Education in the Midst of Poverty

Hopelessness and Poverty By-Robert

During the Philippine elections, the Philippine Inquirer came out with study on the presidentiables.  Among the different issues discussed, poverty was identified as a significant concern.  According to the Inquirer, “Poverty is the biggest problem in the Philippines. A recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that one in every two Filipino families rated themselves poor in 2015.”

The Filipino teacher faces poverty everyday.  It a socio-economic condition that affects half of the student and the teacher himself.  And among schools with high socio-economic status, the student may be poor in the light of love and compassion.

Can a teacher teach and influence in the face of poverty?  I believe that a teacher must master instruction, classroom management and professional development.  In addition, a teacher would benefit from the Eric Jensen’s Action Steps found in his book “Teaching with Poverty in Mind”.  These are:

  1. Embody respect
  2. Embed social skills
  3. Be inclusive

I met a student a year ago who was suffering from material and emotional poverty.  He had anger management issues.  He had to take care of his mother who was blind.  His father and mother were separated.  The father who was working in another country lost his job early this year. The extended family where the student was living did not think much of him.

I was not his teacher.  I was the Coordinator for Student Services and Formation when I met him.  After assessing his situation, a home visit was scheduled.  Unfortunately, the extended family did not want to entertain the school representatives in their home.  And so, I made it a point to reach out to this particular teenage boy.  He was lost and he was holding on to his peers to give life some semblance of order.  His peers were not model students and had their own share of problems.  Clearly, his support system was lacking.

He is usually involved in a fight.  And, he is very close to punching someone unless someone steps in.  I stepped in to show him how to fight in the battle of life.  I showed him to relax…to breath…and to pause.  I showed him that someone cares for him and his future.

Among the students in the school, he would most likely be the one with the most dialogues with me.  By the end of the year, his academic performance did not merit him to be promoted to the next grade level.

However, God’s grace finally shined on him.  His aunt who raised him from childhood got him from his mother to start in another school.  This new household provides love and compassion that he badly needs.  We spoke before we left.  Now, I could see hope in his eyes.  I believe I had a hand in instilling that hope in him.

I also the same passion and grit in Ms. Alma Fernando – Taldo, a retired teacher of the Loboc National High School.  She is the Founder, Loboc Children’s Choir.  She has led the LCC to numerous local and international singing contests and performances.  Ms. Alma looks for gems among the rough stones and she polishes these to become shining jewels. She is passionate in training talented children in music. Because of her patience and boundless hope, she has embodied respect, encouraged the children’s social and singing skills, while promoting inclusivity.

Poverty is all around us.  It may be present even among us teachers. However, poverty can become an impetus for change. By bringing out the best in us, we can use poverty as a tool to teach.  It drives us to also bring the best among out students despite and because of poverty.

The Many Faces of the Teacher.  Retrieved from

Photo credit. Hopelessness and Poverty.


Power to Change the World

Teacher Student image

A teacher has the power to change the world one student at a time. However, such power differs from one teacher to another.  To those who have taken on the vocation, a long road awaits.  For those who persevere with passion and embrace the mission, much will be given to them.

A teacher has to be first and foremost a learner.  One cannot give what one does not have.  One cannot teach what one has not learned.  For a teacher to continue on the road to teaching, learning is pursuit that does not stop.  A body of water that becomes stagnant dies whereas one that receives and gives flourishes with life.  It is the law of nature. And, the same is evident in teaching.

I thought that my education would stop over college.  However, as a professional, I learned that there are specialized courses needed to be abreast with the chosen field of occupation.  Ours is an age that is marked with changes.  And the rate of these changes have accelerated.  Relevance is temporary.  With the advances in technology, knowledge today is obsolete tomorrow.  In order for teachers to be lifelong learners, it is imperative for the individual to acknowledge his thirst for learning and that learning is a part of life regardless of age or educational attainment.

