Category Archives: Teachable mementos

Raw, but passion igniting

Why Should We Tell Our Kids Never Again

(c) Lacey Anne Ramos

As a millennial who enjoys his rights to fully exercise his freedom of expression, I have not really experienced the horrors brought upon the violation of human rights and freedom that doomed this nation decades ago, nor I cannot fathom the apathy and the misinformation of the youth from the atrocities committed by the Marcoses. Amidst the collective memory of the many, the full documentation and historical studies on one of the darkest chapters of our history, why is it that most of the millennials have completely forgotten about it, do not care about it, worse, distort truths and decorate the dark era with gold edifice and splendor?

If I am writing this in time of the Martial Law, I could’ve been lying naked on ice, pretty banged and beaten up by MetroCom, my body lacerated with beatings and marks left by cigarette burns, or maybe hanged upside down, electrocuted with the wires connected to my fingers and genitalia. You and I wouldn’t be browsing silly videos on Youtube, search for answers on Google for our assignments, or laugh at memes on the internet. All of us wouldn’t be enjoying a drink from a pub or party hard on a bar past 12.

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(c) Lacey Anne Ramos Deceparacidos, EDSA trenta Experiential Museum

It has been cliche to forgive and forget, but many times in the course of our history that the Filipino has embraced it and imbued it in our cultural domains. We forgive, of course, but there are certain circumstances and boundaries that should govern in the process, but never, ever forget.

Mendiola Massacre? Maguindanao Massacre? Mamasapano? The Lumads? Do they still ring a bell? During those events, they were the frontiers of newspapers, the main stories from the news, the trend in social feeds, but today, people hardly talk about them anymore. For some people, there is immense pleasure in showcasing ‘intellect’ on societal issues, converting Facebook likes into cheap shots of pride and pretentious sense of belonging offered by virtual society. As times go by, aside from having an elusive justice, such events are nothing but forgotten fragment of our own past.

The Japanese never forgot their war-crimes, even the current Emperor himself who was only a little kid during the WW2 expressed his profound remorse for Japan’s actions. He also paid his tributes to the victims, veterans, and heroes of war. The Jews who were victims of the holocaust erected memorials and statues, built museums and educated their children in memory of their kin. They even remembered the Philippines as a loving country who provided asylum to the Jews that sought refuge.

Where as we, we don’t only forget, but we re-elect them in public office! We desecrate the monuments built to uphold the legacies of our brave fellowmen. We manipulate truths into our own accord for the sake of politicking and self-interest. We invent a glorious past fueled by our disillusionment, hence turning a blind eye on facts and figures on what really has happened in our country.

In class, I took the liberty of telling the story of EDSA by Russel Molina and ISANG HARDING PAPEL by Augie Rivera. These storybooks are creative avenues to educate the children about what transpired during the time of Martial Law. I retold the stories of how the dictator imposed havoc on his people, solidifying the foundations of corruption in the government, political abductions and killings, torture methods and all of the unimaginable things that compromised our freedom. There was little expectation on them to digest everything and create a visual interpretation of the time that was, but I was really surprised on their interest and curiosity. After our storytelling, I asked them to write about anything for the Martial Law victims. Most of my kids said thank you for their heroism, but two kids wrote three things that struck me the most. Sana masaya na kayo dyan sa langit…Salamat dahil malaya na kami ngayon…Sana di na ito maulit.

This is where teachers, parents, and adults come in to educate our young ones. The curriculum on Araling Panlipunan should have a clearer and more structured discourse in tackling the Martial Law, explaining why #NeverAgain, backed up by true stories and factual data. It is a fact that Filipinos are non-confrontational in nature, but as a country, we should confront our past, good or evil so that we can use them as a guide to our future.

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(c) Lacey Anne Ramos

At the end of the day, it is not just how much you knew, how much you sympathized, or how much you remembered, but how you continued recounting the stories and fighting the same principles for the generations to come.

