Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sosy Sunday

I am suppose to work with my lesson plans the whole day so I could have, at least, a long term plan for the remaining days of the semester. However, instead of fixing my lessons and preparing other teaching materials for the entire week, I ended up strolling in a nearby mall. It's not a matter of procrastination and lack of self-discipline again. A bit of an alibi, but my Sony VAIO VGN-CS23S could answer the whole thing and, for a reason, absorb my frustration for not being able to do the things which should have been done.

Experiencing a plethora of problems with Microsoft Office programs for a couple of days, I immediately headed to a Sony service center to complain the problem (I do have the right because my notebook's been with me for about 4 months). Microsoft Office has been so slow and, most of the time, it freezes that no matter what I do it would not respond (I tried Ctrl+Alt+Del already) and in the long run the screen would black out. Apparently, I heard the usual answer of a customer service representative (CSR). CSR's are suppose to be there to take care of their customers and not their company though the two goes hand in hand. She said, the Windows Vista processor which they have installed is original. However, the MS Office programs are pirated because they usually don't give free MS Office software so instead of charging more to their customers for the installation of an original program, they installed FREE PIRATED PROGRAM without the customer's knowledge. It's another marketing fad and it's very rampant nowadays so I really have to learn a lesson. Next time, before I decide to discharge my hardly-earned bucks for something I believe worthwhile, I need to probe for not all apples are sweet and not all sweet fruits are apples. Even a highly-respected SONY (I bought this notebook in a SONY CENTER), is not worthy of every buyer's trust.

The technical support staff advised me to run VAIO recovery program and everything will be alright after that. With their broken English and my broken Thai, we could hardly understand each other. I should have acted out like a wild bore in front of them because of my frustration. However, I was still able to manage to wear my sarcastic smile and, surprisingly, gave a good laugh and a sincere thank to them. After all, we have our reason for doing something and I believe we are responsible and mature enough to evaluate the validity of that reason. I might be the prey that time but the day will still go on. They have to fix the problem!

Forgetting the pending works caused by that unexpected event, I seized the rest of the day and had a sumptuous lunch at Sizzler's. I then treated myself with a relaxing facial and body massage and ended the day with a cup of cappuccino and a slice of brownie cheesecake at McCafe. Although I have been trying to save every dough that I have for my upcoming vacation to Philippines this October, I could not help myself but turn a tricky day to a SOSY SUNDAY. Enjoy life! It's a personal decision.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What is Distributed Leadership?

Distributed leadership is a kind of leadership where every stakeholder (i.e. principal, teachers, students, parents, community) of an educational institution collaboratively work and do leadership tasks for the achievement of common and specific goal. In this form of leadership, each one's opinion towards certain matters is sought before any decision is being done. This form of leadership is democratic and delegated.

In an organization where distributed leadership is employed, it is important to view distributed leadership not only as management or a leadership technique but more than that as an attitude. It simply means considering every individual of the organization as an important source of ideas. Through this kind of leadership, respect is seen and felt in every corner of the organization. It must be understood that distributed leadership is a call for responsibility from the members of the organization. This way, important leadership tasks can be achieved while working collaboratively and examining each oneĆ¢€™s mistake as source of ideas for development. In this kind of leadership, everybody is expected not just to become part of the solution but to the prevention itself as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Essence of Assessment: Authentic Over Traditional

Traditionally, assessment which is typically done in a form of test or quiz provides negative notion among the students. More often than usual, traditional assessment methods merely expects the students to recall knowledge through multiple choice tests, enumeration, identification, and others. Such method of assessment usually causes anxiety among the students which hinders them from giving accurate response as to what they have really learned – thus, hampering valid formative assessment and feedback.

On the other hand, authentic assessment or alternative assessment usually entails tasks in which the students will be involved and an accompanying rubric which will be used in evaluating their performance on the specified tasks. Wiggins (1993) as cited by Mueller (2008) defined authentic assessment as engaging and worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively. The tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field.

In other words, authentic assessment is the provision of direct application of knowledge learned through practical tasks designed to evaluate the students’ ability to apply learning (transfer of learning). According to Mueller (2008), authentic assessments, on the other hand, offer more direct evidence of application and construction of knowledge compared to traditional assessment.

