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I just attended the 1st National Young Teachers Boot Camp organized by YOUTeacH Philippines last week and I felt so privileged to be part of this 1st network of Filipino young teachers primarily because the application was difficult. There were about 1500+ applications from teachers all over the Philippines and I was blessed enough to be chosen to join the boot camp. Going there, I really didn’t know what our sessions would be since the entire process was actually vague at first. Everything that happened came as a surprise…a pleasant, sweet surprise!

DREAMS.

We started the boot camp thinking and talking about our dreams. We all have dreams. We all have a passion for something but the question is: Are the things that we do every single day contribute to the attainment of these dreams? As I go through Sir Prim Paypon’s (founder of The Dream Project) workshop on The Filipino Dreamagineering, I realized that there are actually a lot of things that I do every day that are only distractions to achieving my ultimate dream. It was an eye-opener for me and made me realized that I actually wrote something about it on my Facebook account:

“For the chances that were lost, for the opportunities missed and for the relationships that falter, we can only stop, think and begin again.

It sucks to be reminded that what you have been doing everyday does not contribute to the attainment of your goals and is not in one with what you consider as your passion in the moment. But it never hurts to say ‘sorry’… to yourself, to other people and to that passion you have been setting aside.

Thankful for this day to be able to reflect about my actions. Bakit nga ba ako nabubuhay?”

(Sir Prim Paypon of The Dream Project with the Region X Delegates)

The second thing I learned about Dreams is what we call the Life Number. The Life Number, according to Sir Prim, is actually the number of people/lives you have touched in your lifetime. I still have to count and think about my Life Number. Here’s my short reflection a day after the workshop:

“Since yesterday, I keep on thinking on my current Life Number. In the many things that I do, am I able to create an impact in other people’s lives especially those who are around me? The time on earth is just too short to be wasted. What am I really here for and what is the essence of my advocacies if I am not able to foster meaningful relationships with the mankind?”

REALITIES.

After realizing our dreams, we were immersed to a relocation site in Calauan, Laguna where the hard and sad realities of our times can be seen with our two eyes. Sometimes, it’s easy to dream but when we face the reality, our dreams may not be relevant or may not have an impact at all, especially to other people. Since we are in the education sector, it was a good experience that we were able to see the situations of our students in their families and respective communities. The empathetic feeling that we got from being one with them will keep us moving.

(My one and only photo from the immersion)

And what’s good about facing the reality is knowing that we are not alone. The problems and concerns we face as teachers are also similar to what others are experiencing. Moreover, the little things that we do at the grassroots level somehow have an impact on the whole scenario of our educational system as shown by Sir Elvin Uy, former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education. The only difference is what we do after seeing the reality. I was inspired by the message of Ms. Sabrina Ongkiko (a public school teacher like me, one of the founders of Kape’t Guro, and who became famous because of her viral TEDx talk) that it is really not about teaching but…loving. And so I asked myself,

“Do I really want to make a difference?

For me, making a difference to the lives of other people is also making a difference to myself. It’s like love. You give all what you can and in the process, you lose a part of yourself.

But losing something for a person is sweet when it is given unselfishly. And it is even sweeter, and a bonus!, when that somebody will also be the reason why you will be complete again.”

(With Ms. Sabrina Ongkiko and the delegates of Region X)

ELEVATE. ADVOCATE. COLLABORATE.

Ever since the boot camp began, we have been hearing these three words from the organizers and I was really curious what is it about. As the days unfolded, it made sense to me that these three have something to do with connecting our dreams to the realities. How to do it? That is actually responding to the needs and dreams of the communities we are into by creating and implementing sustainable and empathetic projects for them. This is our CALL OF ACTION.

Because of this, we had sessions with different sustainable projects and non-government organizations who have been successful in creating impacts in the country, namely, Bag943, Education Network/Civil Society Education Network for Reforms, Teach Peace Build Peace Movement, Silid Aralan Inc., Ad-rem Project, The Storytelling Project, I am Sam Foundation, and Alpabasa. I have known all of these organizations before and I was really happy and inspired that I got to meet them during the boot camp. This was one of my fun take-aways. I was on fangirling mode the whole time! 🙂 But seriously, all of these programs started small with only a big dream and hope for the communities they wanted to help. They have gone a long way and I really do hope that when we do ours, we will also be like them in the future.

(Pictures with the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement [left] and the founder of Alpabasa [right])

After learning all of these projects and programs, we needed to create our own. To facilitate this, we went through the YOUTeacH Launchpad facilitated by Gian Adao with the aim of knowing our strengths, weaknesses and people whom we can work with. Basically because we cannot give what we don’t have. We also went through a DESIGN THINKING Workshop conducted by no less than the people behind Habi Education LabThe workshop was facilitated by its Executive Director, Mr. Gerson Abesamis. This is actually my second Design Thinking Workshop but the Habi Education Lab way was truly phenomenal since at the end of the workshop (which was only a half day, by the way), we were actually able to create a concept to our projects.

              

(YOUTeacH Launchpad Workshop [left] and a photo with Habi Education Lab’s Executive Director [right])

KatuTURO. Turong Katutubo.

The long hours at the Boot Camp paved way for the birth of KatuTURO: Turong Katutubo, our project for Region X. It is to answer “How do we make learning materials relevant to the teacher of IP Communities in Region X?” 

We also experienced how to pitch the project. It gave us anxiety for the judges were composed of the Vice President of SM Foundation, a representative from the US Embassy, and a dean of the University of the Philippines. We were proud to present our project and the things that we need to improve would surely be addressed upon going back to our regions.

(During our project pitch. It gave us goosebumps!)

Lastly, we are happy that the Department of Education will be supporting us in this endeavor for it is an affirmation that we are doing and will be doing something right. #parasabayan #parasabata #parasaedukasyon

(With Undersecretary of DepEd, Sir Alain Pascua)

“Kung ang kabataan ang pag asa ng bayan, ano pakaya ang gurong kabataan? ” -Gian Adao

In order to teach, one must never cease to learn. To Teach is to Love. We are YOUTeacH Philippines!

 

News Reporter

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