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Passion for teaching
 

Passion for teaching

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    Passion for teaching Passion for teaching Document Transcript

    • Contents1 THE ROAD TO BEING A TEACHER An Impulsive Decision 2 Nancy Pascual The Visionary 6 Ma. Elena Eleperia Adapting to Students 9 Felecitas Pado Discipline and Perseverance 12 Maria Utanes Teacher Aurelia Ballitoc: This is My Story 16 Aurelia Ballitoc Living in the Crossroads: From a Chemical Engineer to a Teacher 18 Mary Lyn Dominguez2 COMMITMENT TO THE TEACHING PROFESSION A Teacher Until the End 24 Allan Canonigo Transforming People’s Lives: Inside and Beyond the Classroom 28 Mohana Ratnam-Eswaran The Vision to Help the Philippines 36 Rogelio Opulencia3 RESEARCHING FOR THE BETTERMENT OF STUDENTS The Urge to Serve 42 Aurora Zuñiga Am I Really an Action Researcher? 48 Saowanee Yuthtamanop
    • 4 INITIATING CHANGE THROUGH INNOVATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY Knowing One’s Students 54 Trixie Marie Sison Innovating for Development 59 Maria Eljie Mabunga Technology and Innovations: Tools for Better Understanding 63 Ester Raagas Introducing a Paradigm Shift through Innovations 66 Glendale Lamiseria Polishing Diamonds: How Datuk Yap Transformed Tawau Technical School 73 Mary Yap Kain Ching The New Chalk and Talk 83 Norizan Ahmad Haji Alias Abu Bakar Stewardship at MKJB: 87 Leveraging on Partnerships for School Success Haji Alias Abu Bakar5 THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE IN EDUCATION Not the Typical 21st Century Teacher 104 Schedar Jocson Medium of Instruction in Teaching: A Critical Tool for Understanding 110 Ma. Isabel Pefianco-Martin6 BENCHMARKING BEST PRACTICES Learning from Other Nations 110 Chea Vuth Feels Like Home 114 Slamet Nugraha
    • ForewordIn line with the continuing effort of SEAMEO INNOTECH to foster constructive dialogue andconsultation on various education issues and concerns affecting the Southeast Asian Region,the Third Regional Education Forum was conducted last March 22-24, 2011 with the theme:Rediscovering the Passion for Teaching in Southeast Asia.This three-day forum actively engaged the participants into a continuing conversation about thecore factors that enable teachers to sustain their motivation, commitment and passion for teaching.The participants, composed of outstanding teachers themselves and senior education personnelresponsible in teachers training and development, were able to define the Success Profile of apassionate/ motivated teacher. This Success Profile lists the specific 1) Competencies ---set ofknowledge, skills, values required of a teacher to passionately and successfully carry out his/hertasks and responsibilities; 2) Personal Attributes ---general characteristics and personal traits ofa teacher which set her/him apart from the other professions and 3) Experiences --- necessaryexperiences that a teacher must/should go through as part of his/her learning journey contributingto continuous professional enhancement.The Forum was also highlighted by the sharing and exchange of teacher development policies,strategies and programs to further sustain teachers’ passion for teaching. Resource panelists fromboth the government and private sector shared their respective programs and strategies on how torecognize and take care of ‘outstanding, committed and highly motivated teachers’ which triggeredfurther discussion and conversation on how to sustain teachers’ passion for teaching.The outstanding teachers who participated in this Forum reported that they are able to ignite theirpassion in the teaching profession as they go through self reflections and self-development andwhen they are recognized and rewarded for good performance. Teachers also put premium on theimportance of making available for them reliable data and information about the students and theirprogress to enable them to make important decisions about student learning. Teachers take pridein being part of defining the school vision and direction and when they are given the opportunityto participate in realizing said vision. Sustaining the teaching profession involves many interrelatedfactors and these factors should be carefully looked at by the Ministry particularly the unit in-charge of teacher training and development.The part of the Ministries of Education responsible forteachers training and development are expected to ensure work-life balance among the teachersand to be concerned about their individual well-being. Among the other suggestions to sustain thepassion of the teachers are: 1) clarity in teachers’ career path in the profession 2) incentives andbenefits system in place 3) opportunity for the teachers to interact and learn from each other 4)professional development programs. The teachers must also be provided with the opportunity tosubscribe to continuous learning and discovery of new knowledge either through formal educationand training or by going through other development programs. Other professional developmentprograms beyond the formal system must also be encouraged by the Ministry. This includesproviding opportunities for teachers to collaborate and learn from their peers in a professionallearning community setting, providing them enough time within the school day to work togetherand reflect on their practices.
    • The need to upgrade the status and image of the teachers will enhance teachers’ self-confidenceand motivation to stay on the post. Rewards and recognition system should be in place, selectionand screening criteria and qualifications need to be clearly defined and should also be alignedwith teachers’ professional development programs. The criteria must include passion, values, andattributes of passionate and effective teachers. On the other hand, the MOEs should ensurethat accreditation of teachers is rigorously done and that they should provide a customized corecurriculum to build proficiency of pre-service teachers aligned with the requirements of theMinistry.Quality teachers should be aptly recognized through an honest-to-goodness performance-basedgrading and portfolio assessment which is tied to their professional development.Educators at all levels must work together to help teachers sustain the fire of their passion forteaching. The MOEs must seek to continuously partner with the private sector in terms of jointlyaddressing some of the identified needs of the teachers. However, there is a need to ensure thequality of program design and its delivery and the uniformity in the professional developmentcurriculum should be achieved based on the standards and policies of the MOE.Overall, the three-day forum provided critical insights on the core factors of a passionate andeffective teacher and coming up with consistent and coherent strategies to sustain and nurturethe PASSION of educators in the teaching profession as valuable inputs to the respective MOEs onhow to take care and multiply the number of ‘outstanding educators’ in the region.
    • 1 The Road To Being A Teacher
    • Nancy Pascual An Impulsive Decision Dr. Nancy Pascual with her special children students during a parade in celebration of National Autism Conciousness Week How an impulsive decision to take an MS Degree on Special Education led to a life-changing opportunity. Sometimes a person makes well-thought of decisions in life that seem to lead nowhere and sometimes, a person makes impulsive decisions that lead to the perfect spot. This was exactly what was experienced by Dr. Nancy Pascual, a part-time Filipino professor, a former Special Education (SPED) teacher and school principal, and an all-time SPED advocate. The Influences Dr. Pascual says if there were significant people in her life who influenced her to be an educator, they would be her parents and siblings. Her parents, both farmers, worked hard to send their children to college and eventually live a better life than what they had. They succeeded in doing so, says Dr. Pascual, the youngest of eight siblings. She believes she was blessed having not only her parents as inspiration but all her siblings as well since she saw them as role models. Her parents reminded them to mould people so that they, in turn, will mould children in the future. She said that this lesson was instilled in her mind and that she decided to be a teacher to ensure that the Philippines will have good teachers for her own children.With that simple premise, she decided to be a teacher. Later, she would realize that she stayed in the profession not for that reason alone but because she was happy and contented with what she was doing.2 Passion for Teaching
    • ...this number may be small for some, but handling 16 students with disabilities was like handling 60 learners in regular school. Besides her family, Dr. Pascual says her sixth grade teacher, Ms. Lavina Laforga, a Metrobank Outstanding Teacher, influenced her in many ways. Ms. Laforga always brought out her best in everything she did so that she can automatically bring light to other people’s lives. Dr. Pascual also did the same especially in teaching, as she found this practice effective since she was able to influence the lives of many of her students. Her former professors at the Philippine Normal University Graduate School—Dr. Yolanda Quijano and Dr.Teresita G. Inciong—also inspired her as they gave themselves selflessly to their students and colleagues, sharing their teaching experiences in touching lives. The Journey After completing the degree of Master of Arts in Educational Management at the age of 25, she decided not to take a PhD at once as she felt that she was too young for it. So she enrolled in another graduate course, this time at the Mariano Marcos State University, a school located in the northern part of the country. Without any other degree in mind, she specialized in SPED, without even knowing where she would use it. However, because she was asked to be the guardian of her nieces and nephews in Manila, she transferred to Manila, without finishing her degree and earning only 15 units. While in Manila, she continued teaching basic education in a public school in Pasay City. After four years, her school division decided to offer SPED classes in response to the national program goals of EFA (Education for All). Dr. Pascual’s superintendent, knowing that she had earned some units in SPED, assigned her to handle such classes. She accepted the challenge. At first, she handled eight students, who had conditions/manifestations of autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). The next thing she knew, she had 16 students all of whom had disabilities. She said this number may be small for some, but handling 16 students with disabilities was like handling 60 learners in a regular school. Each student needed individualized instruction depending on his/her disabilities. Each of them needed extra care and attention and handling them together as a class was indeed a great challenge. Her engagement in SPED classes continued for eleven years. She was transferred to a regular school, but this time as principal. She committed to help the special children become independent individuals, and seeing them improve fulfilled her fully and enriched her as an individual. Passion for Teaching 3
    • The SPED Teacher While teaching at a SPED School, Dr. Pascual decided to finish her Master’s Degree in Special Education, specializing in teaching children with intellectual disabilities. Completing the units required for the course made her feel more equipped and confident to teach students with disabilities. Although her specialization was in teaching learners with intellectual disabilities, she also had to handle students who were visually impaired, hearing impaired, autistic, and had cerebral palsy who were also enrolled in her class. Thus, she decided to enroll in classes on Sign Language and Braille Reading and Writing. She also continuously attended various seminars and training programs on handling other disabilities so that she could adapt lessons appropriate for her students. She said that through these learning opportunities, she was able to focus on the abilities of the students, surface their strengths, and address their better weaknesses. As a teacher, Dr. Pascual follows the 3Ds—direction, dedication, and discipline. With direction, she makes sure that she is working towards a goal. In the case of teaching special children, she makes sure that her students, regardless of age, are equipped with life skills as they learn to be independent individuals. Dedication, she says, should be the number one qualification of a teacher, especially in teaching special children. With dedication she always does her job with sincerity, as it enable her to address or provide certain steps to solve a problem. With discipline, she believes that before she could discipline her students, she should first discipline herself. She often shows her students the importance of discipline as it is a big step for them to be able to be independent people. In handling special children, Dr. Pascual says that she uses differentiated learning as some of her students are at extremes—being either very fast learners or very slow learners. She also considers an important factor: the students’ family resources. Thus, she organized the parents who wait for their children to finish class and involved them to help prepare instructional materials or serve as room aides. In this way the parents won’t have to buy the required instructional materials or pay a room aid. What is her biggest challenge as a SPED teacher? She says it is having each special child moved to regular classes and be like any other child in a regular school and late on helping that child become employed and independent. She also considers the parents’ acceptance or non-acceptance regarding their child’s conditions as one of the challenges. Some parents, she says, are still in denial about their children needing special care. To be able to address this, she would talk with the parents and equip them with knowledge and skills in handling their child, so that they can supplement the child’s learning acquired in school. Yet another challenge is having to transform the belief and attitude of school heads and teachers towards children with special needs. Sometimes, she would ask her former students with special needs to visit regular schools with so that people may see and4 Passion for Teaching
    • understand that special children can be useful to the society. At other times, she would invite parents of special children to talk at seminars and orientation sessions so they, the school heads and teachers, may see their role in the providing of appropriate education for independence. Why She Stayed Many people ask why Dr. Pascual stayed for a long time teaching special children. They said that even if she teaches these children, they could never be normal and would just end up as liabilities. Instead of listening to their advice, Dr. Pascual decided to stay in the profession and she continues equipping learners with special needs with the skills to become regular citizens. She is always out to prove to them that they are wrong in thinking that people with disabilities are worthless; in fact, they could even be better than regular people, she adds. She says that she will do everything to help these children become equipped with life skills. As a teacher, she believes that teaching special children could be one of the best experiences for teachers as they are able to apply and exercise almost all the theories that they have learned in school. With that impulsive decision of taking special education, Dr. Pascual was led to a job she was very passionate about. It led her to her life. Dr. Pascual’s stint in regular classes may have made her happy, but teaching special children, she says, made her feel more fulfilled than ever. Dr. Nancy Pascual with her students during one of the school camps. Passion for Teaching 5
    • Ma. Elena Eleperia The Visionary Who would have thought that Dr. Elena Eleperia, the present principal of the only maritime high school in the Philippines, was, in fact, afraid to teach? In her defense, she explained it was a natural reaction even for any other fresh graduate female teacher facing a male-dominated class with students who were almost of the same ages she was! She was then about to start her profession as a teacher and there she was imagining herself as the helpless teacher who was able to do nothing while her students bullied her or did not respect her. According to her, those first four years at school were the most challenging years of her teaching life as she was still learning the different twists and turns in her career. On Being Tough Teaching at the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University at Iloilo City, she had a hard time to deal with the individual differences of her then students. As a first time teacher, she wanted everything to run smoothly. She wanted to be the perfect teacher that every student dreamt of having as she wanted to address what each student needed and wanted. However, she later found out that this was impossible. She then stopped trying to please them individually and treated them as a whole group. Through this method, she was able to be fair to her students and was able to address their needs as a group. She also learned how to admit her mistakes and to face the consequences that these entail. Though it was hard and definitely challenging to be a young teacher, she made it a point to establish respect and authority to her students. She sees to it that she was firm in every decision that she made so that other people would have nothing to say against her. She believed that integrity would help her sustain the respect that her students were giving to her. Having students with almost the same age as hers back then, she was also courted by some of her pupils. However, she always put into her mind that teachers must not go beyond their limitations as she did not entertain these suitors. Having some free time before her classes start, she takes time to visualize her students and the classroom situation. She imagines the different scenarios that might happen in class as she also visualizes how she would address these. Eventually, this visualization process became a habit and she did it every time she was about to stand in front of class. This method made her confident in what she is doing and prepared her in case the scenarios she imagined happen. This also made her realize that having a vision is important for a teacher to be able to execute changes and be optimistic in what she is facing in the class. The fact that she had a vision of the class management made her go through a less bumpy road in her teaching career.6 Passion for Teaching
    • Voicing Out Concerns During her early years as a teacher, Dr. Eleperia had a principal who was a dictator who was feared by everyone and whose orders—good or otherwise—were followed without hesitation. However, when he was not around, the faculty, staff, and students voiced out many concerns, but because of fear, they never brought these concerns to management. She knew that the faculty and staff had the right to speak up, but she also kept quiet for fear of losing her job. After a few years, however, she realized that something had to be done about the situation. So she talked to the principal and voiced out the concerns of the school. Since then, the principal realized his mistakes and started to listen to his people. Teaching Through the Heart Dr. Eleperia says that she is not the typical teacher who settles for the traditional chalk and talk style of teaching. She says that teachers must know how to innovate and to improve their own skills and knowledge so they can likewise improve their students’ skills and knowledge. When introducing a lesson, she sees to it that her students will find the lesson useful in their life. She also presents lessons in a simple manner so that they can easily grasp the main idea. With resourcefulness and creativity, she prepares in advance all instructional materials including the course of study and learning plan to ensure that everything will go smoothly. As for classroom activities, Dr. Eleperia engages her students in cooperative and collaborative learning through the use of student-centered activities such as reporting, Passion for Teaching 7
    • ...the profession is definitely not financially rewarding but is very fulfilling. It is also a very gratifying career as the society in general looks at teachers as respectful and trustworthy role models. film showing, role playing, field trips, navigational trips,and simulation, among others. Various group work activities, she says, enable them to develop not just their knowledge of the lesson but also their social as well as critical thinking skills. By talking with students casually during break time, she gets to know them better and eventually adapt her teaching style to their traits. She also believes that being a teacher goes beyond the formal classroom setting as it involves being a second parent to her students or “one of them”. Believing that the simplest way to teach a student is through the heart, she also makes sure that she knows her students by name so that they would be encouraged to participate in class and to develop their potentials to the fullest. Going Beyond the Profession Dr. Eleperia says teaching is one of the most fulfilling careers as long as one puts his/ her heart to it. Dr. Eleperia explains that originally she did not want to be a teacher and that she only pursued her degree in BS Education to be able to have a job right after graduation. However, she never imagined that she would eventually love the profession as much as she does today. Adding, she says this profession is definitely not financially rewarding, but it is a very fulfilling and a very gratifying career as society in general considers teachers as respectful and trustworthy role models. As principal of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University High School Department, Dr. Eleperia incessantly helps students become responsible members of the society through the use of different innovations and strategies to fit the needs and expectations of these future seamen.8 Passion for Teaching
    • Felecitas Pado Adapting to Students Knowing your students inside and out is definitely an advantage of a teacher. Teachers could be an instrument in making a great change in the society.This is what Dr. Felicitas Pado believes. Teachers, says the professor from the College of Education of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, can greatly impact on children’s lives—and when these children eventually become responsible members of the society, somehow, the teacher’s influence would leave a mark on them. In effect, Dr. Pado adds, teachers are a crucial factor towards making the country a better place to live. The Eye Opening Experience Among the first eye openers for Dr. Pado was her first teaching experience in public schools. After a teaching stint in a private school and while waiting for an extension class, she was assigned in a poor barangay (village) school, which could be reached through a jeepney ride, a boat ride, or a one-kilometer hike through rice fields. She spent two months in this school teaching a combination class consisting of Grade 1 and Grade 2 children. She recalls that it was definitely challenging as she was teaching two classes of different grade levels in one classroom. She was almost tempted to treat the two classes as one group. However, she affirms that she resisted this, knowing fully well that the lesson might be too easy for the higher level but too difficult for the lower level—and thus, neither would achieving any learning at all. This made her experience, first-hand, the difficulties that teachers in far flung barangays had to go through to be able to help their students learn, especially now since there are already multigrade classes—that is, one teacher handles not only two but even three different grade levels in one classroom! It was also during this time when she encountered poor families who desperately wanted to send their children to school in the hope would take them out of poverty. Indeed, this was an inspiration for her to reach out to the majority of learners in the public schools. Pursuing a Teaching Career: A Choice? Dr. Pado wanted to become an accountant, not a teacher. However, due to the inspiration and persuasion of her mother as well as the good teachers that she had and her high school classmates who talked about pursuing an education degree, she decided to become a teacher—and an excellent one at that. In fact, she was awarded as one of the Most Outstanding Teachers in the country by the Metrobank Foundation, among other awards that she received during her 41 years in the education sector. Passion for Teaching 9
    • Dr. Pado confessed that had she pursued her original dream, she would not have been as happy and as fulfilled as she is now in her present career. The Teaching Style Dr. Pado believes that students have individual differences—they have diverse learning styles, multiple intelligences, and distinct mental capabilities. These students, she says, learn best if the teacher acknowledges and addresses these diversities through the use of varied teaching styles. As a teacher, she therefore tries her best to discover and acknowledge the individual differences of her students as she knows that they are capable of learning provided that their needs are met. When she was teaching basic education, the first thing that she did was to know the individual differences among her students. Then, she would plan various activities that would address these differences. Moreover, during such activities, she would adjust to the students’ preferred learning styles. She narrated that she once had a student who could never get his spelling right when asked to write the words nor when asked to use the alphabet blocks. However, when she asked the student to spell out the word by hopping from one letter to another on an alphabet mat, he could do it perfectly. In this case, she tried to adjust her teaching style to the learner’s learning style and continued to do so throughout the school year. Dr. Pado also spent many years teaching beginning readers and, therefore, she could say with certainty that every child is capable of learning to read. She mentioned that she was very lucky to be employed in a laboratory school of the University, where the teachers were expected to be innovative and to think out of the box. She believes that there are numerous ways by which a student may learn, aside from that of the traditional chalk and talk. For example, to help them learn how to read, she would first try to find out their reading level. Then, she would group the students according to their reading ability. She then plans lessons and activities that would address the reading needs of each group. Moreover, she would always make sure to pay equal attention to each group as the slow, average, and fast learners improve according to their own pace. Now that she is teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in the College of Education, she likewise takes into consideration that her students come from different backgrounds—different schools, work culture, and learning styles. She says that in her graduate classes, she lets her students share with their classmates their work experiences so that they can learn from each other’s stories. Since she handles undergraduate and graduate courses on teaching strategies, she shares her teaching experiences to them. She also employs scaffolded teaching, which starts with inputs through lectures, discussions, readings, related studies, and actual observation of classes. Then, this is followed by guided practice through workshops and exercises. The presentation of outputs is then followed by constructive feedback for them to improve their way of teaching. Finally, these future teachers would be required to apply what they have learned by conducting a microteaching.10 Passion for Teaching
    • Since the day Dr. Pado entered the teaching profession, she knew that she would be instrumental in developing the future of the country. Dr. Pado believes that teaching means helping the students discover their potential and realize that learning is an enjoyable activity. Among the hardest challenges that Dr. Pado had to go through as a teacher is motivating reluctant learners and making them realize that they have the potential to do better. She also says it is heartbreaking for her to give a student a failing grade as she feels that that would be like destroying the student’s future. Thus, she usually gives her students a second chance. The Teacher She Is Dr. Pado’s students describe her as very knowledgeable of the subjects that she handles; fair; very approachable; always prepared for class; presents factual, research-based, and updated information; and last but not the least, among the best professors. All of these are impressive descriptions of a teacher who believes that the satisfaction of being a teacher goes beyond financial satisfaction as she feels good to know that she has done something good to make the world a better place: by producing good people. Passion for Teaching 11
