Where art thou, Lady?

I thought it was only August that brought with it its own rush.  Also September.  What with all the Long Tests and projects of my tutees plus my mom’s birthday’s surprise {Her birthday is on the 22nd.  That’s Saturday here} and two weddings on the same weekend! Wooh!  Just thinking about ’em is enough to keep me busy.

But what’s actually keeping me busy these days is that I’ve started my self-review for the coming Teachers’ Board Exam this coming March or April.  It’s actually a face-your-fear turning point in my life.  I am baring my heart out here.  You see I’ve dreaded taking this exam since it’s been a looong time since I’ve faced major tests/exams since I last graduated.

Today, my motto is “I’ll study, do my best and GIVE God the REST.”  I’m actually excited as I’ve been studying almost everything from Math to Science to Professional Education subjects.  I study whenever I can.  And tonight, I’ve de-cluttered and rearranged my study table to give way for my reviewers and my notes.  I kept and phased out my teaching stuff from the two years that I taught preschool and put my reviewers and books on the limelight here on the table.  🙂

As I went back to studying Principles of Teaching, Teaching Methods and Strategies, Educational Assessment and the nitty-gritty details and technical stuff, God taught me one very important thing about teaching through my tutees, M.  I will write more about it when I’m not pressed for time and their LTs {long tests} are done.  He reminded me again that more than techniques, strategies and critical thinking activities, LO.VE is still at the heart of teaching and what’s really at the heart of His Kingdom.

Surely, surely, “Perfect Love casts out all fear.”  That verse became so clear to me tonight as He was talking to me about how to handle, encourage and just plain love my tutee…AS IS.


There’s got to be more, Teacher

As a nation, we need a curriculum that demands more from our students than the mere memorization of facts, and a move toward a curriculum that supports deep and meaningful understanding of content, creative and critical problem-solving skills.

from Janet English quoted in “What is a Good Teacher Worth?

I think her sentiments are not only what’s needed for American education but also for the Philippine educational system, too.  As we are now implementing the K-12 program, there is still a need for teachers to focus on critical thinking and, I think, the more important quality to be developed – a love for learning – in the students.

I think students who are inspired to know more, learn to ask and probe issues and matters at hand rather than students who just memorize are the ones that will go on to invent new stuff, come up with new ways of doing things and shake the prevailing mindsets.

We must teach kids and students to think, dream and connect the dots instead of settling for just parroting us and what they read in the books.

one of my practicum classes in a public night high school 🙂

My happy thought: Teaching :)

There are a lot of things I don’t want to admit.

One of them is missing those teaching moments in a classroom and another one is missing the kids I taught.

I’m not teaching in the classroom set-up right now though I’m still “teaching” as a tutor. The set-up is quite different from the classroom thingy but I have to admit that the fun and the challenges of imparting what you know and understand to these kids are the same.

The “I miss ’em” syndrome hit me last Sunday when I attended a bash {quite a bash} of a former student who turned 4 years old. Most of the kids I had taught last year were there and it was such a joy and a privilege to hug them and talk to them even for just a minute. The hugs and the innocence and the refreshing candor of kids are just one of the many things that a preschool teacher misses.

Teacher Kha and I with E during C’s birthday bash. We had our photo taken since he’ll be leaving for the US for good. 😦 No smiles from E here. 🙂

Last night, I got to sharing what was in my heart with my dad and my mom about missing my former students and wanting to open a preschool. That is the second thing I have to admit. I want to start a school. Something that never crossed my mind in the last 12 years I’ve been a teacher.

I’d like to have a preschool or a daycare where children from less privileged families can go to school by paying a minimal fee of P300/month. How I will manage to operate in those figures will take a miracle from heaven.

For two years, I taught in a preschool that catered to kids who come from very affluent families – expat kids and children of businessmen and politicos. It was a delight and so much fun to teach in that environment where we had a lot of resources {papers in all colors, all kinds of art materials, educational toys and manipulatives and every learning resource necessary to catch the kids’ attention and inspire them to love learning}, meaningful learning experiences and good facilities but oftentimes I would catch myself dreaming and thinking “God, how do I make this available to those kids from the slums or from the streets?” I am praying and waiting that I’ll have wisdom and the answers from heaven to make this a reality.

It hit me then that God has a purpose why I’ve handled all four levels. In the past, I’ve looked at it as signs of not knowing what level I should be in but this time I am starting to see that God set me up. Now, it is a privilege for me to have taught 2.5-3.5 year olds, high school students for a practicum stint, college students for the most of my teaching life and now this new level, teaching or tutoring elementary students.

I’d like to confess that the times that I look forward to most when tutoring is that time when we’re done with all the assignments and it’s what I call “laughing time” where we horse around, they ask the funniest questions, goof around with my camera phone and just enjoy that time with each other. That is also one of the times that I miss with my college students. Me just sitting on a bench, them approaching me and talking…talking about everything and anything under the sun. I think it’s the humanity factor and stamp that we teachers enjoy the most. It’s relating and connecting with your students and enjoying that moment that leaves an imprint on you.

So as I enjoy this season of my life where I am teaching in a non-classroom set-up, I’d like to share some snapshots that always, always make me smile or laugh out loud when I look at them remembering those times I spent with young people. One of my regrets though is that the first five years I taught, camera phones were not that nice plus the fact that I didn’t have one so I didn’t have a lot of pics from my early teaching years. Still those moments are forever engraved in my heart and they will always be one of my happy thoughts.

Unforgettable photo walk aka exercise along Colon with my Philippine History class 🙂

Super loved this batch!

Practicum in a public high school 🙂 ’twas such fun and challenging!

