As teachers, we direct all our goals and efforts towards the holistic development of our students. Aside from their meaningful academic learning opportunities in our classrooms, we also initiate, support, and organize beyond-the-classroom activities that afford them supplemental refinement of their essential life skills such as communication, leadership, and other soft skills.
Before the Senior High School Homeroom program, I was already a part of our Student Mentorship and Student Life Coaching Programs with the freshmen college students. I was assigned a section to meet once a week for meaningful discussions and activities that served them a comforting group to share their weekly experiences and raise their concerns with their classmates, their teachers, and the school. Not only that they were able to find a mentor in me, they were also guided on how to address issues concerning their studies through proper channels of communication.
Since our offering of senior high school with our SHS Homeroom Program, I have been a teacher-adviser of many classes, others for a semester, while others for more than a year. It has never been easy, but with full heart towards the welfare of my advisees and full ears to listen to their stories, it has become but a fulfilling experience. With my former STEM303-403 advisees, I have fully reached out to them, guided them all throughout their senior high school journey, and celebrated with their achievements. I have encouraged them to go out of their comfort zones, develop many essential life skills, and collaborate for school events and competitions. Likewise, I have been in collaboration as well with their parents and subject teachers in keeping track of their academic performance. With this, it has been a fulfillment on my part inspiring my advisees and encouraging them to pursue their studies in spite of all their personal struggles; hence, I have always emphasized to them the values of solidarity, excellence, and gratitude. Notwithstanding these, I have experienced as well setting teacher-parent conferences because of attendance and performance issues, strict checking of students’ progress, and even referring them to the Guidance Counselor for professional help. I have experienced students confiding their family and love problems, and hence offering my shoulders to cry on. At times, I have to shift my role from being a teacher to being their friend and confidant. I have proven it helps a lot in realizing what and how it is to become a teacher.
Being an adviser of a student organization, Communication Arts Society of Talented Individuals Senior High (CASTI Senior High), for over two years has opened me many opportunities to realize my goals of equipping our students with skills beyond the academics. Since last school year, our club has been organizing events such as the annual English Language and National Reading Month celebration, holding student competitions (e.g., Extemporaneous Speech, Interpretive Reading, Speech Choir, etc.) that provide avenues for the students to demonstrate their linguistic and literary skills, implementing short-term projects such as the Word Pool, So Cool! (vocabulary enrichment project in 2017), and even training and sending our students in out-of-school national language and literary competitions such as the annual Creative Fiction Writing and Speech Competition and Conference at the Far Eastern University organized by Hamaka Pilipinas (HAMPIL, Ink.) and the Essay Writing Contest at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as organized and sponsored by the Brown Movement for Cultural Advancement, Inc. or Kilusang Kayumanggi.
On top of these, CASTI Senior High has been producing trained communicators, event emcees, and hosts who have been exposed to various school programs and events such as the opening programs for Intramurals Meet, Senior High School Expo, Club and Student Organizations Recruitment Week, Job Placement Orientations, and many others. True enough, we have been tapping one of the STI attributes. That is being an effective communicator.
Apart from my active engagements in SHS Homeroom Program and CASTI Senior High, I have been involved as well as coordinator, facilitator, and committee member in various annual local and cluster level student competitions at STI particularly the Tagisan ng Talino (TNT) Stand Up and Deliver (impromptu speech) and Essay Does It (essay writing), as one of teacher organizers of many school events, including Nutrition Month Celebration, Buwan ng Wika, Language Week, Debate Seminar and Debate Competition, before these were assigned to respective clubs and student organizations, and as judge in the various local events and competitions. Even until now, I have been volunteering in many student organizations should they need my help, or even my clubs’ members,’ in terms of event documentations and article write-ups, communication letters, program scripts, short speeches, and others where I can exercise my humble skills in language and writing. In the same way, I have been a volunteer teacher in many other school activities such as the annual National Youth Convention and STI Talent Search.
Last September 2018, I was invited as the resource speaker and facilitator for the 2nd Leaders Enhancement of Attributes Program (LEAP) session where I had a meaningful experience with the student members of STI SHS Council of Leaders. While the goal of the session was to bring out and enhance the leadership skills of homeroom and club officers, my discussion and all of the activities revolved around the assigned topic, ‘The Positive in the Pain of Changes.’ It was a real fulfillment considering that these student leader attendees were expected to share all their learning and realizations to their respective homeroom classes. Before this speaking engagement however, I was already invited by another student organization, STI Pulse Senior High, to talk about the effects of multimedia use during the club’s Media Congress in July 2017. I may not have been involved in many speaking engagements but I have always looked forward to sharing my insights, knowledge, and skills to people, for instance, in seminars, conferences, and workshops.
Indeed, our dear school has been very supportive of all students’ extracurricular activities. In my experience, all proposed programs and projects for as long they are well grounded on the objectives directed towards students’ holistic development, they get instant approval. We have held various programs, sent students to out-of-school conferences and competitions, been engaged in many other extra-academic pursuits. Hence, on the side of quality academic learning systems, the school also offers opportunities for both the students and teachers to grow and find meaning in the richness of the teaching and learning experiences.
In my realization of active involvement in various student development programs and activities, I must say that students are at the center of all the academic pursuits. Beyond the classroom instruction, i.e., lectures, interactive discussions, individualized and collaborative learning tasks, and other experiences, students also find meaningful opportunities that afford them the acquisition and refinement of essential life skills, or the soft skills, that soon will serve them an edge over others in competitive work environments. Needless to emphasize, teachers should not just focus on academics and theories, rather allow as well students to explore their own interests, talents, and inclinations. From the perspective of a teacher, these involvements require a little sacrifice – time (even rest days), effort, and sometimes, money, but then again, we find our true purpose as teachers —Marc Kenneth Marquez, Student Advising and Student Support Activities (Teacher Regularization Portfolio).