Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Grade 4 for a day

Yesterday, I went to San Agustin Elementary School in the town of Bacarra, to spend the day observing what transpires in a public elementary school here in the province. This is part of my self-imposed one-day immersion program so that I can better perform as a local policymaker. I believe getting the worm's eye view will help me appreciate the factual circumstances when I defend, decide and vote on the budget of the different sectors.

I was there at the start of the school day, right after the flag ceremony. I spoke with the Principal, Mrs. Acoba, and she assigned me to Grade 4. I entered the class of Mrs. Sales. She didn't know I was going to observe. She later told me that she was nervous. I told her not to, since I didn't represent DepEd. I was there merely to observe the day-to-day activities of a public school teacher.

So, back to the story, the students stood up and greeted me a good morning. I told them what i was doing and for them to continue what they were doing. First period was English. They sang a song. And then the teacher started the lesson. It was on how to use the dictionary. Afterwards, she organized an activity, so that the students would better understand the lesson. To test if the kids did get it, Mrs. Sales gave them a quiz. They checked it themselves right after. The scores would gauge if the class understood the lesson. If majority passed, then it was okay. if majority didn't, then the teacher would have to reteach. Afterwards, Mrs. Sales gave the class homework.

Next class was Makabayan (EPP). They sang again. This subject's lesson for today was about home improvement, how to fix broken furniture at home. And then the same scenario again. Activity (group work), Quiz and Homework.

Tapos Math naman. Kantahan uli. The lesson was on estimating. same scenario nanaman. All this time, nakatayo yung teacher.

And then Makabayan (Art).

All this time, the same teacher! whoah. The same teacher taught English, Makabayan and Math! To those of you not surprised, the reason why this comes as a shocker to me is because I didn't go to a public school. So, I don't know ganito pala sitwasyon ng mga public elementary teachers. In Xavier, as early as grade 1, iba ang teacher namin sa english, iba sa math.

Had lunch. Went back to class at 1pm. Mrs. Sales taught Filipino. Kantahan nanaman (I guess para maganahan mga students). same procedure. I would sometimes participate in the discussion by feeding answers to the students. During the quiz, I would walk around to check their answers. I also noticed that the girls were more participative than the boys. The three brightest students were all females. I whispered to the boys, "Go boys! 'wag kayo magpatalo sa girls!" To no avail.

Next class was Makabayan. The lesson was on the environment. Kulang sila sa textbooks. 1 book per 4 students. we need to give them books.

And then Science. Of all days, I ended up when they were discussing fertilization. when the sperm cell meets up with the egg cell. giggle sila lahat, sabay tingin sa akin. ako tuloy nahiya.

Again, all this time, one and the same teacher. Mrs. Sales had no break, except for the short recess in the morning and lunch.

If we were in a manila private school, this would be an unfair labor practice.

Saludo ako sa kanila. Mabuhay ang mga pampublikong guro!

Mrs. Sales ended class with a song. The students stood up. We prayed. Later, they said good bye. Mrs. Sales sent them out to do their chores (i.e. clean up). I had a post-conference with the teacher and the principal. i thanked them for accomodating me.

We ended the day with the flag retreat.

I went home at 5pm. even if all i did was observe, napagod din ako.

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