“I could say I was not the best teacher my students ever had, until I took a TESOL Training course at Pacesetters Center for Development Institute.” Ferny Laine Belacas
After taking Bachelor in Secondary Education (BSED-English) at Ateneo De Davao University in 2009, I began my journey of being an English teacher. In the four years I have taught English, I could say I was not the best teacher my students ever had, not until I took an Online TESOL Training course at Pacesetters Center for Development Institute.
It’s overwhelming and humbling to know that I am the first TESOL online student of Pacesetters Institute. I would have loved to join the regular class offered, but time wouldn’t permit me. I was hungry; I was thirsty, not for food but for wisdom and knowledge about my craft. And besides, I needed more training to be good at it. When one is hungry and thirsty, she won’t care anymore what food, and where it comes from, and what is given to her; what matters most is to satisfy the need at the moment.
TESOL came as “manna” from above, and it came as a gift from my sponsors in Canada, beautifully wrapped; and when I opened the gift, it brought amazing results in my life!
At first, I had little idea about the training; I even thought I was not qualified to take the course. But through the encouragement of Ms. Cathy Rubillar, who never got tired of nudging me to pursue the training, I finally had the courage to pursue TESOL. She’s the one who opened my mind about this field.
Moreover, when I talked to my trainer, Ms. Janet Medina, over the phone, I could still remember the feeling I had when I first heard her voice. I got tongue-tied, not because she sounded saucy, but rather so kind and sweet. She kept on encouraging me that by taking TESOL, I will be the best teacher my students will ever have.
At that time, I couldn’t fully grasp the meaning of what she was saying. All I wanted was to make her see me as a raw, half-baked hopeless teacher. However, she has drawn my attention to the other side of the real me, and I realized, I had a problem. It was I who created the problem.
After that call, I decided to call her “Ate” (big sister) over “ma’am” or “miss” because it made me feel comfortably close to her, which was what I wanted. I believe it is God’s grace that led her to be my mentor not only in my TESOL studies but also in my personal life. She prays for me; what great treasure!
The online set up perfectly fit me because I’m an intrapersonal type of person. Virtual learning was fun! I was not shy to ask anything I needed to know, to show the fragments in me, and even to be corrected. I was aware of the barriers like the poor signal that would possibly stop the class. It was also partly due to rainy season in August and September. However, Ate Jan wouldn’t allow poor connection to stop us from our discussion. She would type all her thoughts until the signal would support our video calling again. That’s how determined and patient she is! Amazing! Overall, this set-up made me feel exceptional.
Furthermore, the lessons are so helpful not just for English teachers but also for all teachers regardless of their field of concentration.
If only I have all the riches in the world, I would shell out an amount for all teachers to undergo TESOL course. It’s only here in Pacesetters that teachers can have life-changing experiences not only in teaching but also in the totality of their lives. This is truly a complete turn-around experience for me!
““Ma’am, in you we experienced that learning English is not boring. Thank you ma’am!”
My Life Changing Experiences
As a Teacher: A sheer of difference!
First, I must confess, prior to taking TESOL, I was beginning to be sick and tired with my humdrum life as a teacher, and I’m pretty sure my students felt the same way. The first thing that this course refreshed me with is my call as a teacher; God made me to become a teacher like Him. I may be divine in my teaching, but if my heart is not into it, it’s meaningless. As what Ate Jan said, “Teaching that impacts is not from my head to your head but from my heart to your heart.” With this principle, I began accepting the totality of being a teacher, and I wholeheartedly accepted my critical role in changing my students’ lives.
Second, another statement Ate Jan said that got stuck in my mind is, “You’ll only have your students once.” This jostled me out of my comfort zone. It nudged me to apply everything I was learning even if I had to overhaul my lesson plans, extend my hours in the school for the preparation of my instructional materials, do a lot of readings, ask for help, and to conduct researches for my lessons. I began to excitedly apply all the English teaching principles I learned.
Third, I have unique students in class with different personalities. To add, I’m a new teacher in the school. However, these differences and new experiences made learning even more fun in our class. One of the topics in TESOL is Multiple Intelligences (MI) & Learning Styles. Understanding my students’ multiple-intelligences and learning styles was a huge task on my part, but after a day of fun activities where I discovered all their MIs and learning styles, our succeeding lessons and activities in class became more engaging and more exciting every time! In fact, one student received a clap and a “Whoa!” cry from all his classmates for reciting for the first time in class. I left my class with my jaw dropped in awe of what transpired that day. Now, I see myself giving more time in my lesson preparation with much joy in my heart. I’m glad that my students share the same feeling with me.
In October 2013, I celebrated Teachers’ Day and my birthday with a different emotion. It was my first time to have all of my fourth year students standing outside my office serenading me with balloons and a cake on Teacher’s Day, which was Oct. four.
A few days later on October 9, which was my birthday, once again, my students surprised me with love and admirations. As I was heading our classroom, each of them reached a piece of paper with the letters of my name. Each piece of paper had a message, and I received lots of them. But the one touched my heart is this message, “Ma’am, in you we experienced that learning English is not boring. Thank you ma’am!” This is my grade as a teacher. What a great reward!
I know there’s more to learn, to discover, to indulge myself into for me to transcend a great teacher. I’m a bit sad that I’m almost done with this course, but this is a cycle. After learning, I will pass it on by continually applying my learning in my teachings.
As a Person
I can say that I am a different person now compared to what I was and used to be before taking TESOL. I gained deeper understanding of the theories, methods, approaches and principles of teaching that is helping me in my English class now at a public school in Davao. I feel I’m more adroit at teaching this time, and I’m determined to be a humdinger for my students as I continue applying all the principles I learned from the training. It is through the training I learned that “knowing one-self” first is basic to knowing my students. Ate Jan showed me how to know myself more. Thus, I now know what I’m capable of doing. More importantly, I personally know who empowers me to do the things beyond I can ever imagined; it’s God Himself. I am a child of God who happens to be a teacher. The latter is just a call, an arena where I can manifest the former. Thus, in everything I do, God must be seen and be glorified.
Thank you Pacesetters Institute for taking me further and helping be the best teacher my students will ever have.
“Now, it’s your turn to experience the difference,