Posted by teacherjulie @ 8:52 am

In my line of work as a Special Ed teacher, it helps to understand and try to see the reasons why the parents of my (current and would-be) students say or do things that seem to question my abilities to teach their child. It still seems controversial to me, no matter how long I have taught and how much I have valued my work as a reflection not just of my abilities to teach, but as a reflection of the values I hold dear, as a mother and as a professional.

Maybe these parents are still reeling from the fact that their children have been given a diagnosis that they themselves have been suspecting before it was officially written on paper.

Maybe these parents feel vulnerable and are afraid to know what the future will be like when their children are older: will they be able to cope, adjust, be like the typically developing children, will their potentials be developed and be tapped for them to be independent citizens?

In everything, it is for the benefit of the child, and his/her family if the parents are willing to cooperate and work with the people who will help them develop the full potentials of the child(ren).

As a special education teacher, my work is not done at the end of our one-on-one sessions. There would be times when I get frantic messages or calls. There would be times when parents and I discuss at length what needs to be done, only to repeat the same conversation after a day or two. Being a teacher does not entail just working with a child but working cooperatively with his/her parents and family. In doing so, working together with the parents and the other auxiliary service providers gives the child the best advantage in tapping and developing his/her full potential. The journey won’t be easy nor short, but it is a start.

Posted by julie @ 11:32 pm

I hope you understand that the words of wisdom I imparted to you are for your own good. I speak from experience and as much as I want you to learn from these, it is my desire to have you learn lessons with less hurt and pain.

I hope you understand that as a mom, almost every thought I have when I am awake and even in my sleep centers on you, my children. This is because I only want the best for you, I have you not just in my thoughts but in my fervent prayers that you are in God’s good graces and always feeling safe and secure.

I hope you understand that even if I fuss too much, I worry too much and I expect more from you, it is not because you are my children, but because you have the capability to think well and think wise. I may nag a bit too much but it is for your own good (and my sanity!) that we are all learning how to make things work well in a concerted effort and through collaborations and being  open to each other.

I hope you understand that there are times when the going gets rough, the tough just wants to make everything work out right for all of us. It may be just frustration that rears its ugly head at the heat of the moment but please, if we both exert effort to run a well-oiled routine, then we both know what to expect and what to do. If not, let these diversions from routine help make us adapt to changes easily.

I hope you understand that everything you and I are doing is for your own good because no parent wants his/her children to go down the path that will bring them a lot of disappointments and heartaches. There may be sacrifices and rough patches along the way but understand that life and its lessons are learned through a process that has its ups and downs.

I hope you understand that I love you and that everything I do for you is what I think is best for you. You may not appreciate all these things now but in time, you will. I know it not because I know I am right but because I once was like you, defying borders, trying to see how I can change circumstances the way I see fit and trying to do everything that I think I can do all at the same time. I have gone through disappointments and failures but because my own parents instilled in me values to help me be strong and wise, I can say I am exactly where I thought myself to be.

Remember this, life lessons may be tough and difficult but because we have both learned to adjust, to cope and to think wisely, you may very well become that person you envision yourself to be, on your merit, with us cheering you on at the sidelines.

I hope you understand. I know you do and for that, thank you for understanding.

Taking endless photos and videos are the things people do to record, remember and share baby milestones with family and friends. Photos and videos show babies’ developmental new tricks and other developmental progress.

People with social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram usually see these baby photos and videos posted by relatives and friends. Of course, there’s no denying that we love “oohing” and “aahing” these photos of the little ones.

On the other hand, there are times when it feels like there is over sharing and too much “exposure” for the baby. This is called “sharenting”.

If you parents, however, feel that you need to share these photos and videos on your Social Media accounts, there is no stopping you.