Here is an example of an authentic assessment I have done in my Mathematics class with ESL learners who are expected to master fundamental concepts in Mathematics and develop their English language proficiency. When I taught “Money and Budget” among the learners, I assessed their ability to solve problems related to money and their ability to integrate the four language skills by asking them to look for a practical problem which involves money. I asked my students to write them down in paragraph form, interpret and express them in mathematical symbols, and then present their problems and solution in class. I developed a rubric to evaluate their works (oral and written) and communicated it with them beforehand. That way, I was able to authentically assess my students for their presentations gave me a concrete evidence on how much they have learned and my feedback (which was based on the rubric) was clear with them beforehand, thus, giving them ideas on what needs to be improved next time.

When assessing our students, we have to remember that, as teachers, we do not assess our students so we could give our judgment to them or encourage them to compete one another. The real essence of assessment can be found in our genuine interest to help our students in the process of learning. We assess the learners so we could provide them immediate and accurate feedback that would help them in their impending learning endeavors.

If you are a teacher who find this article helpful, you can visit my TEACHING BLOG and read more of them or you can e-mail me at so I could send you other materials that might also help you in teaching.

Claiming Our Own Responsibility

Months ago, I heard a news in BBC about an Austrian man who abducted his own daughter for a couple of years. This man was able to hide his secret for a long time that people never thought about his darkest secret -- he imprisoned his very own daughter in his house, raped her and had children with her. Another abduction case recently happened in America to an 11-year old girl kidnapped 18 years ago and made a sex slave by a ruthless sex maniac. The girl even bore a child with that man at the age of 14. And then a while ago, a heart-breaking story about a 2-year old boy who was cut open, had his intestines and inner organs removed and then stuffed with Cocaine caused me a very wild impression of the world that we are currently living.

The world has totally changed. Life has given us comfort and luxury that we wanted. The word "machine" and the prefix "e-" have been attached to so many things like washing machine, vending machine, teller machine and then e-book, e-shopping, e-mail and so on and so forth. Yes, many things have changed but what is unbearable to all these changes is the fact that some people's perception have totally changed. The way some people give importance to their lust and the material words around them have rippled in almost (if not all) every corner of the world that would make us doubt the safety that this world could bring to us.

All these changes were undoubtedly created by men and so the problems brought by these changes actually rooted from ourselves. People are suffering from the consequences brought by their unruly treatment to the environment. Nobody could be blamed except us. Life has given us everything for free but it's us who made everything expensive. We are suffering but then we deserve to experience all these things. What is unacceptable is that the new generation, the young and the innocents have been affected. It's a shame in our part because we have inherited the world better and now, we will pass it on to the coming ages full of dirt that, still, we could not picture out how the budding world citizens could enjoy the blessings of nature that we have experienced before.

But then, it's never been late to do the things that we believe will save our world for the next generation to enjoy. Let's do our part for even small good things that we do to ourselves and to others would possibly cause great impact.

If those people who did worse thing in the community rippled around the world, then it's not impossible that our collective small deeds would also bring great waves to everyone.

Malayo ka man, May Maitutulong din

Bilang mga Pilipino na namamasukan sa ibang bansa, hindi mo maiiwasan ang pangungulila sa mga mahal sa buhay na malayo sa iyong kasalukuyang kinalalagyan. Minsan, naiisip mo kung bakit kinakailangan pa'ng magtiis kung kaunting kaginhawaan rin lang naman ang hangad mo sa buhay. Bakit mo ba sinasakripisyo ang sarili mo'ng kaligayahan na makapiling ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay? Ganun nga ka ba ka higpit ang iyong pangangailangan na pati sarili mo'ng pamilya na kumalinga sa iyo ay kaya mo'ng iwanan? Sa totoo lang, mahirap sagutin ang mga katanungang yaon. Mahirap sapagkat alam mo na masasaktan ka sa sagot. Masasaktan ka sapagkat tunay na nakakatusok ng damdamin ang katotohanan na bubungad sa iyo.