    • Maria Utanes Discipline And Perseverance How discipline and perseverance helped Mrs. Maria Utanes reach her dreams and help students who have been in her shoes. “Clearly, the best part of being a teacher is the opportunity to help children and change lives.” These words come from Ms. Maria Utanes, a teacher of 32 years and now a newly promoted principal of Masambong High School in Quezon City, Philippines. Teaching Journey Mrs. Utanes graduated from the Philippine Normal College finishing her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1974. Then, she earned her Master of Arts in Mathematics Education at the University of Santo Tomas in 1989. From 1974 to 2006, she served as a teacher of physics and mathematics teacher at Manuel Roxas High School (MRHS). In that span of over three decades, she worked as chairman for the Mathematics Department (1999-2006) and was later appointed as the head of the same department (2006) until she was assigned to be the school head of Masambong High School (2011). Throughout her career, Ms. Utanes taught her students with passion and commitment and she says she wouldn’t have survived the profession without her skills in logical and critical thinking, problem-solving, management, and quick thinking skills. She takes pride in her work; strives for quality education and academic excellence; and practices fairness among her students. Very much dedicated and committed to her profession, she sees teaching as a profession that can yield something amazing when the right ideas and beliefs are implemented in the classroom. She says that being a teacher is not easy, but it is definitely gratifying. As a teacher, she makes it to a point that she takes note of the principle of multipleintelligence and understands that each and every child has his/her own special talents and skills. She also ensures that what is taught in the classroom is not left there, but should rather go beyond the walls of the room and should be applied by the students to real life situations.12 Passion for Teaching
    • The New Leader. Mrs. Utanes posing with students of Masambong National High School during the annual Brigada Eskwela. Ms. Utanes says she was inspired to become an educator by a former teacher, Mr. Pedro Miñano. She narrates that she was raised by only her mother and so they had to live thriftily to be able to survive. At an early age, she knew how to be innovative as she needed to save money to be able to continue her studies. During one examination period, she brought a banana leaf and a stick to serve as an alternative for a scratch (draft) paper. She only brought one paper to serve as her answer sheet for the exam, as they could not afford another one. Mr. Miñano, seeing his student struggling to write on a banana leaf, was moved to pity and gave her an extra sheet. Ms. Utanes was touched by the gesture and was inspired to become like him—a teacher touching the lives of poor children who strive to learn and excel despite financial limitations. For two decades, she was a teacher, like her mentor, Mr. Miñano, making a difference in the lives of her poor students and teaching them how to battle poverty and to rise above it despite all the obstacles that might come in one’s life. Innovations As Ms. Utanes rose to ranks in her teaching career, she made sure that she implemented innovations that would ensure learning of her students. As a Head Teacher for Math, she implemented the use of modules. Since teacher’s absenteeism could not be avoided at times, such intervention should be implemented so that the learning process of the students would not stop. With these modules, a teacher is able to finish the scope and sequence based on a given time table; these also controlled—indirectly—the loitering of students. Passion for Teaching 13
    • Very much dedicated and committed to her profession, she sees teaching as a profession that can yield something amazing when the right ideas and beliefs are implemented in the classroom. Moreover, knowing how hard it was to be a poor student, she also implemented the “Twenty Pesos a Day, Helps a Drop-out Program” which helps students who are financially constrained to finish their education through the help of the donations of volunteer teachers. The Teaching Style In her class, Ms. Utanes makes each lesson as realistic as possible. Knowing the perception of most children that math is boring, she makes it fun by relating the lesson to real things that the children can see. For example, if they are about to discuss sequence, she lets her students go out and look for leaves and study their arrangements or she would let her students make a bracelet or necklace using the principle of sequence based on the color of the elements to be used. She also makes use of techniques such as peer-teaching, math games, and manipulations in problem solving. She believes that the use of peer-teaching is a mutually beneficial process as both parties would be able to share their knowledge, ideas, and experiences. Being more comfortable with each other, compared to that of the teacher-student relationship, they are able to share more ideas without much hesitation. Math games are also played. For example, when the topic is sequence, she writes the first two numbers on the board and then whoever guesses the third number is awarded three points. If no one gets the right answer, she writes the correct answer and the class has to guess the fourth number, and so on.Then, she lets another student explain what rule of sequence was applied. The student who is able to recite the rule is also given extra points. She thinks that such games allow for practice and repetition, which often leads to stronger mental math reflexes and skills. While discussing about polygons, she would distribute a geo board and rubber bands and the students would form different kinds of polygons.Through this activity, students learn by doing.14 Passion for Teaching
    • Mrs. Utanes discussing matters as a Head Teacher for Mathematics Disciplining and Understanding Students Teachers, like mothers, always encounter problems with their students. One day, she caught some of her students using illegal drugs within the school premises. Though it was hard for her since she treated her students as her own children, she called the police and they did the necessary actions to rehabilitate the students. At first, it was disheartening to see the situation happening in front of her eyes, but she knew she had done the right thing. Despite the personal threats she received, she continued doing what she knew was right. After months of rehabilitation, the students continued their education and are currently successful in their own chosen fields of specialization. Cutting classes was also one of the problems encountered by Ms. Utanes as a school teacher. To curb this, she would require the concerned student to explain in writing his/her reason for cutting class. Then she would talk to the student privately. Usually she would discover personal problems as reasons. And often, the student would thank her for being a second mother and showing concern. Although Ms. Utanes no longer teaches, she continues to be committed to her profession, this time as a principal. She says that through her position, she ensures that each and every teacher teaches effectively so that each child would be committed to academic excellence. Passion for Teaching 15
    • Aurelia Ballitoc Teacher Aurelia Ballitoc: This is My Story I started teaching in 1983 after topping the competitive examination of the Philippine Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now Department of Education) given by the Ifugao Division. The test was given to all applicant teachers, in addition to the usual pre-qualification standards of holding a degree and passing the board. I was assigned to the most remote barangay in the municipality of Lagawe, where there was no access to transportation. Each week, my husband, carrying our provisions on his shoulder, and I, carrying our second child on my back, would start off very early in the morning and hike for seven hours to reach my school. I taught a combination class of Grades 3 and 4. It was difficult to teach Math, English, Filipino and other subjects in a combination class because it meant preparing a lot of written activities. However, I was able to do it well because the passion of teaching was strongly burning inside me. I didn’t mind the sleepless nights I spent preparing for all my visual materials since I felt that every effort that I exerted was all worth it. In 1995, I organized a journalism club in compliance with the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, or Republic Act 7079, which aimed to promote campus journalism in the elementary and secondary levels. I trained my students in the barrio school to write news stories, editorials, feature, and sports articles, both in English and in Filipino. My students would always win in the press conferences where we would join. I noted that at this point, my efforts were slowly being recognized. In 2000, after teaching in the barrio school for seventeen years, I was transferred to the biggest school in the capital town of Lagawe, the Lagawe Central School. On top of my teaching workload, I was assigned as the school paper adviser. From the time I started handling the school paper up to the present, the school has been winning in the press conferences, from the division to the regional levels. Campus journalism is indeed one of my passions and I plan to keep on organizing the journalism club until I retire. I believe that as a teacher, I have the responsibility to become a second mother to my students. Whenever I see that my students are not fetched from school, I offer them some money for their fare and make sure that they reach their homes safely through letting them ride a tricycle of a trusted friend.16 Passion for Teaching
    • I teach because I think I was created to be able to make a difference in the lives of my students. I try to understand each and every student I handle. However, when they do something wrong or neglect their responsibilities, I do not tolerate them. I am certain that I do not play favorites. I always tell my students that even if they happen to be the children of the governor or even the president of the country, they are not exempted from doing their duties as students. In my classroom, all of them are just regular students. One innovation that I use to be able to get the attention of my students is by reading fables to them. I regard this as my secret weapon and it works like magic. Since my students really look forward to this period. Through this intervention, students also learn about the lesson from each fable. I am also committed to develop my students’ skills in reading and computing. After conducting the annual Philippine Reading Inventory (PHIL-IRI), I make sure that those students who belong to the frustration reading level join me every Friday afternoon in the program that I dubbed as Friday Reading Program. The program is attended not just by my Grade 4 students, but all of the students of our school! During the program, we all read together using the books lent by the library hub. Ms. Aurelia Ballitoc explaining to her students the events that would happen during school’s culminating activity in celebration of the Nutrition Month. Passion for Teaching 17
    • In 2009, due to the efforts that I have exerted in my profession, I was awarded as the Most Outstanding Reading Teacher of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). I was so happy when I heard the good news. I believe that I was given the award because of the many projects that I have introduced to the school, like making indigenous stories in English. I have also served as a tutor to a group of pupils during vacation time to help them read. The award given to me boosted my morale as an educator. I was so happy that even if I was previously employed in a barangay school, I was recognized for being an effective teacher who could be at the same level of the teachers from the city. Recently, I also applied for the position of Values Supervisor in our Division with the aim of being a role model to teachers and help rekindle their passion for teaching. If, however, I will not be considered for the position, I would still be happy since I would be able to directly touch the lives of my students, and I will do so until the day I die. Mary Lyn Dominguez Living In The Crossroads From A Chemical Engineer To A Teacher Giving up the high salary and the prestige of being a Chemical Engineer to be a full-pledged teacher It was almost 11 years ago when Ms. Mary Lyn Dominguez found herself at the crossroads of her life. She was then a chemical engineer assigned as a quality control analyst at a well-known corporation in the country. For five years, she could not shake off the feeling that there was something missing in her life. Looking for that missing piece, she applied as a part-time teacher at the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Technical Vocational School. Luckily, she was given a chance to try the teaching profession though she had neither education units nor teaching experience. The said school served as a good training ground for her. Being a former Chemical Engineer, she was able to share her experiences in the field and insights to her students. After two years of teaching and after she was advised to take education units to be able to get a stable teaching job, she left her post and went into soul-searching. She decided to be a volunteer teacher at Tuloy sa Don Bosco Alabang (Welcome to Don Bosco Alabang) where she served street children and out-of-school youth and where she met battered and sexually abused, most of them whom came from18 Passion for Teaching
    • Bonding with the student council officers at Enchanted Kingdom, a famous theme park in the Philippines dysfunctional families.While teaching science and math to these students, she was also teaching them proper hygiene and good manners. She realized how the student in the institution really sought love from their elders. For two years, she worked not just as a volunteer or a teacher but more of a social worker, a counsellor, and a mother. It was here, she says, where the flame of her love for teaching really ignited. As she was starting her own family, Ms. Dominguez tried another teaching job, this time as a college instructor teaching physics and chemistry at the University of Perpetual Help.At the same time, she was also taking graduate studies in Mathematics Teaching at the Technology University of the Philippines (TUP). And once again, she found herself at the crossroads—whether to teach college or high school students. Finally, she decided work as a physics teacher in Don Bosco Mandaluyong. As it was her usual practice, she whole-heartedly shared to her students what she had learned in her previous jobs as a chemical engineer while teaching math and science. Through this, she was able to make her lessons more realistic to students. Her big break came when she was assigned as co-curricular activities coordinator and student council adviser. Through these growth opportunities, she was able to mold student leaders as well as serve the entire student body while enjoying being a math teacher. A year later, she was appointed as Assistant Principal for math, science, and physical education. As her career shifted to administration, she took note that her new mission was to share and guide her co-educators. However, because teaching is her real passion, she requested to be given a teaching load. Perspectives as a Teacher Though it has been a long journey for Ms. Dominguez to be where she is now, she says that the adventure was all worth it. For her, teaching is an endless pursuit of learning. She believes that as a teacher, one should have a continuous desire to upgrade oneself Passion for Teaching 19
    • Being a former Chemical Engineer, she was able to share her experiences in the field and insights to her students. since the profession requires not just to educate the students but also to keep up with the generation’s learning styles and technological skills and new trends. Teaching is not just a noble profession, she says; it is a mission, for it is not salary-driven but rather commitment and dedication-driven. Teacher. Mother. Friend. That is how her students know her. Believing that these children long for someone to talk to, she would listen to them, especially when they open up to her about problems on peer pressure and relationships with their friends and family members. However, if she thinks she is not the proper person to give them advice, she would refer them to the right persons. Teaching Strategy Having experienced being in the real world before entering the academe, Ms. Dominguez believes that students become more interested to learn math and science concepts when they see how they can apply them to their daily lives. Hence, she sees to it that her students just do not memorize facts or formulas, but really understand the concepts and apply them through class activities. She wants her students to The student council adviser with the fresh graduate student council officers during the commencement exercises20 Passion for Teaching
    • Posing with the Rotary Club Organizers during the Science Caravan organized by the said organization in Mandaluyong City develop their interest in learning the two no-so-loved subjects of math and science. This is a challenge to myself, she adds. The Use of Technology in the Classroom While continuing her graduate studies, Ms. Dominguez was able to realize that technology-based instruction is a must for the present generation of learners. Wanting to become a more effective teacher, she equipped herself to become more proficient in the use of mathematics and science software, the Internet, and other software that could be used to aid in the teaching and learning process. She also makes use of the Understanding by Design framework in teaching as well as attends various seminars to upgrade her knowledge and teaching skills. She believes that the use of technology in teaching mathematics will make a difference in the learning and discipline of students. Since majority of the students in this age are very much interested in the latest technologies, their use should be maximized. Moreover, with technology and other innovations, multiple intelligences of students will be further improved. Today, as Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs, she plans to integrate technology as part of their curricular program in mathematics in coordination with the school’s technical department. Wanting to make her constituents techno-savvy, she has offered a seminar on information literacy for teachers, which would include the use of mathematics software. Looking back, Ms. Dominguez believes that she, the chemical engineer-turned-teacher has yet to face other challenges. By making people understand that technology, like math and sciences should not be feared but rather embraced, Ms. Dominguez is optimistic that Philippine education will soar high in the future. Passion for Teaching 21
    • 2 Commitment To The Teaching Profession
    • Allan Canonigo A Teacher Until The End The prospect of being a School Administrator could be enticing for other teachers, but not for Mr. Allan Canonigo Mr. Allan M. Canonigo believes that he was born to be a teacher and not anything else—not even a school administrator. Once appointed as the Principal of Margen National High School in Leyte, Philippines, he felt terrible as he realized that he should be in the classroom and directly teaching students. Being Strict is Good Being the typical dominant male, Mr. Canonigo is a strict teacher. A strict but nice teacher, he says. As he typically conducts an expectation check at the start of the semester or school year, he always makes sure that what was agreed on that day is implemented in the classroom throughout the school year/semester. Like a father to his children, he said that he is strict because he cares so much for his students. He also wants them to set high expectations for themselves so that they will strive more in life. Through the discipline he requires each and every student to have, he is able to make his students appreciate mathematics and life in general, as he always sees to it that despite his strictness, his students enjoy every lesson. Mr. Canonigo while teaching his students to use the Geometry software for their activity on verifying the properties of quadrilaterals.24 Passion for Teaching
    • Though he believes that his experience as a school head was terrible in general, it was still a blessing for him, as it was through this experience that he realized that he did not want to be anything more than being a teacher. In terms of teaching styles, he bases them on the students’ learning styles and attitudes towards Mathematics, as students typically hate it. However, in whatever style he decides to use, he always puts into consideration the students’ personal background. He first works on getting the attention of the students for them to be able to be motivated to learn. Once this is done, he believes that half of his battle is already won, as there is already an assurance that the students will learn. He then proceeds to the teaching and facilitation process wherein he usually lets his students engage in group work as this enables them to improve their social skills and at the same time learn from the activity. When asked what teaching is for him, he says that the profession demands a lot of things—energy, resources, time—and that one should be tough enough to learn how to handle troublesome and challenging students. Teachers should have an alert mind but a kind heart as well as have the integrity and persistence to be a great educator. Teachers should also make their students feel that teachers can be trusted as second parents and friends and that they must understand their students—their language, interests, among others—to be able to catch up with them, without compromising the teaching standard. He also believes that teachers must be able to improve their knowledge and skills to also be able to improve their teaching competencies. As a math teacher, he believes that learning mathematics should not be made difficult unless the students are doing pure research on the subject. In fact, mathematics can be made enjoyable. To improve his teaching competencies, he attends various seminars, trainings, and workshops. He also works hard every day, even beyond office hours, to be able to enrich the learning of his students. As he challenges his students to become above average, he also ensures that he is also as such. In his situation, he says that he sometimes takes a lot of time in dealing with and in getting to know his students. Having been a shy-type student, he understands why some students are timid. With patience and determination on how to handle his students, he makes sure that he is always honest, persistent, and consistent in whatever he does. Passion for Teaching 25
    • A typical day in a classroom. Mr. Canonigo uses various techniques to teach his students geometry. When he was still new in the profession, he was labelled as a terror and many students did not want to be in his class. One time, a set of incoming fourth year students wrote a petition letter asking the school officials not to let Mr. Canonigo be their Math teacher. This action was done because of the feedback of his previous students, whom he had challenged to do better. Since they were not used to having strict and challenging teachers, they feared him and later despised him for his ways. Eventually the students who petitioned succeeded in not having him as their teacher. However, he did not take it personally. Ironically, some of the former students who said negative things about him found time to visit him to thank him for teaching them how to be disciplined and responsible persons—lessons which they were able to utilize in life. As years went by, he learned how to deal with the different kinds of students and started to show kindness and care, but still with persistency and consistency in observing and implementing discipline in class. Though he received a lot of negative feedback regarding his being strict, he never regrets being one as he knows that he is able to challenge his students to do their best and be trained to be good college students in the next few years—and eventually better citizens of the nation. He always instills in his students that being average is never enough.They have to push their limits and be excellent individuals as they should not be medicores, but rather smart risk takers. The Balancing Act One of Mr. Canonigo’s challenging experiences as a teacher, was the time he had to balance his time between his mother who was suffering from cancer and keeping his teaching job. As he loved his mother dearly, he made sure that he had enough time to spend with her. Although he wanted to take a leave to be able to look after his26 Passion for Teaching
    • mother all the time, he decided not to, since it would mean having no pay and thus, no additional money to pay for his mother’s hospital bills and medicine. Thus, he did a balancing act of being a good son and a good teacher. But it was not easy. Later on, he asked the principal to allow him to leave after handling his classes, in case he was needed in the hospital. The principal, being an understanding person, allowed him to do so. As his mother’s health slowly deteriorated, Mr. Canonigo says he felt like a saw going back and forth, from hospital to school and back. But, he adds, God is always good. Though he was going through a lot of trials, a blessing came his way: he was awarded by the Metrobank Foundation as one of the Outstanding Teachers of 2004. Moreover, another blessing came into his life five months after the death of his mother—he was appointed as school principal. Blessing in Disguise For Mr. Canonigo, accepting his new assignment as principal while suffering from the loss of his mother, did not feel right. In his own words, he said that he felt so terrible that he thought of quitting. On his first year as principal, Mr. Canonigo realized that handling people, especially those who were older than he was, was not his forte. Elders in the Philippines are respected, Mr. Canonigo explains, and so he encountered difficulties in instructing them what to do. Moreover, the school where he worked was too far from the city. Thus, he needed to travel a long way to be able to go to work. In addition, because the campus did not have any fence, students who cut classes and other people including vendors could step out or enter freely. Also, most of the students were not serious in their studies and that few teachers were dedicated to their profession as they either came late to class or not at all. To remedy the problem of absent teachers, Mr. Canonigo would handle the class and teach the subjects even if these were not his field of specialization. However, Mr. Canonigo never gave up with the help of the parents of the students, he spearheaded the building of a fence around the school premises, which resulted in a relatively peaceful situation on campus. Moreover, a four-room building was also provided by the local government to address the need for more classrooms. When funds were not enough for the use of the school, Mr. Canonigo would dig into his own pocket to cover the expenses.Though he believes that his experience as a school head was terrible in general, it was still a blessing for him, as it was through this experience that he realized that he did not want to be anything but a teacher, that all he really wanted to do in his life was to touch the lives of his students—to make a change in their lives and to make a difference in the society. Passion for Teaching 27
    • A Teacher Trainer Even before Mr. Canonigo was promoted to Master Teacher, he has shown a potential as a teacher to both students and other teachers. He started to get involved in teacher training at DepEd-Ormoc City Division. He later became a trainer in the national training of teachers in mathematics, mentor training program, among others. Moreover, he initiated a one-week training program for secondary and elementary teachers in his hometown in coordination with the local government and invited well- known personalities in the field of education to be with him in this program. At the training he met his elementary and high school teachers who were very proud to see him as their trainer. Aside from teacher-training, Mr. Canonigo has also taught in a graduate school where he handled courses for teachers who were taking their graduate studies in mathematics education. Through the years, his passion for helping other teachers has been evident in his active and continued participation in different teacher training programs. At present, Mr. Canonigo engages in part-time teaching in one of the universities in Manila. However, he knows that he will be permanently back in front of a class, teaching, until his last breath. Mohana Ratnam-Eswaran Transforming People’s Lives, Inside and Beyond the Classroom “I just sat there, and I just looked at them, and I said it’s worth the time and effort that I have actually spent because I could have just stopped at the classroom level, but I didn’t.” I have been a teacher for 21 years and I never really envisioned myself being one when I was a child. As an adventurous kid, I was hooked on aircraft back then. I then set my mind that I would be an aircraft engineer in the future. However, my mother did not approve of my ambition. Being the stereotypical Indian mother, she said that I should pursue a career which is outnumbered by women—like being a teacher.The next thing I knew, I was married to a man from the air forces and I was in front of my students teaching about logarithms.28 Passion for Teaching
