A (school) year in pictures

A new school year is about to begin and I will be leaving my rookie year of teaching behind. But before 2015-2016 finally buries the moments of triumph and failure of 2014-2015, I am taking stock of the recent past and storing here whatever visual artifacts I managed to haphazardly take and keep.

messy cubicle

My cubicle during one of many late stays at the faculty room.

When I try to describe my rookie year in a nutshell, I can’t help but think it has been a year of struggle both in keeping up with lesson preparations and providing timely feedback for my students. Not to mention adjusting to the bureaucracy of the public school system, navigating the intricacies of dealing with others with my sketchy emotional intelligence, and finding the intersection between my idealism and much-needed realism. I often lagged behind and it was not uncommon for my cubicle to be swamped with things to do. Even my bed was not exempt as I often brought work home and burned countless midnight candles.

equally messy bed

No sleep on this night

Some of my friends worry that if I keep going at this rate, I might burn not only midnight candles but myself, too. I understand their worry and this is definitely one aspect I want to improve on in my second year of teaching because passion is good but sustaining passion is even better. I have to be in it for the long haul, after all!

Some people would probably think it was the contests that were most memorable…

Magdalene bagged third place at the regional spelling bee. She was in 7th grade.

Magdalene bagged third place at the regional spelling bee. She was in 7th grade at the time.

Winning Teams: Zamboanguita Science High School at 3rd place (left), RTPM-Dumaguete Science High School at 1st place (center), and Silliman University High School at 2nd place (right)

Clar, Vern and Brim (center) were the girls in pink who won first place.

Cram and Ramacho were all smiles (momentarily forgetting the butterflies in their stomachs) before the bee. The boys won first place.

Marc and Ram were all smiles (momentarily forgetting the butterflies in their stomachs) before the bee. The boys won first place.

As an alumna of the science high school where I currently teach, competing in bees and tourneys was something I experienced during my high school years, too. But this hasn’t made the process of competing any less nerve-wracking!

Contests are a good way of challenging students who are at the mastery level of their lessons, especially when students are genuinely interested in the subject because their inner curiosity will provide them with the stamina to go beyond the basics. But at the end of the day I think the student’s overall learning should never be sacrificed for the sake of a contest so I feel conflicted about joining contests in general. Keeping a balance is important. And if a student’s learning suffers, I’m of the mind that contests should be ditched! It’s the day to day exploration, discovery, and practice inside the classroom or wherever we choose learning to take place that matters.


So I treasure the activities, outputs, and projects more…

I tried my best to design as many lessons as I could where students could collaborate in hands-on activities. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed.

Absolute and Comparative Advantage activity sheets

Describing Scarcity for the Body Smart

Describing Scarcity for the Body Smart

Students play with the games they made drawing on their knowledge and understanding of basic economic concepts. In the photo, students are playing a game about substitutes and complements using the rules of domino.

Students play with the games they made drawing on their knowledge and understanding of basic economic concepts. In the photo, students are playing a game about substitutes and complements using the rules of domino.

DSC_0163

irony songs

Dabbling in music to learn about irony

There was some targeting of 21st Century Skills (Communication, Media Literacy, Collaboration, Research, Independent Learning), too, but I need to design and schedule my projects better so that students have more time to plan and more opportunities for deeper mastery of both skills and content knowledge.

But I hope that aside from the subject’s content, my students also discovered something about themselves — the things they’re good at, the things they’re interested in — and most important of all, the desire to keep on learning!

Even I need to continue learning…

trainings 2015

Some of the trainings I attended this year

peer feedback

Tried out peer feedback to generally positive results!

…to become a highly effective teacher so that when something beautiful emerges from the woodwork…

…I can do more than merely witness the inchoate potential of what humanity’s future could be.

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