Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thank You Muscat Beach Games

(From Left) George, Francis, Anet, Ronet and Jovy
As of yesterday my official duty as a Protocol Assistant for the 2nd Asian Beach Games here in the Sultanate of Oman ends. My client went home already going back to Korea. The four days of working as Protocol Assistant in a luxury hotel of Shangri-La was fantastic with a superb food and a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Oman. At the beginning I was a little bit scared of the road because not only it is zigzag but very steep as well. Wet hands and shaking knees was all I can say when I had my first trip going to the place. But as the days went through I was able to gain confidence on my driving and maneuvered the roads easily. I took lots of pictures which will be treasured from this journey but one thing I enjoyed the most is the food. A variety of choices, vegetables, chicken, potatoes, rice, noodles, breads, desserts, juices everything is overflowing. Three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I only stayed in the hotel enjoying and savoring every minute, I did not go to the venue of sports with my client, but instead I was able to finish my timetable work from the College while surfing the internet for free. I had some souvenirs and pins from other countries, (Excuse me Sir, do you have pins?) this was the pick up lines of Anet and Ronet. There were Filipinos as well who represented our Country and was able to chat with them for a short period of time. Everyone asked me "Where are you from?". I replied, "I was born in the Philippines and now I am a Canadian", in a slang pronunciation. Many of them I fooled and we all laughed together. Four days of fun. Four days of endless food, Four days of free internet (very very rare in Oman). Four days of excitement. I hope there will be another big international sporting event to be held here in Oman. Thank you Muscat Asian Beach Games Organizing Committee.

Friday, October 22, 2010


For some Filipino teachers they are very thankful and very grateful for they have been given an increase in their salary. There are some who have been decreased in their salary for reasons only the company knows. But what exactly is the basis of the Agencies in increasing the salary of the teachers? Are they fair in giving such salary increase? Do they evaluate the performance of the teachers? Does the Head of the Department or even the Dean of the College recommends teachers to be given a salary increase? In the case of Bahwan Cybertech, the teachers are "fighting" for their right to get salary increase. Teachers MUST go to their offices and talk to the owners of the company and can negotiate with their salary increase (by raising their voice to their employer?). If they are lucky, their company will give them increase. For Globnet on the other hand, they are not open for negotiations. You either sign your contract, otherwise you will not get your salary at all. The door is NOT open for negotiations telling their teachers "TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT". In fact, they even reduced the salary of their teachers by 30 Rials telling them this is for their gratuity. For CECNE, they gave 25 OMR salary increase to their teachers. The Ministry of Manpower is very active in implementing "QUALITY ASSURANCE" to all Colleges of Technology in the Sultanate. But what happen is far from reality in dealing with "STANDARDS" from among the Colleges. Teachers are supposed to have a standard salary, regardless of their agency. Next, there is a performance evaluation from the HODs, but what is the use of the evaluation if it does not reflect in salary negotiations. There are hard working teachers and there are teachers who just go to the college to sit in their chair and surf the internet. No advisories, no QA work, no responsibilities, just take 18 hours teaching load, that's it. Some even have less teaching hours. Not all Teachers have been given a lucky break.

In spite of all these blah blah blah for salary increase, what most teachers must do? Just want to share some unsolicited advice. Be content of what have been given to you and if you think the world is unfair of not giving you a salary increase, then go back to wherever you came from. The company has the right to do what ever they want and teachers are suppose to teach the students. Nothing more nothing less. Read the Ministry of Manpower By-Laws regarding Lecturer's duties and responsibilities and you might be wondering why you have many works aside from being a TEACHER. Read the last paragraph of the duties and responsibilities and you will know why Teachers are loaded with too much work. On the other hand, where else you can get the amount of salary you are receiving now as compared to what you have back home? Three times higher of what you are receiving now. Be thankful of every blessings you received. Be grateful to His Majesty for giving us the opportunity to be here in Oman. Be honest with your work and do good deeds to other people and whatever sacrifices you have, God will bless you as you make a difference in the lives of your students.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting To Know My Omani Students