Here are guidelines which may help you ensure you do not endanger the baby’s safety and privacy from exposure to social media:

1. Tinker with the privacy settings of the Social Media accounts to make sure photos are not shared indiscriminately.
2. Turn off geotagged photos which show locations.
3. Only share with people you really know.
4. Ask yourself if you want people you do not really know see the photos you are sharing.
5. Ask yourself if you are willing to take that risk to have your baby’s photos used in other sites without your knowledge and permission.
6. If still you want to share, put watermark on the photo or least blur the baby’s face a bit.
We should value our privacy now more than ever especially since social media accounts are vulnerable to having its contents used by people of bad intent. This has happened and is happening. At this very moment, who knows that photos of your little ones have already been posted elsewhere?

Read more on Sharenting.

Posted by julie @ 9:39 pm

Last year I wanted to dwell on one word that will help me throughout the year. I decided on the word INSPIRE to well, inspire me to do better and bigger things.

“I long to write, to inspire myself and others as well…

I long to “move the earth” with a few woven words, stringed in a few sentences in not so many paragraphs that will melt the hardened resolve, tug at heartstrings and make the mind wonder and wander.”

Did I inspire? Did I become an inspiration last year? I can’t answer that personally but I feel I did. From others telling me they replicated my simple recipes, to people who tell me that being a special education teacher is a noble profession to others who tell me that being a mom of three is difficult but I make it look easy, I think I inspired the few who took time to tell me these things.

This year, I want to focus again on one word that will define my actions and decisions for 2015: SIMPLIFY.

Simplify for me means…

  • Choosing my “battles”, those that are worthy of my time and effort
  • Zeroing on doing more work than doing more talk: Less Talk, More Action
  • Choosing to talk more sensibly 
  • De-cluttering by removing emotional baggage that makes the heart heavy and worries the mind
  • De-cluttering by removing things that invariably are deemed worthless except for taking up space
  • Not buying things that are not important (this we have been doing for a few years now that the children are older) that end up as clutter
  • Having achievable goals to lessen disappointments
  • Lessen artificial ingredients, both in food and in life. I don’t need fake food and fake people.
  • Give more importance to offline connections than online ones.
  • Write blog posts that will inspire others to feel better, do better and become better persons.

I can’t hold on to a lot of things that divide my time and make me lose focus on my goals.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

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Grasshoppers. Caterpillars. Frogs. Leaves. Stones.

These were a few of the things my children brought for me from school. They also came home with faces streaked with (a bit of) dirt, socks (somewhat) black on the soles, knees of denim pants turned white (or brown )from kneeling on the floor to play board games, and the bottom back of white uniforms turned brown from sitting on steps while socializing with classmates. In the early grades, they brought mats and pillows to school because they had one-hour naps.

They came home excited, narrating what they did and learned. Sometimes, they showed off a portfolio of artworks they did in school.

They learned to play wonderful sentimental music with various instruments. Once, my eldest child, who was in the lyre and flute ensemble, serenaded nuns in a hospice. They played old songs which brought tears to the nuns’ eyes. Another time, they were invited to an expensive exclusive school for girls. My daughter said the campus was big but didn’t look friendly.

They had stage plays mounted in school and in other schools as well. I should know, because my son used to play a main character in one which enjoyed three runs.

They competed (and won!) with other schools in various intramurals.

My husband and eldest daughter joined a Father and Child campette twice while I stayed home for a change.

All my children enjoyed camping in school and with other schools in different venues. We celebrated and still continue to celebrate Earth Hour every year as a school year-ender for the Scouts.

Whatever was the child’s family’s religious preference was respected: there were Religion classes for Catholics and special classes for non-Catholics. There were interfaith prayers in programs when the school community is gathered.

These are just a few of my children’s experiences (and other children before them) going to school in JASMS or Jose Abad Santos Memorial School, the basic education department of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) in Quezon City.

jasms

The JASMS Way taught my children that learning is not defined by grades in report cards and that learning is done not just within the four walls of the classrooms.

