Monday, March 28, 2011


This is the ID I didn't get to wear all year. It was hanging by the preschool house door all these months, and I took it for granted because I thought that everyone knew me anyway, and I had an official ID, so why bother?

I should have bothered. I should have bothered to go to that preschool house each day, to check up on what the kids are eating, to play with them, help them mold clay into funny little animal shapes, to talk to the teachers, not just about school, but about telenovelas and other "fripperies", as Neil Gaiman would call trivial things that matter in the long run. Should haves and What ifs. If only life had reruns, replays, delete and back buttons, it would have been so much easier.

Reflecting on my role as principal this past year, I would say that each day was different, and I dealt with it differently. Each student was different, and I treated him differently. Sure, there are templates and rubrics for everything that's ever done in school, but in many cases, these are thrown out the window once something without precedence comes up (like a brass knuckle or a failing grade in Values Education). This is where collaborative management comes in. I am just blessed with a stellar team of educators who brainstorm with me on just about everything--from facebook posting policies to new curricular offerings. I am very certain that I cannot lead a school all by myself. My ideas as principal are almost always collaborative in nature, and for my team of teachers to believe in me, I have to walk the talk and be where they are--in the midst of classroom chaos, varsity triumphs and defeats, and whatnot. I made sure that I showed up not just for the opening remarks; I went backstage and gave my two cents worth to the student manning the lights and audio booth for the school play. Some may call that micromanaging, a euphemism for meddling in local affairs; I'd like to think of it as mingling with the troops. I've never been comfortable calling the shots from behind a massive office desk at command center.

Then again, I look back at this year, and I wish I had a better master plan. A Super Template. A Mega-Rubric. I wish I had a master plan for students falling through the cracks of academic failure. I wish I had a better master plan for the school's finances. I wish I had a better master plan for the school's outreach program. Actually, wishes aren't regrets. They are next steps waiting to commence. So in about three months, I'll be wearing that ID once and for all. There'll be a RULE BOOK in my right pocket, and a handful of STARDUST in my left. It'll be tough and demanding, but my God, it'll be magical too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chemistry:- It's All About You

2011 is the International Year of Chemistry. Here's a clip that shows us how that matters.

Friday, March 25, 2011


                                                              Photo by Jannie Faye Santos
The one thing I hated the most as a student was getting a number or letter grade that did not explain why I got that grade (ok, second only to CAT training in the rain). Was I assessed for my own merits, or was my work placed side by side with others' works, and ranked accordingly? Now that I've been doing some educational legwork, I'm just stoked about discovering RUBRICS. In my book, it's the most student-friendly way of evaluating outputs, performance, and projects. Olive Estrella Coronado writes: "...This tool aims to describe the quality of their (students')  work. ( 

I agree. Through specific, descriptive statements of quality of work, students and parents have a clearer picture of what and how learning takes place. For instance, making students put up a theatrical play is equal to evaluating learning on various, intertwining levels. To simply throw them an 80 or a 95 is hardly fair, after all the effort they've put in. A rubric would provide a more tangible means of telling students how well (or badly) they've done that soliloquy from Hamlet, or that balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.

Here are links to all kinds of rubrics:

1. Create your own rubrics:

2. Menu of rubrics:

3. Sample rubrics for Filipino:

4.Sample rubric for musical performance in class (vocal solo)

5. Rubrics for preschool (article):

6.Rubric for art portfolio:

