This is my third time as a flexible learning tutor. This decision to become one is a source of great joy to me, having acquired the opportunity to continue being of help to a group so close to my heart: the school heads. DESPITE my retirement, I am still around and be behind you in your quest to acquire the skills offered by the course: instructional leadership and curriculum leadership. After interacting with you through the chat sessions and through your submitted written requirements, including your reflections, these skills were found to be the most needed, least explored and least performed by many school heads.
It was such a joy to be able to affirm once more that I, as your former regional director, made a right decision when I accepted the offer of the Department of Education, through the then Undersecretary Yolanda Quijano, for DepEd Region XI, through NEAP XI, to enter into a partnership with SEAMEO-INNOTECH for the downloading of the ICeXCELS course to Region XI
The four chat sessions were another set of JOY for me. It was such a great experience, yes, indeed it was, to stir your minds and to dig deeper into whatever you learned in the designated coverage of each chat, as you tried to express your views and opinions on practical situations that I posted during the sessions. I may have given you a hard time" hitting the target" so to say, when you exchanged views with your fellow learners and myself, on some issues which often times were taken for granted such as , on whether or not monitoring and evaluation are one and the same, considering that these two are, more often than not, mentioned together; on how you can make me, pretending to be a parent who finished grade four only, understand what a curriculum is and why there must still be a K to 12 curriculum. It was fun and enlightening to me reading your responses during the chat sessions on how, for example, an enriched curriculum was different from an enrichment curriculum. You made me smile without saying that I didn't sympathize with you, when in the midst of exchanges of views, one of youwould suddenly say: "Ma'am , where are we now ...1 lost my connection" .....smile because I could imagine the helplessness in your face. You made me smile when, as we " traveled" along the module through the chat, you quickly indicated compliance with my reminders to make " u-turns" as you went so fast and well ahead of the discussion "road".
There was so much joy reading your reflections as you wrote about new learning, insights and realization you got from your compliance with the module assignments, and more so, when one of you wrote in your course reflection how much fear you felt at the start of the course when you learned you belonged to my class and would have me, your former regional director as your tutor, and how that fear changed into a feeling of gratitude as you went through the chat sessions, the My Forum postings, the lengthy feedbacks I gave to help you improve your submitted requirements. I assure you, your appreciation of my efforts to guide you, more so the transition from fear to gratitude, was the greatest reward I ever received!
It was a joyful experience going through submitted assignments, of experiencing the feeling of fulfillment even by just being able to provide guidance and extend a helping hand as you tried to cope with the challenges brought forth, such as trying to impress on you the need to identify your "real" problems through careful analysis and not just indications of the problem, of challenging you to. find solutions which were doable at your level and" out of the box", of being able to identify "your" problem and not others' problems. It was joy to read your action plan and knew that the concepts which hit you "bull's eye" were the same concepts which I believed you indeed need to share/apply.
You gave me joy each time I receive a revised requirement with my suggestions for improvement. There was much joy sensing how some of you exerted much effort just to make sure no chat session was missed, going out of the way to have access to the internet when signals were not so good in your work place; when I learned that even with a dextrose tube attached to your hand in a hospital bed, one of you still was present in the chat session! These signs of commitment to learn beyond mere compliance were JOY to me.
Talking to you face to face the 2nd time around during this revalida is indeed another joy, as you shared with me the learning’s you got from the course, hearing you explain why, from among the concepts contained in the module, you considered one or two concepts which hit you most, the ones that you believe can be equated to the strongest "Pacquio punch" needed to knock down a "Bradley" equivalent to the major concerns you have to cope in your schools.
It IS my joy, knowing that you; our school heads, continue to avail of this generous offering of the SEAMEO-Innotech to the regions, through the support of my successor, your current regional director, Dr. Gloria Benigno, and the perseverance of Dr. Reynante Solitario, your regional coordinator/manager for the program. Their sustenance of this program that I introduced to this region is enough recognition that I, as a retired regional director, can ever ask for.
It was so frustrating to realize I still need to know more of the technology used for the Iflex, after experiencing more than once the loss of some feedbacks encoded for more than an hour and long enough to ensure that my learners would really get additional guidance in checking observed deficiencies, and then, what would appear on my computer screen were the words "wrong module used" ! No choice but to re-encode all over again.
It was frustrating that after spending much time going through your submitted requirements and writing a lengthy feedback which made use of the "sandwich approach" and focused on suggestions on how the submitted outputs can still be improved, I would receive a revised assignment that showed very minimal consideration of the suggestions that I so carefully crafted so you can be motivated rather than discouraged to do better.
It was a frustration when some requirements were submitted way beyond deadline and these would start coming in just two or three days before the revalida, losing my chance to still send you feedbacks, and time for you to revise and improve.
Frustration was what I felt each time I would realize:
that your submitted requirements were incomplete because you failed to remember specific instructions given during the orientation and tutor's reminders during chat sessions, to ensure that these should always be submitted as one whole document and not by part, as the earlier submissions would be overwritten by subsequent submissions.
that activity reflections were submitted separately into the My Reflection box which was intended only for the course reflection, and I have to spend time following up on your compliance, only to find out that instructions were not followed.
My foremost regret was I inhibited myself to become a flexible learning tutor during my incumbency as regional director. I only realized now that I lost my chance to be of help to a greater number of school heads; of getting first-hand information on the issues and concerns which served as their constraints in performing two most important but most neglected roles: as instructional leader, and as curriculum leader. Had I been a tutor when still a regional director, I could have had stronger influence, not to mention the personality, to motivate the school heads' direct superiors to provide the follow-through and the support needed by the course learners.
My dear learners, move on. Forget the frustrations, never mind the regrets, we already learned from these after all. Just remember the JOYS. Use these as your inspiration, make these part of the memories of this course where you are now certified completers. Continue the journey which you and I, learner and tutor, started together. From here on, your part of the journey should be different as you now have new tools that you can use to do some troubleshooting: the tools called instructional leadership and curriculum leadership. Make it a beautiful journey.
Message of ICeXCELS Flexible Learning Tutor and former DepED Region XI Director Susana Teresa B. Estigoy during the Graduation Ceremonies of DepED Region XI ICeXCELS held on February 6, 2014