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Archive for the ‘Teacher Stories’ Category

I heard or read somewhere that life will continue to give us lessons until we learn it.

Two weeks after graduating from college, I was already teaching college students.

I was so idealistic, perfectionist and wouldn’t tolerate students who were cheating, talking while I was teaching and not doing their work. Yeah, I was really mean! Many of my former students would attest to that!

The thing was even if I knew I needed to change, I continued on doing what I was doing because I was afraid if I lost my control, if I became friendly and acted my age (I was just 20 then!, some of my students were even older than me!), I felt my students wouldn’t respect me and may took advantage of my kindness.

So I continued on with my demeanor; I pushed my students to meet my expectations!

I abhorred cheating, if they did so (I was good at finding out; because all our activities were computerized), the next day they would find their names written in bold caps posted in the classroom! And I didn’t care about their feelings at all!

I was the authority; they needed to follow my commands.

I remember students in the hallway would just stop talking if they saw me walking towards them!

My students knew that they should to focus on my lecture; otherwise, they would be criticized, embarrassed and put down.

My style of teaching and behavior continued on for almost a year.

I was happy my students were struggling to study my subject! I was happy they couldn’t cheat, well, because I would make 3 sets of test for a single lesson!

But I also knew in time I needed to stop my “being so mean” and learn to find ME again.

I thought I was in control as I tried my best to change my students, when I should have been changing me.
It took time but, thank God, the change of heart, happened. I was sorry I affected my students in ways and depths I wasn’t sure. But, if it was all negative, I am sorry.
It was all inner work. I was operating in fear and negative vibes. It actually caused me to be stressed-out and not live a full life at all!
When I started to let go and found peace within me; when I allowed acceptance for people’s uniqueness, differences and varied levels of intelligence to take over, I found joy in teaching and making my students learn. I was freed!
I thank God for the 3 years of experience in teaching college students, that time of my life was pertinent for me to learn my lessons and to prepare me for what came next.

Lord, may You continue to guide us as we face life’s challenges. May we be freed from fear and negativity. Instead, may we open ourselves to love, trust and acceptance. In Jesus’ name.

AMEN.

NAMASTE.

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Not too late…

So, I went to the schools… and in one of the schools, I met an active 88 year-old Special Education Teacher. 88 years old!!!!!!

A lot of things ran through my mind. Ok, she’s 88. She still teaches… BUT – What about technology? What about making IEPs (Individualized Education Plan)??? Uh oh.

So I hugged her. I told her we need to do a lot of things this year. I posted all the pertinent materials on her cabinet. I taught her what to do. I informed her, we will do this, one step at a time! Guess what I found out- she’s a lot of fun! for her age!

After teaching her on how to do the 1st page of the IEP, she asked me, “alright, now answer me, What are gerunds? What are participial adjectives?” I laughed, hard!  She told me, “see there a lot of things that I know, and I am sure you know a lot of things too. So as you teach me I will review you with English matters, is that a deal?”

And there began our journey. IEP data collection –  she does the errands, the testing, the interviewing, I make her write the meat of the IEP, I help her with the rest. So far, so good.

Seeing her do all these things, watching her walk, hearing her teach, listening to her funny statements and  feeling her presence in the room, made me realize a lot of things about life.

Age doesn’t matter. She said when she turned 70 she just accepted things. She likes everyone. She understands people’s uniqueness and she just lives her life one day at a time.

I asked her ” Why are you still here in school?”, she answered, ” Why not? What will I do at home, my husband’s dead!”. Mmmm, makes sense. She continued, “I would have been traveling too, but I don’t want to travel alone. I like gardening…” I interrupted, “then go gardening!”, she continued, “No, I don’t want to do gardening alone!”, and deducted, nope, she’s not going anywhere.

We can keep going if we want to. Retirement doesn’t and shouldn’t stop us. I can continue to love working, continue to use my brain, remain active and alive for as long as I want to. For as long as I want to.

The teacher’s 88 and she’s got a lot of special education and English resource matters going for her. She complains not. She is determined. And never mind if she is 88, I don’t discriminate. I get inspired. Really!

Health is wealth. The gift of health is I think what I’ll be praying for when I get to her age. At her age, she still enjoys what she can. At her age, she still enjoys life.

