The Finish Line

Relief.

This is what I feel every time I finish working on my course tasks this term. Finally, just a few hours ago, I was able to submit the final requirement for the last course I need to get my Professional Teaching Certificate.

It has been a tough term, what with adjusting to a modular curriculum for the subject I teach, which meant going to and from different buildings to get to my classes. If that weren’t enough, I was diagnosed with herniated spinal discs starting from my mid-back down to my sacrum. I was in pain most of the time and had limited movement. It kept me from doing things I liked like working out so it affected my performance as well as my moods.

I was unhappy, or at least, unsatisfied with how I went about the course this term. My mantra in life was to always be passionate about everything I do, even the smallest things. The last nine months or so challenged this very philosophy as I found myself entering depression because of my health.

I had seriously considered leaving school by August because of my spine. I did not want to short-change my students so I forged on. I decided to use my health problem as a challenge so that I can inspire my students; especially those are going through difficulties in their studies.

Teachers, whether we like it or not, become instant role models to students. That is why it important to be mindful of our actions and to make every situation a learning experience for students, be it inside or outside the classroom.

Effective teaching does require a good grasp of your subject matter so that you can teach it well. But aside from the cognitive aspect, teachers must also nurture the affective aspect by using real-life examples and experiences in order to teach values to their students.

I have now reached my finish line. There will be other races to run next time. For now, my greatest take away from this course is that it reminded me on how I should always be mindful of my words and actions – to practice reflection so that I can be an effective teacher and role model to the children entrusted under my tutelage.

Nearing the Finish Line

For the past three months, I had been posting about reflections regarding my current course in Distance Learning, that of Instructional Media Resources. The term will officially end tonight at midnight and there is relief in knowing that I am very near the finish line.

Truth be told, I had my worries regarding the amount of work that the subject would entail even before term officially opened last May. I once had a colleague who took a similar class on website design and I had seen how complicated his assignments had been. Having little or limited knowledge in working with the different software available now, I had dreaded the subject.

Sure enough, week after week, we had to answer forum questions, submit activities, create eJournal entries, and respond to posts not to mention read through several resources for each module. On top of these requirements, the new school year brought about changes in terms of a modular approach to the subject I teach as part of the K-12 curriculum. This not only meant adjusting to a new load, it also meant paperwork and deadlines.

Saying that I was stressed out would be an understatement. I think the most frustrating part was finding out, at the onset, that the major requirements in class were to be done by group. Being enrolled in an Open University meant that my group mates could be anywhere in the globe and that we won’t be able to set a common time to log on the internet so we could all effectively plan together. I usually map out my week depending on the tasks that I need to work on, both in school and at work. I had dreaded the idea of conducting asynchronous group discussions because it meant the possible disruption of a well-planned personal schedule.

I guess one of the things that I have to learn is to understand that not everyone is wired like me. The one good thing I can say about working in a group though is that of knowing that there are at least five of us who have pending requirements.

In terms of the things that I have learned in the course, I think the one thing that has stuck with me is the way I should design my instructional resources. In the course of my teaching practice, I have come across websites that were developed by teachers specifically for their students. I would also like to make a similar endeavor for my students. The assignment on Multimedia Resource had me seriously considering putting up a website that my students can access offline (as we are discouraged from giving them homework over the internet). Should our policy on internet use change, I hope that I can put up an interactive website for my students which include practice drills and activities that will help stimulate higher order thinking skills.

In the end, I am also hoping that the past three months have also made me a better teacher. I am already applying most of the principles that I have learned in the course when preparing my PowerPoint slides. Now, only time will tell if they are as effective as I hope them to be.