    • The Influences and The Adventures I did not become a teacher just because of my mother’s wishes, though I admit that it affected my decision to be one. Who doesn’t want to make his/her parents happy, anyway? However, I believe I became an educator because I felt something inside of me wanting to transform other people’s lives the way my mentors transformed mine. But I did not just wake up one day wanting to become one. It was a step-by-step process and many people and events contributed to it. First among them was my secondary school principal, Mrs. Margaret Mary Joseph. She was a very influential and kind educator. She cared for each and every student in the school and felt like she was responsible for our growth. Thus, she held weekly assemblies to talk about life, responsible living, and women for others. She was a good speaker and was very inspiring. She personally told me not to quit despite the financial constraints that I was experiencing back then. She saw something in me that I didn’t— she knew I would be a good teacher someday and she greatly contributed to what I am now. She even provided me financially in the form of a bursary to be able to ensure that I would continue my studies. When I finished secondary school, I went back to my alma matter to serve as a relief teacher. When I received my first salary, I gave it to Mrs. Joseph wholeheartedly and told her to give it to other children who needed the same help that I did. It was through her and the relief teaching that I developed my passion in the profession. Though Mrs. Joseph molded me into the teacher that I am, it was Ms. Chan who inspired me to become a mathematics teacher. She was a very tough and disciplinarian educator. Everyone feared her, but I didn’t; instead, I respected her. She was the typical teacher who used chalk and talk and did not use any technology to inspire students to learn mathematics. In her class, nonsense talk was prohibited. She also enforced rules regarding neatness— whether in writing or presenting. Through her, I also learned that to be respected, one has to be presentable. I have also developed the skills in discipline and neatness that she has enforced on us and have brought it up to now. Passion for Teaching 29
    • I believe I became an educator because I felt something inside of me wanting to transform other’s lives the way my mentors transformed mine. A Teacher in Action When I enter the classroom, one of the students stands beside me and tells his/her classmates to greet me a good day. They then stand up and do as instructed. I return the greeting with a smile and then start the lesson with a story. I am a disciplinarian yet an approachable teacher. Though I usually crack jokes and socialize with my students, I demand respect from them. I teach them that there are times for fun and there are times for seriousness and that I am sometimes a friend, sometimes a teacher. Being a former student, I put myself in my students’ shoes. I usually sense the ground if they are ready to learn for the day. I believe that for effective learning to occur, relationship building must come first. Since I handle mathematics, I saw the need to make a way to be able to catch my students’ interest. Ever since, I have been hearing students questioning the need to learn about advanced mathematics—logarithms, trigonometry, calculus, and algebra, among others. Even I, myself, ask about it sometimes. But, there is really a reason why we need to study such things and, believe it or not, it is related to our everyday lives. This why I start each lesson with a story related to current events and to the topic for the day—for them to be able to see the importance of learning the mathematical lessons and applying it to their everyday lives. I find that children like to connect with stories because they are very real. It has been my daily habit to read newspapers and watch the news. From these media, I get inspiration on what story to tell my class. One day, as I was about to introduce logarithms, China was devastated by an earthquake. I then started the lesson by telling them about the disaster and how it killed many people in the country. Then, I connected it to logarithms and how the Richter scale works through logarithmic equations. Afterwards, we discussed how important it is to use sturdy materials when building structures. Later on the discussion went to corruption and how the people who were in-charge of building the structures in the country corrupted the funds which led to the destruction of buildings during the earthquake. In one of my advanced mathematics classes, I produced a Learning Experience Module so that the students would be able to appreciate the importance of logarithms more through studying earthquakes. I assigned them to research on the different aspects of the earthquake, from the movement of the plates to the current events in China with30 Passion for Teaching
    • Ms. Eswaran during the Third Regional Education Forum held at SEAMEO INNOTECH regarding the Passion for Teaching regard to the disaster. They actually exerted a lot of effort by going online to research about it. Later on, I asked them to present in the class what they have learned and its connection to the subject. By the end of all the presentations, many of them were able to appreciate the fact that being Singaporeans, they will never experience having an earthquake since the country does not fall in the fault line. Aside from this, many of them appreciated that every subject is connected to each one, though it may not be obvious. As I saw that my students were very interested about the earthquakes, I brought them to a polytechnic institution which has an earthquake simulator. I also requested a speaker among their faculty to teach my students how to build structures. After the field trip, I divided them into groups and gave them materials to create their own structures. After six months of working on their miniature structures, we tested it on the earthquake simulator and I told them that the last structure to fall would be the winner. They were so excited and so engaged with the activity. Inspiring Students To Dream For Their Future Wherever I go, I look for opportunities for my students. One day, when I accompanied my daughter to a dentist for her braces, I was observing the dentist and I was amazed at how brilliant he was in his profession. I then asked him if he would allow my students to observe him while working. He gave me the contact numbers of the persons who I should ask permission from and then, later, I was able to send four students to rub shoulders with the dentist himself as well as some first year medical student interns. I believe that for effective learning to occur, relationship building must come first. Passion for Teaching 31
    • In another instance, as I was having my personal check-up, I asked my doctor if he would allow some students to work with him for a day. He hesitantly said no, but later on, I was able to encourage him to inspire my students. Four of my students, as well as my son, who had no opportunity as such in his school, were given the chance to live as a doctor for a day. After that experience, my son wanted told me he to be a doctor. By showing them the lives of people in the different professions, I want my students to realize that learning should not be confined in the classroom as there are many more things that could be learned in the real world. I also want to empower them to be able to have the vision that they could practice their desired professions in the future if they study hard. The Teens and Sexuality Education Having been appointed as the Students’ Welfare Head in Regent Secondary School, I was very concerned on how teenagers nowadays handle the different issues they are facing. In this stage of confusion and exploration, I knew that they needed guidance which may not be given by their own parents. “Sexuality education,” a part of the Singaporean curriculum, addresses problems and issues concerning the different challenges and curiosity concerns in the life of a teenager. This is one of the most important subjects in the school as it brings out issues which are very close to the heart of the students. As such, I ensured that the teachers selected to teach the subject had the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to handle sthe sensitive issues. Before the subject is officially started, a set of rules is introduced to the students. The rules and regulations in class revolve on values on respecting others’ questions and opinions and making sure that everyone will be comfortable in sharing their own experiences with the class. Through showing them the lives of people in the different professions, I want my students to realize that learning should not be confined in the classroom as there are many more things that could be learned in the real world. I was able to address various student issues including the proper use of social networking sites—what information should be shared and what shouldn’t—relationships, and other related issues. We also addressed the issues based on the RISE values system of the school—Respect for oneself and others, Integrity, reSilience, and Empathy. As Sudents’ Welfare Head, I knew that I had to be a good listener and that I shall take32 Passion for Teaching
    • I am also very proud to say that I am able to transform lives and mould the future generation— the leaders of tomorrow. advantage of certain situations to be able to make them teachable moments for the students. I also teach the students to be good citizens so that they will not be a menace to the society. I always reiterate to them that being intelligent is always not enough. One must have a good character and everything else will follow. We also talk to parents regarding this program. In the Asian culture, parents are not comfortable talking to their children about sexuality issues; in fact, they are the ones who should be guiding their children in these matters. They need guidance. They need light for their path. Otherwise, they may take the wrong one. The Perks of Being an Educator I have never thought that I would enjoy the teaching profession as much as I am doing. As a teacher, I learned that I love working with kids so much. I never thought that you could learn so much from a child. They have the capability to improve a fully grown up person in different aspects. No other career can give you as much satisfaction as being a teacher. It is like being a famous actress! Being a teacher for sometime, I believe that the greatest reward a teacher gets is when former students give thanks for the impact that you have brought to their lives. In fact, I have been featured in the television due to this as one of my former students became a big star in our country. When she was asked who her greatest teacher was, she answered that it was me. Because of her answer, I was featured on the “One Deed, One Lifetime” Show which showcased how help reciprocated in my life—how Mrs. Joseph inspired me and how I returned the favor by teaching her child. I believe that one of the perks of being a teacher stems from the perception of Asians regarding teachers. Being appreciative people, we tend to put teachers on a pedestal, and thus, the society looks up to educators. In addition to this, I am also very proud to say that I am able to transform lives and mould the future generation—the leaders of tomorrow. However, I am not a perfect teacher. I also make mistakes and I sometimes doubt my competencies. Besides, multitasking in being a mother, a teacher, a daughter, and a wife is not that easy. Along with this, every year and every class I handle has a different story, which is unique in their own ways. Sometimes, I have to stop to be able to renew myself to become a better educator. Passion for Teaching 33
    • Like Being a Ms. Universe... Even better! Throughout my existence, I have been dreaming of going to the Istana, the official residence of the Singaporean President. Like any other presidential residence, it has tight security and anyone cannot easily enter it. This dream finally came true in 2010 when I received the President’s Award for Teachers (PATs) with the theme: Teachers who are Leading, Caring, and Inspiring. It was magical! It was as if the whole world was conspiring with me and that I won the Ms. Universe title. In fact, it could be even better! In the latter part of 2009, I was informed by our Vice Principal that she had nominated me for the award. I was shocked and flattered at the same time. I was confused why she nominated me when in fact, there were a lot of commendable teachers in the school. I have always been the silent worker that I am and I did not ever expect that I would be recognized for my efforts. After knowing about the nomination, I continued living my life as if nothing happened. I did not expect that I would get it since there were 9,700 nominees for the award and only four would be chosen. There was a very slim possibility that I would be among the four to bring home the bacon. The probability of winning was even smaller than that of winning the lottery! However, I was later informed that I was short listed.They asked me to write an article about being an educator, so I made one and did not make much of a big deal out of it. Being shortlisted was already an honor; I did not ask for more. But, still, God kept on blessing me, and I was later asked to come in for an interview. While preparing, I felt that everybody was supporting me. I felt so loved, even through the simple words of encouragement from a sales lady and a hair dresser, whom I barely knew. My husband also did not leave my side as I was preparing for the interview. During the interview proper, surprisingly, I was not nervous because I came there not to bring home the award but for the learning experience that I could later share to my students—bringing home the award was just a plus. Upon reading the invitation for the interview, I realized that it has been a long time since I was interviewed and that I need to teach my students to be prepared for such occasions. In a span of a week’s time, I received a congratulatory e-mail from the Ministry of Education (MOE) informing me that I was one of the four winners of the award! Congratulatory notes and calls came in from various people. I felt like I was on top of the world as everybody rejoiced with me. I consider it not as my individual achievement, but the achievement of the people around me as well—my family, my colleagues, and my students. Later on, we went to the Istana for the awarding. I was elegantly dressed. Being a very simple person, who is not used to putting on makeup, I had to look at my best during34 Passion for Teaching
    • the ceremony. Everyone praised me for looking good. I even thought that I look like a princess—and I felt like one too! During the ceremony, it was ecstatic. My family was there. My mother was very proud of me as she was in tears. I had the chance to meet big time people in the country who I never dreamt of being with. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I was very happy that I was able to inspire many co-teachers to give their best in their respective deliverables—even if it means going beyond their comfort zones. Besides the plaque, monetary awards were also given to us, the awardees, as well as a study tour to Germany to be able to benchmark best practices. After receiving the award, my life changed in the sense that there were lots of opportunities to share my experiences and the lessons I have learned as a teacher. I was invited to talk several times in schools, in communities, and to teachers. Through this, I was not just able to touch the lives of my students but other students, teachers, and parents as well. Being a teacher is not just being a teacher—but it entails being a mother, a friend, an explorer, and an inspiration to your students. I honestly could not imagine myself in another profession, but if I were not a teacher, I would probably be a motivational speaker or a trainer—a profession similar to being a teacher who connects and changes the lives of people. Changing lives for the better is my passion and no one can stop me from doing it! Passion for Teaching 35
    • Rogelio Opulencia The Vision To Help The Philippines He taught them to have a vision and that poverty is never a hindrance to be successful—as it never stopped him to succeed in life. Seeing how passionate he is as a teacher, you would not think that Mr. Rogelio Opulencia never dreamt of becoming a teacher. It was his mother who dreamt to be an educator but because she could not pursue her ambition, she wanted one of her children to fulfill it for her. Being the obedient son, Mr. Opulencia gave in to the request of his mother. Given a choice, however, he would have wanted to be a businessman. However, he never regretted following the advice of his mother. As Mr. Opulencia was taking up secondary education, his father was diagnosed of emphysema and his had to drop their livelihood of selling meat so she could devote her time to taking care of her husband. Having only his elder brother as the breadwinner of the family, Mr. Opulencia decided to continue his parents’ business, using as capital his savings of 3,000 pesos. In two months, his small investment grew to 20,000 pesos.36 Passion for Teaching
    • He then thought that touching the lives of others would be more fulfilling than thinking of his own financial growth. As a student by night and a businessman by day, Mr. Opulencia was able to help his parents and elder brother sustain their living as well as send his four younger siblings to school. Furthermore, he saw himself through college, graduating with a degree in BS Education, major in history in only three-and-a-half years time, instead of four. A month later, he was employed at his alma matter, Laguna College of Business and Arts (LCBA), as a substitute teacher. Most of his students back then were house helps and it was a challenge to keep them enrolled. He made sure that all of them were motivated to learn and happy with what they were doing. He always reiterated to them to look forward to the future. He taught them to have a vision and that poverty is never a hindrance to be successful—as it never stopped him to succeed in life. In as much as he had an alternative source of income, he did not get his salary for the first six months saying the time was not enough for his students to learn much from him. His meat business allowed him to live decently, anyway, being able to touch the lives of others and inspire them in his own little way was even more than enough. At this time, though he taught his students excellently, he still had not developed the love for his profession. In fact, he was thinking of learning it and focusing on his business instead. His business was then booming and it could have made him rich. But due to the insistence of his parents, he continued to be a teacher and later dropped the business. He then thought that touching the lives of others would be more fulfilling than thinking of his own financial growth. While showing exemplary performance, he was advised by his then District Supervisor to transfer to a public school. He was hesitant at first because of the negative things he had heard about the public school system. In the end, he said he would give it a shot. He was later assigned to teach at Los Baños National High School (LBNHS). Being a teacher in a public school entailed more responsibilities. First, he had 80 to more or less 100 students in comparison to the 20 students he had in the private school. Of course, more students were harder to handle. In fact, on his first two days at school, he lost his voice. Also, there were limited facilities as there was a scarcity of rooms, books, and even teachers. However, there were more growth opportunities as well as financial rewards in the public school. It was in LBNHS where Mr. Opulencia realized that he had developed his love for teaching and that he cared about his students more than he cared about himself. He was willing to sacrifice a lot—his time, resources, money—just to be able to touch the lives of his students—to make them learn and help them become responsible citizens of the nation. As he would say, he does all of this for his country for he believes that Passion for Teaching 37
    • however small his contributions are for the country, these could become a big thing when put together with the contributions of concerned citizens like him. Being a strict-looking person, Mr. Opulencia is looked upon by students as simply that: strict-looking. When he enters the classroom, his students grow silent. He believes that this strictness would be able to help his students become disciplined citizens of the nation. But under that stern facade is a father who never forgets his “children’s” welfare. In class, he uses the chalk and talk style—but with a pinch of “magic.” People have noticed that when he speaks, they would surely listen to him—however long that lesson is, however soft his voice may be, and however gloomy the weather might be. He also makes sure that his students learn from him by asking them to always be involved in class discussions through recitation. He further reminds his students to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. As a history teacher, he enjoys narrating historical events as if he was telling a bedtime story to his children. He usually blurts out historical facts that ordinary people wouldn’t know, and this effectively catches the students’ attention. He also conducts different activities in class such as contests, games, creation of posters, role playing, fieldtrips, online activities, and chapter summaries. He says he avoids scolding students inside the class. Whenever he catches one of his students not listening to him while teaching, he would just stop talking and look at him/her, or he would just lower his voice. Through this method, he is able to catch the attention of the students and make them realize that they should instead listen to the teacher for them to learn and because he does not want to embarrass misbehaving students in front of the class, he usually jtalks to them after the class. One of Mr. Opulencia’s most challenging experiences was the time he was assigned to be the adviser of the section considered the “worst” in school. The records showed that most of the students in that class were at risk of dropping out, used illegal drugs and have violated school policies, and had troublesome parents. As adviser, he did his best to steer his students clear of trouble, but as the year progressed, and as expected, happened his students kept absenting themselves from class while others violated school rules. When they were brought to the guidance office for disciplinary action, Mr. Opulencia went with them. At the meeting, he later discovered that these students did not really choose to be where they were. They had very big family problems they could not handle. One of the students had a father who was in jail, another had to get a part-time job as gasoline boy to be able to study, another could not be sent to college, and son on. Through perseverance and understanding, he tried to personally help these students go through the obstacles they were encountering in life. As many of their teachers were already giving up on them and were, in fact, already giving them failing grades, Mr.38 Passion for Teaching
    • Opulencia talked to each of them to ask for understanding and consideration. He also sought the help of parents and peers to collaborate on giving them moral support. With this supportive team built around them, the students were provided with good influence. Everyday, he related something inspirational to them for them to absorb and reflect on; he also developed supplementary materials and activities during his free time to be enable his students catch up with the lessons. These self-paced and user- friendly materials were later on noticed by a private publisher and published them. Through the strategies Mr. Opulencia introduced, he eventually made his students succeed in life without asking for anything in return. He made them set a vision to graduate in high school so as help their families get out of poverty and he inculcated in them the mindset of drawing up their objectives in life on which they will base their actions that would bring them to success. Fortunately, all of his students—all 101 of them—were very cooperative and were able to graduate that school year. Moreover, on their graduation day, his advisory class, the then worst section, was awarded as the outstanding classroom while Mr. Opulencia was awarded as the most outstanding teacher. Although Mr. Opulencia had never aspired to be an educator in the first few years of his life, he had always been a passionate and dedicated teacher. Aside from teaching history classes, he has also been assigned as student council adviser and coach for various inter-school competitions wherein he helped students bag many awards and prizes.With these additional tasks came more responsibilities and sacrifices—time and resources—but he he never regretted being a teacher—a passionate and excellent teacher and a modern hero. Today, Mr. Opulencia is an Education Supervisor working for the improvement of the education sector, but he has never forgotten that his heart will forever belong to teaching. Passion for Teaching 39
    • 3 Researching for the Betterment of Students
    • Aurora Zuñiga The Urge to Serve “Very dedicated and committed to her profession, she says that teaching is her life.” Being the school head of the University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) is not a simple job. The title carries with it prestige, but it also entails the challenge of being a leader in the basic education sector. This was what Dr. Aurora Zuñiga had to deal with as she assumed the post of Principal in UPIS, one of the most excellent basic education providers in the Philippines from 2008 to 2011. Before she became a school principal, however, she started as a simple teacher, living a simple life in the province. Addressing the Need of Indifferent Schools It was no surprise that Dr. Zuñiga, who comes from a family of educators, followed the samepath that her parents had then. Her parents were very dedicated and committed42 Passion for Teaching
    • ...she said that she believes that her role is not just to teach Mathematics but more importantly, good moral values. teachers who later on became a principal and a district supervisor in the Tarlac province.As a child, she played school with the neighbourhood children and she always assumed the role of a teacher. She also remembers seeing her mother laboriously preparing visual aids and lessons plans each night, without any complaint about the workload. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at the Philippine Normal University (PNU) graduating cum laude, Dr. Zuñiga, formerly Ms. Cruz, served as a public school teacher in Tarlac, from 1968 to 1978; later on she became a District Math Coordinator. Very dedicated and committed to her profession, she says that teaching is her life. She further believes that teaching is a very noble profession that may not be financially rewarding but has otherwise given her self-fulfilment by knowing that she is instrumental in developing her students’ good habits of learning, thinking, behaving, and valuing. In her 43 years of teaching, she has met students from a wide spectrum of abilities, personalities, and characteristics. She takes note of these traits so as to adapt her teaching style to each type of student. When she encounters of students with learning difficulties, she tries to find the reasons behind their poor performance or their behavioral problem. She investigates through consultations with other teachers or interviews with parents and their classmates. She also confers with guidance counsellors if there are relevant data which may have affected the situation of the child. As for slow learners, Dr. Zuñiga also spends extra time with them, even sitting, with them while answering math exercises or problems so she can identify error patterns. Then she plans a particular strategy to address a specific learning difficulty. She also gives students exercises in varying degrees of difficulty to reinforce their learning skills. When a student shows signs of improvement, she acknowledges his/her progress in front of the class to boost the students’ self-esteem and interest to learn. Handling Problems and Pressure When the father of one of Mrs. Zuñiga’s students consulted her about the child’s grade, she showed him how the daughter earned the grade of 69, supporting this with Passion for Teaching 43
    • the supporting documents including her record book of grades. After understanding the situation, he left without any sign of agitation or disappointment. The next day, the father was back this time with his spouse who appeared very angry. In a very stern voice, she said she could accept a grade of 78 but not the grade Dr. Zuñiga had given her daughter. At this point, Dr. Zuñiga knew the mother was not going to listen to any explanation. Calmly, Dr. Zuñiga told the mother that because she (the mother) had never witnessed firsthand her daughter’s performance in class, she was not in a position to say what grade the daughter deserved. Dr. Zuñiga also pointed out that the mother’s two other daughters performed very well in her class and were, in fact, awarded Best in Mathematics. she then asked the mother why the third daughter’s failing score was attributed to her while the two older children’s success was not credited to her, being the teacher. Struck by the question, the mother left, shamed with questions in her mind. Meanwhile, Dr. Zuñiga continued to teach and interact with the student involved as if nothing had happened. By the end of the year, the said student’s performance improved significantly. Years later, Dr. Zuñiga and the daughter’s mother ran into each other and, surprisingly, the mother thanked her for having been a great teacher to her daughters. Dr. Zuñiga says challenges like these and the variety in day-to-day activities make her love the teaching profession. And I do not just teach mathematics, she adds, but also good moral values and those that she cultivates in her students are the values that she holds dear. The Teaching Strategies Dr. Zuñiga uses a variety of strategies to make lessons interesting, challenging, interactive, and relevant to the students’ lives. She usually poses problem-based questions and urges students to use different solutions so as to hone their critical and creative thinking skills She also taps her fast learners to provide assistance to slow learners so that both parties develop deeper understanding of the concepts. Dr. Zuñiga considers the first week of each school year as the most crucial. During this time, she orients her students on what they should expect in class and what rules to follow in and outside the classroom. This is to ensure that the students know what is expected of them in terms of behavior and class requirements. Through this method, Dr. Zuñiga believes that disciplinary problems are minimized. Whenever there are unexpected disturbances or distractions in class due to the behaviour of students, she tries to speak with them or to their parents depending on the gravity of the offense. The Choice to Stay Dr. Zuñiga admits that she tried to leave the teaching profession twice. The first time, was when a bank offered her a job during the early years of her career. The second time was when her husband, leaving to work overseas, urged her to join him. As she44 Passion for Teaching