No one is too old to learn new technology. At 88 years old, she’s got FB!!! Hahaha, joke! But yes, she remembers her user id and password in almost all the websites that she needs to be using, she knows her Microsoft Office basics and yes she can even communicate via email!

Love what you do. She stopped me one time and told me, “Maria, I really want to make sure I am on time, SO, if you want, I can work with you after school and during weekends… Actually tomorrow, Saturday, I will be here in school to work on things!” Mmmm… still thinking if that’s too much love of work? or that at her age there isn’t much “life” she can afford to do?

At this time, though I’m still puzzled why she chose to be where she at now, I respect her. I respect her choices and how up to this time, she continues to be giving of her time, talent and skills. For as long as teaching makes her alive and happy then so be it.

The challenge now is, if she can do it at her AGE, then I ______________….

And so it is..


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Believing is Seeing.

To God be the Glory and Praise!

The day I was given notice of non-renewal as Sped Teacher in HS, 4 months ago, I wrote this and held on to it! ” I believe that something GREAT will happen in my life soon!” I just believed it will happen, I don’t know what is or how to get there, I just believed with all my heart and soul that something GREAT will happen in my life!

Friends would speculate about my job status then, but I chose not to focus on it, and just looked at possibilities! My family and I would attend gatherings and summer celebrations bringing no baggage, no fear, no negativity. I had chosen to enjoy the food, mingle with friends with no thought of what just transpired in my teaching status. I chose not to think about it, not to ponder on the loss, and just thought that GOD is simply just too big for anything!

True enough, plans my husband and I talked about, we just made it happen – job fairs, online applications, telephone inquiries and interviews. I didn’t stop, I just did what needs to be done. My thinking is I will get there, but still relying on what God wants me to do, following His lead and command. The amazing thing was as I do, He does more! He’s always 2-3 steps ahead- and yes so much more! I never had a lapse time. There was always something happening everyday since the day the school ended. Committed to His plans, I was re-hired with no effort at all.. the principal said “I have a job, if you want it, it’s yours!” It took me less than 3 minutes in the office! The job was just handed out just like that!

Mom says there are angels in this world. These are people given by God to support, encourage and make things happen for you. I would never had gotten that job without my former principal’s advocacy. He is my angel in disguise! and I am truly grateful!

BUT, God didn’t stop! 3 days before teachers are to report for work, I received an email from my former principal asking me to call him since an opportunity just came up! An IEP Facilitator position has just been vacated and the job requires to handle, administer, oversee and review 3 schools’ special education documents.

Coming from the experiences of  teaching college, to system integration sales and account management, to teaching high school computers, to teaching special education, it felt like it’s a fit. I went through the process of interview with the district’s Sped Coordinators and actual case review of an existing IEP document on a Friday, 2pm. By Monday, 8am, I got the job!

Now, it’s been a week, and YES! I love my job. I love the people who I work with, I love how I need to be organized, to be dynamic, I love the training aspect of the job, I love writing, I love working  with my computer and traveling to work  in 3 different workplaces.  I am just still high with the turn around. So I am just returning all glory and praise to God for He made pieces of the puzzle to fit perfectly, for designing and planning the work of my hands. He is wonderful!

Something GREAT will happen in  our lives soon! And so it is.

A matter of believing. A matter of plain knowing, there is a God.

A God of infinite possibilities. A God of miracles.

Our God.

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Amazing!

I am simply amazed by what FAITH we have.

I am simply at awe because despite the challenges, despite the “can’t” and “will not”, we hold on.

It is simply wondrous how God put us all together…

…how He has chosen and picked each one of us.. TOGETHER in this journey.

I couldn’t allow tears to fall. I don’t know why.

I couldn’t allow negativity to engulf me. I don’t know why.

Incomparable is our persistence… our positive vibes… our hope.

GOD is just too big for this.

GOD is just so omnipotent He can make miracles in 30 days.

This I believe.

“God, grant us the…

Serenity to accept things we cannot change,

Courage to change the things we can,

and the Wisdom to know the difference,

Patience for the things that take time,

Appreciation for all that we have,

and Tolerance for those with different struggles.

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways,

the Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other

and the Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.” -Serenity Prayer

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… There is Hope!

