That experience helped me a lot as a Master Teacher aspirant by that time. The opportunity itself doubly gave me the privilege to learn the content of the training and the powerful mentoring skill of our trainer Dr. Amelia T. Buan.
STAR successfully transformed my skills into conducting math class which focused on developing the thinking skills of the learners giving the learners the opportunity to express how they got their answer. It enabled me to realize that teaching begins the moment a teacher understands the learners’ personality including their experience, prior knowledge, language and culture which should be processed well to be connected into meaningful mathematical concepts in which learners should be empowered to create learning rather than just passively take the information given by the teacher.
I then carried out my new journey implementing research lessons using Teaching Mathematics through Problem Solving and Interdisciplinary Contextualization in my class, as a resource speaker and a demonstration teacher in our division and in Region X. Last November 2017, I was invited as one of the resource persons for the STEM to the Barrio at the Division of Bukidnon. The takeaways that I got from the team were more valuable than the certificate I received as a resource person. Much more than the content and the opportunity, I learned so much from the STAR team the value of hard work, commitment, ingenuity and simplicity of being of service to others.
With my desire to share what I learned from the STAR team to my colleagues, I took the opportunity to implement lessons in grades 5,4,1 and 2. As I transferred from one grade to another I was also blessed to share the strategy to my colleagues through LAC sessions and In- Service trainings. The responses and eagerness of my co teachers to learn something from me during our sessions inspired me so much to conduct more lessons using the strategies I learned from STAR.
My attendance to the 1st DOST -SEI Project STAR International Conference also enlightened me as the resource speakers from different countries highlighted and stressed out thinking skills as an important goal in teaching mathematics. It generally implied the concept on empowering students to learn what to do with the knowledge rather than on what knowledge to learn by exposing the teachers to new perspectives, technologies and innovations.
From those experiences, I considered STAR as my guiding light as I unlearned things and renewed my teaching practice, commitment, passion and dedication. I didn’t consider myself as a bright star but grateful enough to have been illuminated by the brightest light of the STAR program which I have imparted to my pupils and shared to my colleagues.
One question raised during the interview was if our school made a lot of improvement after I embarked on my journey. I honestly said no, there is a little gain but not that much. I have been a winning coach in different competitions which made us garnered honors from the division, regional and national level, hailed as division outstanding teacher among other recognitions but for me it is not the basis of general improvement. The latest result of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) which our school happened to be among the takers provided us the real picture of the majority of the learners which should be our pivotal point to assess and reflect so that we can redirect ourselves towards empowering our learners to become a critical thinker and problem solver.
I guess my answer was not as pleasant as a winning one but I know deep inside that the DOST-SEI is genuine with their purpose to help improve the quality of mathematics education by helping the teachers learn effective strategies that would address the need of time as the SEI director Dr. Josette Biyo said “Teachers matter.” One good thing as a STAR trainee is I am now guided where and how to start by unlearning and relearning things, radiating hope, channeling inspiration to my co-teachers to continually learn, innovate and improve according to the needs of our learners.