April 1, 2014

Finding Joy in Teaching Again

In the last few months, I was stuck with little kiddos day in day out! A first timer in this field, I should say, it is hard!

Hard because of the following reasons:    
**  I set high expectations on them. I should right? To not treat them special, but just like any other regular kids… and this is where I do have the biggest concern! Treating them as regular kids automatically put them to the top of my bar – perform at 100% not 90% not 80% but strictly 100%! No Excuses! This sounds good right? No, not on my list. Why? Because I am mean, really mean! I will get into your system with my stern voice, I will suck your blood with my strictness and I will make you work with no mercy! No love, no care, no holds barred. Scary, right? 
** I have not been in the field of teaching for three years, never taught in a resource class, and not with elementary kids with disabilities! I have been pampered sitting on my desk working on a computer, driving to schools and working with teachers or facilitating a meeting with parents but teach in elementary school?! 
**  I have to collaborate with other people who feel they know everything about the kids they don’t see all day! Well… I teach people what to do, right? So get into your place! Uh-oh!
Without seeing it happening, I have fallen in the resist – resent – revenge cycle. For months, I have not allowed anyone to tell me what to do. I covered my ears, hid in the dark, and locked my internal room! I blamed them all. I complained. I pointed fingers. 

I didn’t realize it was all me and the victims were no less, my little kiddos.

In the process, I have kept myself from enjoying and finding joy in what God has gifted me; the joy of being in the presence of the little kiddos. Now it is giving me goose bumps to remember Jesus and His words, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  

God has a purpose. Given, I do not want this position; I just forced myself to want it! I could go on and on with all my excuses and it would still be no excuse… no reasons are excuses for how I am becoming.

I remember copying the picture of Pope Francis with his quote “The world tells us to seek success, power and money: God tells us to seek humility, service and love.” The whole time, I wanted to be successful, I tried all teaching strategies that will work best. I modified, deleted and changed structure –and although, I brought in little teeny successes from my little kiddos, it was all because of fear -- simply because I failed to change me. 

I have forgotten to be humble, to be of service and to love…

I thank God for allowing me to wake up and giving me another chance to find me in these little kiddos. I thank God for another chance to correct, to turn 180 degree and to find joy in the process. 

I have two more months with them, and I would like these last two months to be filled with happy learning, excitement and high expectations… with just and consideration. 

So help me God.

Changing Jobs

I changed jobs a month ago and I am still in transition mode. I am not very enthusiastic about where I am now and the work I do. I hate to confess but I think I loved my last job too much, I miss it so much! 

I may have been blinded by the magic words "we-will-sponsor-you" that was part of the package when they hired me, but honestly my heart still isn't there.

I cannot point out what specifically I do not want, it may be too many. I have not accepted my situation wholeheartedly and as of this mindset, I am not sure if I will ever get to that point. Given another option, I know I'll run to that direction.

I just received a message today, here goes: "...sometimes, when it seems your wings have suddenly and unexpectedly been clipped, maybe, just maybe, there's more to learn by staying where you are.

Maybe not. 

You decide."

I say, very fitting, huh?

The fact is these are all feelings, and I've nowhere to go, right now, "feeling victim, lol!" but sacrifice.

It sucks I know.

January 23, 2014

First Day.. Uh Oh!

OMG! I am not sure what I entered into!

First day of work.. and I feel I totally messed up.... either my standards are too high.. or I should just quit!


Ok Still thinking something really good will come out of this.. but just can't help but be overwhelmed by the simplicity of it all! Weird, weird, weird!

Read on here! First Day of the.. what the @ Exploring Gems: One Step at a Time.


Cleaning up!

Here's my new workplace! Clean, sanitized and organized!

Different and New to ME!

This 2014, I've moved on! Again! Lol!

I've resigned as an IEP Writer/Facilitator and have taken on another job as a Gifted/Special Ed Teacher in an elementary school!

I am up for something crazy and new- including another website to document everything about the journey!

Visit me here sometime!!! Exploring Gems: One Step At a Time. Learning, Relearning, Unlearning.

Oh, I've written about this new adventure here at My Dailies too! Read on!


December 5, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Oh, I almost forgot about this. It was my 2nd year teaching in a district in New Orleans, this time, I was assigned to an alternative middle school setting, where over-aged students were placed, aka, worst of all!

I was the only Filipino teacher in that school, but the presence of able-bodied man, I forgot their titles but they were certified to restrain students, made me safe. There wasn’t one time when students will not have any behavior issues… it was every day, every time behavior problems. One will not be able to teach AT ALL, unless you address the behavior first.

There was this one Asian teacher who was part of Teach for America. She was my general education partner in Math. She looked like she just graduated from college but she was sooo good!

