Warning: This is a vent-out post.
                All negativity inside. Read at your own risk.

I just got home from school. I go to school at exactly 5:30 AM, today I arrived home and it’s already 6:04 PM. Yesterday, I came home at around 7:30 PM. What’s happening to me? I feel so tired. I feel so alone. I feel so tired, even sleep and longer sleep won’t seem to ease the tiredness in me.

I miss home. I truly miss the meaning of home. I miss my mama’s home-cooked meals, the chats over breakfast and dinner with my siblings. The endless asaran and the endless sermons from papa. It’s as if I am living in a faraway country that I can’t seem to be with them. I mean, enough time to be with them. I maybe with them on Sundays, but it had never been enough.

I never thought that I will reach this point of weariness. That I would feel so drained and all I wanted is to cry and feel someone’s hug. This is one of those days that I wish I have someone. That someone who would tell me that everything’s going to be alright. To tell me that I just need a rest after that someone hugs me. Kiss me on the forehead and tell me that tomorrow is another day. That someone who reminds me of what wonderful job I have. What wonderful thing I had been doing for these kids. I never thought that I will reach this point. Really. I thought I am tough. I thought I am strong. Yet here I am, breaking down, letting the keyboard suck all my tiredness, loneliness and negativity. Having them printed on the screen. Making them look for more real not just feel.

A challenge had been given. In thirty days, I will have to make these 30 kids, independent readers. I am currently on my second day of seminar wherein the main objective is to address the harsh reality in the public schools,  that more 60% of third graders are slow or total non-readers. They could be syllable readers but definitely with no comprehension, thus, still with zero percent literacy. This action plan had been an answer to our clamor of wanting to pay more attention with reading exercises for these non-readers than bombarding them with academic concepts that should have been on their level had they been independent readers at this point. But thirty days!

Challenge accepted. I have no choice. This is already an opportunity for them to be able to learn to read. Challenge accepted. I have no further argument. I just need some time to rest. To breathe. I just need someone to tell me that everything’s gonna be ok. I have no background in teaching beginning reading. All I have are resources I can find anywhere. I have a laptop, tons of papers, a printer, a projector, a set of books on phonics, boxes of story books to choose from. A very basic knowledge of Marungko and Fuller Approach. Not even any handouts. I would have obliged to get a copy of my own, but they said that the administrators will provide for us.

SISTEMA PLS!. That SISTEMA wherein things work harmoniously. That thingy where things are there, resources are at work and people are united. It could have been a real Reading expert at my place. Oh ok, I volunteered for my team. On behalf of the mandate, that someone from our team be in the seminar. No, I  haven’t held nor read any memo. Can I just say, I wasn’t informed? But No, I am already here. And as I have said, challenge accepted.

Apart from this, seriously, I just feel so tired. And without anything at hand, I don’t know where to start.

I need a hug. Please.

Friday the 13th

All of these happened in my class last September 13, 2013.
Friday the 13th.

Sa Science:

Teaching how COCHLEA is differently pronounced from how it is spelled...
Cher: Ang pagbasa talaga ay /kok-lee-yuh/ pero ang spelling ay sa /koch-lee-yuh/
Student X: Ay parang yung sa TheVoice. Si Coach Lea.

Pause. Process. Respond.

Cher: Yes, si Coach Lea nga. Tatandaan mo lang yung pangalan nya at spelling ng cochlea. Tapos ang itsura nya ay parang si Gary na pet ni Spongebob.

Hay mga kiddielets. Kahit ano na lang, go para lang matandaan nyo ang mga bagay-bagay. Kung si Coach Lea ang magpapaalala sayo ng Cochlea, sige lang. Manonood na ko ng The Voice PH. Para sayo. Haha

Sa English:

Teaching of words with Blends. 


Cher: Anong tagalog na salita para "smart"?
Student Y: Cher, pang-load! 
Ok. Friday ngayon. Manood na lang kaya kami ng The Conjuring?! 

From Sounds to Syllables

Thirty minutes had passed  and we are still not yet through with Reading Drill #1. 

She was perspiring non-stop.

Cher: Pagod ka na? Gusto mo bukas naman?
JM:(shakes her head) Ok lang po ako. 

Wipes her face, goes back to uttering the sounds of every letter in the CVC word. Every time she reads a word, she would look up to me, her eyes seeking affirmation then I would say, "Yes, very good." She goes back to reading, perspiring, wiping her face, pushing herself to read.

