To Carpe the Diem

What am I taking home from this course?
How have my views changed?
Have I been moved into action?

The day that I enlisted this course in my last semester in the PTC program seem like it was just yesterday. January 7, the start of the classes seems like it was just this afternoon. People say that time flies fast when you’re enjoying it. To which I say, “Time flies faster when you’re being challenged and enjoying it at the same time.”

I admit that I am not the best student in this class because I lost my end game. I submitted the requirements 2 days late if not a week. It may be my lack of experience too that will make me sit at the back if we’re in a class room setting. What I offered this class, I think,  is the curiosity that I have in me every time I enter my username and password to log in (which I will miss, including the technical difficulties). And this is my promise to myself, to my classmate I already made friends with despite the virtual relationship, to the very supportive and considerate Teacher Malou, and to my (future) students: I will not let this curiosity and the courage to ask questions die.

This course took me to many places in different time frames and met a lot of people in my imagination. It made me vacuumed all my existing “knowledge” of what assessment is just like what we are made to believe of what happen to people who traverse the Bermuda Triangle. Just when I thought that I already know what assessment is, I thought wrong at the start of the first module. You know what tabula rasa is? That is me. This course changed me in a lot of ways other than the fact that it made me rethink of what I know. Parang barahang binalasa lang ako.

What I know for now, is that I want to know and study more – and that is what I am going to do. From this day on, I will grab the opportunities that will help me overcome my insecurities as a student. I think i have already learned from my mistakes, now it is time to learn from others mistakes. I hope in my own little ways and little efforts while I prepare to teach the pag-asa ng bayan, I will be the best version that I can be and become a good teacher.

At the end of the day, we only regret the chances we did not take.

Carpe diem

 

 

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“Do Not Go to UP.”

I am sharing this story as a student. This is my story that I will never forget because never in my wildest dreams that I thought or even imagined to experience this.

There was one fateful day in my fourth year high school day that I felt really humiliated in front of my classmates. Up to this day, I consider it as the day I almost lost it and cried (if not punched my teacher) out of humiliation and anger.

Flashback: Advanced Algebra class, February 2010, board work. I was not able to answer correctly the math problem assigned to me on the board. I did my best, I promise. I got a, “Wag ka na mag-enroll sa UP, ibigay mo na lang sa iba yung slot mo.” as a remark. Followed by a comment that I should just pursue my athletic career somewhere else. As much I want to be a better student as I am a good athlete, there are really people who would throw all the mud at you. I am sure that my teacher meant what he said that day.

Be the better person they said. So I did. I still pursued my UP. I may have not graduated with honors, but that feed back gave me the grit to finish school with my chin up. My math teacher still ended up in the acknowledgement page of my undergraduate thesis for motivating me to become the best version of me in college. Sounds bitter? Sure. But I sure did find my way out of that stigma – that athletes are just people of the tournament and class. Oh hell, no.

Though I still thrive to be a good example of a future to my future students, I am sure not to let words out of my mouth that will ruin my students. I have experienced that and I know that it does not make me a better teacher if I do that to my students. Not ever. Not in this lifetime.

 

 

 

Hipster Way

I have mentioned in my previous reflections that I find all assessment the same until I am confronted with the idea and reality (at the same time) that they are not. Thanks to EDS 113, my classmates, and Teacher Malou.

I was very happy to learn about non-traditional assessment and it somehow validated my existence. Module 5 made me feel more of a human, and not a learning “robot”. It made me realize how valid my feelings and experiences are in the process of my learning and journey through life. More than that, it opened doors to potential that I am yet to discover. Non-traditional assessments made me ask more questions starting with “how” and “why”.

I think being street-wise, a very much appreciated characteristic at present, is an effect of non-traditional tests and assessments that we need to go through as a student. Being given the chance to participate in real-life scenario and given real-life problems in school as activities, we began to think of a larger scale and outside the four corners of our classrooms. Students become more empowered and responsible when their learning is being put into their hands.

As reflective teachers, we should be always alert for clues that can indicate the strong and weak points of our students when it comes to non-traditional tests and assessments. Also, we should also be mindful and keep ourselves really grounded that we still need to perform our duties as facilitators of their learning though learner-centered assessments that we can course through learner-centered activities.

Wayback Wednesday

Module 4 made me backtrack what I have learned in my first course work as a PTC student. That class tackled extensively on what reflective teaching is and how to become a reflective teacher.

As far as my short memory is concerned, one important characteristic of being a reflective teacher is caring about our students. There may be  a lot of dark and difficult times of being a teacher and the life outside it that we should live, but when you find that teaching is what makes your heart beat, it will always will. We care for our students not only because they are our responsibility once they step in the class room, but also because their progress is our pride, and their failure is ours as well.

I am saying this to boost the only remaining motivation we have of ourselves. They balance our strict nature. They make us, always, understand that what they can become can never be determined by the grades that we give them or wherever school that they acquire that they know. What is important, at the end of the day, is how they learned. This may never be easy for the both of us, but we should trust that someday, our sacrifices will count.