The first day of school, she set expectations.  She made sure students were listening to her and everybody was in the same boat as her. I've seen how students bowed down and listened to her instruction and discussion. Of course, it was a successful strategy to feed the students after every activity and she did too! The students love her!

As all good things, it did come to an end, because she needed to resign and go back to California for some medical treatments I believe. I've seen how students missed her but it was as if they were used to people leaving them...maybe, one of the reasons why they behave the way they do was to cover up what they really feel within... it would take time to give their trust and respect, and when they did, people leave them, it was a sad thing to see. 

Well, I just felt like reminiscing good ol’ New Orleans days and how teachers really need to give their best shot especially during the first week of school. We just had to make a difference somehow, that's what teachers do.

We had difficult kids that year, but we managed. It was a lot of work, but nobody did say it was easy. In the end, we've all learned a lot from each other, and that was the good thing.


September 30, 2013

6 years after

For a long time, I’ve embraced Leo Buscaglia’s “An investment in life is an investment in change…When you are changing all the time, you’ve got to continue to keep adjusting to change, which means that you are going to be constantly  facing new obstacles. That’s the joy of living. And once you are involved in the process of becoming,  there is no stopping. You’re doomed! You’re gone! But what a fantastic journey!” and change it is! 

I changed jobs every 3 years 3x! There was just something in me that needed to do and explore. But coming to America, I’ve held different jobs every year for 4 years and it wasn’t even my intention! Knowing about Law of Attraction, I may have attracted it subconsciously because I needed to experience all aspects in Special Education to get to where I am now. 

I am now in my 3rd year as an IEP Facilitator here in New Mexico.  I like what I do and for the first time, I am OK with where I am.  But everything is temporary. As an H1B visa worker, we can simply do our best and pray for permanency because nothing is guaranteed. That’s the reality of the visa. It is up to the workers to accept or reject :) 

But what a journey!  What a roller coaster of emotions, and that’s the joy of living – to be involved in the process all the way! 

As we wait on how life turns out to be after 6th year in H1B visa, I will continue to open up to possibilities and know that we are taken care of. I am eager for the surprise.  I live in a creative world.  Whatever my mind can conceive and believe, it will achieve! I shift my paradigm.

God has led us here, and we are thankful where we are. For the meantime, life continues to give options and choices as we wait and see and I will forever be grateful! Onward!


September 6, 2013

I'm 40 and I Love It! :)

I AM 40!!!

Well, that just took a lot of courage in me to be revealing my age when I've actually stopped counting at 33! 

When asked about my age in application forms, I had to subtract the year with my birth year before coming up with the correct age! But of course! LOL!

Why did I stop counting? Direct Answer. I've decided to stop judging myself. 

Age, would be people's way and sadly, my own personal basis of how I should act, behave and look based on what the society expects me to act, behave and look! I'd hear people say that I should act my age! HUH? So, would that mean, the older you get, the more serious, dull and boring you become? Mmmm, that's just not what I envision my life to be, unfortunately! Lol!

Age would also be the basis of what status we should already be at, at this age, "You should already be married with kids?" DUH? and ostracize those who have chosen to stay single at high-risk pregnancy ages? 
No, no, no, no, no.

So, I've decided long ago to stop counting and just enjoy my years on earth!

And.. now at 20.. I mean, 30.. oh yeah! 40.. Lol! I've decided to lovingly accept me as me! 

Acceptance will start from me... and who I've become after 40 years of living, loving and learning and I am embracing all of it wholeheartedly! 

I am grateful , blessed, and full of joy for all the 40 years of God's blessings and miracles in my life. I am still amazed, full of awe and wonder, and will continue to be fascinated and enchanted by His love, compassion, and generosity for another 40 more years of life! :)

Thank you everyone for sharing this momentous event of my life! :)

To God be the Glory!


May 14, 2013


Funny, how our thoughts become our reality! I was just reminded of the experience, years back.

I went to pull out this kid for testing; I've tested almost all of the students in my area in preparation for their education program. The minute he sat down, I knew this kid, let's name him Bill, was different. Unlike all the other students who would just sit down and answer the test. Bill, was different. 

Different, because unlike most kids, he started asking questions, which were valid by the way, and maybe I was just taken aback because it was not everyday I see students like him.

So after, pacifying his imagination, and strictly telling him what to do, he followed and focused on what he needed to finish with some whining and sighs in between!

I emailed my psychologist friend about the student I was dealing at that moment, Bill. He gave me all the facts and experiences with teachers; and the reasons why he would always end up in an alternative setting, because he'd be expelled from school.

With my experiences in dealing with students with behavior problems, I bluntly wrote.. "You know what he needs? He needs a Filipino teacher! I am sure this Filipino teacher would make him change!.. and you know what? I know one or two Filipino teachers who are really good in dealing with students like him."