    • contemplated her options, she realized that the prospect of doing a job other than teaching was not attractive to her despite its financial perks. And anyway, she says, she already feels fulfilled in being an educator. From then on, she made sure that she would leave a legacy to her students—to develop the love for mathematics and not the fear of it as many people do. As a School Principal In 2008, she was nominated as principal of UPIS, but she hesitated. She knew that if she accepted the nomination and, eventually, the post, it would require much from her especially because her husband had gotten sick of lung cancer. However, on the last day of filing of nominations, Dr. Zuñiga learned that there was not a single UPIS faculty among the nominated candidates. Believing that only someone from UPIS could better lead the school, she thought long and hard about her final decision; she also asked for her husband’s permission for her to accept the nomination. Afterwards, she sat down to write her vision, mission, and goals for the school as required by the search committee. Five minutes before the deadline, she submitted all the requirements. In 2008, she was appointed as the UPIS Principal. It was indeed a challenge for her to be learning about her new position while taking care of her husband whose health was deteriorating. Her husband soon passed away just as she was starting her second month as principal. Since she is handling children, Dr. Zuñigamakes it a point that her students have fun in class. Passion for Teaching 45
    • As school administrator, Dr. Zuñiga believes that airing opposing views on various issues is a must; thus, she always conducts consultations and dialogues— with the school’s Executive Committee, the faculty, and the General PTA Board—before implementing or introducing a new policy. Information dissemination also helps in the process, she adds. Researching for the Betterment of the Urban Poor Children IA research done by Dr. Zuñiga and different UP constituents on two poor urban schools in Metro Manila, studied the effects of teacher mentoring in English, mathematics, science, and community mobilization on student achievement and behavior. It also looked into teacher behavior as an important variable in the study; teacher behavior in Grade 4 and First Year High School was also studied. ... she made sure that she would leave a legacy to her students—to develop the love for Mathematics and not the fear of it as many people do. In the first installment of the study, two low-ranking schools engaged in achievement tests, psychological tests, teacher mentoring, and interventions such as counselling, seminars, and community mobilization. The results of the interventions done showed a significant increase in the students’ performance and improvement of teaching strategies in both schools. Recommendations such as reduction of class size, greater participation of teachers and the principal with regard to educational interventions, and the increase of student counselling were also stated in the previous study. The second study, conducted in 2010, aimed to determine the effects of continuing teacher mentoring and community mobilization on urban poor student achievement in Grade Four English, mathematics, and science at Balara Elementary School and First Year High School in Jose P. Laurel High School. The general objective of the said research was to improve average student achievement in both levels in science, math, and English. It also aimed to help school principals, supervisors, department heads, and grade level coordinators who mentor teachers in English, mathematics, and science as they cope with the current realities in urban poor schools with large classes, lack of resources, poorly prepared teachers, and lack of supervising and mentoring of teachers. The study helped them know more about community resource mobilization and to use it for addressing school needs and problems and improving students’ academic performance. The study’s researcher-made instruments of the study included achievement tests, classroom observation guides, and teacher interview guides, while major outputs included teacher mentoring guides in the mentioned subjects and a community mobilization guide.46 Passion for Teaching
    • She believes that though there are numerous problems in the education to be addressed in the education sector, the improvement of teacher performance is a big step to start addressing these as it is them who directly interact with the students as well as inspire them to become better people. Using the analysis of variance and t-tests, the study showed a significant increase in student achievement resulting from the conduct of teacher mentoring. Moreover, positive behavioral changes were observed with in teachers and students who wereinvolved in the study. In the case of teachers, this was observed through the teachers’ act of asking critical and open-ended engagement of students in class discussions, hands-on activities, and improved classroom management. Thoughout the process, Dr. Zuñiga also observed that the teachers appreciated the assistance given to them as the mentoring process rekindled their passion for teaching. In the case of students, the effectiveness of the mentoring was evident in their greater participation in recitation and activities. With regard to community mobilization, changes included the principals’ greater awareness of the importance of community resource mobilization and community organization networking as a tool to improve student performance. Moreover, high school class advisers became more aware about the resources of the School Governing Council which could be utilized to address student problems and academic concerns. Also, more class advisers were reported to have a greater capacity to help students with various problems—be it academic or non-academic. According to Dr. Zuñiga, research experiences like this gives her a close up view of the many problems encountered in the public basic education sector. She believes that though there are numerous problems to be addressed, the improvement of teacher performance is a good way to start because teachers are the ones who directly interact with the students and inspire them to become better people. She further mentioned that this research study affirmed her belief that indeed, the teacher is the most important factor in student achievement.While she truly appreciates working with very competent colleagues at UPIS, she is hopeful that more teachers share their expertise with those impoverished schools in the country. She also said that through this study, she realized that teacher mentoring should be institutionalized as part of any school system. Passion for Teaching 47
    • References: Zuñiga, A., Talisayon, V.,Baetiong, L., et.al. Systems Approach to Teacher Mentoring and Urban Poor Student Achievement: Final Program report, Year 2. UP Diliman, June 2010 Asia Research News, “Results of the Open Grant research project “Systems Approach to Teacher Mentoring and Urban Poor Student Achievement” presented in the forum “Pagbabago sa Silid Aralan: Kung Hindi Ngayon, Kailan?”, ResearchSEA, http://www. researchsea.com/html/article.php/aid/4060/cid/6/research/forum_on_current_ philippine_education.html?PHPSESSID=92ae156683bf (accessed June 29, 2011) Saowanee Yuthtamanop Am I Really an Action Researcher? Many people ask me why I don’t want to be a school administrator and I answer that I love to teach and I’ll continue teaching all my life.” Whenever I enter a classroom, and I see the joy in each and every eyes, this completes my day, despite all the stress and problems I meet in my profession. I have been a teacher for 27 years and throughout this period, I can say that I have never regretted being one. When I was a child, I did not want to be a teacher, but instead, I wanted to be an accountant. However, my mother pushed me to be the educator that I am now. I am an only child and I come from a poor family. My mother was a farmer while my father was a government official and their salary was just enough to sustain our daily living. Inspired by my mother, who I consider my best teacher, I decided to be an educator. I decided to be one because it would be practical for my family, since unlike other jobs, being a teacher allows me to stay with them and, thus, enables me to take care of my mother. Later on, I developed the passion to teach and vowed that I would never leave the profession, ever. From then on, I knew I was born to live and die as a teacher. In my early years of teaching, I was still in the stage of adjusting and developing my own teaching technique. I was very theoretical back. Since I thought that applying all the theories I have learned in school would equate to quality education. Then, I realized that not all theories are applicable to every learning situation. The context of the situation must also be considered.48 Passion for Teaching
    • By adjusting to every situation, I eventually learned how to get the attention of my students and make them listen to me. What is surprising is that I can even handle the naughty students and make them behave. I learned how to adapt to Encouraging the children to talk during one of the group works in a them and make Elementary Camp held in school. them feel like I am not just their teacher, but also a friend and a second mother, rolled into one. Being a maternal being, I am very proud to say that my students call me mom. In Thailand, that is an unusual practice and it makes me feel that I am appreciated and, thus, I feel more passionate in my profession. Whenever my students have problems, they always approach me. One time, one of them came to my room and told me that a teacher had spanked her. I then consoled her and told her that whatever happens, in the end, everything will be alright. I knew she felt good afterwards since she knew that she was not alone and that there was someone willing to be there when she needed a shoulder to cry on. During my free time, students are free to visit me. Since I am the manager of the English Resource and Instruction Center (ERIC), I have a large room, where in my students and I can talk, play, and do activities. Recently, we have been hooked on Korean movies and my students and I always watch and share stories about the movies that we have already watched. In fact, we even cry together while watching! Though I have grown so close to my students, I have my own subtle way to discipline them. To be able to teach them how to work in a team, which will eventually help them as they enter the real world, I usually ask my students to work in groups. I have different strategies in doing so—from role playing to serious reporting. While they are working as a group, I see them as jigsaw puzzles—without each other, they will not be able to complete the whole picture. Each has his or her own responsibilities to fulfill, whether big or small, and the project will not be complete without each person’s contribution.Whenever I see some group members not working, I don’t scold them. Instead, I let them know their lesson by the end of the activity. Usually, when one of the students does not do his/her responsibilities, the whole group sacrifices the Passion for Teaching 49
    • Being a maternal being, I am very proud to say that my students call me mom since they see me as their second mother. It is an unusual practice in Thailand and it makes me feel that I am appreciated and, thus, I feel more passionate in my profession. quality of their output. Then, the other group members get mad at the single member who has let them down. Thus, the irresponsible member learns his/her lesson that if he/she continues being as such, he/she might lose friends. Most of the time, I see them improve, eventually, since they value their relationship with their peers. As a teacher, I don’t want my students to just learn about Comprehensive and Critical Reading. I want them to learn more about life in general and how they should prepare for the challenges that they might face ahead. I try to teach them how to be responsible beings for the society. When I grow old, I want to say that I have touched the lives of the leaders of the country and that I have helped them succeed in their chosen professions. I also want to teach them that they should be proud Thais, wherever they may go and whatever happens to them. Being an English Critical and Comprehensive Reading Teacher in Thailand is not an easy job due to our mother tongue, which is very different from that of English. Throughout my years in service, I have seen that my students do not easily comprehend what they have read. It was a big problem and I had to find a solution to it no Sharing her teaching experience to co-participants during matter what it would take.the SEAMEO INNOTECH Third Regional Education Forum I immediately did research work by studying the learning styles and needs of my students as well as different reference materials, from which I learned many teaching and learning styles and theories. Then, I developed my own model of teaching based on the needs of my students, which I called Q2RD—Question, Read, Rewrite, and Discuss. Based on my model, first, the teacher has to pose a question to the students so that they will think for themselves and eventually develop as independent learners.50 Passion for Teaching
    • Second, the students have to read, since the subject matter is Critical/Comprehensive Reading. Third, they have to rewrite, in Thai or English, a summary of what they have read to be able to ensure that they have understood the material. Fourth, they need to discuss the material with their peers to be able to check the students’ critical Ms. Yuthmanop is fond of giving suggestions to students on comprehension. Through this how to improve their work during group activities teaching model, the reading comprehension of my students greatly improved. When I created Q2RD, my aim was neither to make my students fluent English speakers nor writers, but to make sure that they understand what they read. I can say it works! Due to the solutions I have formulated, I was recognized as one of the 185 awardees of the Kroo Dee Nai Duang Jai (A Good Teacher in the Thai’s Hearts) Award—an award I have never expected to receive. My research was recognized throughout the country and I was given budget by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to expand the project. The research was then implemented in two schools in the country in different subject matters, such as mathematics, science, and Buddhism. It was like I was on top of the world when I received the award! Who would not want to be recognized for his/her efforts? However, my way of living and teaching my students did not change. I was still the simple Kru Sao (Teacher Sao) that they knew. However, I was inspired to do more, to help more, and touch other people’s lives more. If asked how I would describe myself as an action researcher, I would say that I am not even a researcher. Though I have developed a model of teaching through research, still, I am not a researcher. But, I am teacher constantly looking for solutions for my students’ problems, without asking for anything in return. Passion for Teaching 51
    • 4 Initiating Change Through Innovations and Technology
    • Trixie Marie Sison Knowing One’s Students Bringing a Child Friendly and Age-Appropriate Curriculum to the School Ms. Sison says that if she would be given the chance to choose whom to teach, she would teach the young. Nothing beats story-telling to start the day in a nursery class. You can take that from Ms.Trixie Marie Sison, a former nursery teacher at Miriam College Child Study Center (MC CSC) in the Philippines who believes that sharing stories is a good way to catch the attention of and to communicate with students regardless of age. Teacher Profile Being a product of Miriam College, for almost all her life, Ms. Sison says that she has devoted her life to teaching and serving children—particularly in this institution. Right after graduating cum laude and class valedictorian from Maryknoll College (now Miriam College) in 1988 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and Education, Ms. Sison taught at the same institution as a nursery teacher for 11 years, the last four years of which as a college instructor. Afterwards, she served as academic assistant for Language Arts as well as Christian Living Education in addition to being a professor of graduate studies for two semesters. From 2006-2009, she was the program director of the Miriam College Child Development Day Care Center until54 Passion for Teaching
    • she was appointed as a principal, a position she holds up to the present. Besides that, she also teaches English at the Day Care Workers in Quezon City. Ms. Sison finished her master’s degree in Family Life and Child Development at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and has earned units for a doctorate degree in Child and Family Studies at Miriam College. The Preschool Teacher Having being able to handle students of almost all ages, Ms. Sison says that if given a choice, she would choose to teach the young. She explains that she enjoys teaching different age groups, but her first love is teaching children. Children, she says, are full of hope and so eager to understand the world around them. Although it is very easy to communicate with them, the challenge is in motivating them to develop the love for learning, fill their curiosity, satisfy their thirst for knowledge, and guide them in their determination to explore the world. When she hears her students laugh as they discover that the world is a happy place or when she sees their faces light up as they understand something for the first time, it is enough to make her day, she says. She said that it is a feeling that maybe only teachers like her would only understand. She said that she sees that children are full of hope and so eager to understand the world around him/her. Aware that teaching is an opportunity to contribute to the betterment of humanity and the world, Ms. Sison tries her best to inspire students to become the best people that they can be. She believes that preschool teachers like her are instrumental in helping students reach their potentials. Having students who are in their formative years, she values more how her students can apply her teachings to their lives rather than merely being able to remember concepts.As a teacher, she is given an opportunity to steer their destinies themselves. Inside the classroom she builds rapport with her students by listening to them and making sure that the classroom atmosphere is conducive to learning. She believes that a teacher is the best visual aid; if the children see that their teacher is relaxed and calm, they would also feel the same way. According to her, being a preschool teacher entails talent, creativity, resourcefulness, and hardwork because preschool students, unlike other students, are very active Passion for Teaching 55
    • Ms. Sison enjoyed a lot in teaching an all boys nursery class. learners but get easily get bored. Among the strategies that Ms. Sison employs in her class is the use of songs, dances, or games related to the lessons. She also helps the children learn to use their senses, to have animated discussions, and go field trips. Being a creative person, she exerts extra effort to employ several innovations in class. Among these are teacher-made stories for all the letters of the alphabet and writing journals. As the children record the milestones in their lives, their parents are also asked to write their observations and how they feel about what their children have expressed in their journals. The objective of this activity is not just to enhance the writing skills of the students, but also to make them feel that they are loved by their parents and eventually develop a deep connection with them. Sometimes, she picks out an entry from the journals to be shared in class. The Principal at Work While completing her master’s degree, and as she was exposed to new trends in teaching early childhood education, she realized that the curriculum in Miriam College Child Study Center (MC CSC) could further be improved to make it more developmentally appropriate for children. Willing to take risks to be able to implement what she believed was an urgent need of the school, Ms. Sison accepted and assumed an administrative position as soon as the post was offered. However, though she was already part of the management, she could not entirely implement the changes in the curriculum because just like any change, it was difficult to be accepted by all. This did not fully satisfy her and she knew that something had to be done. The answer to her concern came when her nomination to be the principal of CSC was accepted. This time she was able to gradually implement the changes that she wanted to see in the curriculum. Believing that every child deserves to enjoy his/her childhood, Ms. Sison made sure that through the new integrated curriculum that she gradually implemented,56 Passion for Teaching
    • parents, teachers, and stakeholders were able to understand that children should be understood in terms of their developmental stages and certainly not what is expected from them by others. As the new principal, she makes sure that the students have fun while learning, so as not to neglect their childhood and to fully develop them as active, thinking, and feeling individuals. Ms. Sison also knows that parents have expectations about concepts that their children should learn or certain skills that they should acquire but which might not yet be appropriate for the children’s age. As the curriculum is regularly reviewed and articulation sessions are regularly held, Ms. Sison always makes it a point to remind the teachers that the prime consideration should be given to the developmental milestones of the students. She also reminds parents that their children need time to develop. Ms. Sison then knew that since she was introducing new innovations and policies, people would be more willing to accept the said changes and policies if they were consulted. Thus, whenever she tries to introduce something new to the system, she usually asks people around her about their opinions regarding the issue. Afterwards, she forms a committee composed of people who will be directly affected by the policy or the changes to be implemented. While talking about matters that need to be discussed, she lets them express their apprehensions and get feedback from other members of the community. In this way, the policy or changes are communicated well and are thoroughly discussed. This, she says, gives people a chance to be involved in the process and, in a way, own the changes as it also gives people time to accept the changes that will take place. As principal, she believes that there must be two things a leader has to bear in mind when executing changes—to communicate well and to involve people in the process. ...it really makes her day when she hears her students laugh when they discover that the world is a happy place to be or when she sees their faces lit up because they understood something for the first time. She said that it is a feeling that maybe only teachers like her would only understand. Passion for Teaching 57
    • As the new principal, she makes sure that the students have fun while learning, as to not neglect their childhood and to fully develop them as active, thinking, and feeling individuals. Innovations in the Curriculum Bearing in mind that children need to enjoy while learning, Ms. Sison, together with the administrators and teachers, paved the way for the implementation of various innovations like a print-rich environment and adopting an integrated approach in the preschool curriculum which further developed the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of the students while incorporating the school values—truth, justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Aside from the usual activities which the CSC holds every year like Puppet Show, Linggo ng Wika (A week- long activity celebrating the Filipino language), and Center Time, Ms. Sison, along with the other administrators, spearheaded the Book Day Celebration, Math and Science Week, Journal Making, Book Making, and Letter Writing Activities. These activities were introduced so that the children would not only be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom but also to pave the way for enhancing their skills in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Moreover, these activities also aim to help children develop the love for learning as concepts are introduced in a fun and creative way. Being a parent herself, Ms. Sison knows how important it is for parents to be involved in their children’s learning process. Thus, she introduced the Parent Recollection and the Parent and Child Bonding Activity to remind parents of the importance of spending time with their children despite their various obligations at work and in the family. Through the various innovations she has introduced to the curriculum, Ms. Sison, hopes that other administrators and teachers will continue to be inspired to come up with relevant, age-appropriate, and fun activities for the children as this is the key to further develop globally competitive students who are not just intelligent, but are also well-rounded human beings. This legacy of innovations shall always be a part of the CSC as students are provided with competitive and enjoyable early literacy experiences. Through these, she believes that the Center will definitely be able to produce individuals who are not only ready to face the challenges of the future but are also motivated to become lifelong learners.58 Passion for Teaching
    • Maria Eljie Mabunga Innovating for Development How a teacher was able to let her students experience a lot of things in life through introducing innovations While other teachers who require their students to prioritize their subject handled, Ms. Maria Eljie Mabunga thinks otherwise. She believes that students must prioritize subjects because they want to and not because the teacher is obliging them to. Presently handling both high school and college students, Ms. Mabunga, from the Philippines, employs democracy and resourcefulness in the classroom. The Professional Mother Ms. Mabunga grew up with many strong female models, including her mother as well as a neighbor whom she regarded like her own grandmother. She said that as a child, she came up with the notion that a teacher serves as a second mother to her students and that mothers, when they die, will go straight to heaven because of the sacrifices they do for their children. With that idea, she dreamt that one day she would become a mother. It was also then that she decided to become a teacher, to be a mother to all. Being a mother herself, she tries to cope with the responsibilities of both a teacher and a mother, but with her supportive family behind her, she does not need to compromise her love for teaching as they understand her and her work. Ms. Mabunga regards her job as a stress reliever. When she becomes frustrated with things that are beyond her control and expectations, her students uplift her through their simple conversations and chitchats. She says that it is as if she is a mother seeing her children after a day’s work. Though she is emotionally satisfied with her job, Ms. Mabunga thinks that most teachers, particularly those in public schools, are not satisfied with their jobs, their compensation, or their workplace. She further mentioned that the government and other educational institutions should look into addressing the problem of lack of teachers’ satisfaction in their profession and igniting their passion for teaching. Realizing this, Ms. Mabunga appreciates being employed at the Philippine Normal University-Center for Teaching and Learning (PNU-CTL), where there is academic freedom which allows her to employ different teaching strategies. Passion for Teaching 59
