My First Ever Job in the Education Profession

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Most of the time, I would mention in my post that I worked in a tutorial center. I think it would be nice if I give you a little background about it since it was a turning point and has made a gargantuan change in my life. (Okay. I’m exaggerating. It’s just gigantic. 😛 )

My previous work as an auditor really sucked all the energy out of me. I resigned because I thought I really needed a breather. However, while I was on that “vacation,” reality hit me that I’m done with the accounting profession and that God was leading me to another one. What profession? I didn’t know yet so I prayed and even fasted to discern His will. One thing I knew, I didn’t want a full-time job yet (I got sick and tired working overtime), I hate waking up early to go to work (I’m nocturnal), I want a job I would enjoy and of course, a job that would give me a decent pay since I still have to share in our family’s expenses.

But does a job like that even exist?

One day, I received a text from my high school classmate (let’s call him RA) asking me if I would like to work as a tutor. He was then working as a private nurse. His client runs a tutorial center and was in need of a tutor. I immediately said yes. Why?

Not a full-time job? – Check. I just have to work 4 to 5 hours a day.

Won’t make me rise early? – Check. Work is from 3pm onwards.

Pays decently? – Check. It’s just a part-time job but it pays thousands above the minimum wage.

Something I would enjoy? – Mmm… We’ll see. But working with kids seems fun enough.

Twenty-twelve, my mom’s birthday. It was when I was asked to come for an interview. I would never forget that fateful day. Everything fell into place. Everything was easy and I felt God supporting me. I felt as if I was being pushed by the wind to go. My feet had wings and I wasn’t walking at all. Everything around me seemed more vibrant. What a wonderful day! I was excited and my heart was filled with joy. (Maybe, deep inside I knew something good was bound to happen.)

The interview, exam and trial tutoring were a brisk. Everything happened so fast! One day I was depressed not knowing what to do with my life then one day I woke up with my dream job already in front of me. And did I enjoy the job? You bet. Time was ticking away and next thing I knew, it was already time to go. So this is how it feels like to do something you love pala?

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The perks didn’t end there. The center is inside a posh subdivision. Given its location, it caters to the kids from families of the highest socio-economic echelon (which is good because that enables the center to pay the teachers well). Stupid me, I didn’t know it that time. I was shocked when I found out a week later that my lady boss, Teacher N, who dresses so simply — is a daughter of a mall owner and that she, herself, owns a well-known appliance store. (Of course, she didn’t tell us these. Just learned it from the kids and helpers. It’s some kind of an open secret.) My jaws dropped too when I found out who our tutees are — the richest in the country???!!! (Now I’m not exaggerating. Take it as it is.) However, I’m glad I didn’t know these things prior to the interview or else I would have felt the pressure. If I had known who my interviewer was, I might have blown the interview.

Now, why am I telling you these?

Because I didn’t expect working with them would be such a bliss. It gave me a different perspective in life. It opened my eyes to a completely different world — a world of possibilities. I learned a lot of things. I found out they work hard, even the kids, and they are very much disciplined. They are wise with money and they are matipid pala. I thought I was already wise with money, but compared to them, I felt so magastos. Shame on me. They can even work without air con. Haha! And they are simple and humble. Yes, so different from what we see in soap operas.

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I had wonderful students. Aside from the cuteness overload (with pink cheeks that look like they are wearing permanent blush), they are so sweet and so smart! Most parents send their kids to tutor not because the kids need help but simply because they want their kids to excel more. Our studes are expected to get perfect scores in their exams. (Hay, pressure!) The usual trend:  preschoolers get 100% average in their report cards; the first or second graders, 99%; higher levels, 90+. They don’t settle for mediocrity. And I realized I should also do the same if I want to get ahead in life.