I was actually thinking of Filipino friends who are teachers and who just know how to discipline students; and of course the Filipino way of handling and managing behaviors :)

My psychologist friend said, (knowing Filipino teachers himself), "Well, it depends on the Filipino!" and I pushed, "Truly, if someone would just inspire and push him to his limits and mostly be patient with him, I am sure Bill will go places!"

"The trick", he said, "is to like the kid!"; I replied, "true.. the missing link!"

After 4 weeks....

.... I received an email from my head, asking me if I would be willing to teach a student based on the services agreed upon after school. Thinking it would be extra money, I readily said "Sure!".

GUESS, who the student was? Bill.

.... after 4 weeks with him, he was a changed man! 

I know I just have to make it a reality and it happened... he changed me! Lol!

May 5, 2013

What happens in Vegas... stays in the photos Lol!

We were actually headed to the Factory Outlet. If 3 years ago, we were busy hotel hopping; this time we all decided to do something different. We shopped!... mmm, window shopped! Lol!

Mymy was busy taking photos while I drove the car. Hubby was telling me where to go! .. and then for the first time (we didn't see this last time), we saw the famous Las Vegas sign! Yay! 

April 9, 2013
Driving around Las Vegas

Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens

Thanks to the generosity of a friend who recently moved to Las Vegas. For the first time, we didn't need to book a hotel while in Vegas! :)

The next day, we went to a trip to Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens. 

This is the only Ethel M factory in the world.
Forrest Mars Sr. named the brand after his mother Ethel, who made chocolates from scratch -- right in their own kitchen. 

We were given free chocolates at the end of the mini tour. I forgot, Mars Chocolate North America are the makers of Las Vegas’ own Ethel M Chocolates.

Anyway, good thing, we just had full breakfast so the kids didn't insist we buy chocolates! Mymy, was having fun with her camera though.


We then headed to the unique, three-acre Botanical Cactus Garden. It features more than 300 types of cactus including spotted aloe, agave plants, Texas prickly pears and yuccas. We loved the weather that day too!

We also saw the state-of-the-art solar It provides 100 percent of the electrical energy to the Ethel Ms plant during its peak operating hours.

Nice, huh?

April 9, 2013
Las Vegas Chocolate Factory Tour
2 Cactus Garden Dr.
Henderson, NV 89014

Las Vegas Boat Harbor

Last April, 2013 we decided to go out and see the sun in Las Vegas! Actually we were headed to Disneyland, California but decided to stop over Las Vegas to pick up a friend who would join us in the Spring Break 2013 tour! Lol!

While I, my husband and kids were all debating if we would stop over Hoover Dam. We had been to that place 3 years ago (Christmas Break of 2010); and we sure had fond memories of the amazing place but still, I was voting for all of us to see it again at summer time. Unfortunately, I didn't win, and so after a rest room break at the nearby Casino hotel; we all decided to see the big fish at Lake Mead National Park - particularly the Marina now part of the Las Vegas Boat Harbor.

My daughter, Mymy, took all the photos posted here.

Mimoi's big smile!

.. and so we came to see this!
... they were big Tilapia indeed!


We could have stayed longer  but it was windy, cold, and almost night time plus the visit wasn't really planned....

... and of course, the kids were already shouting Jolibee Jollibee!!! Yep, we needed to travel 6 hours just to taste the happy bee!

 ... but we loved what we saw, so it's all good! Beautiful marina indeed! :)

April 8, 2013
Lake Mead National Park
Las Vegas, Nevada

February 18, 2013

While waiting...

To those who have followed my journey here in the US, here’s the latest…

But, let’s go back to the memory lane first, Lol!

It was last July, 2007 when I received a text message from Pars International about the work opportunity here in the US. That week, my father and I drove to Manila, had my interview at midnight, and back home at around 3am.

Excited and hopeful, two days after I received another text message saying I passed the interview and papers will then be processed. Thus, I needed to pay a certain amount as soon as possible (ASAP). 

It all happened very soon indeed, since by September of that year, I set my feet in the land of milk and honey! 

It felt too easy recalling the events, but in between the paying of the fees and waiting for the results, it was scary! I was anxious, fearful and worried!!!  It was a lot of money that I gambled, and a denial was unthinkable!!!

With the grace of God, it happened.

Now, I am at the end of my contract as an H1b contract worker. Time seemed to have passed by so quickly, since I am already on my 6th year!!!

It was a real blessing to be living together as a family for the first time after 7 years of marriage. (My husband worked as a seaman prior to joining me here, so he'd mostly be away.)

At my 4th year here, we moved from New Orleans to a simple, small and quiet town of New Mexico, and my written dream to live in the mountains came true!

My fear of having children, who will grow up disrespectful and all my bad perception of kids who grew up here, changed, when we moved in this part of the state.

All’s good now.

