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Guide to Dealing with Tests

I have read Dr. Lisa Medoff’s  “Stressed Out Students’ Guide to Dealing with Tests” during my review on Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) and I want to share with you some of her tips on how to Ace any test. (I have included my tips as well.)

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The What

(What they’re testing for)

  • Tests test you.
  • Test your ability to perform
  • Push you to keep on jumping hurdles
  • Keep  you moving forward towards achieving your professional and personal goals

“The best way out is always through.” –Robert Frost

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The Why

(Why you need to do well)

  • Tests shape your path.
  • Everyone wants a piece of the pie.
  • Everyone is competing for success.
  • LET is NOT an easy test.
  • There’s no downside to developing good study and test-taking skills NOW.

“All the top achievers I know are lifelong learners… looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing… not moving towards excellence.” –David Waitely

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The How

(How you’ll ace the LET)

“Self-trust is the first secret of success.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Develop a set of study skills, habits, and methods that work for you.
  • Mix and develop your own formula for success.
  • A pinch of creativity, a dash of ingenuity, and a load of hard work will turn you into a test-taking whiz.

“Where much is expected from an individual, he may rise to the level of events and make the dream come true.” –Elbert Hubbard

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Study Skills Tip

  • Understanding is more important than memorizing.
  • Making sure you understand a subject also helps you retain it in memory longer.
  • Use mnemonics.
  • Use Mindmaps or advanced organizers.
  • Speed read.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” –Thomas Edison

STUDY SKILLS V2

Base of Operations

(Your study space)

When choosing a study space, consider:

  • Noise
  • Lighting
  • Distractions
  • Convenience
  • Proximity to food
  • TIP: Blue enhances your brain power. Try to study in a blue room or use blue pens for writing important formulas,etc.

“Do it now. You become successful the moment you start moving toward a worthwhile goal.” –Unknown

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Weapons of Mass Instruction

(Tools for Studying)

  • Writing utensils – colourful pen, pencils, highlighter, crayons
  • Colorful Papers – index cards, memo pads, sketchpad, etc.
  • Books, and review materials (E-books, drills, etc.)
  • Calculator
  • Timer/Clock

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” –Ben Franklin

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Study Groups (Click me for a more detailed explanation) SKIP AD after 6 seconds

  • Organize a study group but don’t let it turn into a social gathering.
  • Set up a list or outline of topics or problems to be discussed and solved together.
  • Make sure everyone is on the same wavelength.
  • Track the progress of the meeting as you give each other the boost you need.

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” –Will Rogers

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Just Do It!

(Avoiding Procrastination)

“The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started.” –Dawson Trotman

Easy Does It

(Study Tricks)

  • Flashcards (www.flashcardmachine.com)
  • Mnemonic Devices – King Philip Came Over For Good Sausage, SPecial CoFi, EnIS si Bruner
  • No to Cramming
  • Brain Food – Omega 3,6,9 and B vitamins, water

“I can accept failure but I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

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Bring It

(Developing Good Test-Taking Skills)

  • Chill (Relax) – positive self-talk, affirmations, meditate
  • IDK (Guess) – not random, process of elimination, go with your gut, pick a letter and commit
  • Cover Your Butt (Check your answers) – dump carelessness
  • Tick Tock (Be aware of time limits) – 1 min per item, carry a watch with you, pace yourself
  • Fool Me Once (Identifying strength and weaknesses) – careless, hurrying, focusing on wrong things, taking notes, getting enough sleep, eating right, following own learning style, adjusting to previous assessment, learn from others’ mistakes , try the item again and again until you perfected it, do research on unfamiliar concepts.

“No man is ever whipped until he quits—in his own mind.” –Napoleon Hill

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Victory Dance!

(Rewarding yourself)

  • Juiced – Set up your own incentive system
  • Jazzed – Take time to celebrate
  • Amped – Be proud of your gains
  • Pumped – Don’t lose steam

“The journey is the reward. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already.” –Chinese Proverb

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You are Ready

Aim high and capture the dream!

“If your dreams do not scare you, your dreams are not big enough!” –  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Bring your A-Game.

“Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson

Be optimistic.

“Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah

Your best is good enough.

“When you’re prepared, you’re confident. When you have a strategy, you’re more comfortable.” – Fred Couples

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For more Study and Organizing Tips, click the links below:

Tip 1

Tip 2

Tip 3

Credits to: Teacher Neph

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My LET Journey

Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) is not an easy test. Don’t be fooled by people telling you not to study at all and just rely on your stock knowledge and you sure will pass the LET. They are wrong. Do not be mislead by people telling you that if it’s meant to be, you will pass and if it’s not meant to be, better luck next time. LET is not a matter of pure luck. LET is a matter of perseverance. The moment you convince yourself that LET is just as easy as your college quizzes, you will find yourself taking it again the following year.

Passing and even having a high rating in the LET is not an accident. It is done with careful planning, actions and considerations. It is not done overnight; it is done with years of preparation. If you want to succeed in LET, I have 7 words for you: Excellent preparation is the secret to success.

I reached my goal because of 3 things:

  1. Desire
  2. Action
  3. Faith

#1 Desire

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I have a burning desire to be a LET topnotcher. Since 2010, I told myself, my goal is not just to pass the LET but to TOP it or at least have a high rating. I’ll tell you how passionate I was to reach my dream. I started saving for my review in Mindgym Philippines as early as 2010. Back then, every semester I get money from my scholarship which I invest in my own business (Choconfections – chocolate candies). I save the money I got from the business and half of it I used to start another business (Wachuwant Shop – an online gift shop). Half of the money I earned from those two businesses I used in 2013 Mindgym Review and half of it I shared with my partner, Mico for buying stuff we need.

I decided to attend Mindgym Review Sessions and told Mo/am Alice my desire to TOP the LET. All the coaches in Mindgym Philippines supported my desire. The emotional support is important because it gives your fire oxygen for combustion to happen, so instead of keeping your taking the LET a secret, tell it to your family and friends so you could receive emotional or even financial support as well. I did that and it worked! Yes, I have saved money for my review, but I don’t have enough money for my stay in Quezon City. What I did is I told my mom not to have a celebration for my graduation, but to let me use the money for my stay in the metro instead.

