posted Jun 1, 2009, 10:22 AM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Jun 28, 2011, 8:30 PM ]
posted by J. Aleta Villanueva on May 27, 2009

This I ask in moments when I feel truly awed and blessed as a human being.
For the summer, I have been busy with all sorts of stuff at UP Open University, the other half of me. This includes sitting in a New Media Arts  class of  Diego Maranan, a colleague of mine at UPOU.  These classes are part of a bigger project which I accidentally became part of: . It's one of those neatest accidents which can happen to a teacher such as I.
But why so? How are all these helping me as Teacher Aleta of Builders' School.
I,  Aleta, am  first and foremost a grade school teacher to my daughter Miranda. 
I decided to sit in at Diego's class primarily for this purpose: to enrich myself as a teacher-learner.  I reviewed the topics  in the hope of  figuring out our inquiry learning projects for the school year. I had a draft of these projects in my mind and intend to refine it after attending these topics:  Artificial Life Forms, Traditional Art and Digital Media, Community Arts, Energy and Gaming.

This is how I learn best as teacher. I simply go for things out there, find beauty, get brain tickled, even brain burnt, learn socially,  draw  lots of insights and come back to my classroom with a wealth of ideas to get our grade schoolers excited about.   I craft ways  to tweak our learning projects...and these I have done over years of working as a teacher in alternative schools. 
I also know that children deserve to know and learn beyond content we find in books...that learning comes not just in a day's lesson but over periods of time.  Returns aren't evident in a month's time,  for some children it will take more than that. Still for some, learning happens in a snap of a finger--given the right hooks,  they simply engage and take something out of the experience that teachers will never even know, own nor capture.

I have almost gotten what I wanted out of my sit ins and I have one more left to go. And yet my curiosities for Biomodd + many other things out there linger in my brain.
I still don't know how I can return the favor to Diego and Angelo plus the rest of the team.
But this I know. 

I will go back to my classroom, with my  kids,  in this small school called Builders' School.
I shall enjoy this time of our lives as  a young school with just a little less than 30 children. 
I shall come back with greater confidence that I and my partners have our programs  on track.
I shall look forward to a  great deal of work.
I will, as usual, find happiness in little things I do with my students--little things which matter the most.
I shall continue to hope that I be given enough strength and energy to do what is asked of me as Program Chair at UP Open University.  These times at U.P., I've been seeing students from the first few batches of kids I've taught way back 1990's. I say to myself that a part of me is perhaps at the right place. This time I also find more meaning in the work I do at U.P as it reminds me that I do need to find paths and get involved with other things outside Builders' School. These  matters pertain to providing support  for  causes, colleagues and students who to me are "future versions" of our kids and their "future collaborations" in life. I draw lots of inspiration from all these.
I shall continue to dream--for I am reassured of a better future.
Now,  I know  I my grade schoolers can learn and work differently, and just keep at it.  They can carry all these beyond our classrooms and find space someday at UP Open University  where an unusual kind of learning matters in  a virtual classroom +project + collaborative lab work +  lots of love and care , such as Biomodd [LBA 2].  By that time, I wonder what sorts of collaborations all our children shall get into. 


Our inquiry learning projects I do hope will take off, alongside my wish that Biomodd will come into fruition come August and September as it opens for exhibit at the National Musem--for the simple reason that anything with good and noble intentions  are meant to happen...just like UP Open U, The Builders' School and this year's inquiry learning projects.
I still continue to figure out ways to help  Biomodd and return the favor.
In the meantime, may I  pay it forward instead?