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Blogging.

Something that I’ve always found interesting but something I can’t seem to sustain. I’m excited at the beginning, full of “unique” thoughts jumping out of my mind, demanding to be typed. Then the next thing I know, I’m uninspired and have zero idea what to write. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write. The experience of finding the right words to completely express what you want to say perfectly. To make people feel the way you feel, see from your own eyes and to express yourself through words. I find it totally fascinating. It’s just difficult to stay in the zone you know?

So I guess expect the unexpected. Or better yet, don’t expect anything at all (I have a feeling this has encouraged you to expect something). I might write a recipe (usually for one) that I’ve tried and enjoyed recently, or my recent travels (I love to travel), or my thoughts on a recent experience (think advice column, where you learn what to do and not to do). I might write about make up (LIPSTICK ADDICT HERE!), my work (also my passion), my faith (everything for His glory!). In short, this blog is a little bit of everything. So you know, prepare yourself for the randomness of my life.

That’s it for now. Until next time!

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A Curriculum that Works

A paper for my Curriculum Engineering  course.

It is essential for every institution to develop its own objective of education. They should have one stand on now to reach out to students and how to be able to excel in school. We need to remember that there is no one way to teach a student. Instead, in developing a curriculum that would help us teach these children we need to go back to the beginning and ask, “who are these children and why are we teaching them?” When we look at the current trends, the practice of the schools, the learning environment, the subject objectives and the students; there seems to be a problem since we find it difficult to completely grasp what we know and believe, much less blend it to create a curriculum that will prepare these students to excel in the future. We know what we expect from our students to learn but our approach in reaching it and how we want them to use it differs. If our educational objectives will not be clear as an institution, if we will not have a vivid image of what we want our students to become and how to help them reach it, we won’t be able to effectively teach these students.

In the Philippine setting we have changed our school program to K-12. This aims for schools to be able to cater to their different needs and interests, make them more globally competitive and to help them reach their greatest potential. Though they are good intentions there seems to be problems between the objectives and the implementations. We do desire to cater to their needs and interests but our facilities are limited and we don’t have enough resources to provide more for them. Teachers have not completely grasped the logic behind K-12 and how to go about it. We also aim for them to be globally competitive, but they don’t desire to work here because they prefer to seek a better life abroad. And we aim for them to reach their greatest potential but we usually limit them to learn what each subject wants them to learn, rarely going beyond what is expected of them.

In the end we need to create a balance on what we have traditionally taught, who your students are, your own personal belief as an educator and what each subject aims to teach. This is a challenge not only for the people responsible for this program and its success but for all of us. There should be a clear understanding between what we want to achieve and if we are really achieving it, if we truly want to help our students succeed beyond the four walls of our classroom.

The Need to Learn

A Paper for my Curriculum Engineering class.

When I was studying for my undergraduate degree one thing was instilled by my professors, “Teachers never stop learning.” This has been something that I took to heart and one of the reasons why I am currently taking up my post graduate degree. It is essential for a teacher to go beyond the four walls of her classroom. To meet other people, experience different things, and update themselves in the current trends in education. It doesn’t mean that you need to apply them all, but knowing more things provides more options. It helps us to cater better to our students at the same time since we are able to provide a more targeted style of teaching. If we limit ourselves, we limit our capabilities as a teacher. We become stuck in a routine which will most likely not work with your students, especially since children in each generation is different.

Working in different schools, I was able to meet different kinds of students and parent. I experienced different forms of policies, curriculums and strategies. I have met and learned from seasoned and experienced teachers. But to be honest, the place where I learn the most and which helps me to be more creative in my teaching is when I’m conducting worship services for preschool children in our church. This is a monthly event where children aged 2-6 come together to sing songs, pray, learn and do arts and crafts in church. The concept is not like a school because the age group is mixed and the setup is a lot more like a worship service than a class. This is where I learned to vary my teaching styles, provide more options for children to learn, handle difficult children, manage my time, adjusting the content of the story depending on the child’s age, how to manage last minute changes and so much more. I learned to think outside the box. During those services, I was not only a teacher. I was an organizer, a planner, a preacher and so on. It was challenging but a lot of the things I have learned there are things that I have incorporated in my class. It has made it more dynamic and exciting for my students and it has made me more equipped as I teach these children.

For us to be effective teachers we need to go beyond the obvious. We owe it to our students to be able to provide for them the best education that we can provide.

Education and Economics

A paper submitted in my Curriculum Engineering class.

For a nation to be economically competitive they need to have ample resources. Not only that, they need to be able to maximize those resources and cultivate it. Human resource is the most important resource a nation has. And so, it is necessary to devote a large amount of financial resource to education to make sure that the people in their country will have the necessary training needed to help their country progress.

Going through the readings, it is evident that nations do understand this. What I would like to know is are we thinking beyond the immediate. Education is the immediate need. There is a need to improve it, to make it accessible to everyone. But are we making a sustainable community for these students. Do we think about where they would go after graduating? Do we provide them with opportunities to use what they have learned to improve, not only their own life, but their immediate community? Do we instill in them the value of hard work and the importance of every job, regardless of how seemingly simple it is? We tell children that when they study they will be able to afford the life they want. And yet, we are not able to provide them the opportunity to apply all that they have learned and earn the life they want.