You might probably ask me, “Why do you need to TOP? You can just pass the test and go on with your life. They are just the same!” My answer would be, “If you would be thinking anyway, think BIG!”

I dream of topping the LET.

“Aim to TOP coz’ if you don’t make it, you pass. Do not just aim to pass coz’ if you miss it, you fail.”

If you have your great passion and desire to achieve your goal, then you will have no difficulty on doing the 2nd step which is Action.

#2 Action

I told you earlier that to excel in the LET or any other exams require years of preparation. I said years because you cannot just take the exam without earning a degree or certificate in education. My desire is to make it to the top and in order to do that, I must make a lot of adjustments and sacrifices. My plan is to work for the government right after passing/topping the LET. My mom and dad told me not to apply for a job in the private schools because I need to sign a contract to stay there for a year or two. It may take away my chance of working in the government/DepEd. I really wanted to work and earn money but I need to be firm on my decision. I could not serve two masters at the same time. I could not work as a teacher and review for the LET at the same time. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I know that if I work, chances are, I pass the test but may not be able to reach my goal which is to be one of the best. Luckily, I have supportive parents and more luckily, I earn from my businesses with little effort. So I need not to work. Why would I work when I can earn the same amount of my would-be salary from my present business? Thank God, I have prepared for it in advanced.

When I was reviewing, I was a voracious learner. If I didn’t understand a concept, I would not stop until I get it. And I do not stop there, I try to dig deeper. When I answer a question and found myself wrong, I examine not only the correct answer but all the other choices as well. I believe that it is not only the right answer that I need to know, but also the reason I was mislead to answer wrongly in the first place. I went to different quiz sites and answered all the items I could find. I made sure that I have perfected every MindGym drill before moving to the next topic. I had one goal, to reduce my weak areas while keeping my strengths more rooted. Our coaches suggest us to allot at least one or two hours of our time to reviewing. I did that and more. I allotted 3 hours reading/reviewing and 2 hours to taking quizzes/drills. I spent the remaining hours doing house chores, praying, sleeping, eating, writing stories, blog, managing our online businesses, etc. Don’t be scared, if you cannot allot 5 hours, 1 hour a day may be enough. We all have different capacities and it’s just that my case is different from yours (it takes time in order for me to absorb knowledge fully). Do you think I’m missing out the fun? Not really. I watch movies, check Facebook, laugh, play, attend seminars, and go on dates during the weekends to reward myself after accomplishing my desire/task. I believe that all work and no play is suicide.

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Sometimes, I feel I can’t understand what I am reading even if I tried for hours. So, I step back and meditate. I do exercise or I take a nap or eat a healthy meal or most especially, I pray for God’s guidance. I enjoy what I do. One trick, “if it ain’t fun, don’t do it!” Does this mean you’ll not study for the exam because you hate reading or studying? No, you find ways to make it fun. Have a study group, invite friends who support you, once in a while play games, and ask your parent or sibling to quiz you on items. You do not need to be alone in order to win. You need to follow your bliss or if you cannot, tame it and let it follow you.

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You might be asking, “Do I really have to study as much as you?” The main reason why I study a lot is my major. Being an English major is difficult; not that I am belittling other specialization but simply because English is my waterloo. When I was in high school, I excel in Math and Sciences but I chose to major in English. I wanted to challenge myself and try to live a different world that requires more reading, speaking, listening, viewing, and writing. When I was starting my review in MindGym, I was challenged once again because most topnotchers are Science, Math, and Values majors. Coaches even told us that PRC makes the Exam for English Majorship difficult because we already have a language advantage (the test is written in English) to be fair for other majors taking the test. This is the reason why I need to take an extra mile in reviewing for our majorship exam; especially the literature part. How can I read all the great works in just 5 months and memorize those authors, themes, ideas, time, and awards? I was frustrated. If the coaches themselves think that the Exam for English majors is difficult, what more for us who would be taking the exam? Some of my co-LET takers are frightened and they even say it is impossible for us to top the LET. But there is one person that made me passionate to excel: coach Joanne (Top 10 English Major). I told myself, if she can do it, so can I. I conditioned my mind that it is not impossible for an English Major to TOP the LET. Yes, it is difficult, but NOT impossible. I believe that if I can see it with my mind’s eye, I can achieve it. Period.

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#3 Faith

Since 2010, I have started using the Law of Attraction. I began building my vision board. I look at it every day; I visualize myself as a licensed teacher. The Law of Attraction is also the main reason why I get a GWA of not less than 1.45 every semester. I have an attitude—an attitude of gratitude. I never miss a day thanking God for his guidance and grace. Before I go to bed, I count blessings. Through the years I develop an “Inverse Paranoia.” I always feel excited on the blessings I will be receiving every day.

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Days before the LET, I always visualized myself answering the questions with ease. I convinced myself that I have prepared well for the test and it will just be easy. (I told you earlier that LET is not an easy test but why I am telling that it is easy now? That’s because I believe I have done my part reviewing rigorously for months, and that the exam has no other way to go but to be easier. This is a way of enhancing confidence, and you need confidence in answering exams. Otherwise, you might end up panicking with every difficult question you encounter.)

On the day of the exam, my prayers have been answered. I answered the exam with ease. I believe that God is the one taking the exam for me and I was just the instrument. I dedicated my answers for His glory. To my surprise, I did not have difficulty answering our Majorship questions. If you could be able to get my test booklet, you will see that aside from letters and circles on each page and almost every item I have written, “Thank you God!” After checking my answers thrice, I delivered everything to God and I said I have done my best.

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Days past and I could feel that waiting for the result is much more difficult than reviewing or taking the exam. Almost all of us are checking PRC’s website everyday for the result. One point in time, I became frustrated. One week before the result of the LET was out, I tried to Remote View the results. I got the list of topnotchers (vague yet clear enough to feel that my name was not there). I have been practicing this art/science of Remote Viewing to see events from past, present or future using your subconscious. When I found out my name was not on the Top, I used this knowledge to condition myself that there is still more to life than topping the LET. It’s good that I knew this prior to seeing the result myself so I would not be disappointed when I see the actual results. I rechanneled my energy to hoping and praying that my classmates whom I coached get a 100% passing rate.

