A teacher is a change-maker

We finally saw each other again after 11 years.:DWe finally saw each other again after 11 years.:D

Teary-eyed, I went home from the birthday party of my teacher’s son. I cried because I finally saw Ma’am Sharon, my adviser in first year high school, whom I haven’t seen for 11 years. More than being a teacher, she’s the one who believed that I can do more that I thought, and that there is something special about me that no one sees. My heart just overflowed with gladness as the past comes back, then I wiped my tears.

A very relaxed student who prefers to play games or do some art stuffs – that’s who I am, at least during high school. I am often scolded for not studying at all. If I do, that was usually a night before my class. Thanks to my mom who helped in finishing my assignments. Thanks to my grandma too who would bribe me every time I passed exams. These external motivations kept me at the top 10 in my class. But for my dad, being in the list of the top in class was nothing. He didn’t even go to my elementary graduation simply because I’m not the class valedictorian.

In first year high school, I got the opportunity to become the class president. That was a big leap because it required more responsibility and discipline from me. Being the head of the class paved the way for me to spend more time working with my adviser Ma’am Sharon Chavez on school matters. We would stay late decorating the room or preparing for school competitions.  Those were good leadership training at an early age of 13, but what’s more life changing is how much Ma’am Sharon pushed me to be better by really pressuring me to perform better in school.

First year sectioning at the National College of Business and Arts is organized randomly. However, there are these students from 1st year Amiable which dominates the top 10. To get into that list is a tough challenge primarily because you don’t know how your opponents were performing since you are in a different section (if that’s the best thing to describe it then). At first I didn’t frame myself that I have to be the top in class, but because I have that strong push from Ma’am Sharon to do my best. That was difficult challenge because that will entail sacrificing my play time and comfort. But that is something Ma’am Sharon fought for, as she consistently motivates and coached me to be one of the best students in high school.

1st year section Humility with adviser Sharon Chavez
1st year section Humility with adviser Sharon Chavez

Whenever my mom gets my report card, Ma’am Sharon would tell her that I am a very great student. I just need to be pushed (that’s super cool cause my mom would tell that to my dad). In class, she would always call me for recitation, believing that I have answers to her questions. She later would give me things I have to improve and some tips on how to do better. She would constantly remind me to work harder. It’s like having a teacher, a sister, and a coach all in one person. I felt pressured but it all turned out good at the end.

I got into the top 10 of the 1st year on the third and last quarter. I was the top in my section too. Not only in the academics did I really improve. I got to develop my leadership skills too as the head of the class. Our section managed to win several school-wide competitions. We also got the recognition of the most beautiful classroom. Thanks to our young and passionate adviser. She was always there all along.

Photo credits: FacebookPhoto credits: Facebook

To be the best that I can be, to believe that I can make it to the top, and to really work hard to achieve my goals are lessons from Ma’am Sharon that I’ve been continuing to live up to this day. Who I am now, and who I will be in the future is partly because I got great teachers who didn’t just teach, but believed that I can do it. It is true that no matter how good the teachers are, there will always be bad students. However, I would like to attest that it takes only one teacher to believe that a bad student can be someone, for them to be able to change. It all requires good faith. It takes a good teacher to do that.

Tonight, I just want to shout to the world how a teacher changed my life. For most of the time we take for granted how much they played a part in our lives simply because we paid them (at least for private schools). We often forget how crucial they were in giving us the power to do and understand things. I’d like to believe that a teacher’s job is not mainly to teach, but really to change a person. It’s one of the professions I look up to. It’s one of the things I commit to do soon.

Thank you Ma’am Sharon for everything! Thank you to all our amazing teachers!:)

Gusto ko ring mag-aral

249007_10151466084911452_192997400_nDalawampu’t apat na oras na buhat nang lumapag ang aking eroplano sa Pilipinas. Kababalik ko lang mula sa Ireland para mag-aral. At ngayon mas sigurado ako na gusto ko pang mag-aral.

Bukas babalik na ako sa tunay buhay. Hindi para mag-aral pero para umaksyon base sa aking mga natutunan. Matutulog na sana ako ng maaga para maaga rin akong makarating sa opisina. Pero tila ba sinadya ng langit na gisingin pa ako upang mapanood ko ang palabas ngayon sa ABS-CBN, ang “Gusto kong mag-aral”.

Ang “Gusto kong mag-aral” ay isang dokumentaryo patungkol sa sitwasyon ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas partikular na sa malalayong lugar na hindi madaling naaabot. Ilan sa mga istoryang ipinakita ay ang pagtawid ng mga estudyante sa ilog at paglalakad ng ilang kilometro makarating lamang sa paaralan. Hindi lamang estudyante ang ipinakita pero maging ang mga guro na nagsasakripisyo maturuan lamang ang mga kabataan. Hindi ito kaiba sa mga istorya ng mga paaralang napupuntahan namin sa Checkmyschool. Nariyan ang mga eskwelahang iilan lamang ang libro, mga binabahang classroom, at mga gurong ginagamit ang sarili nilang pera para lang may pang-pamasahe ang mga estudyante nila papasok sa eskwela.

