Archive of ‘Teaching’ category

Happy Teacher’s Day

It’s World Teacher’s Day. I woke up totally stoked. I secretly knew that my class was preparing something for me for days now and true enough, they had a little surprise waiting for me this morning. In my class today, I was Miss World complete with a sash and a crown. It was too cute!

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Actually I received the best teacher’s day gift earlier this week. My class was awarded the Most Organized Class among all the Grade 3 classes.

t5

I am totally over the moon with this award, not so much because we got what every class was working hard for but because it assures me that what I am actually doing have an impact on others.  To be able to push, inspire, and encourage my girls to be at their very best in whatever tasks they do in and outside of our classroom.  To teach them to do everything with love and enthusiasm.  To inspire them to always strive for excellence.  I mean this are what I try to do everyday as a teacher and knowing that somehow I am successful at it makes me feel pretty good and proud of  myself.

I’ve always said that teaching has been some sort of a happy accident for me. But then, as what Deepk Chopra would say, “There are no accidents…there is only some purpose that we haven’t yet understood.” I understand that now, I am here because I am called to change the world one student at a time. 🙂

To my fellow teachers, Happy Teacher’s Day!

Kumon: Readying Children For The Future

Last week, I was invited to the Press Launch of Kumon Philippines’ upcoming Education and Parenting Seminar which will be held on May 19, 2:00-4:30 pm at SM North Edsa, The Block. With this year’s theme, “Achievers of Today, Ready for the Future!” (How Parents Can Guide Their Children Amidst the Changing Landscape of the Philippine Education), Kumon aims to impart once again values and insights to parents and educators that will help them effectively support their children in achieving their full potential despite current changes in  Philippine education.

The press launch was held at Chateau 1771 at Greenbelt 5. Over sumptuous buffet and delicious dessert,  Mr. Tadashi Nakatsuka, President of Kumon Philippines and Ms. Inna Duller, Kumon Philippines’ Public Relations Leader, shared with us the  mission, vision and thrust of Kumon Philippines as well as how it can help students withstand the challenges of the K12 curiculum.

Chateau 1771

sumptuous buffet

delicious dessert

Ms. Inna Duller

Mr. Tadashi Nakatsuka

Kumon is not something new to me. In fact, I often hear it said and mentioned by my students and their parents.  But then it was only during the press launch that I fully grasp the extent of Kumon’s commitment in instilling the right values and discipline among children. Values and discipline that would help them develop their love for learning and in the process make them independent and responsible for their own studies.

In order to fully understand the Kumon Method, Ms. Inna Duller explained it  in the context of what KUMON stands for:

K.   Kindness Movement.

Kumon Method of Learning was founded by Mr. Toru Kumon. It  started when he decided to create arithmetic materials for his own child to help him improve on Arithmetic, the subject that he was struggling with. He designed original math problems that allowed his child to progress on his own and improve his math skills gradually. Through his method, his child discovered for himself his own abilities and gained confidence in his own capabilities. Mr. Toru Kumon was a firm believer of  the undiscovered potential and abilities of children that surpass even the expectations of adults.  He also believed  that what was possible for one child was possible for others too and so he set out to offer to others the opportunity to study with his Method.

U.  Understanding the child.

Kumon’s key factor is individualized instruction. Kumon believes that the key to individualized instruction is studying at the “just the right” level where at any time, with maximum effort, a student can progress on his own without being specifically taught. It aims to develop among children the joy of learning and of achieving something so the starting point of each Kumon student is determined individually at a level where they can attain a perfect score of 100 on their own. And from there, he would gradually progress until he reach his optimum level.

M.  Mastery of the basic skills.
O.   On their Own.

Kumon empowers, at first hand, the child to attain mastery of the basic skills needed in order to move to higher content. The worksheets are designed in such a way that a student progresses in small steps until he advance smoothly at the level appropriate for him. The examples and explanations provided encourages a student to self-learn and be independent.