I am now teaching Regular Education Students…. mmm regular means resisting, loud, hard-to-handle Middle School Students!! I am supposed to teach just Math this summer, but upon knowing that I am a Special Education Teacher they decided that I can do both, Math and English LEAP Remediation for Grade 8 students… mmm, what it means is that I will be handling the same students – from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM!!! hows that? lol

What do I expect? the WORST! hahaha.. I know feel what my Regular Education Teachers are feeling..the case of teaching the content and modifying their behaviors at the same time!!! (In regular school days, a teacher will only have them for less 2 hours- the most… – I HAVE THEM for 6 HOURS!!!! – well I am not sure if this is good news but I do have fewer students – I only have 15 (to date).. and almost everyday, I have perfect attendance! :))

Just so hyped up right now because after 9 days of howling hahaha and prodding them to see my point of view, I have a student who missed just 3 points in the Number and Number Relations in the LEAP PRACTICE test  in her 1st attempt, one student who was able to PERFECT the Number and Number Relations test, 3 students where able to almost perfect, missed by one point!, the ALGEBRA test by their 2nd attempt!.. and this all includes showing me how they got their answers!!!

I was just having goosebumps when I asked them to read to me the number of checks they got! A BREAKTHROUGH indeed!!!! hahaha

Well, just want to celebrate little successes.. In the 9 days, they have taught me a lot too!!! Oh yes, I have heard and is still hearing a lot of F$@! words, hate words, all the “beautiful” words!!! hahahaha and it gets to me sometimes, well, everyday, to say the truth! Just can’t help talking back! hahaha.. Guess, that was my weapon hahaha and thankful in a way that I was able to penetrate into their minds, and was to make them experience success on their own, at their own pace and with a lot of howling from me! lol…

I have 8 more days to go with 4 more units to finish!!! Bless my students!!!
Asking for your prayers too so that they can move on to high school already.. please? Thanks!:))

FYI: The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) is  Louisiana’s criterion-referenced testing
(CRT) program, a high-stakes tests. They measure how well a student has mastered the state content standards. LEAP is administered at grades 4 and 8.The LEAP tests measure whether grade 4 and grade 8 students have adequate knowledge and skills to progress to the next grade.

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Miracle – indeed!

I am continuously challenged by Math even in elementary days .. when Ms. Datinggaling would force us to memorize the multiplication table hehe (she would “drill” us and made us stand if we couldn’t tell the correct answer to her flash cards!),then high school math to college math. (Nope, I did not major in Math.. I remember I failed BS Mathematics entrance exam in college, hehe)

Math is hard because I need to think!… BUT I would always convince myself that if I only knew the process, the technique in solving it, I would be able to get the correct answer.. just a matter of time, practice and simple belief..

Well, that belief has not left me.. because until now, I would still convince myself I am good in Math.. that in time (up to the one minute challenge) I would be able to get the correct answer!

In my wanting to put my belief in reality, I accepted the summer job to teach Math to Middle School students here in New Orleans! AND believing I could make use of this skill to greater good.. I courageously and “quietly” signed up to take Praxis Middle School Mathematics, so I would be able to add-on another Louisiana certificate in my current SPED teaching certificate.

So come July 25, armored with my self-proclaimed Math skills, I took the test… it has 40 multiple choice and 3 constructed response questions…

Leaving the test center, I KNOW it would take a MIRACLE by August 25 (date of results) for me to PASS.

And I did! MIRACLE indeed! the passing score is 148. I got 149!!! Yahoooo!!!

I THANK GOD there is power in believing 🙂

I THANK GOD for all the Math teachers in my life! 🙂

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I am

I am Ms. Maria (this is what my students call me)

I am the “Chinese lady” and the Special Education Teacher

I wonder what my students will become someday 

I hear them proud to say they are “gangstah” and a “killa”

I see a change of hearts someday though

I want them to feel that everything is possible if they only try

I am Ms. Maria

I pretend to love my job

I feel unproductive at times as I know I can do more

I touch people’s lives.. or so I want to think

I worry I am not giving enough

I cry when I can relate to people’s feelings

I am Ms. Maria

I understand that I can be whoever I want to be

I say whatever my mind can conceive it can achieve

I dream of stable, fulfilling, happy future for me and my family

I try to live one day at a time

I hope.. still hope for a utopia here on earth

I am Ms. Maria

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