In the Philippines, so many doctors are studying to be nurses so they can go abroad and earn more. I remember when I was deciding on my course for university everyone wanted to study to become a nurse so they can go to the States. Nobody wanted to become a doctor anymore, not when they can be a nurse in the States. When I decided to become a teacher they all thought I was wasting my opportunity to work abroad. I told them that nurses won’t be as in demand as then by the time we graduate. And now, five years after, I have already experienced working abroad and hold a profession that is in demand, both here and abroad. Which is more than what they have.

Children need to understand that in order to have a productive and fulfilling life in the future, it’s not about getting ahead of others or getting the best at everything. It is doing what you do best. It is working hard and knowing that your work is important.

The Aim of Education: A Reflection

A paper for my Curriculum Engineering class.

what is the aim of education?

Education has evolved, adjusted to meet the expectations of the current generation. It has become more standardized and has been developed to provide the children all that they would need to succeed in the future.

What I find troubling is the fact that as we push for standardization and progress but we seem to have forgotten to take into account the individuality of each child. Our desire for each child to have equal opportunities to succeed has caused a discrimination between the academically competent and challenged students. Knowing that children are the hope of the future generation we condition them to succeed without taking into consideration what the child would like to do. We treat them equally but we forget that not everyone is wired the same.

I do believe that education is essential for everyone but the fact remains that we need to truly understand the reason why we promote education. Are the subjects discussed essential for the children to succeed and become productive citizens? I would like to think that children should be given their own opportunity to define success in their own terms. Regardless of what they decide to do, they should know that they are accepted and that they are still essential to the progress of the future generation. If not, we’ll have so many leaders and not enough followers. How then could we succeed as a nation? As a generation?

Before we create programs to educate everyone, let us first take the time to consider what we want everyone to learn. Education is for all but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should receive the same form of education. Education should be fluid, able to adapt to the different needs of the students. It should prepare them for the future to achieve their own definition of success, regardless of what that may be. Education should lead them to a path of joy and contentment.

A God led Teacher

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2:3-4

St. John Baptist De La Salle was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He grew up in a comfortable home, never needing for anything. And yet instead of enjoying it, he chose to turn away from this and pursued a life dedicated to helping those who were in need. He didn’t personally experience the difficulties that they went through and yet he found a desire to help them in any way that he could. This could only come from God. The burden to follow God, to glorify Him, was what lead St. La Salle to give it all up. It wasn’t about the children; it was about obeying God. By helping them, he was able to express God’s love for these children. He brought God to their reach.

St. La Salle did not do things conventionally. He did not follow what was practiced because he knew that this did not work for everyone. He understood that the students God handed to him would not benefit from what the other schools were offering. He chose to meet their needs, adjusting the curriculum to maximize learning. He didn’t care about what others thought. What mattered to him was that these children would learn, that they would grow to become productive citizens in their society. He saw a great need to make education, attainable and understandable. It wasn’t easy, nor was it comfortable. He went through a lot of suffering and persecution. But God did not leave him alone. He was with them throughout this journey. He brought people who journeyed with St. La Salle. He might have lost his wealth and comfort but he had joy in his heart knowing that he was doing what God has called him to do.

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. and every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. -Acts 5:41-42

Are you willing?

Matthew 20:29-34

The two blind men did not blindly believe in Jesus. Their faith in Him is based on all of the testimonies they’ve heard about His miracles. These facts have solidified their faith and made them willing to receive God’s gift of healing. Willingness is essential in our salvation because God doesn’t want to force us to accept this great gift. He doesn’t need to prove Himself to us. He is the God who created the world in 6 days, who provides food to every animal on earth, who knows you by name and knows everything that is important and insignificant about you. He’s as real as you and me.

Most amazingly, God’s love for us go beyond the typical. He did not only say it with words or express it through the things He does for us. He went all out and gave us His son Jesus Christ as a gift, a sacrifice to redeem us from our sins. A gift that we could never and wouldn’t have to repay. A gift He gave to everyone; not just to the Israelites or those who are devoted. He gave it to the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the blind and those deemed undeserving. The only thing he asks of us is to be willing.

It takes our willingness, our faith, in Jesus Christ for us to be saved. He has already done all that He needs to do to free us from our sins. All we have to do is look up and lay down all that we have at His feet. Jesus was willing to die on that cross to cleanse us of all of our sins. Are you willing to give up your life and let Him take over? Only when we are willing can God begin the healing in our hearts.

Number 1

Matthew 20:24-28

This world has made us believe that in order for us to be great, we need to be “number one”. We grow up wanting to be recognized for all that we have done, appreciated for all that we have given and rewarded for all of our accomplishments. The desire to be the “greatest” motivates us to strive harder in all that we do, usually at the expense of things that we find of value.

But God’s kingdom doesn’t see greatness the same way as the world does. God doesn’t want us to always be first in line. Rather, He wants us to stand back and let others try. He doesn’t want us to do everything. Instead, He wants us to let others show their own God given talents. He doesn’t want us to pull people down because He wants us to push them up. He doesn’t want us to be kings of this world. He wants us to be servants of His people, just like His son Jesus Christ. He who came to earth to find the lost sheep and to bring them to the presence of God. He who came to feed the hungry, heal the sick and wash His disciples’ feet. He who died on the cross to save us from our sins. Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords but looking at His life here on earth, He was a servant. He was a slave for God.

Dying to self is not losing your identity but finding yourself in the midst of this dark and crazy world. We are no longer of this world so there is no need for us to desire being “number 1” if it entails us losing sight of whose we are. Knowing that you belong to a God who loves His people so much that He let His only son die on the cross to save them from themselves, what earthly greatness can compare to being called His servant? What’s so bad in being last in everything when you are already number 1 in God’s heart?