N.   No Two Children Are Alike

Kumon sees each child as unique thus, the Kumon instructor observes each student’s study behaviors. Every Kumon Instructor’s primary concern is to ensure that the student experience over and over the sense of accomplishment and confidence that resulted from thinking through and solving problems independently. Careful observation of each child is done by every Kumon instructor in order to provide the appropriate instruction and proper guidance that each child needs.

Kumon’s Logo is a child’s thinking face because it represents the faces of children who learn, think and grow within KUMON Centers.

Since 1954, Kumon Method of Learning has been equipping children with important life skills needed to help them face challenges in the future proactively and with the right attitude. They have been instilling values of self -confidence, perseverance, positivity and independence among children. Values needed to make them ready for the future.

If you want to know more about the Kumon Method, you may visit them at this website. And if you want to know more about how you can help your child be ready for the future, you can join us on May 19 at SM North, The Block for Kumon Philippines Education and Parenting Seminar. The event is free of admission. It will be hosted by Ms. Chiqui Roa Puno. Come and listen as Mr.Henry Tenedero, an Education and Reform Advocate and President of the Center for Learning and Teaching Styles Philippines (CLTS, Phils.) talks about the different challenges in our education system and Ms. Susie Tsoi, Kumon Instructor of 10 years, gives helpful tips on how you can effectively guide your children in facing the current challenges in the educational system.

Mr. Henry Tenedero

Ms. Susie Tsoi

 

To register for the said event, email your complete name, mobile no., and general address to parentingseminar@kumon.ph or call 8850226.

See you there!

On Loving Teaching

I get amused whenever I receive different reactions from people when I tell them that I am a teacher. Some would look at me with wonder, while some with pity and regret. I can only assume that this kind of reaction stems from certain misconceptions about the teaching profession, the popular one being that, teachers are the most overworked but underpaid workers. If we would look closely though at other professions, one can say pretty much the same thing about them as well. People often have the tendency to look at the downside of teaching without realizing that teachers would probably rank the highest if a survey is to be conducted as to who among the work force feel most fulfilled about their job.

I never dreamed that I would become a teacher. It was never part of my grand plans when I was mapping out my future in college. I had already set my eyes on becoming one of those smart yuppies that you can see walking along the sleek streets of Makati. And I must admit, I did live the dream for a while, up until the time that God finally put his foot down when he realized that I should be getting down to the serious business of touching lives. I often smile in wonder when I think of how everything fell into place like a thousand puzzle pieces that fit snugly and perfectly into a whole when I finally decided to give teaching a try. I never imagined that I would go this far and actually love it this much. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world.

I love being a teacher because there is so much room to grow in this profession. You would learn many things that you probably would not even think of trying before. When I started teaching in preschool, I can’t hardly carry a tune or would have two left feet when dancing. By the end of my first year as a preschool teacher, I can belt out a mighty “I am a Little Tea Pot” and can do the “Hokie Pokie’ dance gracefully. I love the fact that I can be just about anything and everything inside the classroom. I can be a motivational speaker who can effect change, a performer and director who can move students into action, a facilitator who can bring out the best ideas from my students, or a counselor and mentor who can inspire positive behavior from students.

Like any other profession, teaching can be just as demanding. What probably sets it apart from others is that despite the endless lesson plans that need to be submitted and executed, the many papers to be checked, and grades to be computed, I still find enough time and energy to appreciate and enjoy the many simple yet extraordinary things that bring me so much joy every day. Burnout and stress are fleeting, and are things that can be cured by something as simple as a drawing from a student with a little note that says, you are the best teacher in the world. Though the pay of a teacher may not be as high as that of a salesman or businessman, the rewards are just as great, like seeing a wonderful transformation in a student happen right before your very eyes.