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I expected it, yet it blew my mind. I was right on the topnotchers. Although my name wasn’t there, I was still happy we got 100% passing rate. The first text messages that I got were not that of “Congratulations” but more of “Thank you so much, Ate Neph! Pasado ako dahil sayo!” This is the best Christmas gift ever! I was so happy and I was lost for words. I just whispered my prayer of thanks to God Almighty for giving me the huge present of being able to inspire people to dream big and having a high rating in LET.

I thank my family, friends, Mindgym coaches, and teachers for supporting me, for believing in me, for pushing me towards the top, for empowering me with kind words, for being there for me through ups and downs, for being my guide, for caring for me, and for nourishing me with unending love. I promise to do my best, to do God’s will, to help His people and to inspire millions on being part of educating the nation.

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Credits to: Teacher Neph

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Madaling Maging Guro, Mahirap Maging Tao

Paano ba maging isang guro? Kailangan mo lang bang maging magiliw sa mga bata? Maging maunawain? Dumalo sa seminars at magkaroon ng maraming sertipiko o katibayan? Gumawa ng lesson plans? O kailangan mo lang pumasa sa LET at maging lisensyado? Paano nga ba maging guro? Pero higit sa lahat, paano ba? Paano maging tao?

Ayaw ko nang manatili sa isang kahon…

Mula pagkabata ay sa puder na ng aking lola ako lumaki. Kung ano ang pananaw ko sa kung ano ang tao ay nakabatay sa kung ano ang naituro sa akin ng mga matatanda sa amin. Lumaki ako na ang sinusundang daan ay kung ano ang kumbensyunal at naaayon sa kung ano ang nais ng nakatatanda na malaman ko. Sobrang limitado ang lahat ng natututunan ko. Napakarami kong tanong ngunit mas marami ang bawal. Bawal magsalita o magtanong habang gumagawa sila ng leche flan, gulaman, tikoy, kalamay at kung anu ano pang kakanin. Bawal galawin ang mga naka-display na laruan. Bawal sumabat sa usapan ng matatanda. Bawal lumabas kapag tanghali para maglaro. Bawal makialam. Bawal maki-alam.

Lahat ata ng pagbabawal sa mundo ay narinig ko na sa kanila. Madalas akong umiyak sa tuwing napagsasabihan ako. Hindi naman kasi nila nililinaw kung bakit bawal. Ang madalas nilang sagot sa akin ay ‘basta’. Basta, ano? Pwede naman nilang sabihin sa aking bawal magsalita kapag nagluluto dahil baka matalsikan ng laway ang pagkain; maiintindihan ko naman yon. Palagi akong pinagbabawalang magsalita, tapos magtataka sila ngayon kung bakit ako tahimik at mahiyain. Gusto ko silang sumbatan, ngunit bawal.

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Apat na taong gulang ako ng ipasok nila ako sa paaralan. Dito ko inilabas ang mga hindi ko magawa sa bahay. Naging aktibo akong bata; naging buwaya ng recitation; naging bibo sa math; naging mananayaw; mananalumpati; naging manunulat; nagkaroon ng mga kaibigan; at naging masaya. Dito ko natutunan ang hindi ko natutunan sa kanila. Dati rati ay Pasyon lang ang kaya kong basahin ngayon ay may alam na ako tungkol kay Shakespeare. Kung ano ang hindi naituro sa akin ay sa mga libro ko itinatanong. Mula sa pagiging manika na sunud-sunuran sa kung saan nila ako akayin, unti-unti ay nagkakaroon ako ng buhay, nagkakaroon ng saysay.

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Dahil dito, lubos ang aking pasasalamat sa lahat ng aking mga naging guro na gumabay at nagpalaki sa akin mula sa aking ina na aking unang guro, hanggang sa lahat ng aking mga guro sa kolehiyo. Dahil din dito, kaya ninais kong tahakin ang landas ng isang guro.

Paano ba maging tao?

Sa paglipas ng panahon, napag-aralan kong masasabi kong tao ako dahil kabilang ako sa mga Homo sapiens sapiens, meron akong cranial capacity na 2,000cc, nakakapaglakad ako gamit ang dalawang paa lamang nang pangmatagalan, ang mga mata ko ay matatagpuan sa harap ng aking mukha, mayroon akong isang pares lamang ng suso, nagagamit ko ang aking mga kamay sa paggawa ng maraming bagay, at mayroon akong kultura. Naiiba raw ang tao dahil sa pagiging malikhain ng mga ito. Bagamat may iba’t ibang abilidad ang ibang hayop—nakakalipad sila, nakakatakbo ng mabilis, atbp.—hindi pa rin nila mapapantayan ang kakayahan nating maging malikhain. Bahagi ng ating kultura ang mga wika. Tayo lamang mga tao ang may sisyematikong uri ng komunikasyon. Ang mga tao ay nakakaintindi ng mga bagay o ideyang abstrak tulad ng pag-ibig, kalayaan, katarungan, katotohanan at panimdim.

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Akala ko sapat na ang lahat ng ito para masabing tao ka. Hindi pala. Kahit na mayroon ka ng lahat ng ito, kung wala ka namang political rights at economic rights hindi ka pa rin maituturing na tao. “Man is a political and social animal,” sabi nila. Ang mga tao ay namumuhay ‘in a group for interaction and enjoyment and not merely for doing the task assigned to them by nature.’ Kung baga sa bagay, bihisan mo man ang manikin ng magagarang damit para magmukhang tao, hindi pa rin ito mag-iisip, makikipamuhay, o gagalaw tulad ng isang tunay na tao.