The first day of my class in Computer Programming was setting rules in the lab. Students were very attentive, curious and might be asking themselves "What would be my mark from this teacher?" or "Shall I pass in this class?". Questions like these are very common for all my students. Either in certificate or diploma level.  Upon giving them lectures on Introduction to C Language, there lies ahead the usual problem. "Please repeat teacher". "I don't understand teacher." "Can you give another example Mr.?" I taught my students how to fixed errors after compiling their program. The very first error we encountered was "Unable to create output file "noname.obj". To fixed this error I simply told them "Save your file. Every time you have this error just SAVE YOUR FILE". Second exercise, I let them write their own program. ALT + F9. Error. Unable to create output file. "Teacher!!!!" shout one student. "I HAVE ERROR". I asked, "What is your error?". The student replied, "I DONT KNOW MISTER!!!!!!!!!". I tried to compose myself, keeping my cool, spending my INFINITE PATIENCE... "Shabab, do you know how to read? If you have error in your program what will I do with your error? I will drink or eat your error?" "NO MISTER.... But i can not run my program because I have error." I asked, "What does the message says?". "Mister it says here - UNABLE TO CREATE OUTPUT FILE" ... I wanted to crushed the computer but instead I just smiled. Typical Filipino teacher doesn't get easily irritated by students inattentive behavior in the class. As a Vincentian Teacher, it is great that I have this virtue in my life. It was just one example on how I deal with my students. It might be the same experience for another Filipino teacher in different colleges of technology here in Oman. Lucky for me, my students have tolerable behavior. Are they afraid of me? I don't think so. I earned their respect as I am teaching them not only professional skills but as well as personal skills. One rule that I gave to them is put in their heart and mind the GOLDEN RULE... "Learn to say.... THANK YOU.... PLEASE.... and EXCUSE ME"... Until now, they do...

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Dean and Administrators

For a while we were anxious during our first day of reporting to the college for the fact that there will be changes in the College Administrators. We have a new Dean who came from Ibra College of Technology. His name is Dr. Qasim. We also have a new Asst. Dean for Academic Affairs and his name is Dr. Ali. We also have a new Asst. Dean for Administration and I am sorry to say that up to now I was not able to meet him personally and know his name. It has been three weeks but until now most of the College personnel have not met these Administrators and were not formally introduced to all the staff in the College. I may not be an administrator but I guess it is only proper to introduce themselves so that when we meet them at least we can greet them and say some words to them. On the other hand, classes have started already and last Wednesday there was no electricity in the College. It is really ironic that people who wanted to do some work in the college are not doing it either after classes or during the weekend. They do not  mind if there are no electricity in the college and ask to continue to hold classes in spite of sweating inside a dark caravan or workshop. As a Lecturer, what we can do is to follow these instructions otherwise we might be reprimanded and it might cause termination of our services. What about students? I have normally an average of 27 students per class. This is common to all classes in the entire college. We have sometimes teaching more than 20 hours where according to the Ministry of Manpower By-Laws should take a maximum of 18 hours. We have other tasks assigned to us, like Quality Assurance, Student Advisory which reaches up to 60 students, preparing lessons, marking quizzes and examinations, student project and other tasks assigned by our Head of Department. The salary of the teachers are not equal, where the English Lecturers receives more salary than the specialization Lecturers, Bahwan Staff members likewise receives more salary than their counterparts, Globnet decreased the salary of their employees saying, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT and is not open for negotiations for the salary and the only agency that holds the passports of their employees, CECNE paid only half of the September month salary of the Lecturers but upon complaining to the Ministry on this matter, reversed their decision and paid the other half month salary of the Teachers. There are no standard level of salary, evaluation, increment of salary from among these agencies but rather making rules on their own and staff should obey otherwise if they are not satisfied, they can leave. AUTHORITATIVE... Another requirement of the Ministry is that only the so called "NATIVE SPEAKERS" can teach English Language. In my opinion, there are teachers from the land of the so called "native speakers" who are indeed very very good in the language. But when it comes to work like teaching the students on technical writing and technical communication, the so called native speakers can not even write one whole paragraph. Their grammars are not correct, the punctuations and the words used do not coincide with the thought of the subject. I may not be a native speaker of the english language but I can do better than them. (This is my own opinion.) So please better change this concept of hiring native speakers but rather hire the real "TEACHERS" who knows english whether it is by listening, reading, and most of all WRITING.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For A Start

It has been a while since the Sultanate of Oman had started to hire Filipino Teachers to teach ESL, Engineering, IT, Business and Applied Science courses in this oil rich nation. Many have tried and much to their surprise, Oman is a very peaceful country that has high regards to Teachers regardless of religion, gender, educational attainment and in fact sexual orentation. Filipinos Teachers are well regarded as professional in dealing with their work, hardworking and an infinite patience with the Omani students. This blog is dedicated to all Filipino Teachers teaching in the Colleges and Universities in the sultanate of Oman