Teachers, like other professional, have many options to pursue their professional development.  This may in the form of higher education.  They can pursue masteral or doctoral studies.  Schools that employ them provide In-service training programs.  Conferences and seminars are available that may range from curriculum planning, instruction, classroom management and other relevant topics. Learning from mentors and coaches are also good avenues for learning.

Filipinos are social people.  The same is true for teachers.  Learning can further be encouraged through professional learning communities.  These are communities that can be organized within the school to promote horizontal and vertical articulation.  PLC’s built among different schools can provide bigger scopes and issues to learn from.  Learning communities can provide relevant, meaningful and timely answers to questions and concerns that teachers may be struggling with.  It is also a good support system for teachers especially those who are in their first five years of teaching.

Effective teaching can sustain its effectivity if it grows with the students and the bigger learning environment.  A teacher who loses his or her touch with the present loses outlook towards the future. Too much familiarity and comfort with ones lessons would result to a decay in the learning process.  Thus, a teacher should take care to learn.  And this includes, learning from their students, too.

I believe when teaching becomes a two-way process between a teacher and students, learning and effective teaching transforms into the kind of power that can change the world.

Image credit. Teacher and students. Retrieved last June 25, 2016 from

My TPI Result


Calculated survey results:
Transmission Total: (Tr) 34.
B = 13; I = 10; A = 11.
Apprenticeship Total: (Ap) 40.
B = 14; I = 15; A = 11.
Developmental Total: (Dv) 38.
B = 11; I = 14; A = 13
Nurturing Total: (Nu) 41.
B = 13; I = 15; A = 13.
Social Reform Total: (SR) 43.
B = 13; I = 15; A = 15.
Beliefs total: (B) 64
Intentions total: (I) 69
Action total: (A) 63
Mean: (M) 39.2
Standard Deviation: (SD) 3.06
Dominant Threshold: (HIT) 42.26
Recessive Threshold: (LOT) 36.14
Overall Total: (T) 196


Reflecting on Your TPI Results

  • Examine Your Profile Sheet

Among the Five Perspectives, Nurturing and Social Reform are the highest with total of 41 and 43 respectively. They are followed by Apprenticeship with 40.

  • Note the Height and Range of Your Overall Scores

My scores fall under 30’s and 40’s.

  • Check the Differentiation among Your Perspectives

My highest score is in Social Reform with a score of 42 while the lowest is Transmission with 34.  There are marked differences in the scores but the differences are not large. My profile is somewhat flat.

  • Identify Your Dominant, Back-Up, and Recessive Perspectives

My Dominant perspective is Social Reform. Back-up perspective is Nurturing and Apprenticeship. My Recessive perspective is Transmission.

  • Check for Internal Consistency

The three sub-scores: a Belief sub-score, an Intention sub-score, and an Action sub-score have little difference. Thus, what I do (Actions), what I want to accomplish (Intentions), and why I feel that is important or justified (Beliefs) are consistent and aligned except for Examine any Internal Discrepancies. Apprenticeship, Developmental and Transmission have slightly higher differences or three or more points.

I would like to reflect on this further between which sub-scores: Beliefs and Actions? Between Intentions and Actions? Between Actions and Intentions? I wish to identify explanations to these differences with regards to expectations, pressure from work (and school — UPOU), standards, integrity gap and so on.

21st Century Teacher


When I was a student in high school, teacher centered learning was the norm.  It was not called teacher centered learning then.  We do acknowledge that the teacher is the central authority. The fountain of learning has to be respected and heard.  It is that one voice of authority that is followed.

When I started teaching, I thought them if the intent of the teacher focuses on the student, that is already student centered teaching.  I was wrong.  Skills and techniques, not just perspectives have to shift in order to accommodate this new type of learning.  In addition, student centered learning is a must in 21st century classrooms.  What is 21st century classroom without a 21st century teacher? Nothing.  And so, I had to rethink the way I have been teaching.

I want to be a teacher who is relevant and contemporary, effective yet agile.  There are three things that I would like to start this year to become the 21st century teacher that I want to be.