Yes, my husband sacrificed his time and ways since he wasn’t allowed to work as an H4 visa holder... still, we have really adjusted well.

The latest? we are in the waiting game again. Waiting to make all these permanent.

Breathing positivity now... 

Breathe with me...


November 28, 2012

God willing!

I am currently here alone in a room at a high school in Gallup, New Mexico, USA.

It is 4:00pm. My work time has just ended.

I've been to two different schools today. 

I've communicated all IEP (a special education document) issues and concerns to Special Ed Teachers via email.

I administered the needed tests to students for their upcoming IEPs as my way of supporting teachers in the schools I work with. 

I also helped the teachers in editing their IEPs so it will be in compliance.

During the whole time, I was keeping in touch with my boss.

Yep, I've don't teach classes anymore.

My work revolves around supporting teachers with their IEP documents and checking for compliance.

..and as I sit alone in this room for just a few more minutes, I'm just grateful to God for the many blessings that He has showered me and my family.

It has been 5 years of being in this country.

I know, great things are coming my way.

I would like to believe so, as I dream some more.

I wish you will also dream with me and together, let's make our dreams come true.

God willing.

God is in control!

All things work together for our good.

I was feeling down yesterday, you see, I am able to work here in the US because of the H1b visa, and the end of its validity is nearing. Not being able to see the future is frustrating! So I allowed myself to be engulfed by it. Bad idea! – The therapy? Writing! Before I slept, I know everything will work out for good.

5 years ago, I knew about H1b’s dual intent; I just wasn’t sure why I didn’t push for permanent residence in my dreams. Back then, I was fearful of the future, will my kids grow up not respecting us? Will they grow up mouthing bad words, just like in the movies? It was a valid fear since I have no idea what’s in store for us.

Now, 5 years after, 2 years being here in New Mexico, I know my kids are ok. We are in a place where I know we are ok, our future looks good. Unlike what I’ve seen in the movies, there’s really nothing to be afraid of.

I still don’t know what the future will hold for us with the visa I have, but what I am certain is that God is working for good. It’s just a matter of time and I believe He will make all things possible for us.

I believe it’s been done. No worries anymore. He’s in control.

To God be the Glory!

All worth it!

Sometimes, just like today.. I am asking myself if this is all worth it?

I mean, coming here in America only meant one thing: for our family to be together.

Now, it's been 5 years. Five years that we haven't hugged our parents, brothers and sisters-in-law, relatives and friends. We've missed all important occasions, events and celebrations. We've taken away the opportunity for our kids to get to know their cousins, relatives and grand parents.

We honestly miss everything and everyone in our country!

It wasn't and still isn't easy to go home just because finances are tight. I continue to be the sole bread-winner working in a state where it doesn't really pay as much. Just, hopefully, the opportunity to be given permanent residence.

Permanent residence and then freedom!

Freedom to leave the country so we can have a vacation in the Philippines without the hassle of non-immigration papers.

Confidence and security that we will be able to come back and have a  job waiting for me.

Otherwise, everything remains temporary.

 Is it all worth it?

I believe and know it is.

Lord, we honor, praise and thank You for all placing the desire in our hearts. As we wait for the fulfillment of Your promise, grant us the serenity, faith and trusting heart. All things will work for good because You love us Lord. We will no longer question You, grow weary and be in despair, O Lord. In Your hands, we place our future. Thy will be done.



November 9, 2012

Learning Life's Lessons!

While reminiscing my teaching experiences, I've written this post.....

I heard or read somewhere that life will continue to give us lessons until we learn it. 

Two weeks after graduating from college, I was already teaching college students.   

I was so idealistic, perfectionist and wouldn’t tolerate students who were cheating, talking while I was teaching and not doing their work. Yes, I was really strict! Many of my former students would attest to that!

The thing was even if I knew I needed to change, I continued on doing what I was doing because I was afraid if I lost my control, if I became friendly and acted my age (I was just 20 then!, some of my students were even older than me!), I felt my students wouldn’t respect me and may took advantage of my kindness.

So I continued on with my demeanor; I pushed my students to meet my expectations!

I abhorred cheating, if they did so (I was good at finding out; because all our activities were computerized), the next day they would find their names written in bold caps posted in the classroom! And I didn’t care about their feelings at all! 

I was the authority; they needed to follow my commands.

I remember students in the hallway would just stop talking if they saw me walking towards them! 

My students knew that they should to focus on my lecture; otherwise, they would be criticized, embarrassed and put down.

My style of teaching and behavior continued on for almost a year.

I was happy my students were struggling to study my subject! I was happy they couldn't cheat, well, because I would make 3 sets of test for a single lesson! 

But I also knew in time I needed to stop my “being so mean” and learn to find ME again.

I thought I was in control as I tried my best to change my students, when I should have been changing me. 

