Monday, December 30, 2013

Is there "LIFE" after teaching? Part III - The Best Encounter

While still working at my previous job, I’ve taken my education to the next level by enrolling at a post graduate degree (Master of Arts in Nursing). I’ve met the people I will be working with for the rest of my teaching career.  The ones that encouraged me and 2 others to apply for a teaching job were nurse educators at one of the best nursing schools in Laguna, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.  It was also during this time that I have met some of the most wonderful people in our profession.

Attending a master’s degree class made all the difference for me. I will never forget one of our professors who taught us about assertiveness, she explained that we as professionals should be aware of our rights, be confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s view. I was elected the president of that class in the first semester of 2006. I was honored that my colleagues trusted me with the position. It was such a great experience.

I and two of my classmates at my master’s class who also became  two of my best friends decided that we give it a try. We prepared everything that was needed to facilitate the processing of our applications. I almost gave up because back then I was really struggling as a single mother doing everything for my 2 children, Justin and Isabel. But one of them who also became one of the godmothers during my wedding was there to help, supported and motivated me to just go on with it despite the difficulties.

We submitted our requirements and were told to wait for a telephone call. Back then, I was also applying as an English teacher in Thailand but it required me to come up with a hundred thousand pesos to process my papers. I didn’t have that amount of money so I was hoping the teaching job in the Colegio will be great if we are accepted.

Eventually we received a call and were required to prepare for a teaching demonstration. We’ve met some applicants too who became some of our closest friends eventually. I did a teaching demo in Nutrition which was one of the subjects I taught at my previous employer. I thought I did a good job. After that I was asked some personal and professional questions and that was it. I waited for my other friends to finish their teaching demonstration and to make the story short, we were hired. I resigned in my previous job and begun my journey to what I considered the best part of my teaching career.

A lot of great things happened to me and I am definitely sure it was the same for my other colleagues as well. It was the time when enrollment in the Nursing course was at its peak.  There were hundreds of amazing students enrolled in this course. And I was able to impart with them my skills and knowledge as a nurse educator.  I have met some of the VIP's in the industry. From the president, vice president down to the deans, faculty and employees of the different departments.

The Dean of the Nursing Department and the Assistant Dean were two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met not to mention my co - nursing educators. My skills in teaching was well recognized, I was given the due respect and was compensated well for the job I love doing. I wasn’t only given nursing subjects to teach inside nursing classrooms and laboratories but likewise the opportunity to follow up with the students in their hospital affiliations. And while enjoying one of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my entire nursing career I was at the same time acquiring more updates not only in terms of modern teaching but in the nursing world as well and continually getting better at it.

I had the best years of my teaching career in that institution and at the same time a lot happened in my personal life. I fell in love again and met Ton the man I promised to spend the rest of my existence on earth and  who is now a part of my life for more than 6 years. I went to the Netherlands twice for vacation in 2008. Some of the most wonderful colleagues became close friends until now even if most of us have already travelled different paths.

I stayed in my job until August 15, 2009 because I had to fly to the Netherlands in August 29, 2009 to finally live there for good. It was bitter sweet to leave. It meant ending (permanently? I would like to say temporarily) one of the most important things I love to do.  It also meant starting a new life away from what I’ve been used to half of my life. And the saddest of them all was having to be away temporarily with my loved ones especially my children although after 6 months of separation Isabel my beautiful daughter who was 10 back then finally joined me.  

What is life to me after my last encounter with teaching? There were some great things that have happened to me but there were also some things I wish I could have done sooner so things will even be better.  I know that if we really want something badly enough, we should do our best to achieve it and be successful. I wasn’t really very clear about what it is I want in my life.

I have goals but not all of them were achieved always. I was very determined at times and got results but there were also at lot of procrastinations. I thought there will always be tomorrow to start and finish what I have started but ended up attaining nothing. So nowadays, I don’t want to promise anything but I will do my darn best to improve on the different aspects of my life that needs it and which matters the most to achieve a happier life.

Some of the great things I achieved when I moved in on the other side of the world were listed below. Likewise these can be learned or done if someone in the league of teaching find himself/herself out of it because of some unavoidable circumstances like what happened to some of my colleagues back when I was teaching in the schools of nursing mentioned. They had to stop  because there were very few nursing enrollees only and sadly, their services had to end there. It was a setback but as far as I know they ventured into other businesses and are successful. 

What was mentioned was only one of the reasons why teachers or educators have to find other alternatives to prove that there is after all LIFE, even if what you love doing the most, has ended. 

1.                Learning a new language and adapting to the new environment – During my first year in the Netherlands I was able to learn the history, culture and dutch which is considered one of the difficult languages in the world. I, too was able to pass the required examinations and just recently the State Language Test.

2.               Working in a new job /environment - It didn’t take me that long to be employed to a job related in the field of nursing despite my inability to speak the language fluently. I am until now working in the nursing home after almost 3½ years and have learned so much and understanding a lot about geriatric nursing which is something I want to write about very soon. It has helped me too speak and understand the language better. 

3.                Travelling and Photography – I’ve so far visited 4 other European countries namely Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and France and have taken beautiful pictures which I can use in the future.

4.                Setting up a website and Blogging – I have tried setting up a website but wasn’t that determined to finish it but now building it again.  This is so far my 8th blog to date.

5.                Continuous Learning and Discovering -  Right now, I am continuously learning and discovering more about what I really want to accomplish. I have bought and read several new books like The Millionaire Messenger, Life’s Golden Ticket  and The Charge by Brendon Burchard. I’ve learned how important good health is to all of us. Applied and followed the Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin and combined it with several online programs I purchased about transformations (ETR 90 day Transformation Contest by Craig Ballantyne and Juice Up Your Life Program by Drew Canole) and achieved a weight loss of 10 kg and is now eating better and healthier.