Nang una kong narinig ito, napaisip ako: anong ibig sabihin noon? Nasanay siguro ako sa pag-aakalang tao nga ako kung kaya’t hindi ko na alam kung paano hindi muna isiping tao ako. Masyado akong nagdunung-dunungan akala ko alam ko na ang lahat ng dapat kong malaman, hindi pala. Ngayon ay nananatili pa rin ako sa isang kahon. Tinuruan nila akong mag-isip nang rasyonal, gawin ang kung ano na ang nagawa noon at huwag tumaliwas sa konbensyon. Dahil dito, imbes na matuto, naging tanga ako. Tanga sa mga bagay na harap harapan ko nang nakikita, hindi ko pa rin maintindihan—dahil hindi ako nag-iisip, o dahil hindi ako naturuang isipin iyon. Ang mga mahihirap at naghihikahos nating mga kababayan ang tinutukoy ko maging ang mga kabataang gustong makapag-aral ngunit hindi makatungtong sa paaralan. Tao rin kaya sila? Tao sila sa pisikal na anyo ngunit may kulang. May napakalaking kakulangan—nawawalan sila ng karapatang mabuhay.

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Madalas akong ipagmalaki ng mga magulang ko dahil nakapasok ako at nag-aral sa U.P. at nito lamang, sa Southern Luzon State University Lucban. Ngunit marami palang bagay na hindi ko alam. Kung alin pa ang napakaliliit na bagay at kung alin pa ang lagi ko nang nakikita sa lansangan iyon pa ang hindi ko alam, HINDI KO INAALAM. Nakakahiya ako. Naatim kong magbingibingihan, magbulagbulagan, manahimik at manatiling nag-oobserba na lamang sa kung ano ang tunay na nangyayari sa ating kapaligiran at lipunan, manhid. Dahil bulag, pipi, bingi at manhid ako, tao pa rin ba ako? Hindi na siguro. Hindi na ako tao dahil nawalan na ako ng panahong unawain ang hinaing ng mga kababayan natin at ng mga kabataan. Habang namomroblema ang mga mahihirap kung makakakain ba sila ngayong gabi, makakabili ba sila ng pandesal bukas, may babaunin ba sila sa eskwela, ako naman ay nag-aksaya ng mahabang panahon sa pagpapakasaya at pag-iisip kung: Ano ba ang latest model ngayon ng cellphone? Laptop? Ano ang in sa fashion? Kelan ako ulit makakakain sa Sbarro? Kelan ako muling makakapagkape sa Starbucks? Anong latest promo ng Globe at Smart? Unli ka ba? Mag-aunli ba ako? Hindi na ako tao gaya ng akala ko.

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Maraming kababayan natin ang nagdurusa sa pang-aapi sa kanila at di pagbibigay ng nararapat na benipisyo pero imbes na tulungan sila ay dinadaandaanan lang natin sila at taas noo pa tayong nagsasabing ‘wala tayong pakiaalam’. May mga taong isang beses lang kumain sa buong araw. Ang iba naman ay hindi pa nakakakain buong linggo. Kakarampot lamang ang kanilang sweldo sa maghapong pagkakabugbog ng kanilang katawan sa mabibigat na trabaho samantalang ang ilan sa mga pulitiko na kanilang ibinoto ay nagpapakasasa sa meryendang egg pie at airconditioned na silid.

Kahit mga bata ngayon na ni hindi pa nga alam bigkasin ang kanilang buong pangalan ay nagtatrabaho na sa kalye para lamang makatulong sa pang-aaraw-araw na gastusin ng kanilang pamilya imbes na mag-aral. Andiyan din ang mga magsasaka na inaalisan nila ng prebilehiyo at lalo pang ginigipit imbes na tulungan. Nagtatanim sila ng tubo pero ni hindi sila makabili ng asukal; nagtatanim sila ng mga pinya pero ni hindi pa sila nakakatikim ng pineapple juice; nagtatanim sila ng palay ngunit wala silang maisaing sa pananghalian at  sabaw lang ang pinagtatyagaan nilang kainin. Napaka-ironic pero ito ang totoo. Kapag umangal naman sila sa gobyerno at nagpunta sa rally, imbes na pagtulong at pang-unawa ay mabubugbog pa sila at tatawaging destabilizer.

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Nariyan din ang mga dalagang ina na hindi tanggapin sa paaralan o pilit na pinaaalis sa paaralan o sa kolehiyo dahil nagbubuntis sila nang walang tatayong ama o hindi kasal. Gusto nilang makatapos para sa magigi nilang anak pero hindi sila pinapayagan. Paano ang mga rape victim na tulad ko na hindi makakahanap ng magpapakasal sa akin kung sakali mang nabuntis ako noon? Ang iba marahil dahil ayaw silang tanggapin sa eskwela ay maiisip na ipalaglag na lang ang bata kahit ayaw nila para lamang maipagpatuloy ang pangarap sa mundong mapang-api.

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Naaalisan sila ng political at economic rights kung kaya’t HINDI NA SILA GANAP NA TAO. Sila ang mga nilalang na kung tawagin ay dehumanized. Marami sila sa langsangan, makikita mo sila kahit saan ka lumingon (maliban na lang kung nasa Podium ka o sa building sa Makati o sa loob ng Malacanang). Nagkalat sila pero ngayon ko lang sila napansin. Ngayon ko lang sila pinagtuunan ng atensyon. Ngayon ko lang naisip na kapareho rin ng kalagayan nila ang kalagayan ko noon. Bilang bata ay hindi ko naranasan ang maging bata. Pinagkaitan akong malaro ang aking mga laruan. Ni hindi ko mahawakan ang aking mga manika dahil baka raw masira. Hanggang tingin na lamang ako. Lagi akong pinagkakaitan. Masakit sa pakiramdam ang pagkaitan ng bagay na nakikita mong andyan. Nasa harap mo na pero hindi mo mahawakan. Pakiramdam ko’y sasabog ako. Ito marahil ang dahilan kung bakit naging manhid na ako. Ngunit dahil dito, ngayon ko sila naunawaan. Ngayon ko lang sila minahal.