I am glad that God led me to this profession. I often imagine what I would say come judgment day when God would ask me to enumerate the things that I have done that would make me deserving of that one way ticket to heaven. I imagined that the architect beside me would eagerly volunteer that he built the world. The police officer at my side would be proud to admit that he purged the world of bad guys. The doctor across from me without a doubt would declare that he cured the world from sickness. The lawyer, who arguably would be the smartest looking among all of us, would most likely insist that he made everything right in the world. When I reach that moment when all eyes are on me including God’s, I imagine myself saying with all my hear t and with so much conviction that, I not only taught these people the necessary skills that made them the best in their fields, I showed them how to love and inspired them to care. And these are what truly move people to change the world for the better. For really, that’s how a teacher leaves a mark, that is how a teacher touches a life. That is also what made me love teaching, so much so that, I succumb to the call of this vocation without thinking twice.

Chalk Marks

Sometimes I get tired of teaching. As much as I love my job, there are times when I just wish I was back at my old office desk pacifying an irate client, negotiating a sale or poring over sales reports. There are also times when I long for the freedom of time I had when I was doing field work.

I call this my low teaching moments. This feeling just sneaks up on me like a thief in the night, usually after a particularly difficult day or sometimes just out of nowhere. God is good though or should I say cunning, for He knows just when to send his angels in disguise my way to subtly disperse the feeling away. Usually it’s a pack of kids laughing at my silly jokes, a thoughtful little note from a student left conspicuously at my desk, or a serious dressing down from my well, “so-called” friends…the storm of angels surely come…until the feeling is gone.

Right now, I am staring at the face of another school year, feeling that same feeling slowly creeping in once again and wondering when the comforting storm from heaven will come…

Teacher’s Notes

You know what I like about teaching? It’s that part where you sometimes get stunned by the unexpected things that students do. Those “wow’ moments. I had a lot of those moments this school year. That is why even though I keep telling my students I wouldn’t miss them and I’m glad to send them off to intermediate, there is still that part of me that is just a bit wistful, a bit sad actually, for I will truly truly miss their craziness.

No matter what they say, there will always be one or two students who will take those soft spots in every teacher’s heart. In my case, there were actually two. One is a toughie who was at the start a bit wary of me. She didn’t trust me right away like the other girls, instead I had to win her trust. She was a bully in the making and the self-appointed class leader. She was not afraid to challenge authority. She was and still is quite a handful. But I discovered that underneath the toughness is a kid who often needs reassurance and a boost in her confidence. The kind of relationship that we had is one that I will never forget. She is my toughie who is actually a softie. The other one is the classic problem kid, she was somebody who had been marked and branded as the hard headed one since first grade. She came to my class a spitfire. She was so damned honest she often leaves her classmates bleeding with her sharp tongue. She always sends someone crying to me often last year. I guess my patience and blind faith in her paid off, because when classes resumed after Christmas break, she was a totally different kid. She is my stone who is actually a jewel.

For the last quarter we were talking about rights, citizen’s roles and government. For my student’s last project, they had to come up with a law based on a problem that they observed happening in school. One of the reminders was not to make the obvious ones like no-littering or anti-noise pollution laws anymore. While I was checking their project, I can’t help but laugh at a few. Here are some…Anti-Gossip Law (no blackmailing, no back stabbing and no teasing, those who will violate this law will clean the bathrooms for several weeks)… Anti-Rumor Law (you should not make someone look bad, you should not believe in rumors, you should not mind rumors, you should not make rumors that no one will enjoy-hahahaha, all rumor makers will take the place of auxiliaries (cleaning ladies) for one week). ..No Showing Off Law (no bringing of fancy stuffs, no bragging, no flipping of hair—where did that come from,hahaha, those who will violate these law will have to donate the fancy stuffs to Gawad Kalinga)…No breaking of Promises Law (this law prohibits students from breaking their promises, students should not ditch, curse or forget their best friends at all times–there’s bitterness somewhere here-hahaha)…Sitting Properly Law (all should obey this law, no crossing of legs, putting feet up, slouching, sitting on top of the table and removing of shoes inside the classroom, those who will violate this law will sit in an electric chair)…Well, we can definitely learn a thing or two from kids.