It took time but, thank God, the change of heart, happened. I was sorry I affected my students in ways and depths I wasn't sure. But, if it was all negative, I am sorry.

It was all inner work. I was operating in fear and negative vibes. It actually caused me to be stressed-out and not live a full life at all!

When I started to let go and found peace within me; when I allowed acceptance for people’s uniqueness, differences and varied levels of intelligence to take over, I found joy in teaching and making my students learn. I was freed!

I thank God for the 3 years of experience in teaching college students, that time of my life was pertinent for me to learn my lessons and to prepare me for what came next.

Lord, may You continue to guide us as we face life's challenges. May we be freed from fear and negativity. Instead, may we open ourselves to love, trust and acceptance. In Jesus' name.



November 7, 2012

The PERM Process

An H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States; this visa allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations; this is good for 3 years and extendable to 6 years. 

For those who are interested to know about H1B process, click here. For those who are interested in knowing the next steps. Read on.

First Step:  Labor Certification. This is the initial step to most employment-based green card or permanent residency process. Its stated goal is to "protect U.S. workers and the U.S. labor market by ensuring that foreign workers seeking immigrant visa classifications are not displacing equally qualified U.S. workers". 

In 2005, they started using a completely electronic labor certification system, PERM (Program Electronic Review Management). PERM is intended to reduce labor certification times to under 60 days.

Second Step: After receiving the certified Labor Certification from the Department of Labor, the next step is to file an immigrant petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  

The Form I-I40, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker is the form that needs to be completed and filed by the employer. In this form too, the employer will indicate the need to apply for adjustment of status from within the US. 

If the priority date is current (this is the date the labor certification was filed.  This date appears on the cover page of the approved labor certification) and the Form I-I40 gets approved then we move on to the next step.

Third Step: Filing of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.  This application can only be filed once the priority date is current.  

At the same time,  we can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document. This document will allow applicants to work for their employer while the adjustment of status application is pending.

An Advance Parole document will also be filed to allow traveling outside the US while the adjustment of status application is pending.

But to make all these things happen, the employer should be willing to sponsor and able to pay for the process. A good immigration lawyer helps a lot too!

Please join me in prayer: 

Heavenly Father, today I set my heart and mind on You. I choose to trust that You are working behind the scenes on our behalf. 

Please arrange everything. We believe in your immeasurable, limitless and surpassing greatness of Your favor.
I believe that You will make miracles! To God be the Glory!


October 31, 2012

Loving Work!

When I started my work as a Special Ed Teacher here in America, it just felt natural. I mean, I was elated to be here, right? So I was just like a sponge, wanting to learn, wanting to do more, wanting to be more.

One of the duties that we have to do is to pull out the student for testing. We need this so we would know the present level of performance of the student in the core subjects: Reading; Math; Writing.

I enjoy doing this. I enjoy pulling out students and testing them.

I also like writing IEPs. IEPs are Individualized Education Programs for the students with needs.  This is done yearly to our caseload (students under our care).

Fast forward to today. 4 years after.

I’m testing kids. I’m checking IEPs. These are the only two major things that I do now. I no longer teach students with special needs, but supporting teachers of special needs with their IEP compliances.

Whatever our minds can conceive and believe, it will achieve!  

It was just a matter of time, but it did happen! The mental images coupled with positive affirmation and gratefulness for work led to getting what I wanted!

I heard that for us to manifest things that we want, we need to put our attention NOT on “What Is” (what is in the present moment or circumstance) or “What Has Been” (what happened in the past) but to “What We Want”. 

We must put our attention and focus on what we want. It doesn’t matter what we have now, or what happened in the past, we just look forward to what we want in the future.

I remember I was just happy I have work, and loving it. But, every time, I’d pull out those kids for testing and working on their IEPs, I’ll just be grateful!

It just came as a surprise when after having lost my job AGAIN for the 4th time. See related post here.  :) For unknown reason, I'd just find myself without work after every school year. Though, I was grateful for the change!

What God was doing, I realized after, was He just wanted me to experience all levels! From middle school, transition school, high school, He wanted me to work with all peoples of different colors and personalities. And then boom! Opportunity, luck and readiness just collided! And here I am doing what I love most doing.

Whatever our minds can conceive and believe, it will achieve! Believe it! Live it!

Thank God for it! :)


As Featured On EzineArticles

October 10, 2012

How old is old?

So I contacted my 89-year-old friend again.

She's at home, she said, working on her crossword puzzles.

"I thought you joined the Senior Center?" I asked.

She said, "Oh, it's not for me. They were too old for me!"

Too old?! Lol!

She is 89 years old!!! How old is old?!!

Photo credit

I guess, age is really just in the mind. Like everything else, it all begins in our mind!