7. Rubric for Physical Education (ball games)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The video says it all:


Research | News

Survey Finds Strong Support for Educational Technology

Most educational leaders around the world support technology in education and believe it is increasingly transforming teaching and learning, according to an international survey commissioned by Cisco and conducted by Washington, DC-based Clarus Research Group. The survey revealed that education is transitioning to the new "connected learning" networked economy, which requires technological skills development for increased global competitiveness in education.
Clarus conducted telephone interviews with 500 educational administrators and information technology decision-makers in 14 countries across five continents. Half of the respondents were from K-12 schools, and the other half were from colleges and universities.
The majority of people surveyed indicated they see potential for technology to improve student employment prospects, distance education opportunities, student engagement, communication and collaboration, and research capabilities. Most also said they see technology as a way to reduce costs. However, online security rates high on the list of concerns.
The three teaching and learning issues affected by technology rated most critical were teamwork and project-based learning, student engagement, and preparation for the workforce.
Eighty-six percent of respondents indicated a need for programs and curriculum that help students develop teamwork skills. The survey concluded that increased availability of collaboration tools is helping to foster teamwork and project-based learning.
Eighty-five percent of respondents reported they believe technology plays an increasingly large role in student engagement and participation. They said most students seem to enjoy using technology in the classroom and also indicated technology enables teachers to tailor lessons to the needs of each student, rather than leave some students behind or pace teaching for the slowest learners. Teachers who have used computers to teach math, for example, found that the technology allowed students to progress at their own pace while also freeing the teachers to spend more time with students who needed extra help.
Eight-three percent of respondents considered educational technology critical to preparing students to compete in a global economy and ensuring their employability after graduation. Those surveyed said technology must be incorporated into the core curriculum so students will be ready to engage in the increasingly connected "workforce of tomorrow" that requires them to understand how to use technology effectively.
Other issues of importance identified in the survey included:
  • Using technology to improve communications with students, parents, faculty, and staff;
  • Protecting students from Internet abuse;
  • Strengthening on-campus data security;
  • Using "presence" technology in teacher training and staff development;
  • Using technology to reduce administrative costs and improve cost-efficiency;
  • Embedding video and multimedia in the learning process;
  • Investing in data-driven assessments and decision-making systems; and
  • Expanding online international education.
The priorities of survey respondents varied by region. Those in the Asia-Pacific region focused on improved communications with students, improved research infrastructure and capabilities, and preparing the workforce of the future. European respondents focused on funding, online security, international presence, research infrastructure and capabilities, and online international curricula. Respondents from emerging markets focused on preparation for a global economy, student attendance, and employability. Latin American respondents had the highest hopes overall for educational technology and its positive effects on society.


Blogger's Note:
I posted this in my personal blog on January 3, 2010. I tend to make connections between the books I read and the real life I lead. This is an example.

I closed the book The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova over a year ago with a mixture of exhilaration (what a great book!) and disappointment (what an awful ending!). I won't review the book here, so please check out my FULL BOOK REVIEW BLOG of The Historian over at More than just another book about vampires--actually The Vampire of lore, Dracula/Vlad Tepes, the novel is a testament to the nobility of the teaching profession.

My favorite character is Professor Bartholomew Rossi, a brilliant historian and quite an intellectual academic superstar in his day. Paul (as narrator in this chapter, while his daughter is his rapt audience) is his dissertation advisee, and clearly, the young graduate student has nothing but admiration for the esteemed Rossi. He was part-English, part-Italian, but the Anglo part, at least in Paul's worshipping eyes, stood out:"His face was of crisp English mold, sharp-featured and intensely look into Rossi's face was to see a world as definite and orderly as the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace." It was Rossi's keen mind that made him the American Paul's Idol: "His mind is another thing altogether...his encyclopedic production had long since won him accolades..." But above all else, Rossi was "the kindest, warmest friend I'd ever had." I found the latter to be true in the succeeding chapters. Let me jump the gun here by saying that when Rossi mysteriously disappeared just minutes after his last visit, it was Paul who risked his life to find his mentor.

I can sympathize with Paul. I was the ultimate "sip-sip" in high school, perhaps without meaning to be one. As a student, I remember hanging onto the coattails of my teachers. To my mind, long before I drifted towards the academe myself, teachers were God's gift to humanity. To this day, I believe it to be true. After a quick rewind to my days as a fledgling learner, I've come up with my top 5 all-time favorite teachers:

1. Ms. Dulce Atienza (Grade 5 and 6 Math, Manresa School)-Ms. Atienza is a motherly, articulate teacher who made Math meaningful for me. It has since lost its meaning in high school, when the teachers resorted to terrorism to drill cosines and square roots into my system.I love Ms. Atienza for being kind but firm, and, as my section adviser in 5th grade, for being my second mother.

2. Mrs. Pearl Santos (Freshman English, Manresa School)-My Idol with a capital "I." I lived for her 12-page exams on diagraming sentences, and her stories about her days as a hard-hitting journalist. She was a perfectionist, all business at all times, and she played no favorites when my other teachers then had not-so-subtle "babies." I began to love the English language because of her.

