It has been months since I’ve written anything in this blog. I’ve been busy with family matters and catching up on my reading and watching of missed TV series favorites.

There are so many changes that has happened in our family and these, like when we used to answer scrapbook questions, are just too many to elaborate.

Blogging, though at a standstill as opposed to real life events that are not posted online, is not a forgotten passion. I still write. I still submit published articles online. Truth be told, I don’t like to call myself a blogger anymore because in some instances, others tend to attach something negative to this “title”.

Year after year, I tell myself I will write more. I still have a lot of ideas and I really have to find time to write because I am bursting with ideas I want to share and not because I have a deadline or a blogging event press release that has a time table.

I like to think I can challenge those few people who come across my blog reading not just about special education but about how to be good parents to their children or how to bring change to themselves and the people around them.

Pretty big to aspire for, right? Right.

Anyway… for this coming school year, I don’t have a child in elementary school anymore and because of that special event, I wrote about Graduation and the Pinoy Family in this article. The son is an incoming 9th grader under the new Philippines K-12 program. The eldest is an incoming Junior in another university. Yep, my children all go to a university that has basic education level.

Professionally, I have several former students who are now college graduates and even a few have PRC licenses. I currently have three former students in college. For this development in the lives of my students and in my standing as a special Ed teacher, I wrote an article on the alternative courses for college students.

I promise to write more and hope to inspire myself to do just that.

Click here for the full article. Thank you!

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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