Gaano na nga ba kalala ang kasalukoyang sitwasyon sa Pilipinas na kinakailangan pa natin na mangibang bansa para lang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga pamilya o ng ating sarili? Sari-sari ang sagot na maririnig mo sa mga katanunga'ng ito. Ngunit pakinggan mo lang ang bulong ng mga tao na nagiging pipi habang sinasakyan ang mga kaganapan ng ating bansa at ikaw ay mamamangha sa sasabihin nila. Hindi sila ang mga tao na tumatamasa ng magandang buhay. Sila ang mga tao na sa kabila ng lahat, hindi iniintindi ang kahirapan sapagkat hindi nila naihahalintulad ang kasiyahn na manatili sa sariling bansa kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay. Sila ang mga tao na patuloy na naniniwala na may malaking mga pagbabago na maaari pa'ng dumating sa ating bansa.

Sa totoo lang, naitatanong ko din sa sarili ko minsan kung bakit ko pa kailangan na manatili sa bansang ito. Bilang isang guro, alam ko na may malaking maitutulong ang aking kakayahan para sa ikauunlad ng ating bansa sa pamamagitan ng paghubog ng mga kabataan na siyang magiging kinabukasan ng ating bayan. Dito sa Thailand, ang bawat pasasalamat ng aking mga mag-aaral ay hindi lamang nagsisilbing pampalubag loob sa akin bilang guro. Higit pa diyan, ito ay nagmumulat din sa akin sa tulong na pwede ko'ng maidulot sa aking mga kababayan kung ako ay babalik sa Pilipinas upang magturo. Gayunpaman, mayroon pa rin akong dahilan sa aking pananatili at iyon ay upang hubugin ang aking sarili para magiging handa sa malaking mga pasubok na maari ko'ng harapin sa tuluyan ko nang pamamalagi sa Pilipinas. Hindi ako pwedeng magsalita ng tapos pero sa tingin ko, iyon ay mga dalawang taon mula ngayon. Aking adhikain na sa aking pagbabalik sa aking bayan na sinilangan, madadala ko ang mga bagong kaalaman na pwede kong ibahagi sa aking mga kababayan.

Sa ngayon, habang ako ay nasa ibang bansa, wala akong ibang magagawa kundi gampanan ng buong puso at walang pag-iimbot ang aking tungkulin bilang isang banyagang manggagawa na inaasahang huhubog at lilinang sa kaalaman ng mga itinuturing na kinabukasan ng aking bansang kinalalagyan. Bilang isang gurong pinoy, wala akong ibang maidudulot sa kanila kundi ang aking sigasig at dedikasyon na sila ay maihanda sa mga pagsubok na maaari nilang harapin bukas. At ngayon, ako ay nasisiyahan sapagkat nakikita ko na ang simula ng magandang adhikain ng mga Pilipino dito sa ibang bansa lalo na dito sa aming paaralan. Buklod ng iisang damdamin at kaisipan na maiangat ang sariling lahi, ang lahat ay handa nang tahakin ang landas tungo sa malaking pagbabago na siyang magpapamulat sa lahat ng tunay na diwa ng mga Pilipino. Nagkakaisa, kahit saan at kahit kailan. Sana, sa tulong ng bawat isa, ay aming magagampanan ng buong husay at sigasig ang aming mga gawain at sana ang pagkakaisang ito ay maghahatid ng magandang mensahe sa bawat isa sa amin at sa iba pang mga Pilipino sa mundo.

Bilang mga manggagawang Pinoy dito sa Thailand na tinataguyod ang sariling mga pangarap at ang mga pangangailangan ng mga pamilya sa Pilipinas, ito ang aming magiging handog sa bawat isa sa atin. Wala akong ibang hangad kundi ang tagumpay ng bawat isa.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Classroom Technology: Interactive Board

"This is it class. This is what I have been telling. Technology would either help us in our lesson or would destroy our lesson. And right now, it's obviously destroying our lesson." This was my statement which stirred laughter in my Mathematics class last Monday.

This year, lots of teaching and learning facilities have been added in our school. One of them is the latest classroom technology called Interactive Board or IBoard. Through IBoard, a set of markers or a box of chalks are not needed anymore for anyone can write using one's fingers or the pens specially designed for it. Erasers are also not needed for one can easily erase a word, a sentence or anything written on it with just a single click. When using PowerPoint presentations,  slides can be easily projected on the board with additional features which enable the user to highlight, encircle or write on the slides to emphasize the concepts being taught.

In Mathematics, plotting points on the Cartesian Coordinate and graphing different kinds of functions is made easier through its geometry features. Additionally, drawing perfect circles and curves, straight lines and other geometric figures has never been that difficult by the help of the so-called smart pen which automatically transforms an imperfect shape drawn to a perfect one.