  • Set-up my classroom management system. Tomorrow is the first day of school.  I am preparing my seat plan, my student-empowered directory and classroom rules.  I will start with a class that has high potential for student centered learning.  They are one of the best, if not the best among their grade level of eight sections.
  • Reapply my Quad system. Student centered learning is driven by group activities.  However, so much time is spent in grouping, arranging the chairs and giving instructions.  I will incorporate the system in the first week of class so it will be easier to replicate in the next lessons.
  • I will start my Reflective Teaching journal. I do need to have at least an hour to write my notes and feelings about my classes.  This way, I have a reference for the changes I plan to do during the academic year.

There are several more in my list.  But, I will post them in the future once they are piloted and tested.  Here’s to a new, crazy and innovative classroom.






I am relearning to teach for meaningful learning.

Two years ago, after twenty years in the corporate world, I decided to teach. It would make sense to teach in college.  I have corporate training under my belt.  But no, I didn’t teach higher education.  Maybe I missed my catechetical classes that I taught before I went to college.  Kids are darn cute and I get that funny impulse to smile and scream at the same.  The screams are often in my head though. And they are nice screams, like ice cream.  Anyway, I did not teach pre-school or in grade school.  So, that leaves me with high school.  Yes, that special time in our lives when anything and everything can happen.  When inquisitiveness is at its highest and the sense of fear somehow gets lost is the background. Yes, I decided to teach high school students Economics.

My first year was tough to say the least.  Everything was new.  The benefit and bane of a second career is the learning curve.  Most of the new teachers are half my age.  However, God took note of that early on and blessed with a frame that can blend with teens. During the Intramurals, I helped my class in the ballroom dancing competition by doing a split. Did I mention it was my first time to do a split in my entire life.  Needless to say, I passed my first year as a teacher with a number of discoveries about myself and the teaching profession

I am an Economics major.  Content knowledge is not a problem although I had to brush up on my basic principles. Pedagogical knowledge is a concept to me including educational contexts.  The learners of today are so different.  Millennials would not appreciate lectures that would run for an hour (Nevid, 2008).  I need to throw away my previous ideas of transferring knowledge and adopt new strategies in this age of limited attention spans and increased emphasis on student engagement.  It was necessary to get to know my students…fast.

Before my first year as a teacher ended, I was given an administrative position.  It also meant that I will not teach.  This year, I am back to teaching.  And, I am excited!

My courses under UPOU helped me a lot during these transitions.  I maintained my focus as a teacher.  In my last course, I learned to appreciate the K to 12 system.  The past few months were spent about the new curriculum.  During our In-service Training, I got to integrate more frameworks and valuable insights as to how I would approach teaching this year.  I will teach Economics again.  In addition, I will be integrating financial literacy in the revised curriculum. I was a registered financial consultant.  I worked for the financial services industry for eighteen years.  I can see the stars aligning.

I was motivated to take the jump and be a teacher because of my values in life.  I redirected my life towards meaning and fulfillment.  The way I teach is influenced by this purpose.  And, I can almost the feel the energy behind each learning opportunity as I draft my plans for the year.  Each performance output will help my student become a 21st century learner.

And so, I teach again.  I face a relearning curve.  And, I am ready to jump and take on another adventure in teaching and learning.


Teaching – Learning To Teach, Methods For Studying – KNOWLEDGE BASES OF. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from

Nevid, J. S. (2008). In pursuit of the “perfect lecture.” In B. Perlman, L. I. McCann, & S.H. McFadden Eds, Lessons learned: Practical advice for the teaching of psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 181–188). Washington, DC: Association for Psychological Science.

Am I a PRO?



Teacher professionalism has been subjected to discussions during the past several days in our class.  I also challenged my own idea of professionalism.  Is it based on a paper that certifies an individual’s capacity, achievement or test scores.  Or is it in the heart of a teacher who is willing to serve in order to change the world tomorrow with the children to today.