 

Ms. Not- Know-It-All

There are times that akala mo alam mo na lahat but reality and the universe conspires to make you realize that you do not.

Module 3 made me felt that way. I thought I have already know or atleast have a grasp of what assessment is, it turns out that I do not. It was as if Socrates whispered in my ear telling me I know nothing. Aside from making me feel grounded since the new learning sent me back to earth, I realized that I am human and there are things that I should improve on my own – and that I am given unlimited chances.

Assessment for learning, assessment of learning, and assessment as learning rebooted me and changed the way I view things. For me, assessment is only one and the same way regardless of the preposition that separates it from learning. There may be different stages of learning where we experience this or we can actually experience it all at once.

Now, more than ever, I conscious of the things I do and submit as a requirement or whatever I need to accomplish for that matter. This module made me “police” what I do as I exercise my learning in terms of assessment. To more life-changing lessons!

Assessment as Habit

It’s just like waking up, taking a bath, brushing your teeth, and leaving for some place outside the comfort of your home. Assessment is a habit, recommended to be cyclical.

I remember for always wanting to call in sick for school every time that there is a scheduled National Achievement Test because shading circles the whole day is not my thing, to be honest. NAT is always on my mind since I learned about assessment because it is very remarkable to me that the results of the said test is used to measure the level of learning of the students in a particular level. Definitely a form of assessment. Although there is no bearing in the individual grade, there may be a significant adjustment from the side of the teachers depending on the result of the exam. I am not sure of this, this is just a speculation based on my observation. The subjects in the said achievement test “demands” more effort from the students especially when the test season is just around the corner. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is something possible.

Feedback, for me, was the highlight of the module. Not to down play the other aspect of assessment, but feedback is always taken for granted if not neglected most of the time. Even as a student, when we are asked to answer evaluation forms about the performance of our teacher for a given quarter, will just check or shade any number where our pencil lands. This is unfair to the side of the teachers to especially when we do not even give them a reason or recommendation that can back up what we shaded.

This is not something I want to repeat or commit again when it comes to doing assessments. The best advice was already given to me by Westminster – Plan-Do-Check-Act.

Easier said than done. All the time.

 

 

 

Test 1

I am three weeks and three modules late for my first eJournal entry in my EDS 113 class this semester. Here I am, starting late, but hoping to finish (this course and my last semester) stronger and smarter to become (only God knows) a licensed teacher by the end of the year.

Assessment, as for me (before I was enrolled in this class) is merely just a question of “is it a yes or a no?” if not adding equivalent points of a rubric when I was still a student, checking my seatmate’s work. I interchange its process with reflection (intentionally or not, or whatever comes easier). There are times, during the course of the first module the past assessments I did during my time here in PTC, most especially when we are tasked to evaluate and assess our group’s performance in a discussion forum. What I did in the past “assessments” I made will definitely not the same mistakes that I will commit in the future, especially that I have no excuse in doing so because I am already enrolled in Teacher Malou’s class.

Module 1 thought me the importance of evidence and how to gather significant ones that will be of great help in assessing anything and everything that needs to be assessed, especially when I envision myself as a teacher who will play a very large part in a formative years of a child.

Moreover, assessment should not be limited to what we can compute and what is recorded in class records. Teachers should also look for the performances of their students outside the class room through peer facilitated activities and parent-teacher conferences. Teacher too can gain from this assessment practice as they can always improve their methods from one experience to another.

 

 

 

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

My educational philosophy is something superficial but can be achieved. It can be called the Avengers, the Powerpuff Girls, the F4, or my mother’s take on adobo of all possible educational philosophy that I can come up with. I desire to put all the strengths cited in all the philosophical perspectives that I came across in this course. Again, superficial, but for me, it can be actualized. At the bottom of this, I am leaning to progressivism work in progress, social reconstructionist in the making as well.

The curriculum should always include the great ideas of time and explain why there are ideas that did not survive as well. History should be thought as it happened. Grass roots actors should be given the same limelight that the key characters have to themselves. As a History major and most definitely a History teacher in the near future, I will always forward this teaching philosophy as I believe that as we teach the past, the lessons we get from it is and will always be applicable in our present situation and do not let history, especially those periods who brought out the worst in mankind, won’t happen again. Given this premise, education should always be directed outside the classroom. Give the students the opportunity to make the world a better place and are not locked up to digest what is being given to them all the time. Experiencing the reality outside the 4 corners of the school will make them feel more human, as for me. I really like the idea of community immersion and this is something I will most likely to apply in my teaching. This form of instruction gives the students to test their hypothesis on any given social phenomena and is also a platform to challenge what they already know. I want to become a student of my future students as they share their learning and experiences with me.

