Thursday, February 2, 2006

Helping teachers learn

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, February 2, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Helping teachers learn

SO far, some 200 public elementary-school teachers have passed the requirements of and participated actively in our Accelerated Learning Workshop for Teachers. This four-day workshop (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), facilitated by topnotch trainers, is offered free of charge. Teachers are given books, materials, meals and snacks. One company offers the same course for P17,000 per pax. Rotarians are also there to inspire and show they care.

We choose to focus on teachers because children spend more “time” with their teachers (and classmates) than any other persons in their lives, outside their homes. Teachers are the ones from whom they learn how to read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide. Teachers share their values with their students explicitly by telling and implicitly by their actions and demeanor.

Therefore, teachers play a very vital role in preparing our youth for leadership of our business, academe, government and others.

Now let me tell you about what happened to our recent workshop:

Day 1. RC Diliman president Bert Tato was at the printing shop at 6a.m. to pick up the books. At 7 and before 8, all facilitators and Rotarians were present and eager to do the workshop. The teachers started to trickle in. As they come, they completed the registration, made chicka-chika and got their books and materials (notebook, pen, pencil, sharpener, eraser, crayons, whistle). We finally started the class at 9:30a.m.

The teachers set their expectations of the workshop and their commitment to make the workshop successful. There was working morning break. The facilitator almost forgot about lunch because the class was so engaged in the topics. At 5:10 p.m. nobody seemed to mind the time, everybody was rooted to their chairs, no one dared to blink. We covered a lot of grounds, undertook many big and small group discussions, did some exercises and had a good laugh every now and then.

Some teachers gave us appreciative pats in the back every now and then. They said they are learning.

There were a few kinks. Some had to wait for their lunch because the number of participants was not immediately anticipated by the canteen. One teacher, red in the face and with eyes burning, rose at one point to ask the question, “Are you blaming us for what’s happening to children nowadays?” This was after the facilitator said something like “teachers are responsible for the students. That is why children nowadays have become what they are.” One Rotarian commented, “Our teachers don’t seem to know how to discuss their issues and ask questions. Why does he seem so defensive? Why is he so angry”

Another teacher passionately raised some of their issues against the Department of Education. The facilitator said they have no answer to the question because, they are Rotarians and not from the DepEd and that the only thing they could do is to help the teachers write a letter to let the DepEd know about their concerns.

One or two teachers brought their children with them who merrily roamed around the training room, poked at the training equipment and materials and scooped the candies meant to provide adrenaline boost to the teachers in the early afternoon sessions. Ni hindi man lang sinaway.

Day 2. The workshop was prematurely terminated. Many left, some implored the Rota­rians to continue. We’ll tell you more about this next Thursday.

Meanwhile, congratulations to RC Cubao, led by president Rick Palanca, for conducting a Math and Science quiz bee for high-school students in QC Region 2. We do have very math and science savvy students. Thanks to their teachers who coached and inspired them. Likewise for RC Roosevelt with president Rennee Isidro.

Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. and RC Quezon City North. Her e-mail address is at

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