I was just browsing at some of our family pictures. You see, my husband and I just celebrated our 12 years of being married, and that means... well... 12 years!!! Oh my!

Our eldest is already 10 years old, and she has grown big and tall! She was just a baby 10 years ago!!! and that would mean I've grown 10 years older since the day she was born.

But, I feel like I haven't aged! Lol! It's all in the mind. Well, in my mind, I continue to be 27 years old! hehehe

It all begins in our mind.

If my 89 years old friend says Senior Center is not for her, because the place and people in that place, are just too "old" for her. Then, at her age, and I admire her for that, she's remain young, vibrant, happy, excited, eager and full of life.

She isn't old. She won't be.

It's all in the mind.

So how old are you?

September 11, 2012

She's 89 years old!!! - Part 3

First thing this morning, I decided to drop by her school, to hopefully sit down with her again, to, maybe, if we could, finish her very first IEP preparation for this year.

She wasn't there.
Not too late...

I was thinking, maybe she was sick or maybe caught up with family issues, but no. She has finally decided to retire, yesterday.

Her co-teachers shared how she has been crying the whole time yesterday. I just felt sad for her. I was not sure what she really wants, or maybe, she's just left with no choice. She's old.

I  was not sure what to feel. I felt numb. I did feel relieved about the news, about her freed from doing all the computer work at 89, and yet I just suddenly missed her.

Deep inside, she actually reminded me of my late grandmother. During my elementary and high school years, I would just visit Mama, I'd watch whatever old Tagalog movie she'd be watching in the television and at 3 o'clock, we'd pray the 3 o'clock habit. We didn't talk as much though, I remember she'd just ask how I am and would touch my knees since I would always sit beside her as we watch movies together. My cousins also loved being with her.

Now, my 89 year old friend, whom I've worked with for the whole year last year and who has also been a sister, a mom and a grandmother, has retired.

I called her up and asked where she was, as if I didn't know what happened. She said, a man picked her up from her house and brought her to the senior citizens center and she's currently eating; the man would bring her back to her house later, she said.

I hollered, "Why?! we should be doing your student's IEP today!" She said, "Maria, I'm old." and I wished her well.

I went home for lunch and cried.

She's 89 years old!!! - Part 2
She's 89 years old!!! - Part 1

She's 89 years old!!! - Part 2

So, I asked her, "Why did you come back?"

She said, "Maria, there's nothing to do. What will I do?"

I said, "Well, enjoy life!, you're 89, it's about time you go and enjoy!"

She said, "If I can only go back (to her hometown), but there's just a flood of memories there. All my friends have died. There's nothing left do. Anyway, I love where I am, I enjoy where I am!"

I said, "Ok, but you will still do your IEPs.", with a smile.

She said, "Never!"

and we both laughed.

Meet the 88 year old...

I love being with her. It was fun just sitting in her classroom as she continues to strive to dominate her students with her smart remarks. She's passionate with what she's doing, no matter how limited, if compared to what a freshman teacher could do. But, she remains, undeterred. She's the teacher, students must follow what she says, would always be her stand.

I actually have grown fond of her. I've worked with her for the whole year last year. I've supported her all throughout and she was able to make it, with 100% compliance! Thanks to me, of course, Lol! - at 88 years old!

But this time, she's 89, and it just doesn't feel right anymore.

She's 89 years old!!! - Part3
She's 89 years old!!! - Part 1

She's 89 years old!!! - Part 1

I felt fed up by just thinking of doing IEPs the whole year again, since she has decided to come back to school. She's 89 years old, and even though she blatantly told me that she was thinking of maybe, resigning, she didn't. She was back to school.

Not too late...

Being with her was a different story though. I like being with her. I like her company. I like sitting in her classroom when we work together. I worked with her last year for the whole year, and this year seemed a different story.

I really don't like the idea anymore of her still doing IEPs at her age. It was just too much! .. and since she was being paid to do it, as a Special Ed Teacher, she needed to do what she was paid to do, irregardless of her age, of course.

As an IEP Facilitator, I was also doing what I was supposed to be doing -to support her in doing her IEPs, even if it meant the whole year round, to all her case load, and guiding her in every button of every part of every page of the IEP over and over and over again. Then so be it.

But typing the information was just not it! Even at 89 years old, she also needed to make sure she has all the data and information needed in the creation of the IEP. Plus, all the quarterly progress reporting, and all the other side events, like working on Manifestation Determination Reports, Behavior Plans, Behavior Assessments and all the Addenda that may happen within a school year. Plus, of course, lesson planning in the Resource Room, teaching students, grading their papers and making sure IEP goals she has planned at the same time were met by her students.

My God! She's 89 years old!!!!

See related post about her here  and here.