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Nang magkaroon ako ng pagkakataong makiisa sa kanila, makisangkot sa kanilang pinaglalaban, sumigaw kasabay ng kanilang pagsigaw, unti-unti kong naramdaman kung paano maging katulad nila nang walang halong pagpapanggap o para magpakitang-tao lamang. Masakit isiping ang mga mumunting tinig ay hindi natin napapansin at madalas nating baliwalain dahil alam nating hindi naman nila tayo mabubuwag. Ngunit ang mga mumunting tinig kapag nagkasama-sama ay lilikha ng dumaragundong na ingay at makabibingi sa ating mga nagbibingi-bingihan. Nang maranasan kong makipamuhay sa kanila, magsuot ng kung anong suot nila, doon ako nakaramdam ng lubusang ligaya. Wala na akong pakialam kung ano mang sabihin ng mga tao o ng mga guro ko tungkol sa akin o sa ginagawa ko. Masaya akong tumulong dahil alam kong ang tinutulungan ko ay balang araw makapagpapabago ng mundo, masaya akong magutom dahil alam ko na ngayong magutom man ako, may mas mahalaga namang tao ang mabubuhay, masaya akong makibaka dahil ang kapakanan ng mga maliliit at api ang aking isinusulong, masaya na akong makiisa sa mga ipinaglalaban nila, masaya na akong maging masaya sa piling ng mga mumunting bagay na datirati ay hindi ko pinapansin. Unti-unti ko nang nararamdaman ang kaligayahang hindi ko pa nararamdaman noong ako’y isang babaeng nagpapanggap na elitista, propesyonal, tinatawag ang sarili ko bilang guro at nakikipagsiksikan sa puder ng mga high-class pa lamang. Sa paghalik pala sa lupa ko madarama ang tunay na kaligayahan. Mas masaya palang magpakababa at hindi isipin ang sarili dahil sa pagiging mababa ng aking lipad, doon ako nakadarama ng katiwasayan ng loob dahil alam kong sa likod ko, panay ang talang nila sa akin bagamat may pisi, imbes na hilahin nila ako pababa ay itinatalang nila ako pataas. Unti-unti akong itinataas ngunit may pisi pa ring nagdurugtong sa amin.

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Makasarili ako noon at laging nakatingin at nakaabang sa sasabihin ng iba. Ganoon kasi ako pinalaki, kaya siguro takot akong gawin ang mga gusto kong gawin dahil sa iniisip ko pa kung ano ang sasabihin ng iba. Pero balewala na iyon sa akin ngayon. Hindi na ako natatakot kung ano mang sabihin nila. Hindi na sarili ko lang ang iniisip ko ngayon, iniisip ko na ang kapakanan ng mga api. Sila ang nagbibigay sa akin ngayon ng lakas para sumulong, ng lakas para ipagpatuloy ang laban, ng lakas para mabuhay, ng lakas para magtagumpay. Nakakawala ng takot dahil alam ko na ngayon, na ang kapakanan ng nakararami at api ang aking pinaglalaban. Gaya nga ng sinabi ni Mao,

“Only by being selfless can one be fearless.”

Gusto kong kumawala sa kahong pinaglalagyan ko. Gusto kong maging tao.

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Marami sa atin ang ginustong maging guro dahil idol natin ang dati nating mga guro. Gayun din naman, marami dyan ay napilitan lang. Pero napilitan ka man sa una, alam ko, ngayong andito ka na, minahal mo na ang pagiging guro. Noong nasa kolehiyo ako at nag-aaral pa lamang, hirapang hirapan kami sa dami ng papers at projects na pinagagawa. Nagtanong ang isa kong kasama, “Ma’am para saan po ba ang mga ito?” Ang sagot ng aming propesor, “Basta gawin nyo na lamang iyan!” Ayun, narinig ko na naman ang salitang, basta, at hindi pa yun natapos don, sinabi pa niya, “Kapag kayo’y naging guro na, saka na lamang kayo gumanti.” (tinutukoy niya rito ay yung bigyan din namin ng mahirap na gawain ang aming mga mag-aaral). Ganito ba ang pagiging guro? Andito ba tayo para gumanti? Gumanti sa mga walang kamalaymalay kung bakit natin sila ginagantihan? Power Tripping. Dahil guro na tayo, ang lakas ng loob nating mag-utos, mambulyaw, mambintang, manduro, magsabing, “aba! Walang utang na loob itong batang ito,ah!” Ang pagiging guro ay hindi pagganti, ang pagiging guro ay pagmamahal at pang-unawa.

Kung ang layunin mo ay ang makaganti, guro ka nga. Oo, guro ka… pero, hindi ka na… Tao.

Bilang mga guro at bagong guro, bilang mga propesyonal na maglilinang sa pag-asa ng ating bayan nang buong puso at pagmamahal:

Bago ang lahat, tanungin natin ang ating sarili, gusto ko rin bang maging tao?

Mabuhay ang mga guro! Mabuhay ang mga tulad nating gustong maging tao!

Congratulations fellow Professional Teachers!

Credits to: Teacher Neph

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Mindgym Philippines: Our Life Coach

Way back 2011 when the result of the September licensure exam was out, I saw the name of Teacher Jean Millare in the news. I immediately searched for her in Facebook to befriend her. I had this goal in mind that someday, I will be like her—a topnotcher.

I was surprised when she accepted my friend request immediately after I sent her a message. I read everything about her in the internet and in the newspapers. I read that she is a Mindgym alumna so I searched for the said review center right away. I envisioned myself being able to review at Mindgym just like Teacher Jean. I even imagined myself on the tarpaulin of the Mindgym topnotchers.

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I told my Mom not to celebrate for my graduation on 2013 but to save money for my review in Quezon City instead. She was hesitant at first because I’ll be coming back to the Metro again where I was raped back in 2009 that caused me to transfer to a school in Quezon province. It took time for me to convince her that I am okay now and I have recovered from the past. I told her, “Ma, kapag pinayagan mo akong sa Mindgym mag-review, I promise you, pagbalik ko, ipagmamalaki mo ako dahil topnotcher na ako!” She just smiled as always. She agreed to support me, so every year I help her save money for my review in Mindgym Philippines.

Teacher’s Journey

I got too excited to review at MIndgym that I purchased their Warm Ups Book 1 as early as February. I love the personal letter from coach Alice and plenty of drills, mindmaps, reading and memory enhancement techniques  included in the package. I immediately read and answered the drills in the book. I was so glad that the book comes with rationalization on each answer. The book comes with inspiring messages and tips from past topnotchers that even boosted my enthusiasm to succeed.