After all, EDSA Revolution was never an end, but a start. Tara na sa EDSA…

In Full Spectrum: Mga Thomasites, mga kadakilaan, at mga kuwentong titser hango sa Alpabeto

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(c) Matt Sarmiento

Simula pa noong 1901, nang dumaong ang barkong USAT Thomas sa mga baybayin ng ating bansa, binago nila ang landscape of educational system ng ating kapuluan.  Imagine niyo, mga amerikano, Thomasites tawag sa kanila, napadpad sa kabilang hemisphere ng mundo para magturo. Hinarap nila ang mga sitwasyong lack of facilities and resources, books, language barrier, delayed dispersal ng suweldo, unequal access sa mga estudyante, attendance at tardiness dahil dadalo ng fiesta o kaya naman walang pambaon sa school —-a century and a decade later, pareho pa rin ang hinaharap ng mga teachers ngayon!

Naging backbone ng pagturo nila ang Ingles, at sabi ng iba, na-damage yung pagtubo ng  national consciousness natin bilang bansa. Na-intervene daw ang ating kultura, nasingitan ang dapat na pagyabong ng sariling wika. “A is for Apple”. Wala naman tayong apples diba? Eh, A is for Atis kaya?

Gayunpaman, hindi naman maipagkakaila mga kontribusyon nila. Ikanga, they were the precursors of the Peace Corps volunteers. Pero hindi talaga yun ang dahilan kung bakit ako nagsulat ngayon. Wala lang, kinuwento ko lang. Masayang tidbits kasi siya ng ating kasaysayan dahil anuman ang kinahaharap ng mga guro noon, ganun pa rin ngayon. Anyare?

Sa panahon ngayon, maraming avenue at platforms para ma-avail ang edukasyon. Andyan ang online teaching, homeschool, formal education at kung anu-ano pa. At ito ako, kumakana sa larangan ng pagtuturo sa public elementary school. Hayaan niyo na ikuwento ko ang aking karanasan sa pagturo, the classic Thomasite way:

is for Atrocities- Wow big word, tohl. Para maimpress kayo at basahin hanggang Z!

B is for Babies- Nag-aalaga ng mga average 50 bata, umiiyak, nagdadaldal, nagpapapansin, may najejebs.

C is for Challenge- The moment we entered to the field, isinubo namin nang buong buo ang pagsubok na ito. KAKAYANIN!

D is for Deadlines- Kami ay nakikipag-bunuan sa oras dahil sa mga kailangan tapusin. Hirit pa, “Meron pa bang deadliest line?”

E is for Eternity- Sabi nga ni Kuya Henry Adams,”A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

F is for Feels- Sana may hotline ang mga teacher para ibuhos ang mga nararamdaman nila. O kaya, kung gusto niyong magkawang-gawa, “Talk-to-a-teacher today!”

G is for Gets?- Yung tinuro na ang division for the nth time, di pa rin nila gets. Naniniwala na ako sa forever!

H is for Heart- Tohl, teachers have the biggest hearts. Alam mo yun. They have the hearts to serve, tsaka hearts na sumisikip dahil sa inis sa mga bata.

I is for Ideology- May prinsipyo na nago-govern sa isang tao bakit niya pinasok ang serbisyo ng pagturo. TAng tanong, do they still preserve it?

J is for J.A.P.A.N.- Just Always Pray At Night. Tama, dasal dasal lang talaga. (Easssy) Oo no, na sana di sila mag- pasaway bukas.

K is for Kara Krus- isama mo pa ang pogs, gagamba, dampa, Chinese garter at kung anu-ano pang laruan na dinadala nila.

L is for Love- Teka maya nato.

M is for Maestro. Italyanong term ng music conductor. Isang wagayway ng kamay ay na-kokontrol ang himig ng bawat isa, parang sa classroom lang. Sha nga pala, bisayan term din ng teacher!