Ako’y  naiyak sa aking napanood. Magandang pangbati ito para sa aking pagbabalik sa Pilipinas. Isang paalala ng aking misyon na tumulong mapabuti ang edukasyon sa bansa. Ilang araw bago ako lumisan ng Pilipinas, tinatanong ko ang sarili ko at ang diyos kung ito nga ba ang dapat kong patunguhan. Nakakapagod at maraming kailangang isakripisyo. Pinili kong hindi ituloy ang ilang aplikasyon para mag-aral sa ibang bansa dahil hindi ko maiwan ang Checkmyschool. Mukha hindi naman ako nagkamali sa aking desisyon bagaman hindi ko parin isinasantabi ang ilang personal na balakin. Gusto kong mag-aral, oo. Pero gusto ko ring makapag-aral ng maayos ang mga kabataan ng bayan ko.

Iba ang motibasyon ko sa pag-aaral kumpara sa mga ipinakita sa doku. Noong bata ako, gusto kong mag-aral kasi gusto kong matututo; gusto kong magkaroon ng kasagutan sa mga tanong ko. Noong medyo tumanda na ako, gusto kong mag-aral para maabot ko ang mga pangarap ko; para mabili ko ang mga gusto ko. Puro ako, hanggang sa dumating ako kolehiyo.

Hindi ako nakaranas mag-aral sa pampublikong paaralan o makapasok man lang sa pampublikong paaralan hanggang pumasok ako sa UP. Kumpara sa pampublikong paaralan na elementary at sekondarya, mas mabuti na ang kalagayan ng UP lalo na sa Unibersidad ng Korea kung saan rin ako nag-aral. Hindi ko kailangang tumawid sa ilog para makarating doon. May sapat namang mga upuan at may mga ilaw naman sa mga silid. Hindi nga lang ganoon kataas ang sahod ng mga guro sa UP kaya may ilang magagaling na gurong lumilisan. Sa maraming pagkakataon, kailangan mong magpaphotocopy ng libro na kakailanganin mo. May ilang banyo rin na marurumi at mga kompyuter na niluma na ng panahon.

Abandoned classroom at Burias ESMas nakita ko ang tunay na larawan ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas mula sa mga pagtuturo na ginagawa namin sa mga pampublikong eskwelahan. Higit ko pa itong naunawaan mula sa mga pag-iikot naming ginawa sa Checkmyschool. Mga sira o kulang na palikuran, kulang na libro, mga estudyanteng nakaupo sa lapag, at mga silid-aralang basam-basa sa tuwing uulan. Ilan lamang ito sa mga larawan ng kalagayan ng serbisyo ng edukasyon natin sa Pilipinas. Iba pang kwento ang kalagayan ng mga eskwelahang laging dinaraanan ng bagyo at nadadamay sa gulo sa Mindanaw.

Hindi bago ang mga ganitong kwento ng kakulangan sa mga gamit sa eskwela at mga sakripisyo para lang makapag-aral. Pero sa tuwing nakikita at naririnig ko ito, hindi ko maiwasang mapaluha.  Nakakapagod at parang walang katapusan. Minsan parang gusto mo nalang sumuko. Pero sa tuwing maririnig mo sa mga batang gustong mag-aral kahit  ano pa man ang pagdaanan, sino ako para magreklamo? Sa tuwing makikita mo kung gaano kahirap ang ginagawa ng mga dakilang guro makapagturo lang sa mga bundok, isla, at liblib na lugar, anong nagawa ko kumpara sa kanila para mapagod?

Gusto kong mag-aral. Mahal ko ang karunungan. Gusto ko ring magturo bilang isang guro.  Alam kong ang magkaroon ng mabuting serbisyo sa paaralan at makatapos sa pag-aaral ang kanilang mga estudyante ang gusto ng mga gurong aking napanood. Gusto kong makatulong sa kanila sa bagay na iyon.

Gusto ng mga kabataang ipinakita at hindi ipinakita sa dokumentaryo na gusto nilang mag-aral. Hindi ko maipapangakong matutulungan sila sa pagpapaikli ng daan para mas madali silang makapunta sa paaralan. Pero baka pwede kaming makatulong bilang boses nila sa pamamagitan ng Checkmyschool. Baka pwede kaming makatulong sa pagpapakita ng kalagayan ng ibang mga paaralan sa malalayong lugar. Hindi ko ito magagawa mag-isa kung kaya’t maghahanap ako ng mga kasama. Sa pamamagitan ng blog na ito, sana maipaabot ko sa iba na pwede rin silang tumulong. Kung hindi man bilang kasama namin sa Checkmyschool pero baka pwede rin sa pamamagitan ng ibang proyekto.