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The day of my graduation came. I got a GWA of 1.4 and lowest grade of 2.0 yet I was not given any award because I am a transferee student. My parents and relatives were so sad especially my Mom who was expecting to go up the stage as she was accustomed to every graduation since I was in Day Care. To renew my mom’s lost hopes, I told her again, “Ma, medal lang yun. Graduation lang yun. Hindi pa dun nagtatapos ang lahat. May LET pa. Papatunayan natin sa kanila, na pagkatapos ng LET, sila naman ang maghahabol sa atin. Tayo naman ang tatawagan nila hindi lang para parangalan sa stage kundi para maging speaker sa mga seminars. Wag ka na po malungkot.” “Sana nga anak. Alam kong kaya mo yan,” are the last words I heard from Mom that day.

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I decided to contact Mindgym Philippines right after graduation and Mo/am Alice responded with so much enthusiasm. I kept on asking for reservations for the first batch because I want to have more time to review.

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I was really determined to top the LET. I told my goal to coach Alice and coach Albert and they were more than happy to help me achieve my dream.

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When I finally arrived at Mindgym for the orientation, I was extremely happy to meet Mo/am Alice and coach Albert in person. They were both full of energy the whole day. (9am-8pm)

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I’ll never forget our activities that day:

  1. Orientation and overview of the LET (what to expect, statistics, etc,)
  2. Memory enhancement and drills
  3. Fiesta-themed “Basagang Palayok”
  4. Getting-to-know each other activity thru performances using Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner
  5. Writing one’s Target (score on LET, Top the LET, etc,)—a symbolic activity that serves as a reminder of our LET dream just within our reach
  6. Telekinesis Practice (Testing the Power of our minds using bolt and thread)
  7. Torch Lighting and passing of the torch as a symbol of knowledge we will gain in our entire stay at Mindgym Philippiines.

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I get excited every session because aside from the lessons and theories of learning, I learn new ice-breakers, new dance steps, new classroom games and new techniques in teaching by getting involved in the different activities in between each lecture and set of drills. There was never a dull moment in Mindgym. Whenever LETters feel sleepy, the coaches come prepared and armed with physical activities (exercises, song, dance, games, even performances from talented co-LETters) to awaken our spirit. The LETters love the simple act of kindness from our coaches and Ms. Precious by giving us candies, coffee, food, hot/cold water and freebies.

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Mindgym also has a Boodle fight every Mock Drills Day. We experienced a kind of “Blood-compact” or shall I say “Food-compact” through sharing food and eating together with our bare hands. This activity showed Mindgym’s passion for equality, friendship, unity, love, and humility.

I will never forget the Awarding ceremony we had at the end of our batch coaching sessions where I received a “Top of the World” Award for topping the ProfEd and GenEd Mock Drills.

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Mindgym not only gave us the knowledge and techniques in order to answer the items in the LET correctly but also gave us practical tips on how to fight anxieties, stress, and problems we might encounter on LET day. We had a Mock LET where we practiced filling out forms, shading items and answering the test as if we were already taking the actual LET.

I have found out just recently that most of my classmates and schoolmates back in the university where I graduated didn’t even know that the answer sheet looked that way or when to write using a black pen and when to use a pencil. They were surprised during the actual LET that they need to ask the proctor what to do several times to the point of annoyance. They were lost. This affected their confidence all throughout the exam. With this in mind, I would say that, “An excellent preparation is the key to success!” I thank Mindgym Philippines for boosting our confidence by keeping us properly armed with knowledge and tips we needed to survive the Licensure Examination for Teachers.

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During our Power Coaching, we were flooded with affirmations and positive attitude that we are already winners! The refreshers work as an excellent checklist to verify our knowledge and preparation for the LET! The speakers who were past Topnotchers and high-raters were generous on giving pieces of advice for us not to fret on the day of the LET. They reminded us to aim high! Their expectations are Pygmalion Effect at work. We even got a chance to hug and have photos taken with the topnotchers! This fuelled our passion to be like them and achieve our dreams.

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When you think after the Power Coaching (final coaching for some review centers) Mindgym’s support ends there, YOU WERE WRONG! We constantly get updates, drills, and unending tips and inspirational messages from their website, Facebook page, and FB Groups even after the last coaching session.

Mindgym’s LET Send-Off

When we had our actual LET, I know and feel that we are in the prayers of the entire Mindgym family.

Mindgym’s Prayer

So, you’re asking, “Nakapag-LET na, siguro naman tapos na ang support ng Mindgym.” WRONG AGAIN! The love and support never end there. There are still tips and inspirational messages coming from the Coaches especially Mo/am Alice on how to fight post-LET anxieties. We even had a victory party right after the Exam to uplift the spirit of the LETters and believe we have done our best so God will do the rest.

Advanced Victory Party

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We will forever remain a part of the Mindgym Family. THAT’S WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE!

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Credits to: Teacher Neph

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How the Blackboard and Eraser Found Me

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After mountainous pile of paperwork, rushed thesis that tore our pocket into pieces, unfavorable fees that result to a bulk of receipts and head-breaking exams, we are now starting to leave the box that sheltered us.

True enough, that first impression is not lasting. At first, I had my doubts on how I would handle my students because in my first encounter with them I faced different problems that make me think for many times if I really entered the right room. As the days passed by and with the help of my prior knowledge in principles of teaching, I have observed that I have somehow surpassed the task that at first I thought was so hard to do.

I handled a group of students from different walks of life. However, bringing them into one is the only goal of my teaching.

III-VP: “My First Base”
My first teaching is somewhat the basis of my whole day teaching. This section taught me one important value which I think the best one of the hundred attributes of a teacher – the essence of punctuality. In my first one month of teaching in this section, I came late. However, I tried my best to explain to them the whole reason of coming to class late. But through the help of my cooperating teacher, she advised me to think of some ways on how to come to my class early or on time. Consequently, I won the challenge. For the next months, I came to class early and used my time wisely.

