Sunday, May 24, 2015

Brigada Eskwela 2015

   May 18 to 23 is our annual School Maintenance Week, or more popularly known as Brigada Eskwela. During this week, we clean, renovate and prepare our school and classrooms for the opening of classes. This is done together with the parents, students and the community. Stakeholders are also included with the cooperation of government and non-government organizations, private and religious groups.

    Actually,  I wasn't able to clean my room that much because there was an issue with our electrical line. I can't stand staying at my room because of the heat. I can't use our electric fan and I don't want to bath in sweat. I was just thankful to my students who recently have graduated and whom I have contacted via Facebook that they helped clean the room. I was also glad that my students from two years back also were there who helped clean the computer room.

Here are some of the snapshots:

Students help cleaning up the Grade 2 area.

ALS or Alternative Learning System students helping out as well

Our mighty members of the Philippine National Police

Our friends from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are very surprising to be fluent in our local dialect....

image source: courtesy of Maam Ramina Guevara, documentation committee

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

University of San Agustin "Homecoming"

     Early this May, I got the chance to “teach” in my beloved alma mater. It was just actually a week or two because I was a “substitute” for my then teacher, now a dean in the College of Education. She was very busy that time because of the preparation for the mass training of teachers for K-12 Curriculum. I honestly was ecstatic because the timing was right. To be honest, I actually am not financially stable, being a humble public school teacher, receiving a modest salary, but with a loan which eats almost seventy percent of my monthly salary. It was also unexpected since it started when this good teacher of mine read my Facebook status about my clamoring of finding extra job since it was Labor Day, May 1. And then she asked me if I could meet her at her office and then asked if I could vice her for the remaining days of summer classes. She also advised that I should pass my application to the human resources office so that I could also teach as a part-time instructor, if they needed one.

     I was very happy being given the chance to share my knowledge to Augustinian students who I once was. I even didn't think how much would I be receiving. I felt have a lot to share to them and hopefully to be able to inspire them. I also really wanted to give back to my alma mater, which I didn't have the chance before, since I opted teaching in public school. On the other hand, I was also a bit challenged since these are college students thus I really need to show that I know what I am talking about. By the way, I handled Educational Research subject and Assessment of Learning 2.

   Things went well during my “substitute” teaching. I thought I was able to teach and share the extent of my knowledge to my students most especially in the Assessment of Learning class. Hay, I don’t know how to share this, but during the final defense of the research class, the dean was summoned in the HR office. There was a sort of an issue about me being the substitute. Someone might have reported that questioned my substitute teaching since I didn't even undergo demo teaching nor I was formally confirmed as hired. It was also questioned that the dean could have asked other teachers from other departments to do the job.

   I was totally discouraged by what I heard. First, I felt so guilty for the dean, who was a good and beloved teacher of mine. I don’t want to put her position in jeopardy. Second, I didn't expect that someone was so critical to question my being a substitute since it was just a week or two. Third, I felt like a dope, dim-witted and silly. I asked myself what was I doing there? Was it all just a joke? Was I too presumptuous that I could actually hold the post that the dean entrusted me to do?

    I know that there perhaps is a standard operating procedure in hiring teachers. But the thing that I wondered was why it has to be reported to the higher office when it could have been directly settled to the dean. Because if the complainant himself directly talked to the dean about his concern, the latter could have thought about it or have done something about it, or even didn't ask me to be her substitute in the first place. And if I just only knew that I have violated or bypassed some guidelines, and that I "shouldn't have been there" all along, I could have quit for the sake of prudence (and delicadeza).

   In fairness to my teachers in the university, they were excited and happy to know that I was teaching in the university. But perhaps not all were happy. I don’t know who reported or complained, but I believe that he or she might not have been my teacher. I firmly believe that no teacher would put his students down, nor the institution itself would question their product whom they have developed and nurtured.

   So far, the dean told me to just wait until everything is resolved. As for me, I’ll just wait for the HR if they would call me for an interview, or a demo teaching if they find me fitting for the job. And of course, I will be prepared, and I know I need to prove a lot. I am ready to go through their standard operating procedures and I don’t want to let them think that I am special just because I was the first number one Augustinian board topnotcher (bragging aside…and I hate mentioning this…). But if I would be asked if I am as enthusiastic as before, maybe I am not. Because one thing I realized is that not all seemed pleased that I would be teaching in my alma mater.  Just like the cliche "you cannot please everybody", there will, and will always be some people who will scrutinize me and will question my worth. Sadly, it didn't have to come from other people, but rather from someone or some people within my once called second home.

P.S. I don't want to place my alma mater in a bad light. What I shared here is never reflective on the institution itself. And if there is somebody who would still misinterpret what I've posted here, I don't know what is his or her problem about me. Bottom line, I still am a proud Augustinian and forever grateful to the university no matter what. I always say that who I am right now professionally and personally is largely indebted to my education in the university. And of course, I am always thankful to my patron saint, St. Augustine. He has been good to me and have helped answered my prayers through his intercession and enlightenment.

   "When we live in unity, how good and how pleasant it is. 
Pray for us Oh holy father Augustine, that we may dwell together in peace."


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Enriching Mathematics Teaching through Problem Solving and Mathematical Investigation in the K-12 Mathematics Curriculum


   Last week, I attended a seminar entitled, "Enriching Mathematics Teaching through Problem Solving and Mathematical Investigation in the K-12 Mathematics Curriculum". I think this was conducted by our division and MTAP (Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines). I actually didn't know that I suppose to attend this seminar not until a coteacher of mine texted me that I was one of the participants. I was at the PRC to renew my license so I ended up rushing to the venue. Of course, renewing my license can be done in some other time, but I didn't want to lose the opportunity to learn.
   On the first two days of our seminar, we focused more on the problem solving. We solved a bunch of problems as a group and most of them were challenging. To be honest, it is a bit of shame that I forgot some of the Math topics that were in fact taught to me in college and that I tutored with my high school tutees before. I questioned myself if I got duller now that I became a teacher. hahaha...Anyway, I attended the seminar to learn and perhaps to refresh my stagnant brain. It also made me affirm my love for the subject because it is humbling. As I said before, I love math because I found the subject difficult, and that no matter how good you are there will always and always be a problem that you could not solve. That there are always a lot to learn and to never be complacent of one's self. That there is always a room for improvement.
   The rest of the days, we were taught about mathematical investigation, how it is different from just problem solving. Mathematical investigation is a divergent way of developing to our students their mathematical skills. It is more of giving the students the freedom to explore, to investigate, to examine questions they themselves formulated. It develops the higher order thinking skills of the students, letting them connect what they have learned, create meaning on their own and communicate these with others.

Teachers extracting their brain juices....yumyumyum...I'm a zombie you know...hahaha
   Of course, we were also given the chance to do a mathematical investigation as a group. My coteachers and I who belong to the same district formed as a group and we were assigned to investigate a certain mathematical situation. After all the "intellectual discussions", we have at least come up with our own conjectures and presented this to our the rest of the participants.
   To sum up my experience, I have enjoyed and learned a lot in this 4-day seminar. I also got the chance to rub elbows with teachers from other districts. The challenge for me is how I can implement these to my students whom mathematical skills are quite challenged. As always, I am positive that I can do this. Hopefully my students would be amazed on how math can be easy and fun just by finding patterns and hidden secrets that lie beneath the numbers through problem solving and mathematical investigation. I am looking forward to apply what I learned for the opening of the school year.

image source: courtesy of Ma'am Belleza of SPED-ISEC and Sir Renan of NJ Ingore ES, Iloilo City