By Resti Rafael E. Pino
The Global Classroom is a program where teachers and students from different countries give merits or demerits and positive or negative feedbacks on the effects of a certain topic being talked about. What else do we do in the Global Classroom? Educators in various countries are tasked to facilitate the discussions aligned with the Sustainable Development Program Goals of the United Nations. The sessions are held every Saturday following Japan Standard Time 21:00-22:00(UTC+9). A session usually starts with an opening talk by Mr. Almark Ramos and followed by a group discussion using Zoom Breakout Rooms and then afterwards, the participants are back to the main room for group sharing and closing messages. I got a favorable chance to interview Mr. Almark Ramos, a Claretian teacher who first attended the said program and our conversation went this way:
Resti: How did you discover the Global Classroom?
Mr. Almark Ramos: I first saw it on a Facebook group for international teachers looking for Mystery Skype. Mystery Skype is an educational game invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The game aims to build cultural awareness, critical thinking skills, and geography skills by guessing the other classroom’s location through a series of yes or no questions.
Resti: How did you know and connect to the founder of the global program?
Mr. Almark Ramos: Mr. Kohei Nakashima, a Japanese English teacher for high school and who, I came to know later, as the founder of the Global Classroom together with other educators from India, Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and other Asian countries posted an announcement about having a global classroom where pupils and students of different races and colors could share with their knowledge and ideas on a particular topic. Attached to his message was a link for educators to register. After the registration, he sent a message thru FB Messenger to confirm my request to join the group.
Resti: How do you feel having friends in different countries?
Mr. Almark Ramos: I feel excited, proud and happy of myself having educator friends of different nationalities since I consider this experience to nourish my teaching profession, be more competent in my teaching career and bring my educational advocacies to the world, closer to other global pupils and students aside from you in our school.
Resti: Do you think that joining the Global Classroom will be helpful to us pupils and students?
Mr. Almark Ramos: Yes, the Global Classroom promotes in building global friendship among pupils and students. We have now in our school the tools to communicate with other nationalities since we are doing online or virtual classes this year. Aside from establishing global friendship among pupils and students of different nationalities, the program includes designed activities which will significantly help young learners like you develop their communication skills, improve their critical thinking in problem-solving and sharing with their innovative ideas on addressing a common topic related to sustainable development aligned with the competency skills of the 21st Century education. Being part of this growing community of friends will not just help you build multi-cultural bridges but will also broaden your understanding and network on world-wide education. It is a growing community and my experience in joining this program is filled with fun and excitement because the sessions include very interesting and globally relevant topics. I hope that other Claretian teachers will also become part of this group and introduce this program to their pupils and students. The Global Classroom certainly imprints in us some unforgettable memories and experiences not just that we meet global friends but it supports and sets ways for lifelong learning. SCIENTIA MAXIME CUM VIRTUTE
My Quarantine Experience
Quarantine for me is like a Netflix series. Each day has a new episode. We, as characters discover and explore ways on how to be safe and protected from COVID-19. We also find new ways to cope with our boredom like making or discovering new hobbies as we have been in quarantine for many months now. Everybody has different experiences being in quarantine, but mine has more fun and different from what I usually do before the pandemic.
My quarantine experience was filled with entertainment, excitement, and relaxation. I engaged into new hobbies that were filled with fun and more interesting like cooking, dancing, drawing, and organizing. I learned how to cook by watching on YouTube tutorials on various recipes such as fried rice, fried chicken, and a lot more that I prepared and shared with my family. Dancing became my new hobby also as I found it energizing and fun filled. Drawing made me relax and enjoy it as I used my imagination. I made an effort to be more organized like cleaning and seeing my things orderly fixed. Being organized relieved my stress and besides, I saw the importance of it as I would be graduating this year and would certainly be of help with my life.
Although, I gained some weight this quarantine time, I tried to stay fit by exercising every morning and ate a well-balanced meal. I saw the importance for me to stay healthy especially at this time of the pandemic as I would not like to get sick.
Aside from surfing the internet and used some social media platforms like Tiktok and YouTube for entertainment, I also watched movies so as not to get bored. Some movies I watched were meaningful especially with the quotations that inspired and served me as motivators to aim for my goals this year. Examples of those quotations were “You can’t dream if you’re not desperate” and “It’s not the time that matters, it’s the effort”.
Many of my online experiences were new and exciting with this neo-normal situation. I had prepared for the new school year and set up my goals as I expected that there would be new and challenging things with attending classes online and at home.
Over all, I am happy, excited and look forward to make new memories in this very unique school year bearing in mind the school motto: SCIENTIA MAXIME CUM VIRTUTE. Knowledge is Best with Virtue.