Learner

We had our in-service training today for newly hired educators. Dr. Roman Salazar, president of Cavite School Teachers & Employees Association, Inc. (CAVSTEA) gave an empowering talk about the importance of being an effective teacher.

He admonished all of us to heed to the call of excellence, dedication and commitment.

He just came from a surgery but because of his love for the profession, he gallantly shared his wealth of experience to all the newbies.

The learner is the heart of our profession.

Being effective is a daily mission to make a difference.

In-service training

Being a teacher is so much more involved than just the physical act of teaching. Being a teacher means being involved as a learner. Being a teacher means being a life-long learner and a curious soul.

What does it mean to be a great teacher? Of course credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence are important. However, a great teacher should be much more than credentials, experience and intelligence.

What lies in the heart of a great teacher?

You are Kind

A great teacher shows kindness to students, colleagues, parents and those around her/him. My favourite saying is “kindness makes the world go around”. It truly changes the environment in the classroom and school. Being a kind teacher helps students feel welcomed, cared for and loved.
You are Compassionate

Teaching is a very humanistic profession, and compassion is the utmost feeling of understanding, and showing others you are concerned about them. A compassionate teacher models that characteristic to the students with her/his actions, and as a result students will be more open to understanding the world around them.

You are Empathetic

Empathy is such an important trait to have and to try to develop in ourselves and our students. Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective can have such a powerful impact on our decisions and actions.

You are Positive

Being a positive person, is not an easy task. Being a positive teacher is even harder when we’re always met with problems with very limited solutions. However, staying positive when it’s tough can have such a tremendous positive impact on the students and everyone around us. Looking on the bright side always seems to help make things better.

You are a Builder

A great teacher bridges gaps and builds relationships, friendships, and a community. Teachers always look to make things better and improve things in and outside of the classroom. Building a community is something a great teacher seeks to do in the classroom and extends that to the entire school and its community.

You Inspire

Everyone looks at a great teacher and they want to be a better teacher, they want to be a better student, even better, they want to be a better person. A great teacher uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities and magic right before everyone’s eyes.

Onward

Time flies fast.

It’s now getting clearer.

This was never about me in the first place.

My biggest ‘why’ was slowly unfolding.

I know where I want to go.

I met a lot of passionate, dedicated and committed educators.

They are my source of inspiration and hope.

It was challenging but God sent me angels to guide me and to be with me on this journey.

He was there for me from the start, who am I to doubt His plans?

Onward, move forward!

He knows better than I.

Onward

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ~Kahlil Gibran

TeacherPh shared these amazing tips to all newbie in the public education sector.

1. SMILE
When you start your day wearing this, you’re probably not going to lose. This attracts a lot of positivity and is known to calm those types of co-teachers who do not seem to see anything positive in anyone! Smile and the world will smile back!

2. GREET EVERYONE
Congratulations! You’re hired! You are now a professional teacher, a shaper of the majority of the Philippine population. Thousands of ideas and plans might be playing inside your mind now and you might be expecting the perfect first day of your public service. But uh oh! Before you expect anything, why don’t you stop and consider our top 10 advices for the first timers in the public school. We want to give you the most realistic tips and ideas about the world that you have just entered!

3. DON’T BE OVERWHELMED BY WORK
Yes, you want everything to go on very well and you do not like the good impression of your co-teachers to change that is why you keep yourself busy working even when you are at home already. You almost think about work for 24 hours and that can be draining. Remember that you will be able to do a lot of paper work while giving your best on teaching in the first few months, but then you will find yourself feeling tired and drained already. So be gentle to yourself and make sure you maintain a good balance between working, socializing, relaxing, and resting. The more balance you feel about these 4 activities, the more you feel positive at work.

4. EXPECT TO HEAR SOME GOSSIP BUT DON’T INVOLVE YOURSELF
Ooops! This is very common! Do not trust anyone yet. It might seem nice that some of your co-teachers let you hear the gossip they are talking about and they might want you to be a part of their group but think twice! Often, gossip becomes the reason why some teachers transfer from one school to another. Never ever involve yourself in such thing because you are PROFESSIONAL. Besides, a good person or a good friend is not someone who speak foul of others.

5. PREPARE YOUR SPEECH
Just in case your head teacher or superior introduces you to everyone! A well-thought self-introduction can give a good impression to your colleagues but “WAG MASYADONG GALINGAN” because teachers might think otherwise. Just be natural.

6. PREPARE YOUR LESSON PLAN
Do we need to memorize this? We have been trained from college to our first work experience that we have to prepare this very precious paper. You will be surprised when your superior asks you to submit your lesson plan to her on the first day of school!

7. ASK THE DATES AND CREATE A TIME TABLE
So this is it! Plan, plan, plan! Organize and list down the important things you need to accomplish as you will be overwhelmed by work once the first periodical test approaches. Being a public school teacher means having loads of paperwork so if you do not want to be stressed, make sure you follow a well-planned time table. You have to begin asking your superior to provide you a school calendar so you can mark dates and plan ahead your future activities.

8. FIND OUT A WAY TO HAVE A BUDGET FOR 3-6 MONTHS
You’ve already heard it from your friends who got hired ahead of you. You will not receive your salary a month right after getting hired. Expect a 3-6 months delay on your wage. Ayos! Bayad utang lang!

9. WEAR A COMFORTABLE SHOES
You won’t be able to sit down most of the time as you need to attend to a big number of students in each of your class. Sitting down in the class for a first time teacher is a no no!

