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Topics - vinzvonvan

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You Asked Me This Question / What are the differences?
« on: May 12, 2010, 07:46:04 PM »
Hello Mr. Carillo! It's been quite a while since I logged in to take part in the forum. I'm confused of these terms.Transformational generative grammar,comparative-historical grammar,traditional, and structural grammar.What are there differences?

Thank you so much!

You Asked Me This Question / 'None'
« on: March 25, 2010, 02:53:25 PM »
There's this example from an English book using the word none in a sentence. It says there: "All the women are fat, none of them are thin".There's no explanation from the book and I'm also confused myself.To say none means nothing but why "none of them are".Shouldn't it be none of them is?..Thank you so much for your solutiion to my problem! ;)

Lounge / It's worth the effort!
« on: December 02, 2009, 07:22:37 PM »
Three weeks ago, there was a TOEIC exam here in the office. Before that, I searched for different TOEIC sites on the web for a self review. I got bored reading all those questions and some words made my nose bleeding (arrgh!).Until I came across Joe Carrillo’s Practice Tests and found out the questions were challenging (wow!). Honestly, of course, I don’t want to cheat myself, I took the TOEIC practice tests and got perfect scores.I’m not bragging, I just couldn’t believe it. I only looked for the answers after I’m done.

For the result of my TOEIC test in the office,well, not perfect, but almost! The checker said I got seven mistakes.Again, I’m not bragging, just so happy because I discovered this site unexpectedly. ;)

Your Thoughts Exactly / My struggles as a teacher
« on: November 27, 2009, 08:02:59 PM »
My stint in a government school began when my youngest son was only four months old and it was for a two-month substitute contract because the regular teacher was on maternity leave. The school was in a rural area somewhere in Rizal province. Having had previous teaching stints in two Catholic schools, I was really perplexed by the new school system I now had to deal with. First, the faculty room. It was on the building's second floor, not spacious enough for ten or more tables for the ten teachers and with a lot of books and papers scattered all over. During class  breaks, though, students could still get in and chat with one of the teachers; or, more often, teachers could have conversations with one another. Yes, there was no refrigerator, microwave, or air-conditioner, but the place was a haven for the restless faculty members who had to do their job dutifully every day.

Then I was introduced to the members of the department. A simple introduction it was, for I was only staying for two months anyway. On the first day, a senior teacher gave me a book and told me to prepare my lesson plan and start the classes according to the teacher’s schedule. No other briefing was done because everyone was busy attending to their own business in the classroom. I was assigned to be the captain of a ship that I didn't know anything about, so I just headed to where they told me I should be. I began teaching the students, followed the plan according to the textbook, but still got dumbfounded by everything that was happening. I knew the school’s name, the principal, my immediate co-teachers, my students, the canteen, and the faculty room, but I had no idea whatsoever of the school’s rules and regulations. I wasn't familiar either with all of the classrooms and the surrounding community. There was no memorandum to read every day, no one even cared to check my lesson plan regularly, and no one was available to answer whatever question I might have. A formal meeting happened only if called by the principal.

In the two private schools where I had previously taught, I was given a primer about the students, the teachers, and the school itself. I was introduced to the proper authorities to talk to every time I encountered a problem. There was a regular meeting by department to update each and everyone of school events and of any news concerning the institution. As for me, I was careful of my behavior to avoid complaints from parents.

So I began comparing the mode of instruction between the public school I was in and the two private schools that I had previously been.

In those two private schools, I could overlook the lesson plan duty; there was a textbook anyway. Examination questions were derived from it so there was no reason to deviate. I also got accustomed to teaching students in prescribed uniform, complete from head to foot. They had to bring to school five books or more, depending on the number of their subjects. Discussing the lesson with them was easy because most usually would have read the topic in advance and could participate by answering the questions.

This wasn’t the case at all in that public school where I got assigned. There were hardly any books. There were only five to ten students who had them in their bags. Due to the very limited number of books allotted to the school, some students got copies but others didn't. Some students had notebooks; others didn't have any. To them, attendance was much more important than the subjects they had to study.

My purpose was to make them learn, so I made every effort to deliver the lessons properly. However, I had to be extra resourceful because no material was available for visual aids except the classics, some manila paper, and a few pentel pens. So I had to buy most of the unprovided materials myself--even the chalk that I had to use every day. To think that I still hadn't received my first paycheck then. Imagine going to work not knowing when you’re going to be paid! Ask other public school teachers in the rural areas; many have had the same experience, perhaps even worse than mine.

There was also a particularly disturbing incident in that public school that concerned a co-teacher. One time, while I was discussing a lesson in class, I was told by my students that their classroom adviser was looking for a particular student in that class of mine. I couldn't remember the name now, but she was a girl. Anyway I promptly excused her from class, thinking that the classroom adviser only needed to tell her something important and would send her back right away. But I was wrong. I waited and waited but she never came back. After class, however, I saw the girl in the faculty room braiding the hair of another teacher! I was so annoyed by that teacher’s conduct! How could she enjoy having herself beautified by a student who’s supposed to be in class studying English? But then, I told myself, who was I to object? I was only a substitute teacher. Some--maybe most--regular and old teachers have the luxury of being overcome by such instances of complacency.