Teaching is such a risky investment.  The returns are only evident after twenty or so years.  And that is if news of a former student reaches the ears of his teacher.  As I was doing my journal, I came across the speech of Br. Armin A. Luistro, FSC in Celebration of World Teachers’ Day, October 5, 2010, Philsports Arena, Pasig City entitiled “A Tribute to Teachers”.

He opened his message with a quote by Greek poet and novelist Nikos Kazantzakis who said: “True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”

Bro. Armin explained, “the “collapsing” here is not an actual collapse, of course – although I know that because of the hard work and dedication of our teachers and the oftentimes- thankless nature of their job, some of them have actually gotten ill. The quotation simply shows how selfless teachers are and how noble the profession is.

Dr. Josette Biyo, a noteworthy teacher has garnered international acclaim and a planet named after her.  Yet, she decided to forego the limelight to continue influencing the youth in Western Visayas.  She is a PRO…a Person Responsible for Others.  Because of her example, professionalism amongst teacher has soared to greater heights.

And so, aside from the accolades, the certificates, and the credentials, when it comes to professionalism, only three words would remain.  Person. Responsible. Others.


Speech of DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro in Celebration of World Teachers’ Day 2010 | GOVPH. (n.d.). Retrieved May 27, 2016, from…/speech-of-deped-secretary-armin-luistro-in-celebration-of-world-teachers-day

PROM image. Retrieved from



Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging (INFJ) is the rarest of all personality types making up only 1 to 3% of the population.  The INFJ is also the most reflective of the sixteen Myers-Briggs personality type.  It also happens to be my personality type.

I have entered the realm of teaching two years ago.  This is now my third year.  I was pleased to learn about reflective teaching.  My personality delights in this skill and the purpose of continuous learning.  Reflective thinking is something that I would like to sink my teeth into…not in a vampire-like style but more of frazzled-lady-to-comfort-food type.

I checked out “Becoming a Relfective Practitioner” and read:

In a professional setting, reflection is:

  • Deliberate
  • Purposeful
  • Structured
  • About linking theory and proactive
  • To do with learning
  • About change and development

This provides me a system to work out my reflection powers.  Like any super-human power, reflection has to mastered.  Otherwise it could wreck havoc into my life.  I have been doing tons of reflective thinking to the point that I have experienced analysis-paralysis. There are other pitfalls but that is how unique abilities are fashioned.  Thus, for me to be the best teacher that I can be, I have to risk the paralysis in order to be liberated from technical rationality and even from my own comfort zone.

Donald Schon (1983) pointed out the distinction between technical rationality and tacit knowledge or what can be referred to as “theory-practice” gap.  Being a relatively new teacher, I have much to learn.  How I wish I could develop tacit knowledge overnight.  But, that is not realistic.  However, reflective thinking empowers me to have a dynamic stance in my career as a teacher.  In addition, it empowers me to become a better individual.

There are two areas by which I would like to use reflective teaching: classroom management and teacher effectiveness.  I am also considering these topics for my assignment (An Analysis on the Issues in the Teaching Profession).  And I am also studying Reflective Teaching Model and its applications.


Baltasar Gracian Quote. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from

Learning to teach: Becoming a reflective practitioner. (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

Reflective Teaching Model: A Tool for Motivation … (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from 5/Junor-Clarke07Final.pdf

A New Chapter in my eJournal



As I geared up for another PTC class, I cannot help but wonder what is in store for me this semester.  I have finished two courses thus far.  And I am pleased with the knowledge and insights I have gained.

This semester will be different.  I am more confident in utilizing distance learning in supplementing my development as an educator.  Last year, I had an administrative role focusing on Student Services and Formation.  This coming school year, I go back to teaching.

I quickly downloaded the twelve files under Class Orientation and Preliminary activities.  While waiting for my driver’s license to be processed, I browsed over the documents.  They are all brimming with information.  I expect there will be many of these, finding time among many commitments and pressing needs to absorb, analyze and act on my own personal learning commitment.  Thus, my learning strategy has to be firm and clear.  And, it has to start right away.  It did.  And I ended sleeping right before midnight on the first day I seriously sat down in my EDUC 111 class.