The only way for me to survive this phase is step into their shoes, feel their struggles and learn with them side by side. When I discovered that most of my kids are non and frustrated readers, honestly, I felt weak. I felt helpless. How can I teach these concepts if they can't read?! How can I meet the expectations of the organization? How can I prove that I am a teacher?

Then I realized, most of the things I know and have learned weren't fed to me by my teachers, I got it from my love of reading. My teachers taught me the love of reading.

Put aside the curriculum for now. They need to learn to READ. I've tried to teach the non-readers the concepts of the curriculum, we all end up exhausted. Disappointed of ourselves and very low mastery level. The major feeling is FRUSTRATION.

Cher: Alam mo bang hindi ka marunong magbasa? 
JM: (Nods her head)
Cher: Sa totoo lang masakit ang puso ni teacher kasi di ka pa marunong, pero alam kong matuto kang magbasa.
JM: Opo Teacher Kat, gusto ko po talaga mag-aral magbasa. 
Cher: Oo. Kaya natin to. Basta dapat kahit sa bahay magbabasa ka. Dito practice lang lagi. 
JM: Cher, sa Lunes po ba kasama na ko sa remedial? Para po masabi ko na kay mama na makakapagbasa na ko. (I had just discovered today that she is a non-reader though she know the sight words, probably she memorized most of them)
Cher: Yes. Kasama ka na. 
JM: Yes! Bye Cher! 

A good start. Eagerness. The push.

I may be seen as someone teaching for this country, but I am just aiming for one kid at a time. I hope and pray that I can keep this eagerness in me aflame all the way. May God be with me always. For without Him, I am nothing. 

Things I've Learned

One quarter down. Thank goodness I survived. Thank you to my family, for their continual support and prayers, to my friends everywhere and this blog. 

1.       Never ever let those papers pile up unrecorded.
2.       Always be advanced in lesson planning
3.       Prepare extra worksheets/seatworks.
4.       Take care of oneself—physically and emotionally.
5.       Have songs, hand gestures and mnemonics incorporated in keypoints of the lesson.
6.       Journal daily events in the classroom.
7.       Never let those down moments linger.
8.       Smile.
9.       Be the influence.
10.   Start Mondays with a smile. End Fridays happily.
11.   Read. A lot. Read more.
12.  PRAY.

Meet the Top 10 of our class for the First Grading Period.

Seven more months to go for the first year of my teaching fellowship to get completed. There are still a lot of work to be done.

I had carton boxes of cereal and milk, and as of today, I was able to cut 3”x3”, 2”x2”, and 1.5”x 1.5” of square cards, I will be putting letters on it to be used on remedial classes. I was also able to find a free video downloading app that can help me acquire nursery rhymes and singalong videos for them. The bookset of Hooked on Phonics had also arrived and there are parents that are really eager to acquire their copies to be used for their children at home. I had also asked them to give me dvds so I can give them copies of the videos that I can get here and there.

Im still trying to find ways on how to get copies of Bayani, Hiraya Manawari, Math Tinik, Epol Apple and Atbp, and Sineskwela. There are very limited copies available online. My generation was fortunate to have these tv shows on free tv years ago. Now, most of the educational channels are available on cable tvs. Knowing the economic backgrounds of my kids’ families, getting a cable tv subscription is not a priority.

Last August 31st was Parents’ Day. Report cards of the pupils were given to their parents and their progress were discussed as well. Out of 51, 40 of the guardians and parents came for the meeting and asked about their kids. A parent even cried out of frustration about her child as a frustrated reader. She had been very much willing to  buy all those educational materials that I had told them about, thinking that it will be the answer to her child’s struggle. She is a working mom and had admitted that she cant watch over the child after school since she is the office. She had been willing to pay for afterschool tutorial sessions for the child. Honestly, I am very much tempted to accept the offer but thinking of my other non-reader kids, I just told her that probably she can bring us merienda every now and then on our remedial classes instead.

On Monday, I plan to start my afterclass remedial sessions with three pupils for now. Monday to Wednesday, we will stay in school for one-on-one reading drills. Three kids for now.

I cannot change the world but I know I can change a life of a child as he prepares to face the world. One at a time. As Mr. Marrero, CEO of Mead Johnson Nutrition, advised us, “Be realistic. Don’t lose idealism. Choose your battles.”

I had chosen this. May God be with me.