She's 89 years old!!! - Part 3
She's 89 years old - Part 2

September 3, 2012

The Phone Call

I could still remember the phone call I received almost two years now. I was driving on the way home when the cell phone rang. I wasn't supposed to pick it up but the number was coming from New Mexico. There was just this feeling that it was from the school I applied just a week ago online.

True enough, it was the Assistant Principal in-charge of Special Education calling me. I immediately maneuvered the car to the right to a halt.

"Yes Sir, I am still very interested in the position" (really interested!), I answered when asked if I was still available and interested in the Special Ed position.

He said, he will go to the District Office to get my files, I blurted, "Yes Sir, please do that." (super determined! lol!)

He called me up again the next day (sign of real interest! right?) to schedule an online phone interview. I was delighted! I decided to go on a half-day leave (preparation..) since I wasn't sure how long the interview will last, I was also worried as to what room I'd stay if the phone would suddenly ring in the class I serve.

So, I took a leave and anticipated the call. Well, 15 minutes later (after the agreed time), there still was no call, so I called them up (persistent!), and funny, I was actually an hour early. I was thinking of our time, and my interviewer was referencing their time (an hour late!).

I hang up the phone and they called after 30 minutes. I felt like I was just into it. Too many questions but I loved answering every bit of it!

An hour after the interview, I received a call again (good, good sign!), asking me to come already, as in to come as soon as possible! (they wanted to make sure, I was real! lol!)

That day, I went ahead to talk to my current principal about the situation and asked favor if she can return the call for reference purposes. She did. She called the principal and I was just looking at her reaction and listened to what she was saying! As soon as she hanged up, she told me, "I'm going to miss you, I don't want you to go, but you got it. You got the job!", I was elated! I told her, "No, that's too early! He was just asking for reference! I wasn't offered any yet! (wishful thinking mode!)" She said, "Believe me, you got it!" (believing and yet, to see is to believe mode!)

To make the long story short, 2 days after, I flew to New Mexico and spent the day in the school I applied for. They had planned my day for me. I attended Special Ed meetings, toured the whole school, observed inclusion classes and demonstrated (and was observed) in an Algebra class. (they like me huh? lol!)

At the end of the day, the principal asked for me again, he asked, "how was it..", and I told him "I loved it! I want to stay!!!" (... and it's true!, I wanted to be hired that instant!), he then started telling me about the schedule. "So, this is the schedule, Monday, there is Math with --- , Tuesday, this subject with --- ", halfway, I interrupted (domineering! lol!), "Wait, do you mean, I got the job?!" (pro-active?!  taking initiative? Lol!) He said, "No" (mmm, doesn't want to be cut, dominant, Lol) , and continued with the schedule " Wednesday..... Thursday and Friday....", "and in behalf of the district we are officially hiring you..."

... and my life, our lives changed. (To believe is to see!)

To God be the Glory! Amen!

August 23, 2012

Blessing in Disguise!

I was just given a name and a schedule of a student that was added to my caseload (we call students we work with (with special needs), our caseload).

So, I went ahead and looked for the new student. He was in the Math class, he was seated at the far side of the room, his hood was up, and head bent down.

I asked the teacher if I can pull him out for testing, she said yes, and told me that when she first met him, she knew he has needs.

I approached him and asked him to come with me.

That was the start of my services with him. 

He was 15 years old then, a freshman, a transferee. We learned later after receiving his Sped documents, weeks after, that he was actually given educational services, his whole life, in a segregated setting! Since we didn't know, he has been placed in a non-segregated setting the whole time (in inclusion class)!

At that time he was reading at a Kindergarten level when I tested him. 

He was enjoying his new environment and the pull-out method worked for him too, so the team decided to keep him in his current setting. He was elated about the decision! 

He was actually very willing to learn and I had fun working with him. I didn't only focus on his academics but I tried to make sure I was also following up on his daily living skills, like putting on deodorant, making sure his fingernails were cut short, his shirt tucked at all times (school policy) and that he controls his saliva when he speaks.

After 6 months, I tested him again, and who would have thought, he was able to increase his reading comprehension skills by 3 years!

It was happy times for us. 

Happy times because it was a mistake to place him in an inclusion class in the first place, but that mistake was actually a blessing-in-disguise because he was given an opportunity to live a normal life and it has served him well.

Yes, he graduated high school already and the last time I checked, there was no more saliva drooling when he speaks!

He will continue to be one of my best memories in my teaching career.

I pray he is well and may God send his angels now to keep him safe and help him live a life he dreams of.


August 14, 2012

Telescopes and Stars

During our last night at the New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico, we visited the Etscorn Campus Observatory. 

The observatory is surrounded by earth berms and is strategically located to avoid as much light pollution as possible from campus and town. (website here).

Here's the whole team of sun-kissed turned browner kids and adults (more like refugees here, LOL!) with the Professor of Astronomy in-charge of the Observatory.