6.                Create a page in Facebook – Since I am in quest of lasting weight loss I created  Health Journals and Journey which is about amazing women (and men as well) in quest of a healthy mind and body.  As of now it has only 145 likes but if all of them will be able to understand how important good health is then I have at least made a difference.

Above are just few of several hundred things (developing an existing talent/new hobby, specializing in other aspect of nursing, joining an MLM, be a nursepreneur)  and anything that we can imagine and be proud of to create a meaningful existence after a very important part of our life has ended and in this case teaching (or any other profession for that matter).

In addition, I’ve totally understood why time is of essence and importance, that time is gold and it should be used wisely because it is something we know we can never retrieve at all.

Lastly, I hope to be able to make a difference through blogging (Thoughts and writings straight from the heart) and that you my dear readers will appreciate it and learn something in the process. I valued your precious time spent with me. I am honored and really very grateful. Thank you all very much.

Is there “life” after teaching? Let your imaginations do the trick. Like what Napoleon Hill said in his famous legendary book Think and Grow Rich 

“ Whatever the mind can conceive and believe the mind of man can achieve” 
 It pretty much sums up a part of it...... :) 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Is there "LIFE" after teaching? Part II The second encounter (happy and sad)

A lot of things happened in my life after my first taste of one of the noblest of all professions. I spent 2 years (1993-95) in Taipei working as a private nurse in a military hospital. I learned a new language, Mandarin which I thought then was difficult to learn just like what I speak now most of the time, Dutch but because it was spoken every day, made it easier for me to get used to it.  I learned how to cook Chinese food which became one  of my favorite cuisines in the whole wide world.

I’ve met the father of my daughter Isabel soon to be born in 1999 whom I thought was one of the good things that happened to me and will last for the rest of my life. Went abroad again for 2 years with Isabel’s father. Went back to the Philippines, lived a domestic life, got pregnant while managing a small business. Had a difficult life while pregnant and a broken heart after Isabel even turned 3 months. But nothing in the world can replace the joy and happiness I felt when I delivered the youngest of my 2 children.

I was overjoyed and decided that I don’t even need her father to make me happy.  I can live alone raising my children and derived happiness just with Justin and Isabel beside me. They were all that matters to me. Yes, I was every now and then very lonely and feeling hurt and empty but most of the time survived and fought those predicaments and ended up winning and happy. I experienced working in the sales and marketing.  I had luck too in this category which harnessed even more my communications skills and interpersonal relationships.  Added to that, I was also working part time as a massage therapist and was able to maintain a pool of clients.

It was somewhere in the year 2003 that I’ve met a friend during one of our seminars in sales that paved the way  to my next encounter as a trainer. It was a newly built caregiver training school in Sta. Isabel San Pablo City with a branch in Quezon City, Philippines which aimed to send graduates abroad particularly the USA.

I had an interview, did a teaching demonstration and was hired, given a module to teach and a schedule and begun again my journey to what I loved doing, sharing my knowledge and skills to a particular group of people dreaming to change their lives by learning how to do the art of caregiving. It was a small group of mixed professionals again wanting to go abroad as if that was the only way known during that time  to attain a better life.

My students and I had a very good relationships. Inside the classroom it was a teacher/student treatment but outside of school we became good friends. We had so much fun both during the learning process but likewise after that. We had encountered some problems at the San Pablo branch that we have to transfer to the Quezon City branch but  we held on and we made the most of it. There were people who betrayed the trust and kindness of the people whose intentions were to help these aspiring students effect a change in their lives.

The owners of Caregiver Resource Center Phils, Inc. were some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my whole life. They have supported all of us especially the students during those not very pleasant times. They are very kind, supportive and even if they are well-off they are very down to earth. They have helped me in so many ways. Up until now we contact each other and kept our genuine friendships.

I served them as a trainer of CRCPI for a year. It was another great experience to be able to teach a group of individuals the different aspects of geriatric nursing or caregiving. At present, some of them have applied what they have learned, they have successful jobs related to it, in abroad working and the rest of them ventured into entrepreneurship or advanced in what they were best at.

After that, I was hired as a clinical instructor at one of the Colleges of Nursing in San Pablo and taught there for more than 2 years. This experience even made me better at what I do. It was also during this time that I have to combine it with being a student again taking a master’s degree, the Master of Arts in Nursing.

There were beautiful and sad experiences that happened during these years which probably will every now and then ignite what I felt every time I reflected on what had happened in my life in the past.  Or sometimes when it was the topic of conversation with previous colleagues and friends at times when we see each other or get together once in a while. Was I probably just being kind, naive and not very assertive of my abilities and capabilities back then that I was  being used? Or did I let it happen because I have nowhere to go or that I didn’t have a choice at the time and just accepted what was being offered and never bothered to question anything? Was this situation being taken advantaged of?

Why did I feel that way? Firstly, I was the only one given a monthly compensation when everybody was paid per hour.  Then, I was at the office every Saturday and eventually found out from the secretary that I really don’t have to be there because it wasn’t really necessary since I wasn't paid for it. There were some few more that it's better left unsaid. You probably will feel sorry for me. :) How can I be so naive? Or should I say "stupid"? Or maybe I probably deserve it? Or maybe it was not at all the intention? It's not very important anymore, but whatever the case maybe it has taught me a valuable lesson and made me realized a lot of things about people and life.

On a personal note however, I was treated well by everybody, my colleagues who became eventually my friends, and especially was well respected by the student body. Most importantly, I never regretted anything because in one way or another it helped me became the person I was at my last encounter with this profession. And lastly, I was grateful that I was given that chance to do what I am passionate about, connecting to people and sharing with them a part of me.

Is there "life" after teaching? DEFINITELY... and it was even BETTER.

To be continued.... :)