My students fulfilled some of my wishes this year, that is for me to see clearly the good change I made in them and for them to change something in me for the better…I remember, the other day while I was checking the diary, my attention was caught by a small brass lamp that one of my student was holding, it was a prop for their role play in Language. While I was admiring it, I jokingly said, “Do you think a genie will come out of this thing?” They said ‘Yes miss, try it” and so I made a show of rubbing it and was surprised when suddenly my students laughed uncontrollably and pointed at my side. When I looked up, true enough there standing beside me was a genie… my student Jeannie Shin saying “Miss, your wish is my command” With these kids around you really don’t need a fairy tale genie, they will make your wishes come true if you just believe in them.:)

Teaching Nine-year-olds

I’m gonna miss teaching for a while…not because I am taking a leave off from work but because it’s also vacation time for us teachers…this year I can say that I’ve never enjoyed teaching this much..I taught in pre-school before to four year olds and five years old, they are cute, cuddly and nice. They will adore you, you are the world to them and your word is the law. The parents will just say your name and ding! Their children will automatically follow… But nothing I can say beats teaching 9 year olds. I handled three sections of grade three this year, I absolutely had a grand time! Each section is unique, I had the brainy-section, the nothing-can-shake-us-not-even-an-earthquake section (which unfortunately is my class advisory) and the everything-goes section. I called the first section the brainy section because great ideas, opinions and point of views flow everytime I teach in this section. The discussion goes so smoothly that the three day lesson plan that I prepare gets cut down to just one day. In this section, you can find the girl with the wide-rimmed glasses often reciting facts straight out of the handout, the girl who is often not just there but when you check her test papers you will be surprised that she gets everything perfect, the girl who hates the world and so she creates her own world in her drawing pad and with her books, and the girl who in whatever she does she excels, and so her classmates absolutely hate and love her for it at the same time…For the nothing-can-shake-us section, I must admit I have to thank them for wringing out in me all the creative juices that I have to make my class an absolutely not! boring class, for they are hard to please. The great and exciting activities just fall flat with them. Not so much because they want to make it hard for you and they are just not interested but simply because they are looking out for more than what you can give sometimes, and so you exert an extra effort here and there until they warmed up to your ideas and join in. You will find here the girl who is too shy to recite but when she recites she has the brightest ideas, the girl who is simply intelligent with no effort at all, and the girl who needs your special attention because she just can’t understand everything on her own…you will realize for yourself when you’re with them that teaching is not simply enumerating facts but also bringing it to the level where they can relate and understand it better…Now, for the everything goes section, no teaching days are ever same with them. They are spontaneous, carefree and smart. A simple discussion can turn into a heated debate to them, a motivational game can turn out to be the best game of their life that they had to win and a simple “settle down girls” won’t do, you have to holler and scream to get their attention, and when you do that, they will holler and scream at each other to remind each other to settle down and so chaos begins. And when you step out of their classroom at the end of the period, you will feel like you’ve been teaching the whole day but even so you will suddenly realize that they made your day….here you can find the girl who is so emotional that happy or sad she will burst into tears, the girl who can’t seem to keep herself from blurting out the answers therefore making her classmates want to kill her for spoiling it for them, and the girl who is often taking her own sweet time in everything that she does making you so frustrated but because of her sweetness you forgive her for it…Teaching is not an effort when you do it for them, it is simply a breeze…I remember when I asked the girls to write a letter to the mayor , I can’t help but laugh at some of their works… one of my students after praising the mayor for a job well done wrote as a closing “..and I hope you die happy and holy..” and another one after criticizing the mayor for the projects in their community that didn’t work out, in her postscript wrote “..by the way, nice shot there in the billboard where did you have it taken?” and the most hilarious of all, my Korean student wrote “…Dear Mr. Aldrin San Pedro, good morning dear…”…Aaawww, I would simply miss the girls…I will miss their intelligence, spontaneity, spark and spunk… I will miss their drawings and little notes that say, “You’re the best teacher “, “Your so cool” or “follow us in intermediate miss, please”..I’m just so thankful and glad that for a year at least, I was able to make a mark and difference in their lives…