    • ...the government and other educational institutions should look into addressing the problem on lack of teachers’ satisfaction in their profession as well as ignite their passion for teaching. The Road to Sustainable Development As adviser of the PNU-CTL UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (AspNet) Club, Ms. Mabunga has grown to be a personal UNESCO ideal advocate. Besides teaching her lessons, she also trains the students to be street-smart but responsible citizens. As a Social Studies teacher, she lets her students engage in different innovations such as, Windows to the World (WOW), an annual activity she introduced to the school. In this whole-day affair, students portray a diorama of Philippine provinces with responsible and outstanding leaders, model countries for sustainable development, and the festivities of different places around the globe.Visitors and school officials flock to the event as they are able to taste the food of the province being portrayed, different cultural presentations, and learn from the students who share information in the Q and A session. Through methods like these, students do not just learn by conducting research on the assigned topics, but they also learn from the interaction with others during the event. They are also trained to be prepared about almost everything about the topic as certain questions could be asked to from them during the activity proper. They are also given an opportunity to experience the culture and traditions of a certain country without even leaving school. In times like these, Ms. Mabunga invites people from the60 Passion for Teaching
    • embassy of the country portrayed to give direct information to the students assigned. Believing that there is always room for improvement, she makes sure that the event is regularly evaluated so as to be able to improve the activity for the future. When teaching, Ms. Mabunga uses different visual organizers, such as semantic webs, comparison matrices, timelines, and graphs. She believes that by organizing relevant data through visuals, students are able to absorb the lesson easier as the thoughts are already presented in an organized manner. Believing that the teaching-learning process should not be confined in the classroom, she lets her students engage experience other learning approaches: interactions with the community and community leaders though surveys and interviews and involvement in the UNESCO-initiated activity, Mondialogo, in which local students interact with those of the partner school in Romania through the use of technology (e-mail, social networking sites, and video calls). In this innovation, her students were able to produce a six-CD collection which documented the intercultural dialogue of the students, for instance in the exchange of recipes of each country’s well-known food.The Romanian students cooked the favorite Filipino adobo, while the Filipino students cooked Romania’s signature meatballs.Videos showing how both nationalities cooked the food could be seen in the CD. Ms. Mabunga believes that activities such as these inspire students to have a long-term enthusiasm for cultural exchange and understanding. Small steps like these, she says, could be a start for international understanding, and eventually, world peace. She also believes that through the interaction of Filipinos with people from developed countries, Filipinos would be able to get ideas on they, as individuals, could contribute to the development of their country as well as attainment the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In addition, Ms. Mabunga also animates her students to join different contests especially those that have a social cause. In one instance, she encouraged her students to join the photo and mural painting contest of UNESCO with the theme of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and they bagged the second prize! Through this, she believes that her students do not only improve their creative skills but also learn about various social issues which they could help address. She has also supported students and teachers in joining international and national organizations such as the PCPGE (Philippine Council for Peace and Global Education—Eco Camps and Conferences), UNESCO, and UNESCO AspNet. Spearheading the conduct of educational fieldtrips is also a part of Ms. Mabunga’s lesson plan. Dubbing one of their fieldtrips as The Bonifacio Trails, she and her history class followed the life of one of the most famous heroes of the country, Andres Bonifacio. They started with a visit to the place where Bonifacio founded the Katipunan, an organization which served as a big help in defeating the Spanish colonizers and ended at the place where he died. As part of the icing, she also provides short informal talks regarding the place being visited to help students appreciate the place more. Passion for Teaching 61
    • She also believes that through the interaction of Filipinos with people from developed countries, Filipinos could be able to get ideas on how as individuals, could they contribute to the development of their country as well as attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Education for Sustainable Development From the innovations and initiatives exerted by Ms. Mabunga, it is very much evident that she is an advocate of social change. She believes that through the efforts that she showed, she was able to somehow contribute to making the country a developed nation. In one of the studies done by Ms. Mabunga, she was able to investigate regarding the perception of Social Studies teachers in selected secondary schools in Metro Manila with regards Sustainable Development. With the aim to serve as a basis for the enhancement of lesson activities, the study revealed that the respondents had a significant high level of knowledge on sustainable development—environmental, economic, social, and political.Through the said data, Ms. Mabunga was able to conclude that providing more learning opportunities for the teachers in terms of sustainable development would be very much appreciated by them. Moreover, the study showed that the respondents had a positive attitude towards the topic.This, she said, could be a good indication that sustainable development can really be advanced and promoted through education. This, she concluded, could be coursed through excellent Social Studies teachers. According to Ms. Mabunga, based on the results of the study, she found it healthy to recommend the upgrading of the country’s Social Studies curriculum to include topics regarding Sustainable Development so as to enhance the knowledge of all school stakeholders and students on what they can do regarding the improvement of the country’s situation. She also said that teachers should be given enough opportunities to participate in seminars/trainings relevant to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Furthermore, she also mentioned that more research should be conducted regarding Sustainable Development vis-a-vis the Basic Education curriculum. It was also recommended that future researches on Sustainable Development should dwell on the instructional materials development as well as on promoting the subject among schools and that the teachers and students enhance their knowledge and skills on Sustainable Development through further exploration of the topic through various62 Passion for Teaching
    • publications. Moreover, she also wanted to suggest that the activities used for teaching Sustainable Development should be more specific in its four major aspects— environmental, economic, social, and political. Through the numerous efforts exerted by Ms. Mabunga in teaching her students to be intellectual and street-smart learners, she has been able to also promote Education for Sustainable Development. She believes that through the actions that she has done, she will be able to help the Philippines to be a developed country in the near future. References: Mabunga, Maria Eljie, Perceptions on Sustainable Development (SD) of Social Studies Teachers in Selected Secondary Schools in Metro Manila, Bases for Enhancement of Lesson Activities, Philippine Normal University, October 2007. Ester Raagas Technology and Innovations: Tools for Better Understanding A teacher with a PhD degree does not guarantee effective learning of students. This is what Dr. Ester Raagas, a professor at the Xavier University Graduate School in the Philippines, believes. Having completed a bachelor’s degree in education major in mathematics and physics, a master’s degree in statistics, and a doctorate degree in education, Dr. Raagas believes that the knowledge she has gained from these degrees does not solely make her a good teacher. The Battle: Fulfilment or Financial Stability When asked to describe teaching, Dr. Raagas said that teaching for her is not just a profession, but more of a vocation. A teacher, she added, must have the passion to do his/her job, for without this passion, he/she will not become an effective educator, and that teaching is a life-long learning process wherein teachers also learn from their students. It is a way of giving service to the nation as well as a give-and-take cycle for teachers to share their knowledge not just to their students but also to their co- teachers. She said that she initially decided to be a teacher for the sake of just having a job. However, she was pleasantly surprised to realize since the day she entered the academe, she had never considered leaving the profession, despite the tempting job offers. Dr. Raagas has never ran out of many financially rewarding job offers considering the fact that her expertise is in mathematics and statistics. In fact, she was once offered a job as statistical programmer at a very stable multinational company abroad. The Passion for Teaching 63
    • compensation was extremely large compared to what she was earneing as a teacher. Add to the fact that the work was relatively easy as she only needed to operate the statistical software of the company. However, she had to make a choice between the large amount of money and the love for her profession, as well as her family and her country. As she decided to decline that offer, she also realized that teaching woukd not make her poorer but rather, happier and more fulfilled in her life as mother, wife, educator, and a good citizen. To this day, she has lost a lot of money for having turned down the better-paying job offers, but she says that this is incomparable to her sense of accomplishment in life. For her, there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing her students learn and improve themselves. She also feels happy to see her colleagues and teachers in rural areas using the software and instructional materials she designed as these are helpful in improving their teaching skills. Subject Appreciation Having been in the education sector for 30 years, Dr. Raagas believes that expertise and good facilitation skills make a great teacher. During her early years of teaching, she used a monotonous chalk and talk style of teaching which, by the end of every semester, resulted in a maximum failure of 15 percent. Though the failure rate was relatively low, she wanted to lessen this by studying and exploring other teaching approaches. First, she tried peer-learning by identifying students who excelled in her subject and building rapport with them until they agreed to guide their slow learner classmates. Through this method both parties are able to benefit from each other through shared responsibility. She also involved the slow learners by asking them to identify topics which they found difficult. Next, she tried expectation setting.At the start of every semester, she and her students would express their respective expectations in class and agree upon them. Both parties are made aware of and to these expectations. A third approach is the use of technology and practical application. Being a teacher in technical subjects such as statistics, mathematics, research methods, measurements and evaluation, quantitative management, and data analysis, Dr. Raagas knows that many students find these subjects hard to learn and that most of them only took the subjects for the sake of fulfilling the requirements. Given this situation, at the start of every semester, she challenges herself that she should not only make all of her students understand the lessons and pass the subject but also make them appreciate the existence of the subject particularly in preparing research proposals and producing quality research outputs.To be able to provide a solution to this, she integrates various technologies to the lesson and uses problem-based teaching.64 Passion for Teaching
    • Dr. Raagas (front row, third from the right) with the grade school faculty of Xavier University Asked about an unforgettable experience in her teaching career, Dr. Raagas mentioned the time she was assigned to teach both the class of honor students and the class of slow learners. She said that it was indeed very hard to shift from one teaching technique to another. With the former, she could assume that honor students would learn more through well-prepared and more challenging activities; with the latter she simplified everything using a step-by-step approach, the vernacular, and a slower pace. Sharing Knowledge and Innovations At school, Dr. Raagas introduced technology in teaching, especially in her Statistics class. With computer programming, she produced various mini programs employing commonly used statistical tests. These mini programs shorten computation time and provide more focus on interpretations and implications of results. Moreover, a number of her lecture notes have been transformed to handbooks, manuals, and textbooks, which are now used all over the country. These lecture notes, she explains were produced simply to make students learn from her class. Only years later did she realize that these could also be published. She feels blessed for being able to share her knowledge to numerous people. Furthermore, she remains thankful that the time she has spent for research in her areas of interest has been maximized for optimal productivity. Her Legacies as Administrator After nine years of teaching at the Mathematics department, Dr. Raagas was appointed as graduate school professor in 1990. Besides teaching, she was also tasked to give assistance to graduate students in their respective theses or dissertations. Passion for Teaching 65
    • ...she realized that teaching will not make her poor but rather, it will make her happy and fulfilled in her life as mother, wife, educator, and a good citizen. Aware that graduate students usually hired a statistician to process their research data, she rigorously taught each and every student that she handled how to process data by themselves. However, it was a time-consuming, not to mention, tiring work. Thus, Dr. Raagas recommended to offer an elective course on data analysis to enable graduate students to learn how to analyze their research data as well as independently work on their research. The recommended course was later approved and implemented. Now called Information Analysis, it is uniquely offered by the school and has helped thousands of graduate students to prepare, conduct, and effectively understand their research studies. Dr. Raagas also pushed for the creation of the Xavier University Center for Advancement of Training (XUCAT) in 2006, would focus on helping teachers in Mindanao, a war-prone region in the country. Since its creation, XUCAT has been providing relevant, updated, and well-designed teacher training programs to basic and higher education institutions in the country, particularly those in Mindanao. It is responsible for promoting and facilitating the advancement of teaching through conducting various projects that will eventually improve the quality of teaching within the university and beyond. All of these initiatives came into being because of Dr. Raagas’ competence, good will, and commitment to help improve the quality of education in Mindanao. I am fulfilled, she says. Aside from the creation of XUCAT, Dr. Raagas, as its first director also created software which enables teachers to check test papers and conduct item analysis in less than a minute. Glendale Lamiseria Introducing a Paradigm Shift through Innovations For Ms. Glendale Belarmino-Lamiseria teaching is her life and her inspiration to live. With determination, she says she will be teaching for the rest of her life. The Trail of Heroism In her younger days, Ms. Lamiseria wanted to be a doctor. However, it seemed that fate had other plans for her. There were two instances when she got a message that66 Passion for Teaching
    • Ms. Lamiseria with former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the Metrobank Foundation Awarding Ceremony she was destined to be a teacher. The first time was when an old beggar told her that she would be a successful teacher. Flattered by the opinion but not taking it seriously, she gave the beggar alms, smiled, and then went her way. The second time, it was an old woman who told her that she would be a great teacher someday. Years after, she became a true-blooded teacher, moulding the talents of the youth. She believes that though she was not able to be a doctor, like she originally wanted, she became a healer of teenagers who become discouraged to continue their educational journey. Her heartfelt pieces of advice serve as medicine for ailing students. Ms. Lamiseria believes that good teaching comes from the heart and that the best teachers are those who strive to earn the honor bestowed upon teachers. She sees the profession as a challenging one as it is filled with various, often emotional, experiences. She further said that a teacher must know how to maintain his/her self-esteem when belittled by others as she believes that only brave individuals can become good teachers. She says that teachers nowadays have two choices: to give up teaching and choose another job, or to continue and leave a trail of heroism in such a challenging and self-fulfilling profession—and she is proud to say that she chose the latter. When asked how she sees herself as a teacher, she says that she is an innovator, as she always wants to introduce something noble to the academe despite the difficulties and challenges that are encountered. She says that her desire to innovate comes from her passion to teach in order to hone the potentials of her students. Passion for Teaching 67
    • The Teaching Style As regards her teaching style, Ms. Lamiseria says that she lets her students engage in activities that enhance cooperative learning among themselves. Moreover, she makes it a point to relate the lessons to that real life situations so that the students can clearly see the significance of what they are studying. To develop her students’ 21st century skills, she uses various information and communications technologies. Dealing with Students At the start of every school year, Ms. Lamiseria observes the behavior and intellectual abilities of her students. Attention seeking students are given responsibilities, such as becoming checking attendance or keeping the classroom clean. On the other hand, the slow learners are enrolled in remedial classes so that they can cope with the lessons classroom discussions. Whenever students laugh at their classmates’ mistakes, Ms. Lamiseria scolds them and reminds them that it is okay to commit mistakes because nobody is perfect, but that no one should laugh at the mistakes of others.Through this, no one is hesitant to recite in class and the students become motivated to learn, and thus, improve their performance in class. In addition, the fast learners are given more challenging leadership roles and are sometimes assigned to peer-tutor the slow learners: they are also assigned more difficult exercises to become more challenged. The Innovator In 2005, when the Internet and other Information Communication Technologies (ICT) became a the trend in the Philippines, Ms. Lamiseria was assigned as ICT coordinator of Dulag National High School (DNHS). That same year, she was also appointed as the Mathematics Department Coordinator of the school. In a single year, many opportunities and challenges came her way, yet she was so nervous about introducing the use of ICT in education to her colleagues and students. Ms. Lamiseria then spearheaded the conduct of ICT seminars. To start introducing the technologies, only a few teachers attended. Since computer units in the school were limited, she also decided to arrange the class schedules to conduct ICT classes in the computer laboratory. Again, the response was poor because many of the assigned teachers did not actually conduct ICT classes. Some teachers seemed not ready for the change that was about to occur. They claimed that ICT intervention would burden them or complicate their way of teaching. Moreover, they were also not willing to spare additional time for the training since these were done during weekends, summer vacations, or semester breaks. However, Lady Luck came into picture, the General Parents and Teachers Association supported the implementation of the program and the ICT fees collected from the students were used for the maintenance of the computer units.68 Passion for Teaching
    • As ICT coordinator, she had a hard time handling people since they did not want to listen to her because she was not a school administrator. At this point, she almost gave up on her dream of being instrumental in creating a paradigm shift in her school because of the uncooperative teachers. However, she faced the challenge and revised her strategy. She identified the teachers who were willing to use ICT in enriching their teaching strategies. Together they devised ways to strength the ICT integration across the curriculum and came up with several innovations such as the Innervisions, the ZENITH Project, and the Tendencies for a Cause. Through these innovations, they were able to increase the number of teachers who used ICTs in teaching their respective subjects. The ZENITH Project The ZENITH (Zealous Enhancement and Nurturing of Individuals through Technology and Hands-on) Project acquainted the teachers with the ICT. They were also trained on how to develop the multiple intelligences of learners through ICT-based projects as well as conduct community outreach programs for the Out-of-School Youth (OSY). The training was implemented in two phases. The first phase introduced the teachers to basic computer literacy and focused on MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, MS Publisher, and the Internet. The second phase served as the ICT Integration Training as it focused on Web Quest, Scavanger Hunt, and ICT instructional materials construction. At most 10 teachers were trained per seminar since there were only 10 computer units available. After the training, at least two teachers were trained by a core of trainers, who attended seminars on Faculty Technology Transfer Program; School of the Future (SOF) Implementation; Intel-Teach to the Future; MS Office; ICT Literacy Training; Information Literacy and Tele-collaborative Learning; e-Curricula; and Foundation for Information Technology and Education and Development (FIT-ED) Training. The pair Assisting some of the participants during the training on Basic Computer Literacy for the Out-of-School Youth held at Dulag National High School on December 2009 Passion for Teaching 69
    • met once a week for one hour within one semester. After the mentoring session, the mentees were assigned to hold ICT classes in their respective subject areas.They were also given further motivation in the form of service credits, certificates, recognition, and flash disks. Refresher workshops were also conducted for teachers who had trained earlier. During the implementation stage, the MOF (Mentoring, Observing, and Feedbacking) Model was used. Ms. Lamiseria gave inputs for the teachers to further improve their ICT teaching and facilitation skills. Besides Ms. Lamisera, selected ICT experts were also invited to observe and comment on their teaching performance. On the other hand, using the DVSE technique (Develop, Validate, Enhance, and Share), each ICT teacher involved in Project ZENITH was asked to submit a plan and create instructional materials for the lesson. A dry-run on the use of the materials followed. These materials, after undergoing some revisions, were also shared to other implementers of the program during the Community of Practice (CoP) to serve as their guide. She said that teachers nowadays have two choices—to give up and choose another job or to continue and leave a trail of heroism in such a challenging and self-fulfilling profession—and she is proud to say that she chose the latter. During the CoPs, teachers from various subject areas formed the Community Based Adventures for Lifelong Learners (CALL) projects which aimed to include one project specific learning objective in subject areas such as math, science, English, TLE, and values education. These projects were geared to enhance the multiple intelligences and entrepreneurial skills of the learners. Meanwhile, during the monitoring and evaluation phase, the ZENITH implementers utilized various strategies. For the teachers who held ICT classes, they were required to submit their lesson plan and instructional materials, attendance list of teachers, class lists, student outputs, rubrics, and success stories. On the other hand, in terms of ICT mentoring, both the mentors and the mentees were required to record on a logbook the time of mentoring, topic discussed, and outputs required from the mentee. ICT training outputs were also required for submission, including the attendance of teachers who dedicated their time to teach the OSY. Ms. Lamiseria is proud to say that although the DNHS eaching force was hesitant to undergo a paradigm shift the ZENITH Project was indeed a success. As the other70 Passion for Teaching
    • Mrs. Lamiseria as she served as the Philippine representative during the 7th Asia Pacific Regional Innovative Education Forum held at Phuket, Thailand last March 2011 teachers saw how the ICT teachers had improved the learning of the students, their perception changed. She said that the projects has been a success due to many factors: the strong support from the administration and stakeholders; the commitment, sense of responsibility, and good time management skills of teachers; the cooperation and collaboration among teachers; and the open discussion among teachers and between teachers and students. ..she makes it a point that she can relate the lessons to that of real life so that the students can clearly see the significance of what they are studying. Other Innovations As one of SEAMEO INNOTECH’s APEX (Applied Academics for Excellence) Schools, DNHS improves the job and livelihood prospects of high school students by providing them with basic workplace and entrepreneurship education. Students are exposed to hands-on applications, interactive peer learning, and exciting activities, thereby strengthening their academic foundations as well as technical and life preparation skills which are necessary to pursue a post-secondary education and/or their career of choice. Taking up this in connection to Project APEX, Ms. Lamiseria implemented the Tendencies for A Cause project, a project which aimed to enrich her students with Passion for Teaching 71
    • knowledge in different subject areas and provide them real life learning through the use of technology. Specifically, it made use of the need to strengthen malunggay (horse radish) planting not only at school but also in the community through the integration of teaching statistics. Using the Understanding by Design concept, the project was further linked to mathematics, through the use of measurement; science, through planting the malunggay cuttings and the use of distance and displacement; Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE), through the use of research on the different nutritional contents of the malunggay; and Computer Education, through the use of the computer and Internet for researching to complete required reports. It also advocated cooperative learning, as the students worked in groups of ten. The project won the best collaborative project award at the 6th Innovative Teacher Leadership Award sponsored by Microsoft Philippines and served as a finalist during the 7th Asia Pacific Regional Innovative Education Forum. Ms. Lamiseria was also able to conduct several Integrated Learning Events (ILE) Projects, which integrated concepts in mathematics, science, and TLE. The products produced by students were sold and the profit they gained was deposited in their respective bank accounts. Moreover, she was also able to come up with Innvervisions, the first community paper in Dulag, Leyte.This paper aims to hone the journalistic and the entrepreneurial skills of the students. Indeed, in Ms. Lamiseria’s school, the practice of paradigm shift is alive and well. References: Glendale Lamiseria, Zealous Enhancement and Nurturing of Individuals through Technology and Hands-on (ZENITH) Project: Enhancing Teachers’ Professional Growth. Glendale Lamiseria, Tendencies for a Cause. Glendale Lamiseria, Innervision: Newsletter Towards Excellence.72 Passion for Teaching