N is for Negatron- Alam mo minsan, ang tao hindi dahil ayaw niya sayo, moody, or masama ugali nagkataon, teacher lang siya. Minsan kakasulong ng misyon, nakokonsumisyon.

O is for Orthodox- Ang titser ay isang organismo na kailangang umayon sa norm o sistema, ngunit ang pagbaklas  at pagpilit na humiwalay dito ay tanda ng ebolusyon, ng new gen of educators.

P is for Patience- As one of my colleagues once said, “Patience is not a virtue anymore, but a skill’’. Kung kaya, ang pagtuturo ay nag-rerequire ng immense amount of skill na ito.

Q is for Questions-  Yung tipong, you ask yourself repeatedly, “bakit ko ba ginagawa ito”? Then you question your ability, “Ginawa ko na ang lahat, pero bakit ganun pa rin?” Yun lang, tayo ang nakakasagot.

R is for Reinvention-  Kailangang i-reinvent ang sarili everytime, para tangkilikin ng mga bata.

S is for Sahod- Ikanga, hindi man kumikita ng malaki, fulfilling naman, yumayaman ang puso mo.

T is for Time- Siguro ang pinakaprominenteng aspeto sa mga resources na maaalay ng isang guro ay ang kanyang naigugol na oras at panahon.

U is for Ugat- Isa sa mga tinuturong ugat ng baluktot na pag-asenso ay ang obsolete system of education, at bilang guro, nakasampa sa balikat ang pagdala ng napapanahong pagtuturo.

V is for Vendetta- Hindi yung palabas tohl, but teaching itself is a war, a vendetta, isang pakikipagbunuan laban sa kamangmangan.

W is for Worst- Teaching, just like any job, brings the best and the worst in you. At nasa iyo yun kung paano ito mag-materialize sa classroom.

is for X-Factor- Mayroong something kung bakit ito ginagawa,kung bakit pinilit mag-stay, ang deciding element.

Z is for Zombie- Puyat. Pagod. Stressed. Di nakakakain. Edi, zombie!

“Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space”, sabi nga ni Cooper sa palabas na Interstellar.  Ang mga Thomasites, dinako ang kabilang mundo, bukod sa utos ng Imperyal America, nag-sign up for the love of learning.

At sa akin, sa kabila ng lahat, kahit may mga panahon na salungat ang uniberso at nanunukso ang panahon, masasabi kong ang pag-ibig na dalisay para sa mga bata at sa aking bansa ang dahilan kung bakit ako napapatuloy.

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(C) Lacey Anne Ramos

Unang bugso ng pagtuturo

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Bilang teacher fellow, minsan naiisip ko na ang paglaan ng 2 years ng buhay sa pagtuturo ay isang maladakilang kaburgisan. Pero sabi nga nila, di man nakakayaman ang pagtuturo, rewarding naman kung matuto ang mga bata. “Fulfillment, passion, advocacy, compassion.” Yan ang iilan-iilang katagang madalas  na bukambibig ng mga gurong dakila. Favorite ko yung passion, lol. Ngunit sa kabila ng passion na yan, katamisan at pagkabusog ng kaluluwa sa bokasyon, maraming pagkakataon na napapamura nalang ako sa sarili at nagtatanong, bakit ko ba ginagawa ito? Para kanino ba tong kalintikan nato? Bakit hindi nila ma-appreciate ang ginagawa ko? San ba ko huhugot ng lakas?

Oh diba? Anlalim ng hugot, parang archeologist lang. Kasi ba naman, ang enerhiya, pasensya at panahon ay parang chalk na lumiliit at nalalagas habang ginagamit; inuubos at sinasakripisyo ang sarili upang mapunan lang ang iba. Minsan nababali, minsan nawawala, minsan nadudurog o kaya naman nilalampastangan ng iba. Pero, okay lang kasi kasama kami sa pagsulat at pagguhit ng kanilang future, ika-nga. Para sa mga bata to eh, hindi to sa akin. Pucha, parang ang selfless at heroic diba?  Pero hindi. Tao lang din kaming mga guro. Minsan selfish. Minsan antagonist. Minsan nagkakamali. Minsan nagsasawa. Pero oks lang, basta may nakikita kaming kahit katiting na pagbabago. Sarap pala talagang maging guro!