My Abellana High {evening class} students, DPE Practicum


from the NYTimes article ” What if the Secret to Success is Failure?


noun, verb, grit·ted, grit·ting.

firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck:
She has a reputation for grit and common sense.

“This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”… The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character— those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that.”…

People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”…

As Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. – Dominic Randolph, Headmaster, Riverdale Country School


the godly woman

i would love to teach History in these heels! wooh!!!

{all images from pinterest}

Selah.  I’m thinking of quitting my part-time college teaching next semester as honestly I’m constantly exhausted physically from studying and grading papers until the wee hours of the morning.  It’s been taking a toll on my preschool teaching duties and responsibilities (my day job, so to speak). Also, I’ve noticed that time has seemed to become a luxury these days.  I miss going to the revival services every Tuesday – honestly.  Thinking and thinking.  They want me to teach two subjects this time.  A course on Philippine History and one on Jose Rizal.  What to do, God?  Need help and wisdom.  My Practice Teaching or practicum subject will also be next semester.  Decisions, decisions and more decisions to make.

I wanna decide based on how I feel physically – now.  Tired and pretty much exhausted.  But I’m also thinking about the eternal implications of my choices.  Lord, You alone know.  Of course, I’d love to hear You tell me “go ahead, stop teaching” but I wanna hear Your decision.

What do you think?

P.S.- Since I’m trying to avoid thinking about the decisions to make, I’d rather surf the net for another James Rollins’ book.  And oh, I stumbled across two very fascinating blogs while I was checking out my pinterest.  The Atlantic-Pacific and Bess Friday’s Photoblog.  You should check them out.  I’ve never seen outfits like Atlantic-Pacific’s and wedding and portrait photos like Bess Friday’s. :))

Here are some of the photos from Atlantic-Pacific and Bess Friday…

I super love the necklace!

image from here

interesting combo!


i literally exclaimed "waah" with envy at this get-up

check this outfit here

brightly colored

seen here

i love the modern audrey hepburn-ish look.


and Bess Friday’s photos…


via this post on Bess Friday


a very special day!

We had a very wonderful day in one of our parents’ farm up, up and away in the lush, rolling, green mountains of Cebu. 🙂 Oh, how the kids loved it! The Special Day was designed by the school administration as an activity where busy parents spend half a day with their kids WITHOUT a yaya (nanny) or a sibling.  That’s the whole point of the Special Day though some parents still had their drivers and yayas in tow but it still went fine.  It was quite a day.  The kids and the adults had fun exploring the tree house, walking around to see the farm’s produce like basil, chives, Taiwanese pechay, beans to cite a few.

After the tour, the little ones enjoyed making their pizzas.  The parents were able to bond and spend a few hours with each other and got to know their fellow parents better.  Thank You, Jesus, for clear skies and Mr. Sun.:)

Have a wonderful week filled with God’s blessings and His sweet presence!  Hope you guys had a great first day of the week! 🙂

He turned my life around!

That one glass of Coca Cola last night at KFC got me.  It was already past 12 midnight this morning when I suddenly remembered Rica Joy and Nap’s prophetic words during the 2010 prophetic service. I had just resigned from the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (UP MSI), without a job, broken and broke and with a BIG question for God:  “Lord, what do YOU really want me to do?”  Then, I was already ready to ask Him that and to obey.  I had ran away from teaching for tooooo loooong. No different from Jonah, I guess.

And so I leafed through the pages of last year’s journal and I found the words that God gave through Rica Joy.  In it were His promises that I would come to know and see what His plans were for me.  It wasn’t only for 2010 but it would continue up to 2011 and 2012.  Nap also spoke to me that 2010 was either the year I stepped into my destiny or I’d miss it and there would be another delay.  Hopeless was one word that described me that time.  I had called several schools from USC, CNU, STC, CIE, CIC and even CDU.  No available teaching positions.  No open doors but then I didn’t want just any job either.  I now wanted what God wanted for me this time even if it meant a teaching job.  Try as I might to deny it I knew He had called me to teach.

In the Bible, Lot’s wife got into a whole lot of trouble when she looked back.  She froze in time.  But today, I look back because my heart is grateful at how God has brought me to where He wanted me to be.  His way, His time and His plan.  I didn’t even have a hand in it except to jump in and obey.

When I said “yes” to His plan, doors suddenly opened.  Discovery Camp to teach young kids and just this year, at St. Theresa’s College to teach young people.  As I am wont to say in my posts, teaching is a privilege and a blessing.  I now see that.

with my friend, Ann, helping me out as a chaperone for my class' photowalk activity (my smile looks as if I just received 1M pesos for shopping!)

 On the pages of last year’s journal, I had written some of the organizations that I had dreamed of working in.  These were the orgs (in no particular order) that I wanted to work in:  ADB, UNDP, UN, the World Bank, Ayala Foundation and Museum, NEDA, Congress (as a researcher), Cebu City Mayor’s Management Team and even the Malacanang Presidential Management Staff.  I wanted to do it my way but every door was closed.  When I finally surrendered and let go of all these dreams of serving in the government and public sector through NGOs and civil society orgs, doors opened.  Kingdom Irony 101:  When you lose your life for Him, you’ll find it.  🙂 haha!

 {what’s left of the group after my Philippine History class’ photo walk activity along Colon St. this afternoon 🙂 }

When we obey there’s joy, peace and a feeling that everything just falls into place.  Yes, the dream of serving in the government and the public sector is still there but it’s in His hands.  He can give and He can take it away.  All I know is that I am blessed to have known my students last year and this year in Discovery Camp, my students this semester at ST. Theresa’s College and the teachers I work with.  I don’t know what lies ahead next semester or next year but my future is secure in His hands now.

{i will miss these young people after this semester. so glad to have been a part of their lives}

divine appointments 🙂