Jeshaiah Sheena Rom Palanas: Journey to Success in the Special Professional Licensure Examination (SPLE) 2023 Interview

April 2023 Special Professional Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers Board Passer: An Interview with Jeshaiah Sheena Rom Palanas

Jeshaiah Sheena Rom Palanas, a triumphant TSOK (Teachers Specialists in Kuwait) board passer, shares her journey of preparing for and conquering the SPLE.

Here’s an up close and personal interview with Jeshaiah Sheena Rom Palanas:

How do you feel about receiving the news that you passed the board exam?

She expressed mixed emotions upon learning about her success in the board exam. Initially in denial, she eventually felt an overwhelming sense of happiness, relief, and gratitude. Her journey was an emotional rollercoaster, turning tears of doubt into tears of joy.

Have you received such recognition before? Please give details.

This success marked her first notable recognition. She reflected on her school days, highlighting her shift from avoiding the spotlight to achieving a significant milestone while working full-time abroad.

What is your job here in Kuwait? How long have you been OFW?

Currently employed as a nursery teacher in an English school in Kuwait, she shared that this was her first experience as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), commencing in September 2022.

Who do you attribute your success to?

She attributed her success to a dream sparked by encountering the JET Program leaflet in her school library in 2017. This marked a pivotal moment for her, fostering the determination to push forward. Her motivation extended to achieving success for her sister and their hardworking mother.

Who has inspired you to take up SPLE?

Driven by prayers and circumstances, her decision to take the exam was influenced by the challenges of COVID-19, logistical obstacles, and her earnest prayers for guidance. She saw the SPLE as a sign from God, guiding her toward realizing her dream.

What were the reactions of your family to this board’s passing?

Her family, particularly her mother, were unaware of her exam endeavors. When the news broke, her few select friends, younger sister, and boyfriend shared the excitement, confirming her success. The surprise announcement to her mother became an emotional and memorable moment.

To what extent was TSOK helpful in your success story?

TSOK played a pivotal role in Sheena’s success. Being alone in Kuwait, the organization served as a bridge, connecting her with supportive individuals who facilitated her application process, making the achievement possible.

What is your plan for the future or your dream after passing this exam?

Her future plans include traveling and working as an English teacher abroad to engage with learners from diverse backgrounds. Her goal is to act as a bridge for students to connect with the global language. Eventually, she aspires to return to the Philippines to contribute to her community.

Is this your first licensure exam? Do you plan on taking other exams, and what would it be?

The SPLE marks as her first licensure exam. She has not yet planned to take other exams in the future.

What message would you like to give to the upcoming board exam taker?

Well, from my experience, I can say that when the timing is right, He will make it happen. I’ve been there too, the struggle of having to keep up with your review for more than three years because the exam keeps getting pushed back due to life’s situations.

How did you know about the SPLE?

Sheena became aware of the SPLE when filing the necessary requirements for exam takers. Discovering support groups like TSOK provided her relief and a sense of community.

When did you decide to apply: after graduation or after finding a job? Why?

She applied for the board exam a few months after graduation. Health concerns, specifically thyroid problems, delayed her initial attempt, and her focus shifted to recovery. It took three years and a month for her to return to pursuing her dream.

What did you expect from the SPLE regarding the content of the exam? How different is it from college entrance exams?

Regarding the SPLE content, She expected a format similar to exams taken during her college entrance. Despite finding it challenging, she felt a sense of familiarity in the structure.

What questions were easy to answer (e.g., solving, logical reasoning, abstract reasoning)?

Algebraic expressions really threw off my momentum every time I saw one. That’s why when we had a lot of items from the general education section that involved computing rates, interest, and converting fractions to percent, it really boosted my confidence that I can make it. I still had a chance.

Did you attend a review center? Which review center? (a.) If yes, how did it affect your preparation for the SPLE? (b.) If not, how did you prepare for the exam in terms of resources and review materials?  

Having attended CBRC from December 2019 to March 2020, she later availed Melvin Buracho’s team’s services while in Kuwait. The collaboration between DMW and CBRC further supported her preparation.

How many of the things you reviewed appeared in the exam?

Numerous topics covered in the review, especially in general and professional education, appeared in the exam. The experience was valuable, contributing to her overall confidence.

How many weeks or months did you prepare for the exam?

She had two precious months to prepare for the exam.

How much did preparing for the exam cost you? Is it worth it?

While acknowledging the associated costs, she firmly believes that the investment was worthwhile, emphasizing the importance of giving her best effort.

Do you have a daily study routine? (a.) If yes, what is your daily routine, especially the specific time you study? (b.) If not, how did you manage your time, especially for reviewing?  

Establishing a daily study routine proved challenging for her due to work-related exhaustion. Nevertheless, she managed to allocate time after work for a focused study session, incorporating breaks and adhering to set timers.

How did you balance your work and review? How did you manage your time?

Her strict adherence to timers facilitated the balance between work and review. She prioritized a rule-based time management system to ensure adequate rest and effective studying.

How did the SPLE affect your time with family and work?

Not that much. I mean, my sister in the Philippines is also quite busy with her studies, so we don’t get to videocall each other as often as we want to. But I was still able to make time for my sister, my mother, and my significant other with no problem at all. The preparations I made for the SPLE didn’t hinder my work, and I thank God for that. I was able to carry on with my life as if everything is just the same.

Did you have any strategies in studying for the exam that helped you understand your notes better?

Her strategy involved creating a schedule, setting timers, and incorporating breaks. Notably, she allowed time for relaxation, enjoying video games to destress and enhance her understanding of the study material.

What difficulties did you face in preparing for the exam? How did you better remember complex terms and lessons? Did you improve your memory in any way?

She faced challenges in remembering detailed maps or illustrations related to language theories, particularly those involving numbers. Despite occasional struggles, connecting information during lectures led to frequent “light bulb” moments.

How stressed were you in preparing for the exam? How did you manage your stress?

Experiencing stress and anxiety, she longed for comfort from loved ones. She recognized moments of neediness during this period and sought support to alleviate stress.

Have you procrastinated on your review? How did you manage procrastination? How did you motivate yourself?

Procrastination occurred on certain days when she felt hopeless. Watching vlogs from Filipino ALTs in Japan served as a motivational catalyst, prompting her to refocus and work hard towards success.

How important is preparing for the SPLE (or other exams)? Can you say that you are well prepared? How so?

She emphasized the significance of thorough exam preparation. Reflecting on her experience, she underscored the importance of creating a study tracker to identify strengths and areas needing improvement.

How did you act during the exam? What were your thoughts during the exam?

Since I was the last person on the list based on our majorship, I received my questionnaires late, more than 10 minutes late, and everyone was already engrossed in their sheets. I was getting a bit anxious as I saw everyone flipping pages and circling answers, and there I was with no test paper yet. But I forced myself to stay calm so that I wouldn’t get a mental block in such a crucial moment.

Where did you gain the strength that helped you pass the exam?

She owed it to her mother and personal determination. Both served as foundational pillars during challenging times.

Did you search for and use guides and tips in your preparation? How effective were they?

She did not actively seek out tips and guides. Her approach mirrored her typical study patterns, emphasizing consistency and adherence to established routines.

How did passing the exam benefit you in terms of your work, your life, your family, and yourself?

I have yet to experience those benefits. I am very excited to see what lies ahead now that I have passed the licensure exam. This achievement opens up many options for me as long as I’m willing to set my mind and heart on them.

This interview provides a detailed account of Jeshaiah Sheena Rom Palanas’ journey to passing the board exam, offering insights into the challenges and motivations that led to his success.


Here’s the full list of passers:




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