IV-AAR: “My Second Base”
Having six sections to be taught is such a hard task but putting your passion into it will lessen the burden you are carrying. This section is the only fourth year that I am handling because the rest are composed of third year students. The only problem that I encountered in this section is on how to implement discipline to them. Some of the students in this section have undesirable traits that challenged me to change them into better students which are also making me to become a better teacher. At first, I was too strict to them but along the way I learned to control my temper towards them that made me be an open-minded in every situation around me. Since then, they already listened to me.

III-LP: “My Third Base”
Of all the sections I handled, this section is the only section wherein I can see the good result of my teaching. Even though they were in the lower section, they showed me that most of them have the potential to be on the top. The lesson I learned from this section is that I should not underestimate students. In my daily discussions, I saw how their willingness to listen and to learn something from me. They laughed at my jokes and obey the rules I set inside the room. As a result, some of them told me that their grades got higher since I started my teaching to them.

III-AA: “My Fourth Base”
Time management and appropriate learning approach are the factors that I have developed during my stay in this section. The time scheduled on this section can be considered as “oras de peligro” wherein boredom strikes them. It is so annoying to teach a group of students who keeps on chatting and most of the time yawning because of the temperature condition and the time. I can say that some of my teaching here is not that good but as time passed by I learned how to make my lessons active and lively. I used some strategies taught to me by my past teachers from the laboratory ( Ms. Vanessa Zubieta and Mrs. Rizaide Salayo). They taught some funny and yet informative learning approaches on teaching.

III-EM: “My Fifth Base”
Aside from my cooperating teacher who is the one who told me my progress inside the classroom, this section also served as my critics. At first, they are somewhat afraid of me because they taught that I am too strict. But along the away, they witnessed that I also have a sense of humour. I was so overwhelmed when I heard from my students that they can see the improvement on my teaching.
“Sir, ang galing nyo nang magturo. Nagpapatawa na rin kayo…”
Their praises forced me to teach well and to learn more during my stay on their school.

III-MH: “My Last Base”
This section is composed of bright students that trained me to become a man of wisdom. Every night, I browsed the internet for some facts that I can use in my teaching. Some of them were used to ask questions related to my topic and some are under the sun. That’s why to avoid any unnecessary mocking; I answered their questions that I think I can answer easily. In some cases wherein I don’t know the answer, I always tell them that some questions are in need of some important facts to be answer that’s why I requested some moment to answer their questions.

Indeed, teaching is a bittersweet experience on Earth. We will encounter different people with different personality that may test our patience and role as a facilitator, an instructor and as a teacher. To teach in different year levels and sections really elevate your thoughts and knowledge about teaching. Each teaching connotes different lessons. As our students learned something from us, we also gained the mastery of the subject throughout the teaching days.

Creativity and resourcefulness are also measured in this job. Financial support is not enough without those two attributes. We may spend money for teaching but we should be sure that we also spend time in executing it properly. Those IM’s that we will use should motivate those two kinds of learners.

To teach is to touch lives as many people would say. However, to see them also touching other lives satisfied everything that a teacher is craving for. A blackboard may show us the real picture of life but a teacher interprets it in a way that we will understand easily in a broader sense. A piece of chalk may write hundreds of words but a teacher speaks those words into wisdom. Through these, a real teacher is found.

Credits to: Teacher Gelo
Editor: Teacher Neph
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Triangular Room (A Teacher’s Journey)

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I woke up feeling dizzy and cannot remember anything that happened that day. The room was dark. I was alone. I can feel my body aching I touched my legs and felt the burnt skin. I can smell cigarette smoke and saw live cigarette butts all over the floor.”Where am I?”, I asked myself. I realized I was naked. “Why?” “What happened?” Tears ran to my cheeks uncontrollably. I was raped. I do not know where to go. I do not know where I am. I feel hopeless. I feel ashamed. Moments passed and I remembered I helped a guy find his way to the Math building. After that incident, I could not remember anything. I searched for my clothes and found them. They were filthy but I didn’t mind. All I want to do is go out of the dark room and find my way back. I wanted to get help. I was still not on my normal state of mind. I saw a jeep and just rode it. While riding the jeep, I saw the Araneta Coliseum. I got off the jeep and started walking. Yes, I didn’t pay the driver. I do not know what I was doing. Without realizing, I was walking inside Ali Mall. I saw a payphone and dialed my boyfriend’s number. He was wondering why I was there at 8 p.m. Cubao is far from Diliman. I told him to fetch me. He arrived thirty minutes later. I couldn’t tell him at once. I just burst into endless tears. I wasn’t sure whether he will still accept me. I was so disappointed with myself. Everything was gone. I was losing hope. I showed him my legs and arms. I was a human ashtray. I felt hurt physically and mentally. I had a trauma. I was afraid of cigarette from then on. My boyfriend was very supportive. He loved me so much and understands my condition. He said he loves me so much to let me go. He swore not to let go. He was so angry to the one who did this to me. He told me to go to the police but I was so afraid of their guns. I do not know why I was afraid. I just want to go home. We rode a bus to Lucena first thing in the morning and went to our house. We talked to Mom and told her what happened. She cried. I cried with her. I was not myself anymore. I lost some part of me. My wounds hurt but the memory hurts even more. My mom told my dad who is working in Saudi what happened to me. He got mad and punched the wall. He talked to me thru Skype and we both cried. I told him I don’t want to go back to Quezon City anymore. I want to transfer. Without second thought, he agreed. When I got my ground, we went to Diliman again. This time I already decided to drop all my subjects and transfer to another school in the province—far away from the cruel Metro Manila. My adviser could not let me go. She told me I was a bright student and I should continue my life—forget what had happened. The police department was there as well. The University offered me assistance thru therapy done by the Psychology department to heal my mind from the bad experience I had. My mom and I went to Campo Crame to file a case and describe what had happened. I underwent physical exam under their resident Ob-gyn. We went back to the University to ask honorable dismissal and they allowed me to go. My adviser and the Dean of College of Home Economics made me promise to go back to UP for my master’s degree. And I did. I said I’ll go back when I’m strong enough. I will. I promised them and myself as well. Then, I closed the door of the triangular room.