The professor peeping inside the telescope. We were getting ready to see the moon!

Here's the moon up close!
Mimoi busy looking at the telescope.

Another one of their cool telescopes C-14 (if I remember right) inside an automatic roll-off roof (using a garage-door mechanism to open and close for observing.)

Here's the 20-inch Dobsonian inside a 15-foot dome where we saw Saturn!

Beautiful Saturn - see the rings?

 The professor gave a lecture too about the wonders of Astronomy and Science.

It was a great night of discovery and fun!

end of June, 2012
New Mexico Tech
Socorro, NM

August 10, 2012

Shirts and Jeans!

I was thinking of getting a Back-to-School-for-Teachers loan at a credit union here in Gallup. I was told the union will ask for a contract (for SY 2012-2013, as proof of employment).

Well, it was Monday and in my mind I still have 4 more days of vacation. I wasn't really ready to be seen in the office with jeans, slippers and shirt yet! lol! but WHY NOT?!, so I decided to drop by the office to get the contract.

A lot of cars were parked outside, meaning most of them have gone back to work already, which made me wonder.. but then I had no plans of meeting people or visiting my place in the office. I had blinders, I will just see the secretary and go!

Armed with a smile on my face, I went and signed my contract. Never mind what I was wearing, Lol
but LO and BEHOLD!

Stated in my contract was my start date which was supposed to have been the Thursday of last week! Oh my!

Left me with no choice, I had to see my boss to confirm, he negated. Ok. Good. But checking the salary scale.. it felt like cheating! The figures were not the same!

Long story short.. I went to work that same day! Wearing the same thing! Lol!

I missed my first dayyyyyy! wahhhh! No frills, no coo-coos.. hehe

So back to work! About the loan? - nahh, never mind. To work means getting paycheck early! Still, a blessing in disguise :)

P.S. It's been 4 days of work and guess what I've been wearing? (shirts and jeans!:) Lol!

July 21, 2012

Who's Who? - Lesson Learned

Some of you may have read my recent post Some bi***y behind-the-scene story. Quite a story, yes?

Well, who's the victim and who's responsible?

Here I was writing it all down but the point is, they may be sharing their own points of views too with their friends. We all have our share of stories.

Who ends up the victor and the loser, is the question.

But does it really matter?

My point: 
People will always have something to say. Either you accept it as true or negate it.

If I am affected (and really affected!), I'd rather confront the person involved than go to all my friends asking for comfort, I'd rather talk to the person and have everything settled than go to all channels, whispering behind backs! - It will not solve anything - promise!

Since I may have unconsciously hurt their ego, (and really, many are not so sensitive about this, sometimes we are already hurting people with our words and actions and NOT know about it! - INDIFFERENCE! I am guilty of being one sometimes, my bad!), it would have been BEST for them (my choice) to directly talk to me and we can all settle the differences right there and then rather than act as if everything's ok, or talk behind someone else's back. Communication is my preference!

But it is all about INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES too, some (and this is not a racial thing, this is true to all races and culture) does not really have the guts to do it, some would just swallow their pride and bottle up their negative feelings inside (mmm, cancerous! - no like!) or find solace through their own sets of friends, who could get back on the person! - resistance, resentment, revenge!

Life, life's like that at times. Either we live with it, fight it or do something about it!

My lesson learned:
I really need to start becoming more sensitive and conscious of my words and actions because I am directly or indirectly affecting the people around me. I am responsible, accountable and the time is now to do something about it.

Life give us lessons, and until we learn the lesson, it will keep on coming back.

I pray I learned mine this time.

Peace! :)


July 20, 2012

No Rice Diet!

What I love about the camping trip was our food!

The whole 9 days except for dinners where we ate as a group in a fancy pub or Mexican or Italian restaurant was all non-Filipino food, of course! No rice at all!

We ate French toast and pancakes for breakfast, cereals and snack bars were offered too!


 Burritos-  breakfast burrito, just like the one sold at Mcdonalds.


Salad with some Italian dressing for lunch or dinner or sometimes as burger, sandwich or tortilla wrap topping.


Fajitas, according to Wikipedia, is a term found in both traditional Mexican cuisine and in Tex-Mex cuisine, commonly referring to any grilled meat served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla.

cooked beef, onions, red and yellow bell peppers, seasoning and heated flour tortilla.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or sometimes ham, bologna or turkey sandwich with cheese and veggies on top for lunch and V8 fruit juice in can or water.



Pasta, well, it was actually just the pasta and the plain sauce in can plus cheese (nothing more nothing less, and since beggars can't be choosers, it was still good!


I actually lost weight! Mmmm.. my tummy slimmed!

Well, we did a lot of traveling and some hiking, and it was hot! - so we were sweating too.. but I would like to say, the culprit was actually the NO RICE diet! Lol!

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