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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Miracle of Five Minutes

On average, a teacher spends about 45 minutes with the students every day.  However, with the aim of completing the required lesson plans and the overwhelming number of students in each class, teachers are usually guilty of failing to make a REAL teacher-student connection.

Several studies have shown that a teacher has great impact in the trajectory of students and a constructive relationship can build a strong connection for learning. Specific lessons are easily forgotten but a student does not forget how a teacher makes a difference in his life.

Recently, I noticed my students interrupting me at the middle of discussion so eager to share about variety of things. Sometimes, they are totally off the topic and it has something to do more with their struggles and exciting news they have for the day. That’s when I thought of giving them five minutes before the start of the lesson to write everything they want to share. The result was amazing. Writing for five minutes gives them a moment to be quiet and think about their day. In the same way, it also enlightens me about what they’re going through. The next day, I usually give them encouraging short notes which is related to what they wrote the previous class.

The activity obviously makes them feel more important and their class participation is a lot better. Kids want to feel that they are not only noticed because they have done something wrong but because a teacher cares. I am sure that they will treasure more the five minutes I gave them than the rest of the time I discussed the lesson. Remember, students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Are you a Korean?

More than a month of teaching here and I am already collecting unforgettable memories. My students range from 1st to 6th graders and they are so adorable! Here are some of my memorable and sometimes hilarious experience with them.

Scene 1 (With the 6th Graders):
Student 1: Ms. Nina, are you a Korean?
Student 2: No, she’s not. She’s a Japanese.
Student 3: No. She’s Chinese.
Student 4: No. She’s an immigrant.
Student 5: So, you don’t like Trump?
Me: (Poker face) Let’s continue answering page…

Scene 2 (With the 1st graders):
Student 1: Ms. Nina, where are you from?
Student 2: Are you from Korea?
Me: From the Philippines.
Student 1: Where is that?
Student 2: Do you have TV there? Do you have electricity? Do the people speak English?
Student 1: Is that in China?

Scene 3 (With 6th Graders):
Student 1: Ms. Nina, do you know that I can tell the future?
Me: Oh, really? So, you can see my future?
Student 2: I know what I want to be in the future.
Us: What?
Student 2: A teacher because I want to help kids learn like what you are doing to us.
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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Asian Store in Muskegon

David and I were eating lunch at Subway early this month when a friend told us where to buy lumpia wrapper right here at Muskegon. That made me so excited since I’ve been dying to have it.

The store was beyond my expectation. They sell not only lumpia wrapper but many Filipino and other Asian products as well. I lived in Jakarta for almost four years and the only time I got Filipino stuff was during my visit to Singapore. Thousand miles away from the Philippines, my favorite foods are just right here in my new home. There are pancit canton, siomai, dumplings, shanghai rolls, tocino, longanisa, bangus and even galunggong for sale!

However, my excitement is not just because of it. The owner, Ms. Swan, is just so kind that even my husband enjoys going back there. She gives discount to us whenever we visit and even requests to hug me. Yesterday during our last visit, she gave me a box of famous chocolate candy from the Philippines. 

Meeting Ms. Swan is a reminder that whatever is your nationality, wherever you are from, it is a beautiful experience to show nothing but kindness! 
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