compare to Duplo or Lego.
However, the question of expense should not compromise the quality of education we give our kids, or at least I would like to believe. I work hard at finding ways to give my best to the kids without having to spend too much. Unfortunately for me, the use of discount coupons and rebates, such as the Radio Shack coupons I was able to use years ago to get one of those V-tech computers, is not very popular where I live. As such, I have to rely on store sales all the time.
Nonetheless, there are many ways to cut costs on a daily basis. Here are a few of my ideas:
- Buy in bulk. Whether it is art supplies or printer ink, get them in the bigger bags since these are often waaaay cheaper. Plus there are often promos for these, such as the HP coupon codes that allow you to get small tokens, rebates and refunds.
- Utilize scraps! I use a whole bunch of these…from toilet paper rolls old boxes, these will definitely lessen the need to purchase new items.
- Scratch paper is your friend! I use these for drawings, practice sheets and the like.
- Make sure your light bulbs and the like are cost-efficient. Recently, we were able to change some of our bulbs to the “green” and “low energy” bulbs. Hopefully this will translate to savings soon. These bulbs are available in local hardwares. Sometimes there are even Home Depot coupons and discount vouchers that can lower the costs of these more expensive light bulbs to the regular ones which are generally cheaper.
- Be vigilant. For me, this is the best cost-cutting measure. Make sure you utilize materials and equipment at it’s best so that you can save in the long run. Keeping these in tip-top shape will make sure nothing goes to waste.
fellow bloggers with SM Winema Project Head, Sharon Yu…
yes…she used to be my student!
One of the most rewarding things for me as a teacher is seeing my kids grow up to become their own people. Over the years I have received updates from parents bubbling with pride over their child’s latest accomplishments and every time I get these messages, I feel a surge of pride rush in me. Even though I know a lot has happened since they were in my class, I can’t help but feel I am part of that growth and progress as well, even just a little bit.
In the past two years, my very first preschoolers have graduated from elementary school and are now in high school. It’s amazing how quickly time flies and in my head, I still think of them as the little kids I used to carry around!
My college kids have graduated too. I guess that’s even stranger for me than having the little ones grow up! For one, a guy from the very first class I taught in the university is now my colleague in the department. More than that, he’s a very accomplished researcher. I also have found myself “working” with former students in a totally different capacity now. Since I have gotten into this blogging thing, I have run in to two former students from an advertising/marketing class I once taught. The last time I saw one of them, we had a long talk about the movie Inception and about Psychology. And you know what, for some reason, I felt so tongue-tied and clueless all of a sudden!!!
In any case, seeing them grow up has truly been a testament to why I do this job