De baleng bwisit sa bulok na sistema, sa katrabahong atribida, o “suffocating” na aspects ng work (literally at figuratively), basta hahamakin ang lahat; maitatak lang sa mga bunbunan at sentido ng mga batang ito na kaya nilang abutin ang kanilang pangarap. Maipadama sa kanila na mahal namin sila. ( kahit nakakasuka ang ugali nila minsan!) Tama nga ang isang sikat na American philosopher na si Katy Perry. Sabi niya, “I will love you, unconditionally”. Unconditional, mga tsong. Bigat! Seriously, idealistic ito pero hindi imposible. Tsaka, maiukit din sa kanilang mga puso na ang pagbabasa ay mahalaga. Mapukaw ang kanilang interes sa pag-aaral at mahalin ang pagkatuto para sa kasaganahan ng buhay. Maitanim sa kanilang pagkatao ang Pagkapilipino. Lunukin nila ang pamana ng lahi nang buong-buo. Mahalin ang inang bayan! Higit sa lahat,  maigabay din ang kanilang mga marurupok na pag-uugali sa tamang daan. Ah basta, naubusan nako ng mga pa-deep na thoughts, jargons, at metapora. Basta gets niyo na yun. haha!

Kaya magkukuwento nalang ako ng isang di ko makakalimutang araw sa school. Napag-usapan namin ng mga kids ang nagyaring bakbakan sa Mamasapano na kumitil ng 44 na miyembro ng SAF. Sa murang edad, naintindihan nila ang kahalagahan ng kapayapaan at hustisya. Sa bandang huli, pinapili ko sila sa dalawa: peace talk o all-out-war? Ito yung best answers na narinig ko. Sabi ng mga nagboto ng peace talks;

1)Pilipino pa rin sila.

2)kung madadaan naman sa mas maayos at mapayapang paraan, yun nalang para wala nang mamatay.

Sabi naman ng gustong mag-all-out-war;

1)hinahayaan lang natin silang pumatay ng pumatay.

2)kapag hanggang usap lang, binibigyan lang natin sila ng chance na gawin ulit.

Tinapos ko ang aming bangayan sa isang activity. Nagdaos kami ng 44-second salute in total silence, habang nakaharap sa blackboard na may guhit flag ng Pilipinas na may bold letters ng SAF na nakasulat sa baba nito. Dun namin naranasan ang sinasabi ni Shakespeare na, “The silence was deafening”. Lintik! Nakakakilabot! Glorious! Amazing! Nalunod kami sa karagatan ng patriotismo at pagdadalamhati sa puntong nangingiyak-ngiyak na ang iba.

Mga tsong, hindi suntok sa buwan ang pagkilatis ng mga kanser ng lipunan, tulad ng educational inequity o kaya peace. Magsimula tayo sa sarili at kung saan man tayo naroroon. Kahit bata pa sila, Sinimulan iyon ng mga bata ko sa classroom.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Teaching at the Sidelines

 

Like any other sports team that exist today, they are not winning without their good supporting cast and the key people at the sidelines.

 

In my first weeks of teaching in a public school, I cannot grasp the full experience of having one’s own advisory class, nor handling one’s own advisory class as a floating teacher. In the case of our placement school, the setup was special. I only have two subjects to teach my own, and I share the other remaining subjects with my partner-teacher. Everything revolves around co: co-teach, co-facilitate, co-discipline, co-classroom and never-ending co’s. It wasn’t bad, because it encouraged me to be collaborative and open. However, I cannot fully exercise sovereignty on my students and for most of the time, I was the only one who monitors and observes the kids. Technically, I was on the sideline, but it doesn’t make me any less of a teacher.

