Category: Education

What Students Really Need to Hear

I am reblogging this from AffectiveLiving. I hope this will remind students of the real deal why they are in school at the same time inspire teachers to be more than academic teachers. Don’t miss out on the main event!

What Students Really Need to Hear

It’s 4 a.m. I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep. But, I can’t. Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain. Why? Because I am stressed about my students. Really stressed. I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself. And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be honest with you — both in what I say and how I say it?

Here’s the thing: I lose sleep because of you. Every week.

Before I tell you why, you should understand the truth about school. You see, the main event of school is not academic learning. It never has been. It never will be. And, if you find someone who is passionate in claiming that it is about academics, that person is lying to himself or herself and may genuinely believe that lie. Yes, algebra, essay writing, Spanish, the judicial process — all are important and worth knowing. But they are not the MAIN event.

The main event is learning how to deal with the harshness of life when it gets difficult — how to overcome problems as simple as a forgotten locker combination, to obnoxious peers, to gossip, to people doubting you, to asking for help in the face of self-doubt, to pushing yourself to concentrate when a million other thoughts and temptations are fingertips away.

It is your resilience in conquering the main event — adversity — that truly prepares you for life after school. Because, mark my words, school is not the most challenging time you will have in life. You will face far greater challenges than these. Sure, you will have times more amazing than you can imagine, but you will also confront incomparable tragedy, frustration, and fear in the years to come.

But, you shouldn’t be worried about the fact that you will face great adversities. You should be worried because you’re setting yourself up to fail at overcoming them. Here’s the real reason I lose hours of sleep worrying about you: You are failing the main event of school. You are quitting. You may not think you are quitting, but you are because quitting wears many masks.

For some, you quit by throwing the day away and not even trying to write a sentence or a fraction because you think it doesn’t matter or you can’t or there’s no point. But it does. What you write is not the main event. The fact that you do take charge of our own fear and doubt in order to write when you are challenged — THAT is the main event.

Some of you quit by skipping class on your free education. Being punctual to fit the mold of the classroom is not the main event of showing up. The main event is delaying your temptation and investing in your own intelligence — understanding that sometimes short-term pain creates long-term gain and that great people make sacrifices for a greater good.

For others, you quit by being rude and disrespectful to adults in the hallway who ask you to come to class. Bowing to authority is not the main event. The main event is learning how to problem solve maturely, not letting your judgement be tainted by the stains of emotion.

I see some of you quit by choosing not to take opportunities to work harder and pass a class, no matter how far down you are. The main event is not getting a number to tell you you are worthy. The main event is pulling your crap together and making hard choices and sacrifices when things seem impossible. It is finding hope in the hopeless, courage in the chasm, guts in the grave.

What you need to see is that every time you take the easy way out, you are building a habit of quitting. And it will destroy your future and it will annihilate your happiness if you let it. Our society cares nothing for quitters. Life will let you die alone, depressed, and poor if you can’t man or woman up enough to deal with hardship. You are either the muscle or the dirt. You either take resistance and grow stronger or blow in the wind and erode.

As long as you are in my life, I am not going to let quitting be easy for you. I am going to challenge you, confront you, push you, and coach you. You can whine. You can throw a tantrum. You can shout and swear and stomp and cry. And the next day, guess what? I will be here waiting — smiling and patient — to give you a fresh start. Because you are worth it.

So, do yourself a favor: Man up. Woman up. No more excuses. No more justifications. No blaming. No quitting. Just pick your head up. Rip the cords out of your ears. Grab the frickin’ pencil and let’s do this.

– C. Mielke

The Importance of Effective Teaching

“I will never become a teacher! Teaching is not for me, I don’t have the patience.” , those were my lines way back my senior high school years until college. I never see myself becoming an effective teacher in any way possible until just recently. It’s amazing how God can turn things and life views around. I went back to school to acquire the skills of becoming an effective teacher.

On one of our class’ discussion, a topic on Principles on effective teaching was discussed and somehow some points there hit me real hard. The items / list of principles presented looks easy but I assume it won’t be as easy when I am already in the real world of teaching – that is, if my heart is not on it. All points there I found relevant, however one principle that got me nodding my head, is the Connecting of Knowledge or as the reporter presented it “Connect Knowledge” According to Angelo 1193, p.5 “The more meaningful and appropriate connections students make between what they know and what they are learning, the more permanently they will anchor new information in long-term memory and the easier it will be for them to access that information when it’s needed” For me, this really makes a lot of sense. I can definitely well self-apply this principle. It is indeed easy to remember new learning that is associated to what you already know. This promotes easy recall on the learning acquired since students have referenced it to a knowledge that’s been acquired before. This made me realize further that as a teacher, it is important to be creative in delivering your outlined lessons. Sticking to what’s written on the reference book can be boring and the goal to impart learning on the subject matter might be futile. I personally think this principle is very effective in getting the attention of the students especially in subjects where most of the learners find challenging to grasp. Application of the “connect knowledge” principle might probably be challenging to teachers on some complex subjects, but I firmly believe that if you will it, you can do it.

Having mentioned about “will-ing” it, the sixth principle presented can very well be connected to the Connect Knowledge principle. ‘Demand Quality’ is something a teacher should be vocal from the very beginning of the course or school year. “Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy” (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 5) – to this I strongly agree. It is just fitting for a teacher who does his best in teaching not to tolerate mediocrity in his students’ performance. The kind of students a teacher produces defines him in his profession, even as a person.