Kung lahat tayo ay magtutulong-tulong, walang imposible. Pwede nating matulungan ang mga nagtuturo at ang mga gustong mag-aral.

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9 Great Reasons Why You Should Join Checkmyschool.org

9 GREAT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN CMS

1.      Help improve school condition.

By joining CMS, you are taking part in the revolution of improving the education situation in the country by providing better services to public schools where most of the Filipino children are studying.

2.      Take part in the development of the country.

Education is crucial in the development of Philippines. According to HSBC forecast, Philippines will be among the top 20 countries in the world by 2050. One reason for this is the rule of law and quality of education in the country. When you take part in CMS, you monitor the services provided in the schools (part of the rule of the law) and improve the quality of education by providing better services to schools.

3.      Be the change you want to see in the world by volunteering.

“Volunteers aren’t paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” – Anonymous

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

These two famous quotations reflect the beauty of a volunteer’s heart: who serves without anything in return; and a person who change the world by giving service to others. When you volunteer to CMS, you are not just showing unconditional love, but you are also taking part in changing the world.

4.      Friendship and family of public servants

As of 2012, CMS has reached 14 areas in the country with 20 infomediaries and 1,053 volunteers. CMS offers you this large network of friends whom you can tap for your own activities. These are reliable people whom you connect with especially when you are in their area

Not only does CMS offer you a genuine friendship, but also a family whom you can grow with. CMS gathers its volunteers at least one a year for workshops, and other activities where you can bond with each other. CMS also has a Facebook group where you can chat and exchange your thoughts.

 5.      Develop yourself with training and other opportunities

CMS and its partners provide training and other opportunities which you can access when you take part in the group. The training includes facilitation skills, reporting skills, fund-raising, and the like.

Other opportunities include invitation to events related to education, governance, leadership, and other youth events where volunteers can benefit on.

 6.      Networking with various sectors

CMS is connected with different stakeholders such as government agencies, private sectors, citizen groups, academe, and media. When you join CMS, you will also be connected with these stakeholders whom you can build relationships with. Below are some benefits of networking according to Made Manual (http://www.mademan.com/mm/10-benefits-networking.html):

  1. Being active. Being active is a benefit of networking. Believe it or not, by just getting yourself out there and connecting to people you are moving your career forward. By going to a networking party or group, you are taking the first step towards improving yourself and your career.

 

  1. Openness. Openness is a benefit of networking. By allowing yourself to be open you gain more information for yourself and share information with others. 

 

  1. Information. Information is a benefit of networking. When you go to network parties you are almost guaranteed to gain information, starting from when you first walk in the door.

 

  1. Knowledge. Knowledge is a benefit of networking. The more information you have the more power you have. Networking helps you expand your knowledge about where you want to grow and puts you in the position to help others.

 

  1. New leads. Finding new leads is a benefit of networking. Networking allows you to gain new ideas and new approaches that you didn’t think of before. 

 

  1. Contacts. Gaining contacts is a benefit of networking. You are sure to make great new personal contacts and connections.

 

  1. Skills. Developing skills is a benefit of networking. Networking is a skill in itself. The more you network, the better you do and the more chances there are that you will grow.

 

  1. Reputation. Improving your reputation is a benefit of networking. If you start networking a lot and become good at it, you might get a reputation for being a person people want to talk to and get to know. Again, this will allow you to grow. 

 

  1. Support. Finding support is a benefit of networking. A good reputation leads to support. Getting people to be on your side is like word of mouth advertising. These people will help spread good information about who you are and what your business does.

 

  1. Self Esteem. Gaining self esteem is a benefit of networking. As humans we need to socialize and network, which leads to making friends and getting people to like us. All this leads to higher self esteem. Higher self esteem makes you happy and in turn makes you create a better position for yourself so that you and your business will grow.

 7.      Prestige in joining CMS

CMS is the first in the world in combining different digital media and community mobilization. It has garnered a great reputation not just in the Philippines but also in the world in terms of providing innovative examples and concrete results. In less than a year, CMS has already been featured in television, online news, print media, radio, and events not just in the country but in different parts of the globe. Its popularity already made replications in countries like Colombia, and also enticed other countries to adopt it as well. As you get connected with CMS, you also become part of that prestige.

 8.      One of a kind experience

CMS offers you a one of a kind experience in volunteering. It offers you a challenging opportunity of communicating with different kinds of people from different sectors. It gives you the challenge of going to places where you haven’t been. It gives you that once-in-a-lifetime chance of concretely making a change in the community by helping schools to improve their condition. There are a lot more to be discovered here. Don’t worry because you have a dependable CMS family to support you on this.