As a teacher, feeling worried for those students who were absent during the lesson has no place in this new technology. Everything you have done from writing something wrong to correcting them can be recorded and imported to a website or can be saved and converted to different file format according to the purpose. In short, the students who were not able to attend the class could access the lesson exactly as how it was taught by the teacher. This invention is truly amazing that it made me think how classrooms would look like few years from now. Maybe, Talking Board or TBoard would be introduced soon.

Interactive and interesting as it is, I still find it difficult to adjust with this latest technology for there are times wherein I don't know what to tap for a particular function. Attending a half-day training on using this latest technology wasn't enough to make myself abreast of its functions. I have been reading the manual but nothing could be compared to an actual practice wherein you become familiar of those different tools for specific tasks.

When I had my lesson last Monday, our supposed to be interactive learning experience with the new IBoard became a learning full of laughter and amusement as I and my students started to explore this hi-tech addition of teaching and learning facilities of our school. However, instead of focusing on my unfamiliarity of the gadget, I made the lesson more engaging by calling students to help me out in illustrating the difference of the graphs of exponential and logarithmic functions through the IBoard. The students were so enthusiastic. Thanks to this new technology. 

Inspired by a Broken Heart

I have always wanted to try but I am afraid to be hurt. Do I have to face my fear? Yes, I do have but I still believe that the right love will feel no fear. Inspired by those love-breaking songs, here's a piece of my soul... A sonnet that would always remind me to take extra care of my heart and of others'.

Loving you must be the most painful thing I’ve done. But I admit, I’m so happy to have known and love you even though you have never loved me. Maybe, my heart is in great pain because of love but still I love you just the same. I know I don’t have the right in your heart. I’m just a day-dreamer the one you never care. But it’s okay. What I only want you to know is I think of you everyday.

It’s really hard to know that it’s the end of our love story… I really feel so sad and lonely when I think of yesterday that would never come back. I really miss the good old days we used to share. I miss the smiles, our laughter and happy time together. It’s because of my love in you that I have to sit here in great sorrow. I think it’s time to go our own way. I cry my tears of regrets because you did not keep your promises. There’s no way to beg you to stay since I know your love already.

No one is supposed to be blamed just because we’re not in tune. At least, there are times when we used to love one another. But I don’t know if it was for real because as you’ve said, “Who are you to be loved?”. Maybe you’re right. Anyway, I’m just a simple guy who loves you. I am just someone whom you never loved. But what I have given to you is my best though it was not good enough for you.

You’re not satisfied of my love that’s why you looked for another one. For now, what I can do is to congratulate you and your new one. I’d never thought that something like this could happen and it’s the saddest thing in my life today. I’m happy that you’ve found found your love who is not me. All I could do is to think and dream of you in silent. Though I may not be you special one, I still want you to know that you’re to me. All I need you to know is I love you even if my heart is broken.

P.S. (Hugas Kamay) This is not a story of mine. This article was just inspired by the reality of the game of life.

Friday, August 21, 2009

OFW, Mabuhay ka!

Noong ako'y umuwi sa Pilipinas mahigit isang taon na ang nakalipas, may mga napansin akong mga pagbabago sa lugar na aking kinalakihan. Ang dating mga nakaladlad na mga lupain at hindi napapakinabangan ay naging mahalagang bahagi na sa kaunlaran na nagaganap.

Gayunpaman, sa kabila ng lahat, dinig ko parin ang mga hinaing ng karamihan sa ating mga kababayan. Tulad ng dati, marami parin ang nangangarap na makarating sa ibayong bansa at makalaya sa kahirapan na dinaranas sa sariling bayan. Tanaw ko man ang mga magagandang pagbabago sa aking sariling bayan sa panahong iyon, hinimok ko parin na ikasya ang aking mga paa sa tsinelas ng aking mga kababayan nang sa ganun ay lubos kong maunawaan ang kanilang mga buhay. Mahigit isang taon din akong nawalay sa kanila at simula noong ako ay umalis, nag-iba na ang buhay na aking tinahak. Ang mahigit isang taon na pamamalagi sa Thailand ay nakaimpluwensya na sa akin pati na sa pananaw ko sa buhay lalo pa't bilang isang magtuturo, hindi ko pweding ipagdiinan ang aking sariling paniniwala at pananaw sa aking mga mag-aaral at mga kasamahan sapagkat sila ay may sarili di'ng mga pananaw at kuro-kuro sa buhay. Hindi ko pweding ipilit na ako ay tama sapagkat ginagawa ko na ang mga bagay na ito sa Pilipinas bagkos ay kailangan kong yakapin ang aming pagkakaiba.