I am pretty excited about learning and teaching styles.  I want to find that common spot…the zone wherein my students and I will listen, learn and live out meaningful lessons from the classroom.

This new chapter transforms my classroom into a stage, a laboratory, a playground and a second home.  I plan to apply what I learn immediately.  This I still have to consult with my Academic and Subject Area Coordinator.  I am positive that they will support me in this quest.

Let us start with a new chapter, a new page, and one blog at a time.


“New Chapter” image retrieved from

Concluding EDS 103 and Beginning Application of Learning Theories


I am pleased to look back and realize that there were many affirmations of previous knowledge and perspectives in learning. By infusing the theoretical background and studies in learning, I got a deeper appreciation of my role as a teacher.

My gratitude to the many men and women who devoted research and study on learning. Now, I know the extent and depth of work that has been invested by many individuals from Pavlov to Dreikurs, from Bandura to Piaget. Until now, I am overwhelmed with the many written works and I plan to revisit them and reestablish my “schema”. I find myself rearranging my understanding of the theories and working these out in my world.

I am in the process of discovering and rediscovering what works and what does not. There are simply so many possibilities and experiments that can be done. At the end of the day, I would like to teach a student how to become a better person, prepared for the challenges in the future and grounded on values that enable him to reach out and make positive changes in the world.

Instead of just concentrating on one theory, I find myself blending the theories and balancing these out in the real world. I am now trying to weigh the effectivity of penalties and sanction versus positive reinforcement as B.F. Skinner would propose it. I also am pondering on the teacher as a real model to students. It is quite challenging as it is to be a teacher. It is a risky investment and the returns are realized only after twenty years or so.  It has a lot of disadvantages especially for us in the private sector where benefits are now lagging compared to the public school teachers. However, teaching is a mission. To pass on love for learning, values and virtues, is an integral part of humanity. And so, as I think about what I am thinking, and employ my highest cognitive skills, I also find myself having the heart to care about a child who wants to learn. There are so many inquisitive minds and they need a mature mind with a heart to listen to their questions and answer them with sincerity.

I believe every individual has an innate desire to learn. I am glad that there are more schools with innovative approaches to learning. In such cases, where class size are smaller, the teacher can devote more time per student. Thus, students with learning disabilities can receive appropriate learning strategies. It is quite sad when children who do not have the means to have a decent education. We have and adopted Aeta community whose conversion from grade school to high school is very low. The children have to walk two hours every day to go to high school. Only a few of them survive. Then, they face issues in integrating with society and finding appropriate work.

But, for as long as the desire to learn is present, the future is bright. As a teacher, I can touch the future. And when I touch it, I want to do so with best hand possible, a hand that continually learns with the heart.

Intelligence Anyone?

In the past, I would equate intelligent people as those who got good grades in school. However, I realized that this is a pretty narrow concept of intelligence. Now, I would consider emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman), successful intelligence (Robert Sternberg), multiple-intelligence (Howard Gardner).

Among these, I prefer using successful intelligence to refer to the more meaningful and practical intelligence necessary and relevant to an individual. An intelligent person is self-aware, motivated and learns not only to improve his circumstances to attain his overall goal in life. He learns by discovering and employing all possible intelligences or by utilizing resources that are present or by making them accessible to him.

I would regard myself as intelligent based on the qualities I have stated above. By adopting a more extensive interpretation of intelligence, I have become more aware of student’s potential, including their intelligence. I know that our current standardized intelligence test would check primarily memory and analytical ability. Now, I would give more substance to practical application, dedication, common sense, resiliency, wisdom, compassion and ethics. This year, I am not teaching inside the classroom. But, I find myself the teacher of any Grade 7-10 student teaching anywhere and anytime inside the school. I have a bigger classroom with a class that is running the whole time. Since I took on Student Formation, I find myself capturing “teachable” moments as much as I can.