Friday, February 26, 2010

Goodbye Facebook

It was, I think, June last year when I created an account in the world's most popular social networking website, Facebook. At first, I was hesitant to open an account with facebook because of the many negative feedbacks I have read regarding privacy, addiction, among others. Well, I did not mind all the negative feedback because I was too positive to stick on the positive comments facebook users had. Honestly, I had much with facebook and it helped me a lot in networking, collaborating and communicating with my colleagues, friends, students and even people who have the same interests as mine.

But why did I opt to leave? The reasons are too personal and I believe I could divulge them here because this is a personal blog. The following reasons made me decide to deactivate my account at the world's most famous:

1. PRIVACY ISSUES Facebook is too open that you would sometimes wonder who are those people appearing in your wall. Every move you make is a news that would immediately appear to your friends' facebook homepage. Although I did not include some personal information in my profile, the fact is still there that other people (not my friends) could see my wall and it's really strange.

2. 'CYBER HARASSMENT' I have accepted some friends because I know them (e.g. we came from the same school, province or they were my students before) but I usually feel harassed when I am tagged with obscene, rude and nonsense pictures or posts. Since they would all appear in my wall, my other friends would see them and I am sure they also feel harassed. I could have deleted them in my list of friends but it's too late before I notice that they tagged me with rude posts.

3. WEB POPULARITY I became so popular in the web because of facebook. Before, when I google my name, teacher licensing websites and others (including my blog) would come out but since I joined facebook, it automatically topped in the result and it seems that my life has been so facebook. hehehe

Actually, I had all the purpose in my mind when I joined facebook and they were all served but they were also defeated this time. I thought of deleting people in my list of friends but I did not do it because, usually, I do not want to delete people in my life. I feel better when people delete me in their lives than me deleting them.

I still have plan of reopening another account with facebook and only time could tell when would that be. For now, I just have to say goodbye to facebook and focus myself on exploring the various applications of technology and how can I apply them in our classes.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Moving On and Stepping Forward

One week more to go and we'll finally call it a day. That's how fast time flies that even some of my Grade 11 students we're a bit surprised when I announced in the class that we will be having our final project exhibition and final examination next week.

Closing the school year means a lot to me. First, it means a lot of work as I need to submit a bunch of reports. I also need to evaluate a couple of students' outputs and of course examination papers. They would be followed by a good amount of evaluation marks. Actually, they're a lot but I(I need to) enjoy doing them.

Works aside, the end of the school year does not really mean the end of the journey of every teacher for this is actually an important step for another teaching milestone. It's a very good time for teachers to reflect which worked and which did not during the entire school year, thus, providing room for improvement.

As for me, I learned a lot from this school year. It gave me a lot of learning-worthy experiences and I do hope that they would all guide me as I venture for another teaching and learning escapade,this time, hopefully with Grade 10, 11 and 12 classes. I just hope that I would have more disciplined and more responsible students next school year and I know that the best way to hope for those things is to have them in me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Language and Content

I am teaching Mathematics in the bilingual program of our school. Apparently, two languages are used as media of instruction in teaching Mathematics – they are the learners’ first language (Thai) and second language (English).

At first, I was wondering why two languages have to be utilized in teaching a particular subject in school when a single language can be used to teach the subject matter. Well, everything doesn’t really work that way because the main thrust of teaching Mathematics in English in our program is for the students to have good grasp of the English language especially on the contextual and technical usages of the language. In the first place, a particular word in English could mean different things according to how and where it is used and so teaching other subjects through English would help broaden the learners’ linguistic abilities.

However, one thing that confused me when I started teaching in the 2nd and 4th graders of this program was when I learned that the expected learning outcomes stated as the learning standards for Mathematics were purely the learning of mathematical concepts and skills. Personally, I believe that there’s no point in teaching mathematical concepts through English especially if the learners have poor grasp of the English language. That way, we’re only giving double frustrations to the learners – difficulty to understand the language and difficulty to understand the concepts because of the language. At times, I do need to understand why learners become so unmotivated. Following double learning standards is, indeed, frustrating.

The same thing happened in the lower secondary level this year where I have been teaching 8th graders. The learning outcomes given were purely mathematics and none is of language. The evaluation, of course, is based on the expected learning outcomes and as a teacher, I could not help myself but follow the standards given which I sometimes twist to match with the learners’ ability and readiness. I admit, it’s so frustrating at times.

I am happy because I have been given one class in the upper secondary where more freedom is given to the teacher from the planning of curriculum to its execution. Here, I enjoy giving both language and math related activities to the learners. I have been considering my class with the 11th graders as English for Academic Purposes (EAP) class where the content is Mathematics. Although it’s been my first year to handle such class, I am happy that I am somewhat directed on what I am going to do in the entire school year and, at least, I personally know what I am doing. I have been offered to teach mainly in upper secondary next school year and I am very excited on that. I am hoping to develop more enhancing strategies for learners to develop English language competency and mathematical thinking and communication as well. I claim that this is for real. I am very excited to teach upper secondary classes next school year and I continually wish that this excitement would turn in undying enthusiasm in developing the learners for the better.

The contents are quite challenging as I would be embarking with Pre-Calculus and Introduction to Calculus but I am not looking at it as a challenge because I optimistically look at it as another opportunity. I believe it would be another learning experience that would broaden my horizon as Mathematics slash Language teacher. After all, versatility is the true test of being a teacher.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Should I Get Licensed?

Would it mean betrayal to my very own country where I am a licensed teacher or allegiance to my host country which is now asking me to be licensed?

Time really flies so quickly that I almost did not notice that I have been teaching here in Thailand for more than three years already and I really need to get a license for teaching here that long and, maybe, longer. It’s been three years and my temporary two-year teaching license granted through my present school would expire soon. Whether I like it or not and whether it would mean betrayal or allegiance, I have only one thought rumbling in my mind: GET LICENSED!

To be a licensed teacher in Thailand, one must have at least bachelor’s degree in education or qualifying units in teaching. Aside from that, a foreign teacher needs to be abreast of the culture of his host country that's why twenty-hour training on Thai language and culture is needed for licensing. The licensing for foreign teacher in Thailand has been imposed years ago but it’s only this time that the Ministry of Education (MoE) became strict into it. It’s actually one of the agenda in Thailand’s National Education Act of 1999.

In the peak of its implementation, the said policy has stirred controversy among the flocks of foreign educators especially to those who could be hardly qualified for licensing. Some said that it’s another money-making venture while others pessimistically complained over the needed seminar and even the specified professional subjects to be taken for non-education degree holders. I even looked at it negatively once especially when I learned that it was inconsistently implemented all over Thailand. But now, I hope that this is for real and this would even help in the development of English language education in the country. In the end, the policy has a very bright purpose within.

So my judgment, I should get licensed. It’s great to be a licensed teacher in you home country and in your host country as well, isn’t it? This is actually one of the best things that a teacher could have anywhere he would decide to work. I hope everything would work well during the licensing process. I will be confirming soon my attendance in twenty-hour training on Thai Language and Culture to be conducted by the Private School Teachers Association of Thailand (PSTAT). I’ll be looking at it as a new learning experience as I am hoping for another teaching contract with my school next school year.