And another great thing I got from the job? My employer, Teacher N. Although she’s not popular with the students and other tutors, I really appreciate her as a boss. I’ve been through different kinds of  superiors in the past so I know she’s different. Having worked with bosses who were mostly doing nothing and who merely depended on their subs to do everything (even their own tasks) — I love the fact that while we were busy teaching, Teacher N was busy with her own students too! Though she gets mad at times, that just makes her real. If she dislikes what you’re doing, she would tell you right away… Bluntly… No nonsense… This immediate feedback makes you improve your work. She’s not the kind who would keep mum when she dislikes what she sees and you’d just be surprised that she told another superior of her long list of complaints about you. No, Teacher N isn’t like that. Why complain when you can do something about it? And friend, she knows how to compromise. She wouldn’t just simply impose what she wants. She listens to your side and would think of a win-win solution. She’s open to feedbacks, too. When she’s not busy, she would also make me kuwento about my life. She’s a lola to me.

And that’s it. A background on my first job as a tutor. I know this post has gone quite long but I can’t help my self from gushing on how grateful I am that I landed on that job — to the point that I should consider revising the title to, “Why I’m Grateful for My Job at the Tutorial Center.”

Much to my sadness, I’m no longer connected to them. After 2 joyful years, though I still loved the work, I once again felt God asking me to go somewhere else. But in my heart, I would always be forever grateful for that job. My students, Teacher N and all the memories would always stay with me.

I love you, guys. You’ll be in my heart forever. ❤

Aim high,

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Photo Credits:

1st & 2nd: © Lorelyn Medina; 3rd: masterfile.com

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Why Being Intelligent Does Not Automatically Make You a Good Teacher

© Teguh Mujiono

I used to work in a tutorial center. One day, my boss told me that I was to teach accounting to a college student. This actually freaked me out. You see, it was just the little ones I was handling. We agreed prior to my employment that I would not teach high school students because as a newbie, I didn’t think I could handle them. True enough, no high school… pero binigyan naman ako ng college! 😥

Before my first session with the accounting tutee, I was thinking of backing out. I turned to teaching because accounting is really stressful for me — but the latter seems like something I can’t escape. I could almost hear it sing, “I will follow you… Follow you where ever you may go…” 😥

Unfortunately, I was fated to teach accounting. My tutee, let’s just call him MS, studies in DLSU. Though a Marketing major, their accounting subject was really hard given that their school is a topnotch in the CPA boards. Worse, their prof is a fresh grad. Why worse? This may not be true in general, but most older teachers are more considerate than the new ones. From experience, they already know what to expect from the students, they know the latter’s capacities and thus have realistic expectations. Meanwhile, most new profs (again I’m not saying all), have quite idealistic expectations and are yet to learn the thinking capacities of the students. Even I, when I was a new auditor, was so strict but eventually became less strict. As I gained experience, it became easier for me to know if something wasn’t right. If I felt nothing, I would quite relax my procedures (just enough as not to compromise the audit process). They say it’s intuition gained through experience. What do you think? I leave the judgment to you.

Anyway, stalkers that we are, MS and I also found out that his prof was top 8 in the CPA board. Honestly, I felt a bit intimidated. Told you, I was so chillax during my schooling that I barely passed the CPA board.

Am I qualified to even tutor accounting?

I prayed to God about it. And I felt Him telling me that I need not worry. Though I may not be a board topnotcher nor a laude, He has given me the gift of having the ability to excellently impart the lessons to my students. Isn’t it that as an accountant not only once was I asked the question, “Ang galing mong mag-explain. Bakit di ka mag-teacher?” God’s answer was later confirmed when MS said the same exact thing a few days later, “Iba ang matalino sa guro.” Apparently, he told his dad about his prof and that’s what his dad said.

My professor in Principles of Teaching also have the same observation. Being intelligent does not automatically make you a good teacher. Don’t we all know a teacher or two who we wish we could kill when he teaches? Those profs who could weave magic and make you doze off (because you don’t get them you’d rather sleep)? Those profs who seem to come from an alien planet because when they start speaking, you would surely say “Huwaaat???!!!” Only to get the biggest surprise of your life when one day you find out they are summa cum laude or are double or triple PHD holders? How come?!!!