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I stood up, walk, and saw another door. I opened it and stepped inside. To my surprise, it was another triangular room. The door led me to time when I was born. March 28, 1989, my mom and dad were so glad to have me. I was born inside our house. My grandmother is a midwife so my mom need not go to the hospital for the delivery. I was thin and small. The blood around my body was as bright red as the love between my mom and dad. I was their first born and they were very proud. My dad named me Nepheline, a chemical compound (Sodium Aluminum Silicate) from their lesson in his favorite subject Engineering Chemistry. My other name Khaye came from my mom’s favorite expression, K from OK. They just gave a twist to the usual spelling of Kaye by adding an H. My third name Karenn was just included to produce rhyme with Nepheline. Both ends with the sound / n /. But my parents were never contented with just a Karen so they decided to add an additional –N as the last letter. I grew up under my grandma’s supervision. She was very strict so I grew up shy and afraid of committing mistakes. I lost my confidence to mingle with other people. Before I do any move, I ask my lola first. I felt I do not have the freedom to think for my own. I was inside the box every second of my life. When I reached the age of four, I lived with my mom. My dad works in Pagbilao and he only goes to our house during weekends. I love it when my dad knocks on our door every Friday night because it is the time when I would be getting my Donut Kin (I call Dunkin Donut, Donut Kin when I was small). When I was five, my parents sent me to school. What I cannot do in our house, I did there. I felt so carefree when at school: I became active in recitation, participated in oration, joined different contests, became a dancer, applied as a writer and became a consistent honor student from Day Care up to High School. Then, I went out and I closed the second door.

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I reached the third door to find out I was holding a letter addressed to me. I couldn’t believe I passed the UPCAT with student number 2006-62187. I told my mom and dad my achievement and they were very proud. My parents are more excited than I am that they prepared my things and planned where I would stay in Quezon City. I told them that there is a Kalayaan dormitory application attached to the letter. Kalayaan dorm is where the freshmen stay for their first year in the university. My mom and dad were convinced to let me stay in the dormitory. They believe that I will gain a lot of friends there and the dormitory will help me set the foundation for my stay in the university. I was accompanied by my mom and dad to UP, my dad even stayed in the dormitory during the enrollment as transient. I saw a professor told my dad to let me go and stay in the line for enrolment by myself. My dad realized that I am not a kid anymore. I saw it in his eyes. He couldn’t deny his pride as he stepped on the Palma Hall watching me pay for my tuition. I cried. I was so happy knowing that my parents are so proud of me. I promised myself that I will succeed in the university in return for their effort on raising me well. Then, I closed the third door.

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The fourth door directed me to my University classes where I met people that I thought I can only meet vicariously on books, television and magazines. Being in UP gave me opportunities to be with famous personalities without spending a single centavo. I have attended a seminar on journalism from Cheche Lazaro and Kara David. I watched theater drama and comedy of Tuesday Vargas, Ate Glow, Eugene Domingo, Tessie Tomas, and many more. My favorite theatrical comedy they have produced is the “Shock Value”. I attended my Economics class with Winnie Monsod as a professor. I have heard Mr. Ryan Cayabyab’s composition during the University Centennial Celebration live. I have found out that some actors, singers, and athletes such as Herbert Bautista, Richard Gomez, Manny Pacquiao, Hero Angeles, Christian Baustista, Sharon Cuneta, and Sarah Geronimo are also studying or had a crash course in UP. One of my memorable experiences is when we saw some high school students taking a picture of Jay of Kamikazee in Shopping Center and I saw Cherie Pie Picache casually asking a man to photocopy some scripts. My greatest dream came true when I had Palanca Hall of Famer Rene O. Villanueva as my professor in Humanidades 1. He passed away in 2008 but he was replaced by another Palanca Awardee  Jun Cruz Reyes. Mr. Jun, (Pedro Cruz, Jr.) taught me on how to be a human. He inspired me to write essays and stories pertaining to my desire to be free. His greatest work, “Utos ng Hari” has been my inspiration to be a teacher. I wanted to transform students’ views about teachers. This short story challenges teachers to do what they preach. The event I consider as stress reducer is the February fair where different organizations and fraternities invite national and local bands to perform from 6pm until 3am. This event serves as a reward to students after the 2nd semester midterm exams. During December, the most awaited event is the Oblation Run were the views and opinions of the masses are laid to demand the government to stand up and take actions on national issues such as corruption. Another most awaited event is the Lantern Parade which is considered as the Fine Arts day where they showcase their creativity in lantern, float, and costume making. I closed the door with a smile.

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The fifth door directed me to my 3rd Year Geometry class. I was there listening attentively to Teacher Florian Manzanilla. I heard him say, “One property of a triangle is… (He wrote on the board.) … the sum of the measurement of the two sides should always be greater than the measurement of the remaining side of the triangle.” (He drew some examples of triangles.) I raised my hand and asked, “What if the sum of the measurement of the two sides is equal to the measurement of the third side, for example the measurements of the sides of triangles are 2 x 3 x 5? What will happen?” Mr. Manzanilla answered, “Then, it will not be a triangle.” “Not a triangle? Then, what is it?” I asked.  Mr. Manzanilla paused and said with a grin in his face, “It is a line.” Then the sixth door closed.

I reached out for the sixth door. It led me to the present. My primary reason of studying in Southern Luzon State University is to forget the things that happened in the past. I wanted to start a new life here. From being a BS Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management student, I chose to enroll in Bachelor in Secondary Education Major in English to share not only the knowledge that I will gain but also to inspire my students to stand tall when they experience failure in life. I may have disregarded the opportunities that my previous school can offer once I graduated there but I have no regrets because here in SLSU, I found new friends who understand me and accept me for who I am and not who I was. I guess I don’t really need to go out and run from the triangular room because in reality, the triangular room of life is a straight line. We just need to run the race with heads up, and be thankful for the gift God has given us—our life.

It is not bad to look back on the painful memories of the past so long as these will make you stronger! I am not proud to be a rape victim but I am definitely proud to survive and live a normal life once again. It may take time to heal the wounds but they would definitely give me strength to face life’s future struggles. Yes you can! Aim to TOP!575855_10151492616103819_147652228_n

Credits to: Teacher Neph