Education should also be inclusive and always remember those who are not able to go to start or even finish education. There is a program in my former high school where a portion of the students’ tuition fee sends a scholar to the same school at night. They are being taught the way the regular students are. I never saw this move as “alms giving” (which is also not bad as it is practical) but as an outreach program that empowers the youth that there is always good in the poverty-stricken society that they live in. This emancipation  leads the scholars to pay it forward that they begin to change their society one day at a time. This is something that made me proud as a student in that school for 12 years of my life. Little did I know that I helped high school students from my community graduate and only god knows if they are more well-off that most of us do. For me, this is the goal of education and the role of the school – for the students to become the change they want to be. A little charity may go a long way but educational benefactors should not rely on this alone. Private and the public sector should pay equal attention to education especially now that we are in the midst of K to 12 implementation. Teamwork is the name of the game.

Some may say that the most significant learning is not in the lessons you read itself but from the reflections. Philosophy in relation to education is something that do not come to us handy. Practice, reflective teaching, and professional development are definite factors that contribute to acquiring such. Well, of course, aside from the additional learning in my philosophy arsenal way back in college, this course is a test of character for me – starting from individual tasks to group tasks. Time management was on demand more than ever. It was a test that I think I passed.

 

 

 

Encounters with Confucius

Confucianism is very remarkable in all aspects, I may say. It is something that us, Asians, should be proud of. Not only that this philosophy reached the West (and even challenged its supremacy), but also because it lived for the longest time. We might just not notice it at first glance, but when we reflect deeper in our lives, we can say that it has affected (or enlightened) our belief systems in more ways than one, in the most unbelievable places too. There might be criticisms against Confucian philosophy but all I can say is that Confucianism is already established and we just have to live with it.

We might just see Confucius as an ordinary Chinese citizen who emerged in the scene to become one of the most celebrated scholar of the Zhou dynasty (and beyond) during a series of social, economic, and political upheaval in China. My first “encounter” with him was in our high school History class but the discussion did not focus further on his philosophies. All I know during that time is that he was the one who suggested the civil service exam that changed public service in China during his time (a system that was spread across the globe as well and a test that I need to take by next year). It was during college that I was able to read deeper about him in my Ethics and History of East Asia classes. I was also blessed with a very rewarding experience of reading and editing textbooks over and over again where this Chinese scholar’s name appears in it. There was more to life than civil service exams and Confucius.

Morality is highlighted several times in every online article I find about Confucianism when I press CTRL + F. I am not saying that we can reduce Confucianism is morality but I can say that morality is embedded in Confucianism. Ren is a very important concept that we should always remember when we read Confucianism. It will always serve as a clue. Confucius set the bar so high when he elaborated on his educational philosophy. For him, education should be available for all citizens to gain equal opportunities in serving the government during his time. Nation-building relies to students who are the best in their craft and is a man of integrity (the characteristics we should demand from our public officials at present). Teachers should be nothing but the best in providing quality education to China’s future leaders. If that were the best things in China during that time, no wonder that they moved on from their struggles as a nation since changed started at home. What a time to be alive.

How did his philosophy affected me? Well, it sent me to the realm of what ifs. What if education is not a privilege of those who can only afford it? What if students (including me) are inspired to study and are motivated to be the change our present society needs? What if teachers are well compensated and their profession is treated with utmost respect? I am living in the What Is. Education is first and foremost a right. Students are not able to go to school or most of the time prefer not to because of pressing societal conditions. Some move to other places where their value is highly appreciated. This reality shook me. Maybe, Confucianism is very much alive in our history books, in theory but rarely in practice.

 

Character Test

If Module 2 brought up “What kind of future are you going to be?” question to me, Module 3 *slapped* me with a sort of harder one that goes, “What kind of citizens you would want your students to be?”

Seriously, I personally do not think that we can escape this reality of having expectation from someone. In the case of having students in the future, I am having these visualizations of them being this and that because I already have this impression that they are this and this. Well, I guess, they are trapped in my adult expectations (which is a kind of selfish, I think) because I want them to be the best they can be. I see this as hitting two birds with one stone – they can be whoever they want to be and validate my existence as their mentor. Not bad for someone who is doing her best bring out the best in someone. But what if we both fail in achieving one specific expectation? One thing is still certain – we both learn. This module got me like that, for what, 2 weeks? And the reflection goes on forever.

There are a lot of philosophical perspectives to choose from in teaching. A teacher can only use one in delivering a certain lesson or s/he can apply as many perspectives as s/he can to maximize the learning experiences of his/her students. On the other hand, teachers should not limit the students in using a single approach in learning things. In my personal stand, students should acquire holistic transformation in school regardless of the teaching method being applied in instruction and prescribed curriculum. While I prefer the activities that requires all my physical energy when I was in high school (one teacher used “Amazing Race” and got us running around the whole school to teach about ancient Greek civilization), we cannot do away with the fact that there are subject-matters we need to learn while sitting for 1 to 2 hours (I think most of you will agree that this subject is math) because it is the most convenient way for my teacher to teach it.

Module 2 and 3 is a character test for me. While it got me thinking of what philosophical perspective I should combine with my favorite (which is social reconstructionism because of its promise of societal change because of the students I might handle in the future), most of the time the GDF that we need to accomplish for this module bugged me. It literally haunted me in my dreams. But whatever conspired in that task was treated objectively and it is over now. One thing is for sure, it made me stronger and validated me as a leader because there are a lot of things that I still need to improve on.