10. PRAY
Of course, it’s always him who has a complete control of everything. You will need him not just throughout your teaching journey but throughout your life’s journey. You have the biggest responsibility in our nation now so you need the greatest ally. You are a teacher. YOU WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE and to do it successfully, you’ll need his help — THE ONE WHO SHAPED THE WHOLE WORLD PERFECTLY.

Read

One of the main thrusts for this academic year is to intensify the reading habits of our students.

I know it will never be easy but it takes a lot of encouragement and more push.

I was inspired by this article of Joby Provido on how spiritual reading leads to a balanced life.

Reading

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Every day we are bombarded with news that can be violent or depressing. Sometimes immersing ourselves in those kinds of stories can drive us to despair when thinking of hope for humanity. Those studying internet behavior say we tend to compare our life with others on Social Media. This can be very stressful if we consider we have to keep up with other people’s happiness. It can make our lives seem empty at some point.

The spate of celebrity suicides does not help either. While taking one’s life (or any life for that matter) is contrary to Christian culture, we cannot judge those who have fallen victim to mental illness for we don’t know what they were going through. Since Christ is all-knowing and all-loving, we leave it up to him because he is the best and only authorized judge by the Father. One thing we can say that may make sense is that there must have been a feeling of helplessness that drove them to do it.

While we cannot remove these stressful matters from our secular life, we can balance it. How many times do we watch heart-warming videos of animals being saved, or fathers who are supposed to be away and make a surprise appearance, or mothers who prepare something her birthday girl enjoys? Don’t we press on the heart button and share them? Some even write a post: “faith in humanity restored.” In those moments, aren’t our spirits lifted?

Life is a constant battle and we need weapons to help us endure. Spiritual reading is one of these. It is the habit of reading something spiritual with the purpose of growing in holiness. By reading spiritual material, our soul gets buoyed so we can keep our head above the flood of depressing media, take a breath, and continue the struggle. It is like watching those heart-warming videos that bring back faith in humanity.

Spiritual reading is different from meditation. Meditation is a quest to find out what God wants us to do, feel, and be. Spiritual reading, on the other hand, is to reinforce our lives with enriching things.

One can start with ten minutes a day, then move on to fifteen minutes or longer. It would be nice to set a time to do this so it can be done regularly. It would also be best to do this in a place that has little or no distractions. Maybe a quiet room in the house will do.

What can a beginner read? The gospels are a good start. A slow prayerful reading always helps. The lives of the saints are extraordinarily good material. Get books on or by Teresa of Avila (The Interior Castle), St. Francis of Assisi, Therese of Lisieux (The Story of a Soul), Thomas Merton (The Seven Story Mountain), John Paul II. While Fulton Sheen is not yet a saint, his life is a wonderful thing to read. Books on Our Lady are particularly enriching too. Find books on the apparitions in Fatima, Lourdes, and Mexico (Our Lady of Guadalupe.) Other good titles are: “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” by Louis de Montfort, “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton, “Mary of Nazareth” by Federico Suarez.

One does not have to “read” to do spiritual reading. Watching an enriching video or listening to a podcast is spiritual “reading” too. Find something that lifts your soul or educates you about the faith.

Make it part of a daily habit. Think of spiritual reading as the spiritual vitamins that keep us healthy.

New

A new journey began. It will be a different world. More challenging but rewarding. As I look into the new horizon, hope breams eternal.

I know this is Your will Lord, not mine. But, I surrender to Your Holy plan.

New

“The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want…” – Ps 23

In one of the Jesuit’s reflection that inspires me, they shared that discerning God’s will for me does not depend on the skills I have learnt, much less on the level of my knowledge, but above all on the quality of my heart’s listening.

A listening heart knows how to be sensitive to God’s presence. It is built on a basic trust in God’s faithfulness and to his willingness to communicate himself: it is indeed possible to seek and find what is God’s project for me.

As I listen to God, I discover that I need to listen more to myself, even though I might have started with the idea that I need to listen less to myself. It is God who created me and sowed the seeds of desire in my heart, so I do have to learn how to listen to and understand my deepest desires, my dreams, my strong points, as well as my mistakes and disappointments.

Just as I cannot love others unless I love myself, so also I cannot really trust God without trusting myself and what God is doing in me: God’s will is myself!

I do this not in narcissistic self-admiration, where everything is centred on my needs, but in a spirit of deep freedom, the freedom to serve and to love others even when it means carrying the cross and turning the other cheek.

Like all successful communication, this requires time and patient effort, perhaps with the guidance of someone more experienced with whom I share my quest. This can only happen in the context of a stable prayer life, that includes the daily examen of conscience.

As life becomes more complex, and as we become more allergic to rules, discernment will assume a much bigger role in our lives and in that of our communities, including that of the big community, the Church. We are blessed that many who preceded us, including Ignatius of Loyola, have left us many helpful indications on how to discern our decisions.

As I continue my journey, I will continuously yield to His plans for me.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Mt 7: 7-12

Up

There was no way but up.

It was a tough ride for the past years.

Time to bounce back, to regain strength, to love and to serve more.

I know it was diffucult to start again from the bottom of the pit but I was humbled by the experience.

Up

The heart of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST) are the students or learners. A new door opened for me. A lot of discoveries and many meangful memories!

I learned a lot and I met new people.

I’ve just started.

A bigger purpose was slowly unravelling right before my eyes.

Thank you God for surprising me everyday.

I cling on Your unfailing love.

Let Your will be done.

I can’t do this alone. You are my rock and my shield.

Protect me everyday and use me according to Your holy plan.

I surrender everything to You.

Be my guide.

Let Your heart be seen in me.

May I bring more people closer to You.

In Jesus name, amen.