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By: Lorelee D. Asignacion

There is no limit to what man can do to realize his dreams. Looking back at the years that led me to the journey I now take, I can only say, “Wohooo!!!! What a ride!”

I remember sharing that line to a group of a hundred or more students from ABI-eTech after my talk last Friday. They practically left the hall repeating the same line over and over. It had been a great and fruitful two hours with them (for the second time). I thank Miss Evelyn Abad for the opportunity of sharing my ideas, and I hope I was able to inspire the would-be professionals of the world.

Talking about inspiration, I had a mega-dose of it last Thursday and Friday. I was with Ms. Luchi Flores of Coalition for Better Education in the Monitoring & Evaluation for the Global Filipino Teachers Program. There were six teachers- two from Sagay National High School, two from Fr. Gratian Murray Integrated School, one from Generoso Villanueva National High School, and one from Bata National High School who got evaluated in their Project-Based Learning implementation.

The common project focus themed, “Empty Chair, Empty Future” deals with absenteeism and the underlying circumstances that led to what the education circle refer to as habitual absences and Students At Risk of Dropping Out (SARDO).

The students involved in the PBL basically went out of their comfort zones to track down some learners who have incurred absences that went beyond the limits. Along the course of planning, gathering data, surveying, and implementing, those who have participated have managed to establish the connections between the reasons behind absenteeism and the solutions that the school and DepEd can provide to address the problem. Further, the project gave them a lot of realizations- that they ought to be thankful for having parents who do their very best to send them to school; that they must not complain if there are times their allowances may not suffice; that they have the responsibility to help their fellow students; and that they can do something even if they are yet adults. Such is the impact of PBL. Aside from the countless opportunities to exercise learning beyond the classroom, the participants get the chance to understand real-life problems confronting the immediate world they live in. Well, they may not help out in finding the solutions; much less provide the solution to the problem given the fact that they are much dependent on the guidance of adults. But there is no way we can underestimate the power of the youth unleashed and channelled in the right direction. They are amazingly gifted and what they can perform may surprise most of us. These were evidenced by the video presentations they have made, which can soon be accesses via Youtube.

I won’t talk in details about each of the project as they would consume a lot of space, but the “Scaling” of the third year PBL group from Generoso Villanueva National High School was just simply amazing!

Give me the chance to share the happiness and gratitude I have for the teachers who were involved. To Genelyn Fuentespina, Lorry Ann Gaurana (Sagay National High School) , Merly Toles, Razel Serios (Fr. Gratian Murray Integrated School), Jeffrey Delmo (Generoso Villanueva NHS) and Ruth Esmillarin (Bata NHS), I salute you for taking the huge responsibility of guiding your students and walking them through till the project commenced. I know how many extended hours in school and how many sleepless nights were spent since your training in Cebu. I went through the same ordeal when I started my life as a GFT. Nothing was and is easy, and I realized that the more difficult and challenging the situations, the best are the products. If we have toiled and sweated while the world was at rest, everything was never put to waste. Now I know you realize the very same level of fulfilment I had. Let every inch of your effort inspire you to go beyond the walls of your comfort zones, too… because that “beyond” is where the magic happens. Continue to cultivate the culture of excellence, curiosity, responsibility, and faith in your students. Above all, look forward to more opportunities of learning as you embrace your belonging to CBE and GFT families because you do not stop after one PBL implementation. There’s more to come… you just have to wait and see… and toil once more… and bear with sleepless nights while you fill more “Parking Lots” with the expressions that only CBE and GFT people would understand. Someday, when we all look back, we can altogether say, “Wohoooo!!! What a ride!!!

Again and again, I personally thank Coalition for Better Education (CBE) and Global Filipino Teachers (GFT) for believing in what I can do, for whisking me and countless others all over the Philippines to be part of your program and advocacies. I have gone a long, long way already. Whatever blessing that may come next, you are part of it.

My deepest gratitude goes to all my bosses in the DepEd, especially to Ma’am Josefa Jopson, my principal, and countless others. I won’t pin down the names of the rest lest I be misunderstood again. But yes, for every step I take as I weave another path towards the new challenge of my life, I wanted to let you know I look forward to sharing with you the victory soon. To my NDB family, more than words! Thank you for all the understanding especially when my crammed schedule doesn’t give me a little extra time to write. Sorry, I have to hold things for now till the right moment comes. I hope I can make you proud of me this time. It is always nice to know that apart from my family, I have people who have managed to maintain the confidence in me.

Lesson: “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”- Confucius

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