Kaya naman, sa aking pag-uwi ay unti-unti ko na namang binalik ang aking sarili sa kung saan talaga ako nabibilang sapagkat alam ko na walang kultura, lugar, karanasan, anyo o tagumpay na makakabago sa aking pagka Pilipino. Sabihin ko man na ako'y manhid at di nag-iisip, manunumbalik parin ang aking pagka Pilipino. Nakarating man ako sa ibang bansa, mas mahalaga parin ang buhay na aking kinagisnan.

Ilang araw ang lumipas, akin nang napagtanto ang buhay na aking iniwanan. Unti-unting bumalik sa aking ala-ala ang sari-saring mga dahilan kung bakit umalis ako sa sarili kong bansa noon. Kasabay nito, aking naintindihan kung bakit sa kabila ng mga magagandang pagbabago na aking nakita ay mayroon paring mga Pilipino na handang magsakripisyo na tahakin ang matirik na daan na tinatahak ng mga Pilipino na namamasukan sa ibang bansa. Muli kong napagtanto na pili pala ang mga pagbabago na aking nakita. Ang nakinabang pala sa mga dating tiwangwang na mga lupain ay pawang mga tao rin na dati nang matiwasay ang buhay. Akala ko ang mga bago at naggagandahang mga bahay na aking nakita ay pag-aari na ni Juan dela Cruz. Bagong mansyon pala iyon ni congressman dahil nagsawa na siya sa dati niyang mansyon. At eto pa, nabili pala ni mayor ang dating palugi na negosyo ni manong. Sa madaling salita, umangat ang dati nang nakaangat at nabaon ang dati nang nakalubog.

Sa kabilang dako, may nakita akong magagandang bahay sa di kalayuan na pagmamay-ari pala ni manang na ang anak ay nakapag abroad sa Hongkong. May isang malaking hardware naman sa di kalayuan na pagmamay-ari ni Jean na dating CPA at ngayon ay caregiver na sa Canada. Namangha naman ako at nasa pribadong unibersedad na si Nene kumukuha ng kursong Nursing. Sabi nila, nagkaroon na daw ng katuparan ang pangarap niya sapagkat nasa Kuwait na ang kanyang nanay na dating guro sa pampublikong paaralan.

Dalawampu't isang araw lamang ang bakasyon ko sa Pilipinas noon at gusto ko na sanang lumagi na lang upang sa ganun ay di na ako mawawalay pa sa aking pamilya. Sa totoo lang, masarap mamuhay sa lupa na maituturing mo'ng sa iyo. Walang hihigit pa sa mga panahon kung saan kasama mo ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay at sa mga sandali na ikaw ay nakakapaglingkod sa sarili mong bayan. Subalit, ang mga panahon na iyong nilagi sa ibang bansa habang tinutugunan mo ang pangangailangan ng iyong mga minamahal at isinasakatuparan ang sarili mong mga pangarap ay hindi rin mahihigitan ng mga panahon kung saan ikaw ay namamalagi sa Pilipinas at nakikita ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay na naghihirap ngunit wala kang magawa. Ayon sa isang OFW na nakausap ko, sa kanyang pangingibang bansa nasumpungan niya ang karangyaan ngunit alam niya na ang kaligayahan na kanyang hinahanap ay sa Pilipinas lamang niya matatagpuan at ito ay sa piling ng kanyang mga minamahal.

Malungkot ma'ng isipin ngunit ang katotohanan ay hindi natin maiiwasan na bilang mga Pilipino, kinakailangan pa nating mangibang bayan para lang maisakatuparan ang mumunti nating mga pangarap para sa sarili at sa mga mahal sa buhay. Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat, bilang mga OFW, ang atin lang pakaisipin ay nabuhay tayo sa mundong ito upang magsilbing inspirasyon ng lahat. Ang mga OFW ay mga Pilipino na nagmamalasakit para sa kapakanan ng pamilya, ng Pilipinas at ng buong mundo.