Remember why Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat franchise is one of the greatest coaches and GMs that ever lived? Because when he is at the sidelines, he influences players and management the way the people at the front-court can’t do.

 

Pat Riley at the sea of OKC fans
Pat Riley  in the sea of wild OKC fans during the NBA finals (2012)

With his efforts, he has built a basketball dynasty that has no signs of slowing down. Now at the sidelines (for the mean time) , it’s my job to influence the kids in my own way, because I am the one with the wider perspective; and there are no signs of slowing down.

Here are my 7 essential nuggets of learning that I realized in CO-teaching that I hope I could share with you:

I learned a lot from my first ever experience in co-teaching during my SI practicum with Kuya Ems! :)
I learned a lot from my first ever experience in co-teaching during my SI practicum with Kuya Ems! 🙂

  1. COme humbly.

Establishing team-dynamics and building rapport with the folks in school and the community is no easy job, especially with your partner-teacher. Change is necessary, but it won’t happen abruptly. We do have a lot of ideals and principles in life that we fight for. In order to see that, you need a lot of patience and humility, because once you impose these things to them, they would see us as opponents and not game-changers.

2. COmmence the first days of classes establishing yourself as a TEACHER.

The kids would overwhelm you with their: “Kuya! Kuya!” (Brother! Brother!) , because they are not yet familiar with your role inside the classroom. Introduce yourself and be assertive that you are also a point of authority in the class aside from their adviser.

3. COrrelate with partner-teacher’s likes and hobbies.

When my partner-teacher was browsing his phone, I saw his Spiderman wallpaper! So awesome! And that started our conversation about Spiderman and including this one heck of a question:

Who's the better Spiderman?
Who’s the better Spiderman? Andrew or Tobey?

Always be particular in finding windows of opportunity to initiate small talks and conversation-starters because in that simple way, it shows that you actually want to build relationship with your partner-teacher even outside your job.

4. COordinate, COllaborate and COmplement with teaching strategies and classroom management techniques.

When you have a partner-teacher who has been injected at the public school system longer than you do, sometimes, he/she has odd ways in disciplining and teaching kids. Our goal is not to tell them on their faces and say, “Hey. what you are doing is wrong! Why in the world are you still a teacher?” Rather, you are there to share teaching stuff with each other. By coming into the system with new fundamental knowledge of teaching and managing kids, forge it with their good experiences and existing ways until the bad ones are overlapped. Then, you would be the best 1-2 punch combo ever!

5. COllect students’ information: personal needs, family background, reading level, learning pace and styles.

When you spend your time at the sidelines, do not put it into waste. Use your wider perspective and longer time to pinpoint the students who are lagging every time your partner-teacher checks for understanding of the students. Invest in knowing your students’ backgrounds through small talks, interviews and home-visits. For most of the time when you are at the back observing, you got the upper hand in over-viewing the kids’ behaviors and learning paces. So be proactive in addressing those vital concerns of the students.

6. COllide sometimes. (unintentionally of course)

Now I am not being ironic when I said to collaborate and everything. But seriously, it is inevitable to have conflicts with your partner-teachers or to whoever you work with. If we always agree on everything, there is something wrong. These conflicts and collisions happen because of our individual differences and we need to see to it that we settle everything objectively.

A successful basketball franchise withstands a lot of pressure, management lapses, conflicts and hate spams because they resolve things accordingly as a TEAM. So work it out with your partner-teacher as a team.

7. COmmiserate with your COmpany.

In times of small victories to defeats, your supporting cast are always there. Cherish them with all your heart.

Share them not only your teacher moments, but share them your life.

Basically the reason why I survive everyday. Go team Navotas!
Basically the reason why I survive everyday. Go team Navotas!

We play different games and we face different opponents each day, but we should remember we are on the same league! We are not alone. Whether we are at the sidelines or coaching our own team, the important thing is we all have roles to get that championship: winning kids’ lives.