9.      Gain the power of information

CMS promotes transparency and social accountability using information. When you take part in CMS, you don’t just know the information but you also take part in seeking the right information. When you have the right information, you gain the power of truth which you can use to further advance the cause of improving the services in the schools. Not only are you going to be informed about the school information, but you will also learn a lot of things regarding education, DepEd, digital technology and other related information.

JOIN THE CMS TEAM!!! IT’S MORE FUN HERE!=D

Check My School Team

KNOWING CHECK MY SCHOOL

Checkmyschool.org

Check My School (CMS) is a project which combines technology information and community mobilization to improve the public education services.

As an online platform for information access, CMS is designed to be both informative and interactive. It provides a profile page which contains the information about each school which contains pictures, school activities, services available, and many more. It provides different channels for sending feedback such as Facebook, Twitter, online chat box and even SMS for stakeholders with no internet connection.

As a community mobilization project, it serves as a platform for citizens’ participation in monitoring enabling transparency and accountability in the school operations. It is the offline side of CMS, which is operationalizes the deployment of so-called information intermediaries or “infomediaries.” In the context of this initiative, “infomediaries” are capable and technology-literate volunteers drawn from the community, who, through the information they can source from available technologies, can engage their fellow community members about their public service-related inquiries or concerns. Such mechanism stimulates demand for access to information among people who are otherwise not serviced by the government because of their limited access to technology.

The importance of access to information is best demonstrated through concrete cases where issues that directly affect the communities are resolved after utilizing information that had been made accessible. The initiative helps surface basic education issues and showcases community engagement with government to address them. This program of CMS is called Operation Thank You which translates information to issue resolution.

The tagline “Promoting transparency and social accountability, one school at a time!” encapsulates the strategy to make education information relevant in a concrete way. It means facilitating response to a school issue through the collective efforts of government, community, civil society and private sector stakeholders.

UNITS

Regional Operations

The regional operation is part of the project’s community mobilization component. CMS regional operations are consist of the area coordinator, infomediary and school volunteers. Each has several responsibilities which are considered as the core of CMS operations.

Area infomediary coordinator

  • Can be an organization or as an individual.
  • Serve as the leader of infomediaries who are operating in an area (ex. Leyte area). S/he creates team of infomediaries in the area if there is none. The infomediaries can be school stakeholders (parents, students, teachers), community stakeholders (NSTP students from other schools, youth organizations outside the schools), or a combination of both.
  • Coordinates with the CMS national team regarding the area operations. S/he regularly communicates with the national infomediary coordinator.
  • Coordinates with education stakeholders such as local DepEd offices, local school boards, and local citizen groups.

Infomediary

  • They can be members of organizations or individuals outside the schools or school stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, admin in the school)
  • Infomediaries are technology literate volunteers who facilitate the exchange of information from the schools to the online portal, vise-versa. This may mean posting pictures and data in the website in behalf of the school and relaying the information in online portal to the community
  • Target schools where they orient and organize school stakeholders to monitor school services (ex. teachers, parents, students).  School stakeholders involved in CMS activities are called CMS volunteers
  • Lead the validation of school information in target schools. They coordinate with school heads/ administrators of target schools in the gathering of school information and validation of DepEd data on school services. They coordinate with volunteers in the conduct of data validation, guide them in the checking, report the results, identify issues, and help the solved issues by coordinating with education stakeholders (DepEd, private sector, academe, local government, local government offices, etc)\
Infomediary Operations

Communications and Technical Operations

This unit is in-charge of the CMS’s digital platforms (Facebook, Twitter, SMS and website). Their functions are as follows:

  • Make sure that the digital platforms are active and updated. They create news articles, post picture, upload videos or provide content in the website.
  • Make sure that the digital platforms are working properly.
  • They popularize the use of the digital platforms, increase its users, and engage more people to interact.

Finance and administration

This unit serves as the support group of CMS in terms of generating funds and providing the necessary logistical and administrative needs of the project.

  • They find ways to generate funds and resources for CMS through donations, sponsorship or fund-raising events.
  • They handle and manage the funds and resources of CMS
  • They serve manage properties of CMS including purchasing and keeping of supplies and other materials for operations.

CMS Network Management

This unit is in-charge of CMS’s human resource and organizational linkages. Following are the responsibilities of volunteers in this unit:

Human resource

  • Takes charge in the recruitment of volunteers for CMS
  • Takes charge in developing the team through team-building activities and the like.
  • Helps in managing volunteers including profiling of volunteers, determining their needs, and responding to them.

OrganIzational linkages

  • Manages the partnership engagements of CMS with education stakeholders (private companies, citizen groups, DepEd, LSBs, etc)
  • Facilitate linkages with groups interested in partnering with CMS.
  • Coordinates with partners of CMS in its activities

 

Infomediary Operations