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Sunday, June 22, 2008

My First FMA

“I did not become a teacher out of any sense of vocation; mine was no considered decision in the interests of youthful humanity or the spread of planned education. It was a decision forced on me by the very urgent need to eat.”

- Edward R. Braithwaite
To Sir, With Love
Looking back in time, I really don’t remember any childhood experiences that would connect my current profession right now as a teacher. I always dreamt of becoming a doctor, an architect or an artist perhaps just like any normal kiddo would aspire. But being a teacher is far from my imagination and I never encountered it in any of my dreams. I grew up in a world of sketch pads, chisels and religious images around our house. The fact that my late father was a small-time carver in Paete, Laguna did not permit me to fulfill my hallucinations of becoming a high-earning professional someday. Instead, the satirical reality of teaching comes. I ended up graduating Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in General Science at the Laguna State Polytechnic University in Siniloan, Laguna three years ago.

As soon as I graduated in college, I worked as a call center agent in Ortigas. I thought earning high salary and working in an urbanized “cave” would fulfill my happiness. I was so wrong. A cave is still a cave. I realized that it was so toxicating. Burning up my ass in an office chair for straight eight hours and arguing to someone I don’t even see is something that no one would really enjoy. I don’t have anything against call centre agents, I think it’s also a nice earning job but I really don’t think that work is for me.

Soon enough, I passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers that year and told my self maybe I would give it a try. I trusted God for He planned my board exam and my application as a teacher in public school. I was only 22 years old when I planted my first year of teaching in Lumban National High School, Lumban, Laguna, where I am still now. Most of my co-teachers and friends ask me if I’m enjoying my work. They thought being a teacher is a very tough job. Yes it is! But I can not exactly explain why I am still teaching today. Everyday I still greet my students with a big smile and full of energy. Laughing with them, arguing about something, discovering new ideas, exploring new worlds, and even the worst of disciplining them makes me feel alive. I truly enjoy those crazy moments. Looking back again to the passage of Braithwaite, I realized that it’s maybe not my choice to become a teacher but I know my profession have chosen me. I maybe forced because of our status in life but being a teacher is not an accident. In the process I realized how education has engulfed my frustrations in life.

I am still very young in this vocation. I lack enough experiences that would help me understand most of the ups and downs of Science Teaching. Now I come to another chapter of my life. I consider being a distant student again in this virtual class is another exiting part of my career. I expect to learn more about my major subject as well as improving my teaching skill. I also expect that I would gain a lot of insights and help from my fellow classmates. I would really like to share experience with them. Through this I know I can upgrade my craft. And through this I want my students to build up their education as well. I also lack enough knowledge that would help me understand most of the modules/topics of BIO A in Diploma in Science Teaching. I hope to read more forums and help from my fellow classmates. I will also try my best to help them out. We’re just an email away.

Opportunities are never lost; someone will just take over the ones you missed. True enough, the opportunity of studying in the University of the Philippines – Open University is a big break for me. Congressman “Egay” San Luis Scholarship program really offers a great chance for us to pursue our post-baccalaureate studies in spite of our arduous work as a public school teacher.

My line of work requires a great deal of time and efforts. Weekdays are not enough to accomplish all my tasks in school. Even Saturdays and Sundays are sacrificed just to prepare all the lessons and visuals for the coming days. For this reason, studying in an Open University or distance learning program helps a lot in balancing my time and effort for different tasks.

My intension in taking up a graduate study course is to advance my level of education, which may lead to a higher degree of position and a broader scope of employment. Moreover it would be an edge to finish my education in one of the premier universities in Asia such as UP.

After I completed my graduate study course in UP Open University, I will still continue to teach Science and Technology II in public high school, conforming the contract I will sign under the scholarship. I know, after this, more doors of opportunities will open for me. I will also apply for promotion that may upgrade the level of my position. I will also venture into a deeper line of work, like researches or science investigative project, and maybe streamline my teaching strategies.

To the extent that my career will flower, I know my students will also bloom in the field of science. I will improve their skills and develop more their interest in this discipline which is the basic aim of my scholarship. Cong. San Luis’ vision is to harvest more UP Passers from students of fourth district of Laguna. That is what I am also aiming. After UP, I should be able to create globally competitive students, equipped with the latest trends in science.

An ideal UPOU student?

My “baptismal” in UPOU last second semester with Sir Ric Bagarinao was unforgettable one. I had zero knowledge and zero experience about distance learning student. It was really a roller coaster ride of learning, both exciting and very unpredictable. I had the most extreme pressures and lowest point of emotions every time we have examinations and deadline of assignments. But every end of the rides were rewarding.

If I would evaluate my past experiences and participation last semester, I am still not sure if that would make an ideal student of UPOU. I’m not an expert regarding this but there many things I learned more than our modules and online discussions. Honesty, diligence, obedience, curious, judgmental, patience, perseverance, humility… I could enumerate hundreds of desirable traits that a student should posses but at the end of it all is one thing that I am always telling my self and everyone. LOVE what you are doing and everything will follow.

“The true way to render ourselves happy is to love our work and find in it our pleasure.”
- Francoise De Motteville

Like my profession, when I learned how to love being a UPOU student, I also learned to accept all the perils of it. The UPOU student must be totally committed in his efforts towards excellence. It’s hard, very hard, and it takes a lot of hard work but the end of it all is worth it. I became conscious that it is all part of the process. And the process is yet to come. I will have more modules to read and study, more assignments to pass, more examinations to get but I doesn’t bother me at all. As long I love what I am doing I am happy and that is the most important thing.

How about the examinations?

I believe that examinations are given depending on the learning of the student. Different examination requires skills suited for the topic or the type of knowledge a teacher is trying to measure or asses, somehow. I can not tell what exactly the kind of the examination in BIO A we could have. Since our brain doesn’t stop working. From the moment that we started the modules and becoming curious about our surrounding that’s the time that we try to explain everything around us. Likewise, learning has been evolving since we started analyzing how our brain works. It’s like a child being born, learning started out as a way of acquiring knowledge. Then after a few months passed we started to adopt this knowledge to a natural way, on how knowledge and the learner exist. I don’t stop there; I am now still trying to prove more knowledge by examination. This time the focus is not only on the learner but as well as his / her environment and all other factors that may affect him / her.

The final question.

I admit I’m still very young in my profession as a teacher. I am still in an experimental stage. I have done a lot of trial and error in my teaching strategies. But I know I may fine tune my teaching career as I get old. My concept of a science is not as profound as a scientist. I’m a science teacher. That’s why everyday I always include science word drill, some science news/updates, and a good motivation for my students. There are also individualized instructions I use during activities. This would help students discover new knowledge by themselves. Also students learn from their mistakes so they use more of their brain trying to analyze the problem.

That’s my concept of science. Not just as a subject in school but something that my students could bump into everyday. I believe scientific literacy is not about memorizing hundreds of terminologies in science nor enumerating thousands of the parts of an organisms or even counting millions of living organisms. It’s about making my students’ feeling science as part of their everyday lives. Letting them explore things by applying the concepts they have learned. Criticize things like scientists do. Until I achieved this vision, I can tell my self that I am a true Scientist and a teacher.

The important thing here is that educators must be like embroider. There may be a lot of colors and textures of threads to choose from but an expert embroider know when, where, what and how to place these to the fabric in order to produce a one of a kind master piece.

I would like to end my first FMA with the Daffodil Principle:

Learn to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at a time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world …

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching.

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