    • Mary Yap Kain Ching Polishing Diamonds: How Datuk Yap Transformed Tawau Technical School If asked why she decided to be a teacher, Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching would say that it was not a personal decision at all; rather, it was serendipity. To be able to pursue her own education, Datuk Yap had to face a lot of challenges in her life. After finishing lower secondary education, she was sent by her parents to live with her relatives at Kota Kinabalu to continue her studies at Sabah College, as the school offered free education back then. Since she wanted to help her parents ease their financial burden, she obliged even though it was indeed a torture for her as she was not treated well by her relatives. In fact, her relatives’ maid was treated even better–to the extent that the maid was asked what she wanted to have for supper while Datuk Yap was offered the leftovers. Holding on to her great belief in God, she was able to survive the experience with her family, especially her parents, serving as an inspiration to her as she did not want to fail them. The Teaching Journey Despite being regarded as one of the best school administrators in Malaysia, Datuk Yap did not dream of being in the education sector; rather, she had wanted to become a lawyer way back in secondary school. But due to financial constraints, she was not able to realise her dream. However, in what she believes was a giant life-changing blessing from God, she was awarded a scholarship by the Malaysian Federal Government to study in the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur where she pursued her Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in English Literature followed by a Diploma in Education. Though she was not able to pursue her dream, she believes that she was put in such circumstances because it was God’s plan for her and that became her moral imperative to serve as a teacher. Although she was still in the same country, she used to cry at night during her first few months in the University of Malaya as she was having a hard time studying three Bahasa Malaysia language papers which were required for Arts students. She grew up in Sabah which was then a British colony and used English as the medium of instruction. Through hard work and perseverance, and not to mention studying the Bahasa Malaysia dictionary as well as shedding of tears after lectures, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honors) in 1973. In 1994, she obtained her Master’s Degree on Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the University of Leeds at United Kingdom under the British Council scholarship. Passion for Teaching 73
    • After graduating from the University of Malaya, she served as an English Lecturer at the Sandakan Teachers’ Training College in Sabah. After a year, she went back to Tawau to wed her husband. She then taught in Tawau Secondary School and Holy Trinity School as an English Teacher. After that, she was assigned to be the Head of the Schools Inspectorate for Tawau Zone, which was awarded as the best managed zone in Malaysia under her supervision. Thereafter, she headed to St. Patrick’s Secondary School and Jalan Apas National Secondary School before she was headhunted by the Technical Education Department to head Tawau Technical Secondary School. Through her exemplary leadership in the said school, she was promoted to the rank of Senior Principal and later to Super Principal (Jusa C), a prestigious title given to excellent and dedicated public servants in Malaysia. Prior to that, she also served as the Director of two Teachers’ Training Colleges in Sabah. Being an excellent school administrator who was able to raise the quality and efficiency of educational management at Tawau Technical Secondary School, she received a number of awards during her career. These include SEAMEO INNOTECH’s Ly Chanh Duc Award for Educational Innovation and Development in Southeast Asia for creating her own Leadership Model in Effective School Management, Effective Management Tool, and Effective Tool for Winning Hearts and Minds. In recognition of her contributions in the field of education, she was also bestowed the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (Commander of the Order of Kinabalu) Award from her state which carries the title Datuk, denoting membership in a high order of chivalry in the country.74 Passion for Teaching
    • Philosophies as a Teacher Despite being in a profession she did not choose, she never regretted being a teacher since she felt that it was her moral purpose to serve.Through the years, she learned to love not just her job, but also her co-teachers, her students, and the staff of the various educational organizations that she had worked in for almost 32 years of her life. Regarded as one of the biggest people in the Malaysian Education sector as of date, she started her career as a simple teacher. Back then, she only had a meagre salary which was just enough for her daily living. As a teacher, she believed that her moral purpose was to raise the bar of education achievement especially for disadvantaged students. Having experienced the misery of a student without enough financial means, she gave special attention to pupils in similar situations by motivating them to unleash their potential, inspite what they were experiencing in their lives. She considered them as raw diamonds, which after being polished, would eventually shine and sparkle! As a teacher, she believed that her moral purpose was to raise the bar of education achievement especially for disadvantaged students. In the 1990s, the gap of achievement between the urban and rural students in Malaysia was widening and this posed a concern for the Ministry of Education. Dedicated and passionate in her profession, Datuk Yap felt that it was the mission of educators like her to bridge this educational gap. Seeing the urgency of the need to address the issue, she said that if the concern was not addressed, it would eventually result in the increase of social problems in the country. Personally, Datuk Yap had no problem regarding teaching low performing students since she wanted to touch their lives and help them realize that they all had an untapped potential within them This explains why she enjoyed the challenge of taking over Tawau Technical Secondary School and successfully turning it around with sustainable student improvement. Teaching Style Datuk Yap is not a practitioner of the chalk-and-talk way of teaching as she believes that teaching should be student-centred and focused on engaging students in different activities to work on such as the creation and analysis of simple case studies, and field trips. Through such activities, her students learn not only about the lessons but also how to work with others in a group. She believes that teachers must go beyond the classroom and let the students experience things that can be practically applied in Passion for Teaching 75
    • their daily lives.The learning activities Datuk Yap introduced, however, entail more time especially preparation time for materials for the students’ group work, the logistics and itinerary for field trips, and other concerns. She also uses the SS-FF approach —Strict but Sweet and Firm but Friendly—so her students are very much aware that there is no nonsense when it comes to the business of learning, doing their homework, and punctually submitting their work. In spite of the strictness, Datuk Yap makes sure that her students have fun throughout the learning process as it is task-based and very student-centred. Students’ analytical thinking skills are also developed by using tools like the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) Analysis and Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats in analyzing problems. Such thinking strategies are introduced to the students for them to explore different perspectives towards a complex situation and to be eventually trained as critical thinkers. The School that Started it All TThe big break in the career of Datuk Yap occurred when she was appointed as the Principal of Tawau Technical Secondary School, a school in Sabah that offers technical courses like mechanical, electronic, and civil engineering. During her time, the school also offered courses such as building construction, electrical wiring, lathe machine operations, welding electronics, business and commercial studies, and information technology. As she assumed the post of the principal in June 1996, she knew that there were many things to be done to improve the situation of the then failing school. The passing rate of the school for the Vocational Education Certificate Examination then was recorded as low as 28.28 percent.76 Passion for Teaching
    • Personally, Datuk Yap had no problem regarding teaching low performing students since she wanted to touch their lives and help them realize that they all had an untapped potential within them. Being an optimist, she had the vision to turn the said failing school into one of the best in the country. During her administration, she and her team of teachers and staff introduced many innovations that helped the school become an award-winning technical-vocational education provider. In two years, the efforts and success of Datuk Yap and her team were definitely evident. The school created a history in 1998 by being the only vocational-upgraded-to-technical-school to get a 100 percent passing rate at the Malaysian Education Certificate Examination. This academic achievement for the technical students was repeated consecutively from 1998 to 2010 .Vocational students also did equally well in 2006 as the school was able to produce a technical student who scored a perfect score of A1s (Distinction) for the ten subjects that she took in the Malaysian School Certificate Examination. On the other hand, the best vocational student scored 6As thus achieving the academic goal set for vocational students by the Malaysian Technical Education Department. The school took pride in producing such academic results since their students were not academically inclined. They had only obtained minimal qualifications with a grade of C or D in the five core subjects—Bahasa Malaysia, English, mathematics, science, and living skills from their Lower Secondary Assessment. However, within two years, the Passion for Teaching 77
    • She believed that to be able to improve education in the country, the teachers must go beyond the classroom and let the students experience things that could be practically applied in their daily lives. school was successful in making all of them pass the Malaysian Certificate Examination. Back then, A or B graders from the lower secondary schools would never consider enrolling in Tawau Technical Secondary School due to its reputation as a failing school. But since great changes have been occurring to the schools, more and more competent students enrolled. Since 1998, various awards and forms of recognition were bagged by the school. Today, it is already a national benchmark as it is the first school to be bestowed the excellent school status under the Ninth Malaysian Plan. In 2001, it was also awarded the Honorable Minister’s of Education Quality Award for School Management, the country’s highest award given for excellent school management. According to Datuk Yap, during her administration, Tawau Technical Secondary School was not competing with other schools; rather, it was working towards getting out of the old culture and emerging as a school with a brand and a school that made a difference. Its brand of having corporate and successful culture flavor was established by forming a smart partnership with the parents, local leaders, community, as well as the media which helped in the improvement process of the school especially in terms of funding beautification programs and sponsoring academic programs to prepare the students for the Malaysian Education Certificate Examination. As a School Head As Datuk Yap assumed her post, she encountered resistance from her staff.Teachers in the school had already plotted on how to destabilize her administration. Since she was about to lead a technical vocational school, her ability to effectively manage the school was initially being doubted since she was an English teacher and not a vocational subject teacher. Unlike other people whose abilities were being questioned, she chose not to react aggressively. She believed that with God’s wisdom and guidance, she could manage the school effectively. Meanwhile, she had to be humble and patient, because if she argued with the teachers, she would never have won the trust of her staff. She knew that she needed a trusted team to be able to improve the performance of the school as she knew that she could never do it alone. As a response to the doubts expressed regarding her leadership, she requested the teachers to work together to be able to improve the school as she learned from them78 Passion for Teaching
    • Facing the brutal truth that the school needed to re- engineer the whole management system, Datuk Yap started the step-by-step improvement of Tawau Secondary Technical School by applying her own designed leadership model, ARRAS (Accepting staff conditionally, Respect, Recognition, Appreciation, and Support). about workshop management, teaching and learning, and assessment of the vocational courses offered in the school. She showed them that she was not the dictator type of principal but rather a democratic one and that she was willing to humbly learn from them for the sake of the school’s improvement. Through this, she was later on able to get the support of the faculty and staff and made them feel like a family working together hand in hand. Upon reflection, she then realized that these teachers were seeking for appreciation as they had never been recognized for their efforts before— and Datuk Yap was able to make them feel that they were valuable and that they could contribute something for the improvement of the school in the long run. Steps Towards Success Bearing in mind that quality is never an accident but the result of good intentions, sincere efforts, intelligent directions, and skilfull executions, Datuk Yap and her team started to work on the improvement of the school by identifying areas of weaknesses. She believed that an organization could progress when they are already ready to face the brutal truth (Collins, 2002). After identifying the areas of weaknesses, they then proceeded to take positive and corrective actions to improve them. Passion for Teaching 79
    • With the consent of the teachers and staff of Tawau Technical Secondary School, Datuk Yap invited the Federal Schools Inspectorate to carry out a school inspection. This activity served as the start of a new beginning for the said school. Surprised as they were with the unusual invitation, the Chief Inspector of Schools together with her team, paid the school a visit. Inviting them was one of the last things that would be done by any school principal since school inspectors in the country had always been viewed as fault finders. After the inspection, an honest critical report was given to the school. Datuk Yap, together with her team, then took the responsibility to improve the failing school’s situation as she believed that one of the most important characteristics of a school leader was to be accountable and humble enough to accept the fact that there was plenty of room for improvement in the school. She then called a meeting to inform her teachers and non-teaching staff regarding the weaknesses as reported by the inspectors. Several helpful recommendations were also seen in the report. She had used the voice of the Schools Inspectorate, an external authority, to get the team working together. Leadership and Management Models Facing the brutal truth that the school needed to re-engineer the whole management system, Datuk Yap started the step-by-step improvement of Tawau Secondary Technical School by applying her own designed leadership model, ARRAS (Accepting staff conditionally, Respect, Recognition, Appreciation, and Support). She implemented it in the school while practicing tipping point leadership in order to overcome execution hurdles fast and at low cost while winning the teachers’ and staff’s support in executing a breakthrough strategy for school improvement. Seeing that the untapped treasure of the school was its workforce, Datuk Yap invested a lot in keeping them motivated to work, through the use of her ARRAS model. As she entered the school, she accepted her staff unconditionally despite the aggression that they had for her at first, and that won her respect from the teachers and the staff.They had mutual respect for each other as she appreciated her team and recognized their efforts by giving them memos, notes, as well as appreciation and praises whenever there was a job well done. She also looked after the welfare and needs of her staff and that really touched their hearts and motivated them to enthusiastically work even harder for the school. Together with the application of the ARRAS model, Datuk Yap also employed another model she has designed for effective management called DEFFRAAC. This model saw the need for a leader to share duties and responsibilities with his/her subordinates or team members. As an experienced leader, she was very much aware of the fact that no leader could be able to perform all the tasks in an organization. As seen in her leadership model, Datuk Yap believes that a leader needs to delegate (D) his/her duties80 Passion for Teaching
    • to the team members and remember that delegation is meaningless unless the leader empowers (E) the team members to effectively carry out the tasks assigned to them. She added that delegation and empowerment should not let a person neglect his/her duties. She further said that a lot of leaders fail because they do not follow up (F) and follow through (F) to ensure that the assigned tasks have been completed. Once the tasks are completed, there is a need to reflect (R) on the completed assignment to assess its success or weakness for corrective actions to be executed. This step will then result in handling a task which is being challenged and acted upon (A). Upon completion of the tasks the leader should appreciate (A) the work effort of his/her team members and celebrate (C) their success together. These two models were incorporated into another of her own leadership model which she called The Leadership Model for Effective Management. This leadership model, shown in Figure 1, indicates that a successful leader must have a strong sense of vision, must be able to share the vision, and involve the staff in planning, effective decision making, implementation of action plans, and monitoring. Figure 1. Yap’s Leadership Model for Effective School Management Passion for Teaching 81
    • The vision of turning around the failing school became a reality and Datuk Yap said that she attributes her success to what Kim and Mauborgne (2005) had stated in their book, entitled Blue Ocean Strategy that tipping point leadership combined with fair process in the strategy-making process would make people believe that there is a level playing field. Indeed this belief had inspired Datuk Yap’s teachers and non-teaching staff to cooperate voluntarily in making things happen for the school and charting new bold paths to sustaining its status as an excellent school. Moreover, this was posed as the key learning point of the Tawau Technical Secondary experience. Their willingness to work together with Datuk Yap to undergo and internalize the process of change from the old culture to the culture of excellence resulted in the emerging from the status of a failing school to that of a well-sought after school in the field of vocational and technical education by parents and students alike. There is no turning back for the school and it is forging ahead into this millennium in helping Malaysia achieve its vision of becoming a developed country by 2020. References: Collins, J.(2001) Good To Great, Haper Collins Publishers Inc. New York Fullan, M.(1991) The New Meaning of Educational Change. New York: Teacher College Press. Gostick,A & Elton,C (2004) A Carrot A Day. Gibbs Smith. USA. Kotter,J.(1990). A Force of Change: How Leadership Differs From Management. New York: The Free Press. Kouzes, J.M & Posner, B.Z. (1995) The Leadership Challenge: How To Keep Getting Ordinary Things Done In Organizations. Jossey-Bass Publsihers, San Francisco. Wallace, M.J (1991). Training Foreign Language Teachers. Cambridge University Press 1991. Yap, Mary, “Moving Up Without Moving Out—An Innovation for Quality Enhancement in Management and Leadership Training—A Celebration of Quality for Effective School Management: The Senior and Super Principals,” 2006. Yap, Mary, “The Art of Management: Say “No” to Mismanagement Behaviour,” 2011 Yap, Mary, “A Reflection: A Malaysian Success Story,” 2006 “Six Thinking Hats,” May 15, 2009, http://decide-guide.com/six-thinking-hats/ “What is Blue Ocean Strategy: Ten Key Points,” 2010, http://www.blueoceanstrategy. com/abo/what_is_bos.html “FishbowlManagement,” 2010, http://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/abo/Blue_Ocean_ Strategy_Glossary_Lookup.php?Term=fishbowl-management82 Passion for Teaching
    • “SWOT Analysis,” 2010, http://www.netmba.com/strategy/swot/ “Rukunegara,” no date, http://www.malaysia.gov.my/EN/Main/MsianGov/ GovRukunegara/Pages/GovRukunegara.aspx Wong Li Za,“Rising Above the Odds,” The Star Online, June 26, 2008, accessed accessed May 30, 2011, http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2008/6/26/lifeliving/2160 3844&sec=lifeliving Norizan Ahmad The New Chalk and Talk When a person hears about a blogger, he usually thinks that the blogger is young. It is as if there is an unwritten rule that says older people can not put up a blog for one reason or another. This may be true, but not for Dr. Norizan Ahmad of Malaysia. Dr. Norizan could be one of the cool 21st century teachers as she believes that it is about time that all teachers use various technologies to improve the learning of students. She is not the typical teacher who would want to keep the traditional way of teaching and focus on chalk and talk. For her, the new chalk and talk are technologies such as blogs, social networking sites, the Internet, and the use of other Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). In fact, she even owns an iPhone, one of the high- end cell phones, which she also uses for class purposes. Passion for Teaching 83
    • She is not the typical teacher who would want to keep the traditional way of teaching and focus on chalk and talk. For her, the new chalk and talk are technologies such as blogs, social networking sites, the Internet, and the use of other Information Communications Technology (ICTs). Yes, Dr. Norizan, 53 years of age, is a blogger. She uses her blog not just to express her thoughts, feelings, and opinions regarding various matters, but also as a learning venue for her students. She writes on various topics such as her opinions on the changes introduced by their MOE; her feelings about handling a new subject such as Science, Technology, and the Society; and even personal matters such as her belief on Teacher’s Day. In fact, she does not only have one blog but a number of it, which she uses for different purposes. She also encourages her students to have their own blog for the courses she teaches so she would be informed of their progress. Definitely a non-technophobic teacher, Dr. Norizan keeps abreast with the latest technologies, using different social networking sites such as Facebook and chat facilities–Yahoo! Messenger and Skype—to be able to connect with her students and colleagues. She allows her students to contact her anytime, via phone, SMS, e-mail, or even online chat and is always open to answer the concerns of students—be it Dr. Norizan with two of her students. She relays that this picture was taken by one of her students who was able to handle and see a camera for the first time.84 Passion for Teaching
    • personal or academic, making sure she is always there for them in times of need— even beyond working hours. The Cool Techie Teacher Asked via Facebook, the students of Dr. Norizan say she is a practical, resourceful, and a critical thinker teacher. She loves to demonstrate concepts using analogies, readily available materials, and video clips. She keeps a collection of all these materials and makes sure that everything is ready as she teaches. They also say she teaches beyond the lesson itself, touching on day-to-day social situations and helping them become street smart people, more than anything else. She is one of us, they say; she encourages us to use the computer and is not the typical teacher who would prohibit us to access the computer and focus on the books, but would actually encourage us to learn more using the technology. Not being the technophobic type of teacher, Dr. Norizan is always abreast with the latest technologies as she also uses different social networking sites such as Facebook as well as chat facilities such as Yahoo! Messenger and Skype to be able to connect with her students and colleagues. Dr. Norizan believes that teachers must know how to adapt to students, and being in the 21st century, they should see these technologies as learning tools and not a hindrance to learning. When she teaches about the Internet, she uses her personal blog sites as examples; she also taps free online groups, where in her classes are able to discuss virtually, that is, outside the classroom. When Dr. Norizan is on official trips, she posts the students’ tasks in the virtual group to keep them updated and the PowerPoint slides that she uses during lectures so that the students no longer need to print handouts as they can read their notes straight from the computer. Moreover, she uses several Internet-based facilities to be able to get learning materials and to be further educated about the topics that she will teach. She uses the Internet as a solution to the problem of inadequate teaching materials and facilities. A Typical Teacher,Too Dr. Norizan’s use of technologies in teaching may make her different from a typical teachers, but, like most teachers, she looks at teaching as an endeavor and a vocation. She says that she loves the profession and has been passionate about it ever since Passion for Teaching 85
    • because she likes the fact that there is always something new to learn, something new to do, and something new to try. She also finds sharing her knowledge very fulfilling as she challenges her students to learn. Furthermore, she likes to hold intellectual discussions with her colleagues on educational issues as these broaden her mind and make her exercise her critical thinking skills. At the start of each school year, Dr. Norizan makes sure that she takes some steps to get to know her students more, particularly their learning preferences. Then, she designs her approaches based on their wants and needs. Usually, if there are many boys in class, she gives them tasks wherein they would move around and play, as boys are natural action-seekers. However, if the females dominate the classroom, activities would usually revolve on written and reading tasks. As for student teachers, she makes sure that they experience the use of different techniques in teaching. Aware that knowledge constantly changes, she also seeks for more information for her to be able to share the updates to her students. Besides looking for updated information, she also reviews her notes and looks for examples that would help her students to better understand the lesson. Though she has been teaching a certain lesson for a long time, she still follows the “ritual” of updating and reviewing. She prefers to be called a teacher educator (and not a lecturer) as she believes that teacher-educators always ensure that their students learn from them, as they also guide and serve as the students’ role model and inspiration to be successful citizens and leaders of the future.86 Passion for Teaching
    • Haji Alias Abu Bakar Haji Alias Abu Bakar Stewardship at MJKB: Leveraging on Partnerships for School Success Since the 1970s, the Brunei government has been pursuing the strengthening of the vocational technical (voctech) education system. The aim is to develop a pool of local manpower with the technical skills needed in the local industries. In 1991, the Brunei Darussalam Vocational and Technical Education Council was formed as the national awarding body for vocational and technical qualifications1. Then in 1993, the Department of Technical Education (DTE) was established under the Ministry of Education to localize all voctech education courses in the areas of agriculture and science, business and financial services, construction and building technology, hospitality and tourism, information and communication, technology, manufacturing and engineering technology , and transportation and logistics. The DTE is in charge of overseeing the voctech schools in the country2. One of the oldest voctech schools in the country is the Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering (locally called MKJB or Maktab Kejuruteraan Jefri Bolkiah). It was originally established as a post-secondary engineering craft trade school in 1970. In the 1987, MKJB was upgraded into a College of Engineering, the first in the country. MKJB offers a range of technical engineering and ad- hoc courses to meet the human resource requirements in the public and private sectors in the country. As it is located in the Belait District, the College operates closely As a school administrator, Mr. Alias believes that people must think out of with the Brunei Shell the box to be able to soar high. Petroleum Training Centre3. Passion for Teaching 87
