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LIFE AS A CBE AND GFT MEMBER
By: Lorelee D. Asignacion

September 13- 18, 2010- the long week shrunk into what I thought was just hours of sessions and mind-bending tasks. I was ensconced at O-Hotel in the City of Smiles together with chosen souls all over Negros Occidental for ICT training. It was this week too, that my faith, patience, and strength was tested.

I was greeted by Sir EncyEncinares, and after the usual stuff that brings every training into order, we breezed through the how’s of using ICT Applications for Classroom Projects, Digital Storytelling, and initially touched on Project- Based Learning, with Ms. Luchi Flores.

The rest of the days went by in haste, and while I was coping with the preparation for the Oral Defense, I was at the receiving end of all the culpabilities regarding the snags in our Division Schools Press Conference (the schedule of which fell within the dates of GFT training itself). Being the president of the Secondary School Paper Advisers Association in our division, the only mistake I had however, was my absence. I was never there to answer all their complaints. I took all the brunt as I never had any choice at all. One can never be in two places at the same time. It was not easy; in fact, it was at that time when I was hitting rock bottom.

The third day of our training was the hardest for me. My daughter was plagued with dengue fever; that was two months after my eldest son was also confined in the hospital for five days and we were financially drained. To monitor her condition, I made her stay with her dad in the car just so I could check on her while we were having our sessions at the same time.

I was practically muzzy during the Oral Defense/presentation of our group’s output, with my nerves shaky as I was grilled by Dr. Labe, Ms. Luchi and Sir Jess Babia.Yet, little did I know that the dreaded grilling process will be my ticket to numerous doors of opportunities that opened even without my bidding. So the old wisdom still holds true- gold can only come out shining after such thorough process of purging all impurities under extreme heat. Goes with life… all inhibitions, doubts, and lack of knowledge have to be unshackled and released, so the individual can come out new and better after.

Back to my station armed with new set of learning and renewed enthusiasm, I implemented Project-Based Learning with my students. The outcome of the ordinary- lesson- turned- collaborative- learning did to my students went beyond my expectations. As we took the effort to clean up the streets in our barangay, the senses of responsibility, cooperation and collaboration were instilled in them along the way. It took less effort on my part to convince even their parents to allow them to go to Sagay City for a collaborative mangrove planting. Of course, time was our worst enemy but needless to say, when there is the will to pursue a goal, the universe conspires to accord good intentions. The learners who joined during PBL already chased their dreams, but they haven’t graduated from the memories and the knowledge gained from the activities we did beyond the confines of the classroom.

Fast forward: That PBL landed me as one of the 7th Microsoft Innovative Teachers Leadership Awardees- a door that opened to opportunities for meeting new friends and establishing wider links with people whose goals of making a difference are spilled and spelled out by sharing their resources and expertise to ordinary people like me. Now, I am one of the 30 GFT-CBE Peer Coaches. Tough job, but great fun!

When everything settled, I realized what Global Filipino Teacher and Coalition for Better Education extended was not just ICT training. It awakened me to a new line of thinking that there must be no borders to learning, and that I can be an individual who can perform extraordinary things if I choose to. It made me see the beauty beyond the challenges and trying circumstances. Above all, it gave me more opportunities to see my students’ potentials and help them in honing those gifts as they prepare themselves to be part of the real arena of life.

I was charged with a great job that requires endurance, great amount of love and patience towards my students, and most of all, I was charged with a great job that made me see beyond the walls of my classroom; that made me value the vastness of the benefits of ICT.

I thank GFT and CBE people for seeing in me the ability to help shape the future when I was sitting with the rest of the Batch 2 trainees in Negros Occidental. As I assist in spinning the web of learning, I thank my students for letting me see the future in them while they sit in my classroom.

Proudly, I declare: I am not a Global Filipino Teacher for nothing. The education field is wide and the planting season is always on. It’s always time to make a difference and I don’t plan on quitting. So, move over apathy; make way for GFT and CBE!

Oh, for the record: My husband and my kids take pure delight in PBL implementation (especially the communion with propagules and murky water during mangrove planting). That, in itself, is the most amazing thing beyond the benefits I reaped and continue to reap.


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