The lesson made me further realize that being a teacher means being willing to go the extra mile, selfless sensitivity and creativity to become effective over and over because teaching is endless. There were a lot of relevant topics discussed that same day, but the Principles of Effective Teaching was a home run for me. It honestly helped me understand how to become an effective teacher and these principles I will surely remember when I get there.

Alternative Learning System

“If we cannot bring the deprived, depressed and underserved citizens back to school, WE MUST SKILL THEM WHERE THEY ARE.”

This got me while I was making my report on Alternative Learning System on one of my subjects in Professional Education. ALS for me is one solid Government program on education that will definitely help those who cannot afford to acquire formal education. The problem that I can see is, there’s not enough national information drive about this that there are still a lot of unreached people who can potentially benefit this program. That, saying based on my experience as I only understood this when I made this report. With this, I hope the Philippines Government will not stop only in creating amazing programs in education but will also further educate and let the people know about it.

Here’s the presentation I made so you can better understand the Alternative Learning System.

Alternative learning system (ALS) from Em Em

My WordPress Tech Attempt

I have been blogging for more than 5 years now but got really into it when I decided to leave my day job and stay at home to focus on my family some 2 years ago. On the course of my blogging career (o! career talaga huh! lol!) I have always been dependent to my host especially when white screens gets in the way upon logging in to my wordpress admin page. I have had some experience in uploading/creating a website before but I didn’t really put the learnings I had by heart knowing that someone else will always do the “fixing” part for me. Until recently I realized that I cannot depend all the time as people have their priorities and God equipped me with the wisdom and comprehension, therefore I am capable of fixing my own glitches. I’m still talking tech here my friends. LOL!

So this conviction of doing things by myself as much as possible was tested last Friday. I have this health blog I’ve always wanted to update (wordpress was last updated —- see? I can’t remember anymore, it’s reaaallly old!). Because I cannot update it automatically I had to do it manually! That means saying hello to ftp/sftp again! Thanks to my gracious host for giving me the root access. I have reservations in updating it myself because I have been warned to really really be careful in updating because I may end up messing up the entire account and a LOT of blogs will be affected! Pressure level 100% :). So yes I took the challenge of updating the old blog to the latest WordPress version.

This is the old look of my health blog. Really really outdated.

 

So when I did! behold! I got the White Screen of Death in both website and the web admin page. I knew I should not give up and I have to finish what I started! After all the research and self encouragement I was able to put the blog back! With a new face and a new dashboard! hoooraaayy! LoL! (giving myself a pat on the back!). So I —

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WoMom’s Critique on K to 12

k-12

When I first heard of the changes in the Education system of the Philippines to K to 12, I was just passive, as it wasn’t something that concerned me (at least for that time-being). But when the issue pressed on and eventually got implemented I wasn’t really convinced that it is something beneficial to everyone especially to parents like me. I immediately looked that the EXPENSES parents will have to endure with the additional 2 years in High School with this K to 12 system. But of course, much to my protest and negative views on it, I really had no choice but to suck it up and enroll my son anyway for Grade 7.

But as I got a clearer view and understanding of the K to 12 , my views and opinion changed in favor of the implementation of the new education system. Let me point out on some of the important points I deem important and beneficial to every student even to the parents.

  1. Mandatory Kindergarten – the mandatory requirement of a child to be enrolled in Kindergarten is advantageous to the children as it head starts to a better elementary education. The child will be more prepared emotionally, physically and mentally for grade school.
  2. Reduction of daily time allotted for some subjects – this will give the pupils/students the opportunity of having a breather. I believe that a child need not to be too stressed out in school otherwise learning won’t be fun. While it is the school’s responsibility to provide education, parents also has the responsibility to follow up on their children. The extended free hours, is a great opportunity to do just that.
  3. Additional 2 years in High School (Senior High School – SHS) – this is something that will help the student and parents be guided on the career path the student wishes to follow. Furthermore, this is favorable especially to those who cannot afford college education. I believe there’s a hefty number of youth who are not able to get a college degree, not even the vocational and short courses due to financial struggle. With the additional 2 years in High School where it considers the nature and the needs of the learners responding to the local and global needs, they are provided with the opportunity to be certified on the chosen specialization on their SHS years. I view this to be something economical on the part of the parents, as this equips their children to be legally employed as skilled workers after High School. Thus, college education can wait in case financial issues will get in the way.

Other changes such as the Spiral Approach of teaching wherein learning is a process of building upon previously learned knowledge. Others say it is expensive as it will require expertise of a teacher to perform this. It might sound impossible but I believe, given the time, the government will be able to produce the kind of educators needed to fulfill this approach. On the other hand, I have a slight issue on two of the changes this K to 12 is implementing, the use of Mother Tongue as medium of instruction, while I understand the importance of using the mother tongue for easy transition from home to school, I think teaching Science and Math using the mother tongue will be challenging. This requires extra effort and expertise of the teacher to relate to the students/pupils using the mother tongue. And second, the No Formal Subject in Science in K to Grade II, I personally think we are wasting time and opportunities to relate to the kids who in this stage are very inquisitive. Science in this stage need not to be complicated, I suppose the very basic of science is needed tailored to the level of understanding of these kids this age would appropriate and useful.

To close this, as a citizen and a parent, I may have some apprehensions on this new education system and how well will the government implement this, but I have faith that our government knows what it is doing. The fact that we are among the very few countries – third world countries at that, that does implement the K to 12, I am assured that this will bring tremendous change not just to the quality of students and workers it will produce, but also a better country with reliable, talented and competitive graduates and soon to be workers who can compete not just locally but as well as globally.