Mabuhay ang mga OFW!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Khun Pinoy's Thailand Teaching Adventure

Going abroad is a dream of almost every Filipino. Millions of Filipinos are scattered in every part of the world working in different fields. And yes, I am one of them. An ordinary Filipino citizen, I left my country full of ambition and hope for myself, my family and my country.

After learning that Thailand is opening its doors for foreign ESL/EFL teachers, I confidently crammed up my things and headed to the “land of smiles”. At first, making such decision was very hard since that would be my first time to stay away from my family. However, as I glimpsed on the brighter side of working abroad, I easily made my decision firm and immediately dealt with my passport and other preparations for my flight going to Thailand.

Things happened promptly that I woke up early one day joining the buoyant applicants in the field of language teaching. I really thought that things would turn out the way I expected them to happen but it was the other extreme. Contrary to what I believed, seeking for a job has never been that easy in Thailand. As twenty-year-old neophyte in the arena, I have encountered plenty of appalling incidents along the way such as the slur of not being entertained because I am not a Caucasian, the frustration of not being understood when asking for directions, the bleakness of applying in the remote areas in the provinces where nobody understands my purpose for coming in their school and many others. In all honesty, I was in an uphill struggle before I landed a teaching job in Thailand. However, I did my best to hurdle every impediment along the way just to find a shelter that would embrace my ambition of joining Thailand's international teaching force.

As any job-hunter would experience, my application in different schools has been turned down for various reasons (i.e. no vacancy, they need English native speakers only, I am too young, etc.). But still, I did not lose hope and continued to believe my dreams. Luckily, a Filipino acquaintance while attending Sunday mass in a Catholic church offered help by guiding me to a province called Samutsongkhram. That province is the smallest in Thailand composed of only three districts. Of all the schools I have visited that day, I was lucky enough to hear positive response from the head of the English Department of the last school I visited. Although she said that they already have two English native speaking foreign teachers from Canada and England, I could still sense her eagerness to hire another foreign teacher.

The following week, I received a phone call from that same school. They asked me to come for interview and teaching demonstration. Eventually, I passed in the interview and demonstration lesson with a unanimous vote from all English teachers in that school. That very day, I assured them that if given a chance to work in their school, I would do my best to showcase the ability of the Filipino teachers. I could still clearly remember how I reassured them that as a Filipino hoping to teach in Thailand, I would do my best not to disappoint my very own country and so their school. Yes, that sounded like an interview cliche.

That good news I received was not the end of my battle but the beginning of my real journey as an OFW. With my family's unending encouragement although they're very far and my conviction that life would not give me something I couldn't bear, I leaped over the challenge of teaching young Thai kids who have zero or very limited English. It was my first time to teach seven-year-old kids in an actual classroom situation and what added to that first time experience was the fact that most of those kids have just started learning English as their foreign language. Most of them could hardly utter even simple greetings in English. That experience was really challenging and very fulfilling at the same time especially when I heard them speak the language for the first time.

Over the months, I taught classes of different levels until I was permanently assigned in the 6th Grade. I showed great interest and respect to my students' culture, tradition, interests and identity and provided the help they needed whenever possible. I have been with them in almost every English contest they joined including the unforgettable Skit Contest which brought us to the provincial and national levels. In return, my students eagerly shared what they have by helping me understand their culture and feel happy about it. Interestingly, I learned Thai language from my students.

In the end, I have understood the real value of teaching abroad from my young Thai students. My perspective towards my profession has become more global and diverse. In the light of teaching, I have seen how my passion and dedication changed the lives of my students. I realized that my decision to go abroad has never been in vain for I have harvested more than what I have expected. As I look back the difference I made in my students' lives, I never thought of my main reason in coming to Thailand anymore for I got more than what I really wanted.

The following school year, my school hired another Filipino to work with me. However, after teaching there for one year and six months, I left for a better teaching opportunity and better pay in Bangkok. The best thing was their trust in me was still there although I was leaving because, for the last time, they asked me a favor to find a replacement who is a Filipino and if possible, "as good as me". I left that school with pride and looked forward for another bountiful experience to show my ability as Filipino teacher in a huge Catholic school in Bangkok, Thailand. So far, I just had my contract renewed last June 2009 for another one year and I am still looking forward on continuing my teaching career in Thailand for the next few years.

