Friday, 14 August 2015

10 Questions With Catalina Garcia - Against All Odds

"The saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones who don't care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there's nothing to make it last."

• Nicholas Sparks

Yes, with passion everything is possible. It can be wonderful experience when you have what it takes to walk the extra mile and take necessary bold steps to get desired result/s. Speaking of passion, let's have here one of the most passionate woman I have ever met: Miss Catalina Garcia, Education Supervisor in the Division of Albay, Philippines. Read on...

1. Describe yourself in just a few words.


2. How do you associate such a description to your job as a reading recovery teacher/supervisor?

I can manage handling pupils at risk and those who have least in life. Recently I have just finished conducting reading remediation to non-readers in one of the schools in Legazpi City, in Albay.

3. I have read your article about " My Journey" in a website you mentioned while I was asking a sort of a springboard for this interview, and your introduction grabbed my attention right away. And I quote: One of the boldest actions one can make is to pursue a dream in the midst of challenges and difficulties. How do you connect this with your passion to make a difference especially in the lives of challenged readers in your division, and beyond?

Challenges may hinder my aspirations and passion for reading but because of my intense desire to change the lives of our pupils, I was able to hurdle like lack of budget from Deped central office for reading recovery program implementation, indifferent attitudes of some authorities in the field, lack of support from parents, negative attitude of pupils towards reading, among other challenges.

4. Realizations already have been made, what do you think other supervisors out there need to do so as to ensure compassion be felt among these kids and help them help themselves?

Have a big heart for pupils as well as to the program. For me, love is the only key in changing the world of the least of our brethrens. Position, certificates, commendations, degrees are of no value if there are non-readers in the field who are afraid, timid and insecure.

5. I learned that you have been into research, in fact one time I learned that you attended an international convention or conference here in the Philippines, could you tell us about it and what new learning did you get from such experience?

I maybe sound indifferent, but researches are ineffective if we we're not able to effect change in the lives of our pupils. Sometimes, researches rest on papers only up to presentation up to results. We fail to implement solutions that address the problem. For me, if we will just do our part as teachers, if we will only live as real teachers by doing our tasks, if commitment is our key value; then, we don't need researches. What we need is an action coupled with love to our pupils.

6. Tell me your unforgettable experiences when you were still a neophyte in the department, and please do include how other people mentored you to keep the journey amidst such challenges.

When I teach grade 1 non-readers, a child will just look at me saying nothing. During the lesson, pupils feel many things like they have headache, stomach ache, either hungry or call of personal necessity,etc. Here, I realized the pain also that the non-readers are going through during reading. To add to that, the stress and pressure that these pupils are experiencing are not to be ignored. **Reading Recovery teachers --as well as my mentor --helped me through words of encouragement. The books of Marie Clay (teacher, researcher, author, and champion of young --Reading Recovery) made me understand the nature of pupils at risk.

7. As a supervisor, what are your priorities when it comes to making your division one of the most effective --and efficient as well, in all aspects of teaching/learning situations?

For this moment, my priority is expansion of Reading Recovery Program in all the divisions in Bicol to save the future of non-readers. And, this will start off, of course, with training of more reading recovery teachers & procurement of PM books for children.

8. Who, to you, is an effective teacher when it comes to facilitating learning?

One who can understand the different paths of our children and employ the necessary adjustments depending on the needs of pupils.

9. What plans do you want to implement this school year, and how do you implement them sans giving the impressions of being a top-down boss, or what?

To continue the program in order to help more nonreaders I will tap LGU through advocacy campaign. Showcase the accomplishments of children through literacy day & performance review.

10. What final words of wisdom would you like to leave our readers?

Just do the right thing, and everything will be alright.

Well, from those wisdom mentioned by our guest, am sure everybody's now reflecting on their own challenges and be able to surmount them later -- with utmost dedication or passion--just like what she did. More power to our guest and let's celebrate our own passion towards achieving excellence in our chosen career, life and all.

Larry Icabandi Nabiong:

Mentoring teachers is his passion. He is a teacher-blogger, poem-writer, educational innovator, who shares his P4P or power -4 principle: power to know, change, create @ share, not only to his learners but also to his colleagues. He has been teaching for about two decades in public, grade school in the Philippines.

More Potted Sports for Leadership School Camps

Let me begin by redefining Potted Sports. Potted Sports consists of a series of simple physical activities designed to help build team work and leadership skills in a competitive environment at school camps. The emphasis is on the word 'simple', i.e. activities that do not require any special skills.The purpose of this article is to show how you can use facilities at a camp site to create some interesting, challenging and fulfilled potted games.

One of the venues I used to organise a leadership camp contained a small lake with an island in the middle of the lake. It also contained a suspension bridge that crossed that lake. The camp site had a number of canoes and paddle boats available for us to use.

What these resources allow us to do is to create the following three potted sports. Below they are explained:

A: The Canoe Race: (10 minutes)

• Life jackets must be worn.

• Two canoes may be used at a time with no more than two people in each one.

• The objective of the race is to transfer as many people as possible to and from the island as you can in the time limit.

• Passengers must disembark. All the team must be transferred across to the island before they can be returned.

B: Paddle Boat Circuits: (10 minutes)

• The objective is to circumnavigate the island by paddle boat or canoe as often as possible in the time limit.

• No ramming is permitted. Penalties may be applied.

• Only 2 persons may occupy a paddle boat or canoe.

• Life jackets must be worn.

• The start and finish line is opposite the pontoon.

N. B. We used 3 paddle boats and three canoes so that all members of the group were on the water for the whole time.

C: Suspension Bridge Shuttle: (10 minutes)

• The objective is to get as many people across the bridge and around the circuit as possible in the time limit.

• The rules are that

o Only two people on the bridge at a time. The second person only starts onto the bridge when the first person is half way across the bridge.

o Once across the bridge the person walks or runs around the lake back to the starting point.

o All members must participate in the same order.

o No person may pass another in the circuit.

There were a number of advantages to these activities that eased the planning and preparation of these activities. Firstly, we could use equipment already available at the camp site. To do this effectively, the camp organiser needs to visit the camp site before the camp to see what is available. Secondly, because you have three teams working close together, the change-over time between activities is shortened helping to make sure each team has the maximum time on each activity. The team is responsible to get itself to each venue on time. That is part of their leadership training. Thirdly, the water venue created a venue that could create "funny" outcomes. I'm sure you can guess what they might be. Remember to have a teacher who responsibility it is to be the safety officer watching for any mishap on or in the water.

Each activity is started and finished on a whistle blast and the time to get between activities and get ready to start remained constant.

So it is important for the camp organiser to visit the camp site to check on the availability of resources or physical features that can create opportunities to create simple but effective potted sports. These resources or physical features could be the catalyst to produce effective leadership activities.

Our author, Rick Boyce, attended many school camps during his long career. He was often camp leader/organiser. These camps involved first year students being inducted into school life, school army cadet camps and leadership camps for senior students. Rick has written an eBook, "Camps, Tours and Excursions". This article is but one chapter in that eBook. The book is available on in the section "products" under "Teaching Strategies and Organisational Issues".