    • New Stewardship at MKJB In 2009, Mr. Alias Haji Abu Bakar was promoted as the principal at the Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering. The promotion came after his stint as Deputy Principal in Education and Training at the Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College4, also one of the oldest technical schools in Brunei originally established as a building trade school. This stint, along with his 15 years of experience as a teacher in mathematics provided him with a clear sense of the essential elements for a technical school to positively contribute to the development of the country. After he has settled at MKJB, Mr. Alias realized that he needed to “hit the ground running” as he wanted to make a difference in the new school. He wondered how he would do it; he also has limited leadership experience especially in running a post- secondary school with about 1,000 students. Instinctively, he knew it was crucial for him to truly understand the school context — its strengths, challenges, resources, values, culture. He knew he needed the rest of his school team to work collaboratively with him to attain the school goal of “meeting the challenges of the 21st century by producing top quality personnel with sound technical knowledge, profound desire for continuous learning, and the MIB ethos5.” Confronting the Brutal Facts of Current Reality After meeting the faculty, Mr. Alias realized that first, he had a crop of greenhorns on hand—bright and fresh graduates coming from the local schools and universities in United Kingdom6 with barely any real exposure or hands-on experience in the industry. This meant that the faculty team needed more real experiences themselves to properly prepare the students to enter the workforce. Second, his newly-created management team composed of deputy principals, financial officer, and department heads who were to replace the former team also needed leadership and management training to create a more collaborative and response-able work culture7. Third, after a tour of the school facilities, Mr. Alias noted that they needed not only to put the old house in order but also to put a system in place to ensure healthy and safe work practices. Dwelling on these challenges, Mr. Alias noticed the paradox: here he is, a new leader, shepherding a new team in a very old school which needed to be fixed and put into order so the students could learn and the school team could work in a very enabling school environment. Starting with a Dream Despite the challenges Mr. Alias, who was still mustering experience, has committed to making a difference. One of his major adjustments though was the travel time he needed to get to MKJB. In the past it just took him about 10 minutes to travel from his home to report to his former school; now he needed to commute daily and drive for about an hour to reach MKJB in Belait District and to be back to his family in Bandar, Muara District, in the afternoon. One day on his way to school, Mr. Alias saw a building that really impressed him. Then he remembered what Dr. Kanapi, whom he88 Passion for Teaching
    • Instinctively, he knew it was crucial for him to truly understand the school context— its strengths, challenges, resources, values, culture. met in a training program at SEAMEO INNOTECH in February 2009, had told him on the powers of one’s imagination8: to anticipate a positive future. Inspired by what he saw, he started to dream grandiosely for MKJB (and also for his personal life)9; he imagined a school with an imposing façade. He also wanted the school to have state- of-the-art facilities and industry-savvy faculty team which would inspire the students to willingly attend their classes and stay inside the school campus rather than skip classes. With this visual memory in mind, Mr. Alias realized the urgency of engaging and collaborating with the internal and external stakeholders to create the magic in the school. Reflective Dialogue to Collaborating and Building Opportunities To do so, Mr. Alias instituted a new way of building trust and nurturing a collaborative culture at MKJB. He started the practice of “reflective” dialogue10 with his school team in meetings and in informal settings. The aim is for them to openly discuss how things came to be as well as collectively envision how they could solve the issues and problems and, more important, build opportunities for the school. Mr. Alias opened the door of his office employing the so-called ‘open-door policy’ to make himself accessible to everyone and let them share their ideas to him. They school team also realized that they could not do the intended projects all by themselves. They needed to connect with companies that had the potential resources to partner with the school; they also realized that these companies, in partnering with them, also had to attain their goals. As they became clear on what they wanted to happen to their school, they started working as a team. Collaborative Responses for School Success Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sendirian Berhad (BSP), a good neighbor, was the first company they approached for help in recreating the school work culture. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, Mr. Alias shared: “We decided to benchmark on BSP’s world-class work practices. Through BSP’s learning hub, MKJB’s management team as well as the department officers were provided training on leadership and change management and exposure in actual work practices in BSP’s different divisions. We also revisited MKJB’s vision and strategies after scanning the opportunities and challenges in the school environment.” Passion for Teaching 89
    • To be able to further enhance the performance of MKJB, Mr. Alias spearheaded the construction of four-story buildings in the campus to accommodate more students and facilities for the Marine Engineering and Electrical and Electronic Departments To enhance the capacity of the rest of the school team, Mr. Alias then requested one of the deputy principals to cascade the leadership program through an in-house learning program. Throughout these capacity-building initiatives, the school used its internal funds. Though a common practice, MKJB did not ask for additional allocation from the Ministry of Education for the in-house learning program. Also, the industry skills training for instructors conducted by BSP could have caused millions in Brunei dollars had it not been for the partnership arrangement the school entered into with the oil company. About 21 new instructors from different engineering disciplines were trained and exposed to new skills on equipment, technology, and health and safety in industry. To further hone the skills of MKJB’s staff, they were seconded to Megamas Projects to work as technical experts and trainers. MKJB then signed a student attachment program with an upstart company, Brunei Methanol Company (BMC). At that time, BMC was just constructing its plant and did not even have any employees yet. The partnership agreement stipulated that MKJB students would be attached to the company and those worthy would then be recruited as employees by BMC.90 Passion for Teaching
    • Putting the ‘house in order’ Efforts were going along to improve MKJB’s physical setting and to augment the school’s human resources, alongside opportunities to attain full potential of students. Mr. Alias was particularly concerned with the proper implementation of health and safety measures on campus. MKJB sits on a three-hectare site, but due to poor planning, school facilities were not strategically located. Machines that were no longer functioning crammed the workshops leaving not much space for the other learning activities. Housekeeping was not properly done as machines that were still working were just left lying around after use. A team was therefore set up to put the “old house in order.” Machines that were no longer working were junked.The workshops, including the staff room, were reorganized and repainted. Proper storage and lighting facilities and other safety measures were put up to make the school settings conducive for both students and teachers. Mr. Alias encouraged the teachers to adhere to the health and safety rules and be good role models for the students to follow. Additional facilities were also set up to hone not only the practical skills of the students but also those of the technicians currently employed in local industries (from Thailand, Indonesia, and also Brunei) who also needed skills upgrading in project instrumentation, control engineering, and electrical and electronic engineering. After negotiating, BSP generously helped MKJB set up a plant using the equipment and instruments (worth about 120 thousand Brunei dollars) they initially donated. To continuously upgrade its school facilities, MKJB also provided certification training for technicians in the other industrial companies in exchange for more equipment. Other Gains in the Collaborative Activities While fixing the school facilities, Mr. Alias pondered on the need to pursue an old plan for an ISO certification for its marine engineering program. In this venture he disclosed: “A committee was set up to spearhead the certification process. We invited ISO consultants to guide us in the accreditation process.To defray the high cost of the consultancy engagement, we considered inviting MKJB partners -- BSP and other oil companies – to join in the training program for a fee. MKJB became the first school in Brunei to attain an ISO 9001:2000 Certification for its Marine Engineering Program.” Mr. Alias shared that he and his team did not stop after putting their house in order. One of their biggest accomplishments was the preparation of a master plan for the school infrastructure. The master plan, as approved by the Ministry of Education, is encompassed as part of the National Development Plan 2007-2012. To rise will be a four-storey building (after making sure that the swampy soil in their compound could hold such envisioned structure), roads connecting the different facilities, and a sports complex with a swimming pool, the first in a public school in Brunei. Passion for Teaching 91
    • With an approved master plan, MKJB again approached BSP to consult them on the possibility of building a real mini plant inside the school complex. One of BSP’s managers mentioned that the company was willing to offer real engineering problems to MKJB staff to complement BSP’s foreign workers into oil well engineering. Succeeding meetings with BSP led to the development of Brunei’s first petroleum engineering program with MKJB doing the core curriculum and the hands-on training in BSP. The new engineering program would be launched in 2012. By the end of 2012, Mr. Alias will see the completion of the cornerstone of the MKJB master plan, the four-storey building, just as what he imagined at the beginning of his leadership journey. Reflecting on the Gains at MKJB A year after, a batch of MKJB graduates became the first employees of Brunei Methanol Company. These young and inexperienced MKJB graduates were sent overseas by BMC, the first company in Brunei to have an entirely local crew (no foreign workers), for more training. Also about 300 graduates from MKJB’s marine engineering program were employed by Brunei Gas Carrier. The others were employed by Brunei Shell Tanker, shipping companies and at the off-shore rigs. Reflecting on his leadership experience, Mr. Alias realized that while the Ministry of Education could generously provide the resources needed by the school to attain the targeted learning outcomes, the school head and partnerships with industry players could play a critical role in school success. Based on his experience, he realized that as a school leader, he needed to always think ahead to anticipate the changes that are going to happen in the future. For him it was important to identify the strength of his staff as they are the only resource in the school with unlimited potential and once properly motivated they become critical partners in attaining the shared goals. To focus on what needed to be done, Mr. Alias relayed that he “sought the help of his team and experts to work on the right (strategic) issues” and “differentiated between what was ‘important’ and what was ‘urgent’ as focusing on important tasks helped him attain the school objectives.” He knew that he could not do everything on his own, so he trusted his management team and staff to help him deliver what needed to be done. He delegated the routine tasks to concentrate on the ‘high value’ work. He left the comfortable confines of his office so he could act on what needed to be done. He said: “Acting on strategic direction and getting the right people to help are critical to getting things done.” Reminiscing his most energetic days, Mr. Alias recalled a saying that everyman can be a leader, but not all men can be of value. He further said: “For me, being a leader of men is getting everyone to work and show their worth and value…My staff worked with me because they also believed in our goals and vision. I owe them their trust and confidence in all their efforts.”92 Passion for Teaching
    • Fulfilling the Challenges of a Larger Spectrum of Leadership. After a year in Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College, Mr. Alias is now the Centre Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH based in Brunei Darussalam. Leading a Centre mandated to improving the quality of vocational and technical education and training in SEAMEO- member countries, Mr. Alias is now expanding his stewardship to the international setting. And based on his MKJB experience, he knows that he will be able to continue the dream as envisioned by his predecessors, the former Centre Directors. In high confidence, he will synergise their vision into his “new” dream and enable SEAMEO VOCTECH to strongly inculcate the work culture of collaboration and openness. Accreditation was previously provided by foreign bodies like the Business and Technician Education Council and the City and 1 Guilds of London Institute. The voctech institutions in Brunei are Nakhoda Ragam Vocational School, Sultan Bolkiah Vocational School, the Mechanical 2 Training Centre, Sultan Saiful Trijal Technical College, Institut Teknologi Brunei and the Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Training Centre. Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) is a world-class company jointly owned by the government and the Asiatic 3 Petroleum Company Limited. As the third largest energy company in Asia, it explores and produces crude oil and natural gas from onshore and offshore fields. It also owns the Brunei Refinery. https://www.bsp.com.bn/main/index.asp Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College is like MKJB. It is also a post-secondary institution established to equip secondary school 4 leavers and working adults with technical skills and knowledge to meet the manpower needs of various industrial sectors. MIB or Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Islamic Monarchy) is the adopted national philosophy of Brunei. MIB was officially 5 proclaimed as the national philosophy of the country on the day of its independence on January 1, 1984 by Sultan Bulkiah. MIB is described as “a blend of Malay language, culture and Malay customs, the teaching of Islamic laws and values and the monarchy system which must be esteemed and practised by all” as Islam is the official and state religion of the country. MIB opposes the concept of secularism, making Islam a vital guide of every Bruneian Muslim way of life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Melayu_Islam_Beraja. The Government continues to award scholarships to qualified Brunei citizens for their studies abroad.The literacy rate in Brunei 6 is 93.7% in 2004. Members of the old management team merely pointed at each other on what to do to make the school run properly; they came 7 from a work culture where they just followed orders and were afraid to talk to the principal. Dr. Juan Kanapi was a facilitator of the SEAMEO INNOTECH Blended Learning Program on Excellence in Creating Shared 8 Responsibility for School Success which Haji Alias attended in 2009. The experience, which was his induction to school leadership, allowed him to exchange experiences and ideas with fellow school principles from Southeast Asian countries. This is based on the anticipatory principle which acknowledges that what one sees and believes he can do, he will work toward 9 doing. This is part of the basic principles of Appreciative Inquiry which can be used to discover what gives “life” to the school when it is most alive and most effective. AI involves asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. Change happens as soon as one starts asking the right questions. Primarily through interviews and storytelling, the best of the past is discovered to set the stage for effective imagining of what could be. The future is “futures” generated from hopeful, anticipatory images and likned to actual experiences of being at one’s best, are naturally compelling and attractive. 10 Reflection dialogue goes beyond merely talking nicely and politely to each other, but really trying to sort with each other new capacities for collective understanding and collaborative action. Passion for Teaching 93
    • 5 The Importance of Language of Education
    • Ma. Isabel Pefianco-Martin Medium of Instruction in Teaching: A Critical Tool for Understanding As a student, she loved going to school. She also became a catechist.This was the start of the lifelong teaching experience of the young Isabel Pefianco (now Dr. Martin), a daughter of a teacher and granddaughter of a school principal. Schools play a big part in Dr. Martin’s life but Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), one of the biggest private universities in the Philippines managed by the Jesuits, is at top of her list.This is where she finished her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Arts in Educational Administration. Her Ph. D. in Philippine Literature, however, was earned at the University of the Philippines Diliman, the premiere state university of the country. Since 1988, Dr. Martin has been a faculty member of ADMU’s English Department. At present, she is an Associate Professor handling various college courses in English and teaching English courses for MA and Ph. D. progams. As an Instructional Leader Dr. Martin believes that one of the most important characteristics of a great teacher is good leadership. Her leadership skills surfaced and became evident when, appointed as the chair of ADMU’s English Department in the late ‘90s, she was instrumental in developing English 10, a six unit non-credit bridging course which was required of96 Passion for Teaching
    • Teaching for her is something like parenting wherein they, as teachers and second parents rolled into one, need to take care of the future. students who received a relatively low grade in the college entrance test. At the initial implementation of the program, many parents and students complained when they found that they were included in the English 10 class; they could not accept the sad fact that they had low proficiency in English.The sadder fact was that since its introduction of the said course, almost half of incoming freshmen were required to take it up. After several years of implementation, however, fewer and fewer complaints were received by the administration. Dr. Martin said it could be because the program’s long-term effects were already felt by the beneficiaries. In fact, some of the class valedictorians came from the said class, while many of them graduated with honors. Some even became faculty members of the Ateneo. Throughout the years, it was observed that English 10 actually helps freshmen cope with the academic demands of the university. As a Teacher Dr. Martin believes that students learn more by doing; hence, her learning-centered lessons are designed in such a way that most of the work is done by students. Complementary to this approach is the cura personalis concept taught by the Jesuits. The concept indicates that teachers must individually attend to each student since students have their unique individual strengths and weaknesses. Thus, teachers must get to know their students individually as dealing with one student will never be the same as dealing with another. The English Teacher Dr. Martin teaches her students that in situations where speakers do not share the same first languages, they should use the English language. However, when they are in public places in the country, such as markets, malls, and the like, they must speak whatever is the lingua franca or the native language in those areas. In her class, the students may choose to code-switch (i.e., alternate use of English and Filipino) depending on the class activity. However, in formal oral presentations, they must use English only. She wants her students to be confident in using the English language. She said that they should be like the country’s well-known professional boxer, Manny Pacquiao, who confidently speaks before a large audience or to the media in English, despite his many lapses in grammar and diction. Passion for Teaching 97
    • She also reminds her students that English, like all languages, changes and continues to change. Thus, today’s standards will definitely not be tomorrow’s and one has to adapt to these changes and become adaptable users of any language. English in the Philippines In the Philippines, the educated Filipinos usually look down on other Filipinos who are not good in English. Dr. Martin believes it is actually a myth to think that if one is good in English, one is intelligent. Furthermore, she says that the opposite is also a myth—that if one is proficient only in Filipino or any of the Philippine languages, one is unintelligent. In the country, she says, many Filipinos fear the use of the English language. She said that she sees this fear in her students who joke that their noses “bleed” after they talk in English; in her friends, who claim that they speak English only when they’re drunk; and in her doctor who suddenly switches to Tagalog after being told that she teaches English. In class, though she is an English teacher, she employs code-switching to be able to reduce the fear of her students regarding the perception that English is a prestigious language. Dr. Martin thinks that in a multilingual context such as the Philippines, it is impossible to expect Filipinos to speak English all the time. She further said that code- switching is a natural phenomenon in multilingual contexts and it could not be stopped by any law or educational policy. Dr. Martin also believes that teaching and learning English in the country may be a difficult task, but it does not need to be a frightening experience. In her own opinion, it is very overrated and that not recognizing the multilingual context of teaching and learning English in the country only reinforces the fear of language.98 Passion for Teaching
    • As a Filipino herself, she says that it is very evident in the country that many Filipinos fear the use of the English language. As research studies show, learning a language becomes more effective when emotional barriers are eliminated. Thus, the lower the fear, the higher the chance of learning. According to Dr. Martin, all languages are perfect and complete. Thus, there is no real reason to fear English since English is not superior to any other language by any means. She further said that it is the attitude of the Filipinos towards English elevates the language into its prestige form—and it is the same attitude that makes it difficult for Filipinos to learn it. One must remember that non-native speakers of English are beginning to outnumber native speakers in the world today. Thus, there is no reason to fear the language. The said Filipino perception about the English language, as well as the various ways in which the language is used, are products of the Filipino experience of American colonial education. Throughout the American occupation in the country, English was promoted as the language that would civilize the Filipinos and was seen, from then on, as a language that was better and more prestigious than others—the language of the educated, the rich, and the elite. One of the biggest challenges she has faced so far is how to deal with some students who have low proficiency skills in reading, writing, and speaking English. These are usually the students who come from lower income classes or are from provinces and are said to be very good in math and science, but not in English. Being surrounded by people who have been considered elite and are English proficient, there students, more often than not, develop a feeling of insecurity and intimidation. Thus, Dr. Martin takes steps to reduce their fears and insecurities by being strict but fair at the same time, taking time time to talk to each of them about their academic strengths and weaknesses. She believes that by earning their trust, she is able to help make these students become more confident in using the English language. She also thinks that the link between English language proficiency and intelligence is very flimsy and that people should look more at the content of what is being said by a person than how it is delivered. What is important is that the person who is talking is ensuring that others would understand the message he/she wants to convey. Code-switching in the Philippines Dr. Martin says that for basic education in the Philippines to move forward, mother- tongue education should be practiced especially in basic education. She points out that this is practiced with success in some places in the country as well as in Asia, and yet many educators and lawmakers do not support mother-tongue education. . Passion for Teaching 99
    • Despite being an English teacher, Dr. Martin deems that for basic education in the Philippines to move forward, mother-tongue education should be practiced especially in basic education. The 1987 Bilingual Policy, which is currently being implemented in the education sector of the country states that Filipino shall be the medium of instruction in subjects such as social studies, arts, music, physical education, home economics, practical arts, and character education, while English shall be used for teaching science, mathematics, and technology subjects. While the policy aims for the achievement of competence in both Filipino and English at the national level, it also states that regional languages or dialects shall be used only as needed or as auxiliary medium of instruction or initial language of literacy. Code Switching in Tertiary Science Classes In 2006, Dr. Martin conducted the study, entitled Language in Philippine Classrooms: Enfeebling or Enabling? The study was conducted in two private, non-sectarian universities in the Philippines: Far Eastern University FERN College (FEU FERN) and University of the East—Manila (UE). It aimed to investigate whether the practice of code switching in the classroom made the students understand their lesson in science more or not. Both schools encouraged the use of English language inside and outside the classroom; they also followed the 1987 Bilingual policy (see box). Personal observations done by Dr. Martin in both schools were supplemented by the use of audio and video recordings as well as informal post-observation interviews. The audio transcriptions were the main source of information, while the video was used to identify utterances that were not clearly heard in the audio recording and the emotions shown by the people in the conversation. Being in a school context, it was also taken into account that it is a must to have an understanding between the students and the teacher. Moreover, it was also hypothesized that teachers could have been using code switching to be able to ensure communication success.100 Passion for Teaching
    • As observed, in FEU-FERN, only 7.4 percent of the total number of words was in Tagalog while in UE Manila, it was only 16 percent. It was also observed that the teachers dominated the classroom discussion and that the student utterances were usually questions or replies directed to the teacher. FEU-FERN registered a total of 18 percent of student utterances while UE Manila registered 10 percent. It was also observed that intersentential switches—code switching from one language to another for whole sentences at a time—were found dominant in the classroom discussion. In both cases, the teachers did not only produce the most number of utterances, but also the most number of occurrences in code-switching. Moreover, all of the code-switching were smooth and grammatically correct, as documented. It was also observed that despite the teachers’ awareness that only the English language should be used during the duration of the science class, they still had the tendency to reply in Filipino when they were addressed by their students in Filipino. Dr. Martin surmised that this may be a way for the teachers to make themselves look more approachable and accessible to their students. Had they replied in English, a language misconstrued in the Philippines to be the language of the elite, they would have created a barrier. By replying in Filipino, the teachers were able to build rapport with their students. The study also showed that code-switching, in the form of tags, was used to check student’s understanding of the lesson. Moreover, it was also seen as a means to promote shared meaning in the science classroom as well as to maintain the teaching narrative. Passion for Teaching 101
    • According to Dr. Martin, though the required medium of instruction as well as the instructional materials in the tertiary-level science courses are in English, it would be useful for teaching in English to be assessed in the light of the Filipinos’ poor performance in international measures of science and math proficiency. The study further revealed that the use of code-switching supports the educational goals of delivering content. Dr. Martin further says she agrees with Allan Bernardo, Philippine cognitive and educational psychologist, that since Filipinos are bilingual persons, Philippine language planners should see code-switching as a positive option for language in education and not as a compromise or fall-back option. Dr. Martin concludes that Filipino educators and policy makers should make up their minds by asking what their primary concern is—acquiring knowledge content or English language proficiency—and—that by prohibiting code-switching in the science classroom, neither science education nor English competency will be fully achieved. Why Multi-language Education should be implemented? In the Philippines, the use of multilanguage education is alive and well. Its success was documented in the Lubuagan First Language Experiment done in Northern Philippines. It showed that students who were taught in their native language performed much better in science, math, English, and Filipino achievement tests. It also proved that mastery of content is best achieved through mother-tongue based teaching as it allows students to bridge from their first languages to their second languages, including English and Filipino. In fact, according to UNESCO, mother tongue is essential for literacy in any setting.102 Passion for Teaching