After two grueling months of teaching from February to March, I thought I could finally sleep peacefully. But I was wrong again! I was unexpectedly assigned to do all the reports for that advisory class, and this involved accomplishing the secondary promotion forms manually and in triplicate at that! Since they made me understand that I wouldn’t be cleared if I didn't do that task, I worked so hard to finish all the reports that needed to be submitted. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet the deadline, for being a working mom I had to do so many other chores at home.
As it turned out, the school official who had to sign the papers I worked on wasn’t in the office anymore. It was almost April by then--vacation time--so I was instructed to see him in his house in another town across a lake. So, together with my mother and brother, I rode a motorboat and looked for that school official in an island in mid-lake. The only consolation after that boat trip was that it wasn't hard to look for a teacher in a small island-town; his profession made him unique, I guess, and most of the neighborhood happened to be relatives of his. In any case, it was a great relief to have all those papers signed by him, for I expected to finally get my paycheck after those three long months of backbreaking work.

But that expectation didn't materialize. I waited for that paycheck for several months but it I didn’t come. I had chosen to stop working then to become a full-time wife and to spend more time with my kids. I finally got that paycheck in July. It was a one-month payment for a Teacher 1 category--the value of all the effort and trouble that I had gone though.

What happened to me was an experience I would never forget as a teacher, but it didn’t discourage me from applying to another government school somewhere in Manila. I was able to teach but again, not with a permanent contract! Out of the 500 teachers who applied, my rank was somewhere between 1 and 20, but still I couldn’t get a permanent item. At that time, I overheard someone say: "Some schools lack teachers but non-teaching personnel get the items supposed to be allotted to them." Another co-educator told me: "Somebody in a district office should back you up to be able to get a teaching item.” That’s easy for them to say, but I made it a point to play fair.

This is a dilemma that I think has been plaguing our educational system for years. Government schools perennially experience a scarcity of teachers, but there are many teachers who are either underemployed or unemployed. When will there be a balance between supply and demand?

(Joe, this is my first ever essay posted in a forum and as a teacher. I know there are grammar mistakes, so I would appreciate your corrections because I still want to improve.)

Lounge / Source of knowledge
« on: November 25, 2009, 10:12:50 PM »
I would want to know if you have a grammar book which showcases all the grammar rules to consider when studying English.Can you tell me the approximate price? I want to have one which will become my immediate "source of knowledge" if ever I'll go back to school and teach.


Your Thoughts Exactly / Non English majors teaching English
« on: November 17, 2009, 08:01:26 PM »

This is such a very informative site. I didn’t even know that I have fellow Filipinos who share their exceptional ideas in English on the web. Maybe most of us know about business process outsourcing which gave birth to call center agents and online teachers.Indeed, BPO companies provided employment for many Filipinos and I am one of them.In reality, I am a licensed Social Studies major but as of the moment, I am an online English teacher.”Why are you not teaching in a regular school” was the repeated question I heard from some of my young colleagues and former Education classmates. I would just tell them that there wasn’t an available item for a Social Studies major in government schools. Actually, I have applied twice for a teaching position in government schools but I’m not fortunate enough to get the most coveted item.

I began to dislike teaching the subject because there are so many Social Studies teachers with few items available in public schools.I decided to shift by applying in an online company and consequently teach English.My love for the language was rekindled, and began to discover that my knowledge in English was so insufficient to teach the subject to foreigners.Luckily, online companies give free trainings in grammar, accent and pronunciation to satisfy the needs of learners.Because of these trainings, I determined the difference of a classroom English teacher to an ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor.Classroom teachers focus on the rules (based on my primary and secondary school experiences)without putting into practice what they’ve taught.
Maybe because it will sound OA to listen to people speaking in English while all others converse with their native tongue.Also, students are more comfortable with their own language (anyone familiar with teen talk?).

Teaching Koreans was never my dream but it happened. I developed my communication skills and embraced technology to conduct classes.But I got weary because in an online company, a teaching license and even a degree in Education isn’t very important for as long as an applicant has a college diploma and is trainable (though some of these “teachers” can speak fluently).Forgive us for grammar mistakes in sentences,thus, we continuously study to master this part.

Now here are my concerns:
1.   Online companies are here for business.Until when are they going to invest in the Philippines?I heard some just declare bankruptcy leaving their employees’ jobless.
2.   If these non English majors can develop their communication skills with a good accent, do our own English teachers undergo trainings too?
3.   Is there a program/curriculum in school that intensifies English as our second language?
4.   Is it justifiable that we, non English majors, teach English?

To sum it all up, online teaching is good, but classroom teaching is incomparable.Talking to real students and teaching your fellowmen is honorable.Combining English with Social Studies is quite a challenge but here comes versatility.Finally, joining a forum like this is very enlightening.


Member Introductions / Hello everyone...!
« on: November 17, 2009, 07:59:15 PM »
I am so happy to be a part of an intellectual forum.Hope I'll have more free time to reply and read posts.

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