My being a Filipino will never end every time I leave the Philippines for wherever my fate brings me, my heart will always linger to my very own roots. Doing my best and expressing my passion to my host country would not necessarily mean that I am treacherous to my own country for every good thing I do for this temporary home of mine is a reminder that as an OFW, I give hope to our nation and I share blessings to the rest of the world.

Mabuhay ang mga OFWs!

Post Script: This blog post is an official entry to Pinoy Expats Blog Awards (PEBA) 2009. For more information about this award-giving body, click the image below

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Towards a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle

Never borrow from the future.. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain.. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice. If you want to live a healthy and happy life, the following advices could be of great help to you. Take time to read and follow these advices and you will be amazed how great life can be.

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say NO to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it..
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest
18. Eat right.
19 Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus .'
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33 Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36 Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAYOF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.

Post Script: These pieces of advice are from an e-mail sent by a friend. Do you have something to say? Please leave your comments by clicking COMMENTS at the bottom of this post.

Educational Leadership: What Went Wrong?

Most of the times, the concept of Educational Leadership is confusing in different aspects and how it is being practiced. First of all, everyone seems to have vested interest in educational leadership. Like in the Philippines, village captains to town mayors to province governors to the congressmen, senators and the president decide and implement educational policies. This way, they consider themselves educational leaders if not change makers.

Another confusing concept of Educational Leadership is how it is being practiced in schools/colleges/universities. Some Educational Leaders tend to focus more on their political role while some greedily settle to their role as business administrator and consider schools as one hundred percent for-profit company.

The concept of Educational Leadership yields from the fact that schools are social institutions that play vital role in the development of the society especially in assuring healthy development among learners. Therefore educational leaders should have very deep understanding on the task that he is going to take. If we believe that effective schools are places where children have equal opportunities to learn, know who they are and understand the society where they are living I would say that educational leadership is the one who could make those things happen.

Medicinal Music

For some of us, we think that music exists as mere addition to life's entertainments. Little did we know that more than the entertainment that it provides, music also offers delightful mental, physical and emotional benefits.

Physical Benefits
Since last month I had a personal commitment to lose weight by controlling my diet and engaging myself to regular exercise. The first one is so difficult as it requires a great deal of personal discipline and abstinence to the food that I really crave for. The second one is quite easy for me because my pad (inside the school's compound) is surrounded by nice fitness facilities like 400-m running oval, swimming pool, fitness gym, basketball courts, tennis courts and others. However, my stamina is the problem for I easily give up whenever I start to jog or play some sports. Two rounds in the oval is an achievement already.

However, when I started to jog while enjoying music in my mp3 player, my jogging performance has tremendously increased. I was so surprised to have finished five rounds and then seven rounds until I reached ten rounds of uninterrupted jogging. There was no magic in there! No energy drinks or doping drugs involved. I just enjoyed my run while listening to heart-pumping hiphop, RnB, rock and disco music. It really helped a lot.

Mental Benefits
As high school mathematics teacher in a private school in Bangkok, I could not avoid those paper works which are really demanding. They are demanding in the sense that I have to extract the best idea that my brain could have in order to make a good output. As a teacher I have to arrive with the best and most engaging plan possible for my students.

Instrumental and mellow music are of great help to me whenever I am doing all of them. I could easily concentrate and arrive with ideas every time I am mesmerized by Beethoven's powerful piano pieces. I have watched several documentaries before that would support this phenomenon. The explanation was, if my mind would set me correct, these kinds of music produce waves that stimulates our brain. Thus, helping us think better.

Emotional Benefits
For this one, no doubt, everyone has experiences to share. Music makes those lonely hearts happy, the lethargic hearts inspired, and a lot more emotional transformations. Honestly, there were times when I thought of expressing my feelings to someone because of the music I heard. I even captured a picture of two lovers in which the other one is me because of a song I heard. I could not deny that, in one way or another, there were songs that inspired me.

I could still remember, as a kid, how I laughed after I cried because I heard a song that tickled my heart.

So folks, you know what to do whenever you want to change the ever-changing mood. MUSIC is the answer! However, we could not blame everything to music and we could not give all the burdens to music. Our mind is still more powerful that anything else. Still, I would pronounce, it's all in the mind.

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
--Berthold Auerbach