    • Adapting the idea of Dr. Aurelio Agcaoli (convener of Nakem Conferences— a conference which aim to evolve a culture of diversity and pluralism inside and outside the classroom), Dr. Martin believes that a person learns better and more productively if he/she learns what he/she is supposed to learn in his own language, and thus, in accordance with the tools of his own culture. Moreover, according to Dr. Diane Dekker, a Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education expert, tMother-Tongue Based Education is not simply changing the language of teaching, translating into the first language what the teachers say in the language of instruction, and reprinting textbooks to replace the language with the mother tongue. Thus, Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education does not promise a pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all, quick fix to the present crisis in the Philippine basic education. Mother tongue education implementation involves many varied approaches and strategies as there are many varied languages, schools, and communities in the country. The said strategies are guided by common and sound foundation principles of teaching and learning. Moreover, employing it in schools also requires highly motivated, strong- willed, and creative classroom teachers and school heads, who are knowledgeable about the developmental stages of learning and their consequent applications to teaching and who are also convinced about the importance of the use of mother tongue in literacy development. References Martin, Isabel, “Fearing English in the Philippines,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 12, 2008, Commentary Section Martin, Isabel, “Language in Philippine Classrooms: Enfeebling or Enabling?,” Asia Englishes 9 no. 2 (2006): 48-66. Martin, Isabel, “Mother-tongue Education is the Way to Go,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 1, 2008, Commentary Section Martin, Isabel, “Myths about Languages in the Philippines,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 1, 2008, Commentary Section Martin, Isabel, “Periphery ELT: The Politics and Practice of Teaching English in the Philippines” in The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, ed. Andy Kirkpatrick (UK: Routledge, 2010) Martin, Isabel, “The MTBMLE Express: Unstoppable,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 15, 2011, Commentary Section Nakem Conferences, “5th Nakem Call for Papers,” September 2010, http:// nakemconferences2010.blogspot.com/ Passion for Teaching 103
    • Schedar Jocson Not the Typical 21st Century Teacher At a young age of 27, Mr. Schedar Jocson is able to touch the lives of his students by promoting nationalism, particularly the use of Filipino language. Having earned his degree of BA Filipino from the Philippines’ premiere university, the University of the Philippines, he has been a natural advocate of the Filipino language and he wants his students to carry the same advocacy. The Teacher Juvenile and vibrant, Mr. Jocson enters the classroom with a smile everyday as he teaches different Filipino and Communication subjects as well as the Life and Works of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the country’s national hero. Mr. Jocson cracks jokes in class once in a while to help his students to be able to appreciate serious topics in a light manner. Unlike other young 21st century teachers, however, Mr. Jocson prefers the chalk-and- talk style of teaching combining it with discussions and peer consultations. In fact, he does not advocate the use of Powerpoint presentations.The use of such technology, he says, makes students lazy as they will only copy the keywords in the slides or just rely on the handouts provided. He further explains saying Powerpoint presentations only contain keywords which are further explained by the teacher. This explanation is what the students should take note of to be able to understand the lesson instead of memorizing the keywords for examination’s sake. In this context, he believes that104 Passion for Teaching
    • ...he is not an advocate of using Powerpoint presentations. He believes that using such kind of technology makes his students lazy as they will only copy the keywords that are in the slides or might as well as rely on the handouts provided. though technology has made life easier for people, the same technology can also hinder one’s creativity, especially in students. He also believes that plagiarism is very evident in their submitted work or outputs due to the current technology, and such action should not be tolerated so that other students will avoid it. After Mr. Jocson sets the mood for an intellectual discussion in class, he facilitates interactive class activities ensuring that his students learn about the lesson as well as improve their different skills. In one of his classes, he let his students eat a Chinese candy, Kiamoy (dried salted prunes), and let them describe by writing their observations using their five senses. Then, he asked them to write an advertisement about the candy. On another occasion, he let his students interview their parents regarding the couple’s love story and write an article about it. Through this activity, he helped the students sharpen both their listening and writing skills and open the lines of communication within the family. Though he introduces lots of activities in class, his favorite activity is letting his students engage in debates. Through this activity, the communication and analytical skills of students are developed. As a facilitator, he serves as the mediator between the two groups and summarizes each group’s points, adding valuable issues for further discussion. Mr. Jocson sees teaching as a life-long journey of becoming a scholar and a chance to share the knowledge gained with students and fellow teachers. Being a teacher, he sees the big responsibility on his shoulders as it is not only a responsibility to the University and his students, but also to the whole nation. The Bumpy Road to Being a Teacher Mr. Jocson related that his journey towards becoming an educator started when he volunteered to be a student-teacher of Kindergarten students when he was 11 years old. As he watched his then students learn how to count as well as write their own names, he felt a sense of fulfilment that he had never felt before. From then on, he knew that he wanted to become a teacher for the rest of his life. Passion for Teaching 105
    • However, his journey towards his chosen career was not easy as he thought it would be. He travelled a bumpy road to be able to reach his dream profession. Since he chose to teach at his alma matter, it meant working with his former teachers. But, they were against it, not because of his academic standing or his personality but because of a conflict with his former teacher from the same department. The conflict stemmed from a wrong conclusion made by a teacher, which grew into a monster that hit Mr. Jocson where it hurt him the most: his credibility. Despite this conflicts, he still decided to teach at the University. However, he never thought that it would be that hard and depressing to get back the trust of his co- teachers. As things went from bad to worse, he thought of going AWOL; fortunately, he was advised by a senior faculty to stay and consider these challenges as part of the bumpy road of a teacher’s journey and that things will eventually change. Indeed, it all did change in a year’s time. He had an opportunity to talk with the concerned faculty to explain his side of the story. They are now civil with each other and talk from time to time. He was also able to gain friends throughout the journey. Personal Insights on Being a Teacher When asked about what he likes most in being a teacher, Mr. Jocson says that it is the time spent listening to stories that his students share to him as he also learns from them. He believes that teaching is a two-way process. While one teaches, he/ she also gains knowledge from his/her students. He also says that he feels fulfilled when he hears about his students’ success as he knows that he was able to somehow contribute to it. Through teaching, he also learned how not to set expectations about other people and to accept his own limitations as a person. He values honor to oneself, to the teaching profession, and to the country. When he grows old, he says, he wants to be remembered by former students as a teacher who instilled in them the importance of using the Filipino language as an intellectual language and for making it valuable to the country. The Advocacies Mr. Jocson shared that although he had always wanted to be a teacher, his family wanted him to be a lawyer. Unsure of which path to take, Mr. Jocson said that he chose to take BA Filipino, since he could land as a teacher or a lawyer through the said course.While finishing the degree, he said that he focused his mind on what he really wanted, on his future, and on his personal advocacies. While staying in one of the most liberal and open-minded universities in the country, he was exposed to the realities that face many Filipinos and the different social issues that beset the country. He even noted the downside of being a public school student. However, he hastens to add, the lack of facilities is compensated by the knowledge infused in him by top-notch professors of the intitution. He knew that being able to study in the University of the Philippines, he was indeed luckier than other people.106 Passion for Teaching
    • When he grows old, he wants to be remembered by former students as a teacher who instilled to them the importance of using the Filipino language as an intellectual language and for making it valuable to the country. He knew that in other places in the country, not only the quality of facilities need improvement but also the quality of education. Having been a former Iskolar ng Bayan (Scholar of the Nation) at the University, he made sure that after finishing his degree, he would pay back using the knowledge he has gained at the university and help uplift the state of education in the country. As a current civil servant, he believes that the country will eventually develop if there is quality education that responds to the society’s needs. He also wants to preserve the cultural practices across the country and incorporate them in the mainstream consciousness of the people. Filipinos must not forget their cultural identity for it is unique from the rest of the world. Included in the culture is the Filipino language, a subject that Mr. Jocson is really passionate about. He believes that language should be developed as it is beneficial not only in terms of interpersonal communication, but also in developing the skills needed in schools. He further believes that language is the repository of ideas and cultural practices, and for that reason it is important to preserve it. Researching to Better Understand the Philippine Culture While teaching, Mr. Jocson worked on several papers and researches including the Literature as Source of Cultural Details: Decoding the Mandaya and Mansaka Culture through Folktales. Believing that oral literature as well as literature in general are being neglected as these are only present in the academe, Mr. Jocson delved into studying the subject as his interest lies in seeing how a culture is embedded into the oral literature of a particular society. Utilizing as subjects the ethnic groups Mandaya and Mansaka from the Davao Province in the Mindanao Region, he was able to look into four folktales. In this study, Mr. Jocson pointed out that very few students and professionals study oral literature, perhaps due to the perception that one must first be part of the particular society to be studied. He said that this no longer holds true because different tools and technologies have been already developed through time. Passion for Teaching 107
    • The study also mentioned that the different languages as well as the ethnic groups in the Philippines are gradually diminishing. Of the 169 languages found in the Philippines, approximately 20 percent are endangered. The number of ethnic groups is also diminishing due to personal and economic reasons. He said that most members of the ethnic minorities choose to leave their community to be able to conform to the people in the cities. He said that this is also due to the perception of most people in the cities about indigenous people as being inferior people. Using Vlademier Propp’s The Morpohology of the Folktales combined with the narratological approach, Mr. Jocson showed the various similarities and differences of the two ethnic groups. The following were the different cultural practices found among the groups: belief in gods, demi-gods, and leaders; their relationship with one another; and their relationship to the members of the society. The culture can also be seen through the objects mentioned in the folktales such as swords, mats, and baskets. Through this study, Mr. Jocson was able to prove that oral literature can decipher the culture of a particular society. Thus, looking into literature is an integral part of understanding a particular group of people. Reference: Schedar Jocson, Literature as Source of Cultural Details: Decoding the Mandaya and Mansaka Culture through Folktales, 2011108 Passion for Teaching
    • 6 Benchmarking Best Practices
    • Chea Vuth Learning From Other Nations Mr. Chea discussing some matters regarding Leading and Managing Change in a forum held at SEAMEO INNOTECH As a child, I never dreamt of being a teacher. I always wondered what it felt being an economist. I really wanted to help Cambodia uplift its economy and at the same time, I dreamt of financial stability. I knew that if I become an economist, I would be able to help both my family and my country be financially stable. However, fate was playful. It did not make me achieve what I originally dreamt. At first, it was frustrating, but I later on realized that I was given a better profession—a life-changing one at that. When I decided to enter the University, I took two examinations, one for being qualified to take a degree in economics and another to take a degree in teaching. Baffling as it may be, I failed the examination on economics and passed the one for teaching. From then on, I accepted the fact that I would live as a teacher for the rest of my life. I graduated from the University in 1993. Right after graduation, I was assigned to teach at Kampong Speu High School where I taught the Moral Civic subject and where I have been teaching for 18 years. Since then, I have never thought of leaving the profession. I have also been teaching as a part-time English professor at the Phnom Penh Institute for 15 years.110 Passion for Teaching
    • Though I never dreamt of being a teacher at an early age, during my first teaching experience, I felt something inside of me that I have never felt before. I felt overjoyed when I realized that I was touching the lives of others—that I made a difference in their lives in my own simple way. I felt enthusiastic as I knew that the lessons that I impart to them will be part of their own lives. It was indeed a higher satisfaction than being financially rewarded! I then knew that my dream to help Cambodia be a developed country was not put into waste, but rather, I was able to realize it more through educating people—the future generation of our country. I know that as an educator, I am able to multiply change for sustainable development through influencing my students. Though I love my profession, I have to confess that being a teacher is not an easy task. Unlike other professionals, we, teachers, are usually taken for granted by others, add to the fact that we have a very low salary. Yet, through my perseverance and dedication to my profession, I was lucky to be appreciated by other colleagues. Thus, I was promoted as a Master Teacher for the Moral Civic subject. As a master teacher, I made sure that each and every learning process engaged in by the students and teachers under my supervision were effective and meaningful. Being in a country where people usually opt to stick to what they have been engaging in for a long time, I had a hard time introducing some innovations to our curriculum. Throughout my term as a master teacher, I had the opportunity to represent our country in various international conferences, trainings, and seminars. Throughout the said period, I was able to visit nine countries—Japan, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Through the benchmarking visits that we conducted in these countries, I have learned a lot such as leading and managing change, monitoring and evaluation, understanding the youth, improving student activities, action research, and testing evaluation. I have also experienced working under an Asian Development Bank (ADB) Project, entitled Enhance Education Quality Project, in which I facilitated all technical, administrative, and financial work. I was able to see how developed countries work in their respective education sectors. Though not all of the practices that we have seen in the countries could be applicable in Cambodia due to limited resources, I have seen that one of the best methods that they have employed is well-applicable in our country—and that is through student-centered teaching. This teaching innovation, which engages the students in group work, would benefit both teachers and students. Unlike the typical chalk and talk style of teaching, students would have to interact with their classmates as they discuss their assigned activity and lesson. Thus, they do not just learn about the lesson, but they also improve their interpersonal skills. The teacher, on the other hand, would not have to always talk in front, but should rather facilitate the learning process of students. I believe that engaging in this process is a win-win situation. Passion for Teaching 111
    • I then knew that my dream to help Cambodia be a developed country was not put into waste, but rather, I was able to realize it more through educating people—the future generation of our country. Once I decided to implement this approach in our school, I was welcomed by resistance from my co-teachers. They were so used to the typical chalk-and-talk way of teaching and that they saw the change to be implemented as a burden. After hearing so many complaints and after talking to those who resisted the change, I decided to call a general assembly to explain more about the innovation. As I explained this to my co-teachers, not all of them agreed with me. I decided to conduct a demonstration for them to be able to appreciate the process more. I was really insistent on implementing the change as I knew that this was for the good of everybody. After the demonstration session, I let the teachers enumerate the advantages and disadvantages of both the student-centered and the teacher-centered approach. A brain storming session proved to them that the student-centered approach was really better than the chalk and talk style.They eventually approved of its implementation and as of date, we are currently implementing it in our school. During the implementation, however, some forms of resistance were again exhibited by a number of teachers. Some of them said that they had observed that through group work, only the bright students improve as they got higher in ranks while those slow students got lower in ranks. They also added that the slow students might develop inferiority complex that they may bring until they grow old. Because of these concerns, I decided to conduct an action research. During classes, I decided to group my students according to their learning abilities. One group was composed of fast learners; another, slow learners; still another, a mixed composition. While teaching them, I was able to observe that the personality and participation of the students in the homogeneous groups still did not change, as compared to that of the mixed group. During the activity, it was observed that the slow learners were not able to comply with the requirements comprehensively while the fast learners were able to. On the other hand, the mixed group was also able to produce a comprehensive output. Thus, I concluded that students should be continued to be taught through the student-centered approach while having a mixed composition. I then realized that through situations like these, slow learners would be able to learn more through the help of the fast learner classmates. Besides this, it was also observed that the learning process was two-way and the students were more comfortable with learning.112 Passion for Teaching
    • Photo taken during one of the trainings he attended at Malaysia. I believe that travelling to different countries and visiting their various education institutions is a remarkable experience, and that each and every teacher should not let the opportunity, if given one, pass by. Learning from the experience of the different countries moulded me into a better and more inspiring teacher. Through their stories, I do not just have more stories to share with my students, but I am also able to benchmark some of their best practices improve our country’s education situation. This story was written by a SEAMEO INNOTECH staff as narrated by Mr. Chea Vuth, a Secondary Inspector in Cambodia. Passion for Teaching 113
    • Slamet Nugraha Feels Like Home “Being a teacher myself, I believe that everyone can teach but not all can be an educator—and I can proudly say that I am not just a teacher, but a full- fledged educator.” The Root of it All Since I was a child, I have always wanted to be a teacher. My father was a teacher- turned principal who dedicated his whole life to the society and our religion. For me, he was the epitome of a selfless and righteous educator. From him I learned that being a teacher meant giving yourself to the nation and even giving up your dream of a bright financial future. As a child, I knew that I was fortunate to be able to study in school and be blessed with the life I had then—it was not an extravagant life, but it was enough for me to feel thankful. Back then, I would feel sad whenever I saw children, not only114 Passion for Teaching
    • When I grew up, I knew that I had to do something to be able to uplift the quality of life of Indonesians and I knew that the best way was through education, as education could not be taken away from a person whatever happens. in Indonesia but also throughout the world, who could not go to school and instead helped their parents in their livelihood. I then promised myself that someday, I would be able to help children like them to get out of poverty and live like other normal children. When I grew up, I knew that I had to do something to be able to uplift the quality of life of Indonesians, and I knew that the best way was through education, as education could not be taken away from a person, no matter what happens. The Educator I believe that educators do not only transfer their knowledge to their students, but their values and principles as well. Being a full-fledged educator, I know that I have led my students to the right path as they become disciplined and successful individuals. Whenever I see something in them that should be changed or improved, I sometimes encounter challenges particularly in introducing change in beliefs and values. Though it is really hard to change the mindset of the students, I am always determined to continue, for I know that this could be a life-changing experience for them. Through the years, when my former students come to visit and thank me for the impact I had on their life, I feel more fulfilled than ever with my profession and I am more than proud of them for having been successful in their chosen fields. For all the years I have spent in teaching, I have proved that being an educator means going beyond the teaching profession, as it also makes one a parent, a friend, a counsellor, a facilitator, a motivator, and a confidant, rolled into one. Personally, I think I am an innovative educator. I usually like to work in teams as I learn from the different people I work with—whether children or adults. In my biology class, I usually explore using various innovations and learning methodologies to help students learn their lessons in a fun and effective way, such as the use of charts, discussion, storytelling, simple experiments, and field trips. Moreover, during lessons, I also use PowerPoint presentations and other multimedia. I also make it to a point to have a well-researched and prepared lesson plan before engaging in the lesson. Moreover, I am not a fan of the chalk-and-talk style of teaching. I like to see my students interact with one another as I facilitate the sessions. I also Passion for Teaching 115
    • encourage them to be innovative and creative critical thinkers. Working Abroad There are several Indonesian schools found abroad, and one of these is the Indonesian School of Davao in the Philippines where in I am currently employed. Indonesian schools such as this were opened to promote Indonesian education and culture in nearby countries as well as meet the educational needs of the children of Indonesians who work abroad. For 43 years, the Indonesian School of Davao, which uses the Indonesian curriculum, has been continuously providing academic excellence to our fellow Indonesians and several Filipino students in the Mindanao Region catering to students in elementary, junior high school, and senior high school. Being a special type of school it has relatively low population; hence each student in our school enjoys having one bilingual book to himself or herself.These books, however, should be returned at the end of school year for the next batch of students. Having worked in the said school for 17 years now, I have gotten so used to the school that whenever I am inside its premises, I feel like I am home—that I am back teaching in Indonesia.There is no difference besides the few Filipino students and the surroundings. Problems Encountered However, using our own system of education in a foreign country also entails problems. One of these is the number of years spent in the academe. The Indonesian education system is different from the Philippine education system in this regard. Our system has six years for elementary school, three years for junior high school, three years for senior high school, and four to six years for University. In contrast, the Philippine education system has the six years for elementary, four years for high school, and four to six years for tertiary, depending on the degree.116 Passion for Teaching
    • Being in the said school for already 17 years, I have been so used to the school that whenever I am inside its premises, I feel like that I am home—that I am back teaching in Indonesia. There is no difference besides the few Filipino students and the surroundings. Since the education system of the Philippines is relatively shorter, there are cases where students who passed junior high school in our school will move to a Philippine School and then move back to Indonesia without going to senior high school. Aware of the differences between the two educational systems, I know I can use the advantages of each system for the advancement of my students. In addition to this, there is the language barriers. Usually, our new students cannot speak Indonesian, which is one of the main languages used in our school. Having grown up in the Philippines most of them speak the local dialect (Visayan), a little Filipino, and a little English. Thus, the school had to implement a bilingual policy. Presently, we also use English for instructional purposes. We are also taking steps to train our students to become proficient in Indonesian and English. As one of the vice principals of the school, I have created a planning team who devised an intensive three-to-five month Indonesian language course especially designed for new students.This program which is done through various lessons as well as interaction exercises is continuously observed by principal, vice principal and school advisor for its continuous evaluation and improvement. Innovations Some of the projects and innovations we have implemented in our school include the Life Skills Programs wherein we train our students to become equipped with skills that they could use in case they are not able to continue their education in the university. The program includes the automotive program, salon, sewing, baking, and handcraft. This is to assure that even though they won’t be able to enter college, they are equipped with a specialized skill or skills that they could use to have a livelihood. Teaching in the Philippines is a very enriching experience for me, not only as a teacher but also as an Indonesian citizen. Though I have left my country to pursue a career in the Philippines, every time I am in our school, I feel like I am home. Being in the Philippines and still teaching Indonesian children using the Indonesian curriculum makes me experience a lot of things such as benchmarking practices in Philippine Passion for Teaching 117
    • schools and engaging in various conversations with different kinds of educators. I am very proud of my job and I will continue to be a teacher for the rest of my life –be it in Indonesia, the Philippines, or elsewhere. References: Consulate General Republic of Indonesia, “Social and Cultural Affairs,” Consulate General Republic of Indonesia, http://kjri-davao.com/?page=news&siteLanguage=Eng lish&address_link=117&cat=Social (accessed August 25, 2011)118 Passion for Teaching