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Really, it’s mostly the smart ones who can’t teach well (not all, okay?). Since they are quick to pick up new lessons, they usually teach fast thinking that students would understand just as quickly as they do. They usually make shortcuts (most math teachers do this) when teaching — expecting the students would follow. On the contrary, if you were not so smart, you would understand the thought processes of a common student and would therefore adjust the pacing of the lessons. It takes one to know one, right? ***

I think, more than high IQ or astounding scholastic records, being a good teacher requires one to have high EQ — the talent to intuitively understand the students and step into their shoes — so as to adjust and present the lessons in a language they understand.

How about you? What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Aim high,

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*** I acknowledge the fact that there are many other factors affecting the quality of one’s teaching. However, this is an interesting aspect we could also look into.


Photo Credits:

1st: © Teguh Mujiono; 2nd: rankopedia.com; 3rd: © Corbis

I Told My Students I Cheated in High School

Photo  Credit: Tono Balaguer

“Yes, I cheated.”

That was my brave answer when my two long-time tutees asked me if I ever cheated in school. It could have cost me their respect but I admitted it anyway. Their eyes grew wide in disbelief, “Really?!!!”

I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t gamble. I don’t even curse. I have high grades in the prestigious state university where I am taking up my MA. And they know all these things. They call me “Miss Perfect.” They believe I can do no wrong. Well, akala lang nila yon! 

I was just in grade 1 when I was first caught copying my classmate’s answers (just because I didn’t hear the dictated question). In grade 2, my adviser used to sit me beside her during exams because I was such a “loud” test-taker that the whole class would hear my answers. In high school, I didn’t attend P.E. classes because I didn’t want my crush (from a higher batch) to see me doing “stupid” things. In other subjects, I wasn’t paying attention as I was staring out the doors, waiting for that crush to pass by. Malandi!!! Also, I was always late for school that there was a grading quarter when I had no grade for the first subject. There were times I slept in class. And the one I was talking about: my teacher in algebra caught me copying my friend’s answers. I was a math contestant but I was tamad to think and it was so fun copying. The risk of being caught! (Imagine that teacher finding out I was elected Math Club president the following year. Haha.) Most of all, I never reviewed for exams. Ang tunay na matalino hindi nag-aaral, stock knowledge lang! (Yabang! I realized now how wrong I was.)

Photo: http://onlinedatahub.com

When I became a teacher, I learned through my experiences how easily kids pick up adults’ behavior — especially the ones they look up to — so I tried (and is trying) hard to become a good role model to my students. I stopped cursing and I became mindful of my behavior around them. I sit straight, I keep my things organized, I say “Thank you” and “Excuse”, et cetera. And since I push my students to get stellar grades, I make sure I practice what I preach. The once tamad student started listening and reviewing hard for her exams. Little by little, I became their “Miss Perfect (in their eyes only, of course).

But why risk my reputation?

Because I want them to know that I haven’t always been the “Miss Perfect” that I seem to be. That I am human. That I also had my ups and downs as a student. That I was tamad and irresponsible. That I made a lot of mistakes which I now regret (I could have gotten higher honors for example). And by doing so, they would know that although they “suck” now, they, too, can change like me. Why, they are way better than me when I was their age!

I know most of us try our best to be a good example to our kids. We usually tell them how great we were during our student days. “When I was a student I always had honors.” Or, “When I was a student I always won during contests.” Or, “I never engaged in fights!” However, we often miss telling them our failures when telling them these things is just as important. Isn’t it more inspiring when we hear rags to riches stories than the success stories of people who were born with a silver spoon? Just the same, if we tell the kids about the hardships we hurdled in school and how we bounced back higher to become who we are today, they would think they can do the same. That failing a quiz is normal and they can always do better next time.

My friends, don’t be afraid to show your kids the human side of you.

Aim high,

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Photo Credits:

1st: © Tono Balaguer; 2nd: onlinedatahub.com