3. Ms. Angie Ureta (Junior and Senior English & History, Manresa School)-She was 19 when she zoomed into our batch's humdrum existence in 1985, and we were enthralled by her youthful candor and world-wise sensibility. I thought back then that she picked on me out of unreasonable cruelty, but I began to realize that she was bulldozing me into finding my niche--writing. What I am now, a writer, I owe to her.

4. Prof. Emmanuel Torres (Shakespeare on Film, Ateneo de Manila Graduate School)-Firstly, I loved his class because we met every week in the Ateneo Art Gallery. Secondly, he was a non-threatening, soft-spoken, brilliant man who brought us to the Globe Theatre with just a few panoramic sentences, as well as his hard-to-find films. But I will never forget, most of all, his comments on my essays, most of which he would read aloud in class, to my utter embarrassment. For my paper on Mel Gibson's portrayal of Hamlet, he wrote: "With this paper, and others like it, you have demonstrated a potential for being a professional critic." OMG.

5.Prof. Danton Remoto (Survey of Philippine Literature, Ateneo de Manila Graduate School)-I will never again read NVM Gonzalez' The Bamboo Dancers without thinking of Prof. Remoto's acerbic comments on protagonist Ernie Rama's sexuality. Our class of 6 students was clearly in awe of this man's literary genius, and I for one, was motivated to churn out academic papers that would hopefully meet his standard, which I'm afraid I never did. But that's OK. Today, I see him fight for gay and lesbian rights on TV with much tact and poise, and I'm proud to tell one and all that Danton Remoto was my teacher.

To my delightful surprise, a former student, Maika Bernardo, wrote about me in
"Miss Millette encouraged me to write more and head the school paper staff. Her words of praise helped aspiring writers to come out of their shell. With her encouragement, I earned a leadership award on graduation day."

To view the full article, see:

I believe that teachers impart learning more effectively if they are MENTORS, not instructors. I've tried mentoring, and I can safely claim that I've done more for my students this way, rather than give them lectures thay can always download from some website. This is confirmed in The Historian, particularly in Paul and Rossi's warm, genuine friendship forged by a common love and respect for history, and for each other as human beings. And this is affirmed by the many teachers I've thanked along my life's journey, and the many students like Maika who have thanked me simply by being good, God-fearing, productive citizens of the world.


Blogger's Note:
I posted this in my personal blog on January 23, 2010. Thought I'd share it here, where other teachers can read it and snicker with me.

Today in my Stylistics class with Kim San San, Kim Soon Soon, and Kim Yan Yan (obviously not their real names), the discussion drifted to the Word of the Decade and the Word of the Year. So we googled it and, "Google" was the word of the decade (American Dialect Society, beating out "blog", and "Unfriend" is the word of the year 2009 (Oxford University Press), while "tweet" is the WOTY declared by ADS.

Google. Blog. Unfriend. Tweet. If they're words of the year/decade/day/minute, then definitions are not necessary. Personally, since I've done all four in some capacity over the past year/decade/day/minute, I'm not going to argue.

I got curious: What is the Word of the Year in the Philippines? 
A couple of googles later, this is what I found:

Michael Tan of Philippine Daily Inquirer relates a text scam experience that led to his discovery of the term "bagong modus". Read the article full article here:

Is that the Pinoy Word of the Year? A term that captures the dubious Pinoy propensity for racket ("raket"), and scams? In 2007, it was "Miskol"; I believe "jueteng" and "pasaway" made it to the top of the list prior to 2007. How do people come up with these lists and choices? As far as my googling has taken me, WOTY for 2008 and 2009 have not been revealed.

I will not even attempt to go into a discourse on societal influence on semantics. I will leave that up to the folks at Oxford, Merriam-Webster, and UP Sawikaan. Instead, I asked the 3 Kims in my class what their WOTD and WOTY are, based on their individual experiences:

Kim San San :
WOTD: "cellphone"-from the words "cell" and "phone"; handy phone; cell means small particles
WOTY: "DOTA"-I don't know what's the meaning of the word, but it's a famous games that I only heard last year.

Kim Soon Soon :
WOTD: "feeler"-pretentious or feeling "exagg"
WOTY: "add"-used often in websites like friendster and facebook; instead of saying "Can you please invite me to your account so that I could keep in touch with you?"

Kim Yan Yan :
WOTD: "hang out"- "gimmick" or "peer jam" like in bars and malls; also going out
WOTY: "shawty"- American slang noun referred to as "woman", "girlfriend", "girl", widely used by Americans especially in their pop music