I have three children and all of them, except for the few years we home-schooled the two younger ones during their early grades, are or were JASMS-QC students. As of this writing, I only have two children in JASMS-QC because the eldest graduated high school two years ago, with a Loyalty Award pinned on her graduation dress.

The JASMS learning experience

Where we live, we have a lot of school options, but we chose JASMS for our children and these are some of the reasons why:

1. JASMs helped our children develop their self-confidence through a balance of learning academics and nurturing their gifts in the other intelligences traditional schools do not give importance to.
2. The school focuses on wholistic development, such that youngsters were able to hone their skills in the fields they excel in, whether theatre arts, music, sports, writing, speaking, visual arts, etc.
3. It offered a learned process that allowed children to value their self-worth, develop their confidence, sharpen their thinking processes and explore different ways to learn within and outside the classrooms.
4. I am a special needs teacher and having my children mingle with children who have special needs is very important to me. In JASMS, typically and atypically developing children learn side by side. Thus, they learn to respect and accept each other, regardless how differently they learn and cope.
5. The school and the parents work together in the children’s learning process.

One time, at the nearby supermarket, I noticed a young school boy who, at 7pm, was still squeaky clean, polo shirt still white and black pants with no marks on the knee part, looking like how he might do if he were on the way to school. I discreetly pointed him out to the children and said: “Look at the boy, still looking clean even at this time.”

The children were unanimous in saying that he looked like he did not have fun in school. “Di naman siya masaya.”

Masaya = happy.

Happy learning

The children were happy with the playground (muddy when it rains) and whatever was there they can play with. They did not mind the sometimes leaking classroom roofs or the flooding from EDSA during heavy thunderstorms. Children still went back to the school even if classrooms were submerged during Ondoy and the children’s books, mats, and most of the first-floor rooms were flooded and majority of the materials there were destroyed. (Thank you, QC and JASMS Parents Association, for having that creek/concrete barrier fixed.)

The children played happily in the only court in the quadrangle, even if they had to schedule basketball and volleyball practices till late because they had to share.

We witnessed a lot of performances in that court: Field Demo, Family Day, English Night, Drama Club performances, Grade 5 and 6 Turn-Over Ceremonies, Graduation Rites, First Friday Masses, Monday Flag Ceremonies, Camping Programs and Basketball and Volleyball Tournaments versus other schools.

This was the same court where performances often had to be stopped because it was raining and the audience had to wait for the weather to clear out. We didn’t complain about this much. For us parents, what mattered most was that our children loved the school, lock stock and barrel.

This is what the JASMS way is all about, that children have fun learning and that learning is fun.

Threat to the JASMS way

Lately though, the JASMS way is facing awesome challenges.

READ MORE HERE.

Compassion is a word that spans a whole wide range of concepts. Compassion is an emotion, a (deep) awareness people feel when they see the sufferings of other people. This compassion fuels the motivation and the desire to help relieve others of these sufferings.

“Compassion is often seen as the foundation of morality”, according to the author of “Just Babies, The Origin of Good and Evil,” Professor Paul Bloom of Yale University. “Compassion is what you could call caring, concern, fellow feeling, the idea that other people matter to us,” he further adds.
Nature of Compassion
One of the characteristics that distinguishes psychopaths from “normal” people is the lack of fellow feeling or lack of compassion. One may be highly intelligent and exhibits the same emotions and desires other people, but if he doesn’t care for others, he is a deviant. He will get something from another person like money or a possession and does not care if he hurts anyone when he does. He will even kick a dog when he feels bored, for example. If he is given a pep talk about him hurting others, he wouldn’t be convinced about changing his ways because he just doesn’t care at all.

The nature of compassion, of being compassionate comes from the feeling that other people matter to us and that we have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. What is right and what is wrong are debatable at times, depending on cultural and religious beliefs and practices among other things.

People are inherently fundamentally kind.

Despite having differences with other people, there are basic concepts and situations that are deemed universally acceptable as needing compassion or feeling a degree of caring and compassion.

Compassion starts at home

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