Twelve new inspiring stories of teachers that show how educators uplift the students under their care; and help entire communities overcome obstacles, fight adversities, beat hard times and conquer challenges take center stage anew in Diwa Learning Systems and Bato Balani Foundation’s annual
celebration of National Teacher’s Month.
Chosen from entries from over the country, the finalists represent “The Many Faces of the Teacher” – an advocacy campaign that searches for Filipino educators who represent the various ways that teachers contribute to nation building or how they show the way to a better future.
Leading paths out of hardships
Poverty remains the biggest obstacle to learning, especially in the provinces.
Teachers Roy Biñas Basa, PhD, Master Teacher 1, Negros Occidental High School; Noemi Tanguilan Cabaddu, Instructor 3 of St. Paul University, Philippines-Tuguegarao City Campus; and Allan Mendoza delos Reyes, Alternative Learning System (ALS) teacher under Minalin Elementary School are no strangers to hardships as they were growing up.
Aware of the difficulties and drawing lessons from their own life experiences, they made it their life mission to help kids experiencing similar struggles they had.
Basa teaches at the Night Class Department, where he mentors working students. More than that, he helps them find jobs so they can continue going to school. He also offers scholarships for them, which covers their miscellaneous fees upon enrolment.
He also formed an outreach group called “Ballpen Incorporated,” which has since provided scholarship grants and school supplies to deserving countryside learners.
Cabaddu is Instructor 3 head of the Community Extension Services at her school. At an early age, she felt
that social work is the vocation for her. Since then, she has been devoting her time to her advocacies, with child protection as the cause closest to her heart.
One of the programs she spearheads is the Child Protect program in Apayao under Child Fund, which provides children access to basic education and quality early full care development. Part of this is working with the community to create safe environments for children. Her other advocacies include health, women empowerment, environment, and disaster preparedness.
Meanwhile, as an Alternative Learning Teacher, delos Reyes goes around the streets of Minalin, Pampanga to encourage out-of-school youths, young parents, blue collar workers, and even the elderly to continue pursuing a way to a better life through education.
He holds his classes under the shade of trees, inside chapels, in nipa huts, makeshift tents, and even in jails. He doesn’t mind the poor, cramped, and even horrible smelling study stations. He goes up to the farthest corners, even to the swamps, to bring education to people like him, who had once been constrained by poverty.
He also conceptualized the 3Es program, which stands for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment. Under the 3Es, he teaches his students technical skills and look for opportunities for employment for them.
Steering communities to overcome challenges
For some teachers, their responsibilities extend to the community around them.
This is the situation where Lodema dela Cruz Doroteo, Community Teacher, Paadelan E Denomagat –
Paaralan Dumagat of Tanay, Rizal; Dominic Rover Ocampo, Master Teacher 2, serving as Mobile Teacher, Benito R. Villar Memorial School of Oriental Mindoro; Ruel Eballar Janamjam, Teacher 2, Upian Elementary School; Junmerth Cretecio Jorta, Teacher 1, Kèupiyanan Tè Balugo of Bukidnon; and Sherlaine Tubat, Master Teacher 1, Badjao Floating Elementary School of Isabela City, Basilan find themselves in.
Doroteo is the first in her Dumagat community in Tanay, Rizal to finish college. Instead of pursuing a better life outside her community, she went back and established “Paadelan E Denomagat,” a one-of-a-kind school that gives importance to preserving the Dumagat culture.
Her determination to help her community extends to teaching the Dumagat elders the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, providing opportunity to enter trade in the city and to establish livelihood projects that can augment their household income.
Janamjam uses his influence as a teacher to help uplift the lives of the Matigsalug tribe of Sitio Upian in Davao City.
In weekly meetings with the community elders and parents, he dicusses how they can improve their crop yield. He also helps them deal with issues on mining and land disposal by educating them about their rights.
His most valuable contribution to the community is the establishment of an extension school for Grades 7 and 8 students. This encouraged more students to enrol and finish their studies. Today, plans are underway for an independent high school which will be built in a two-hectare land given to him by the tribal council for the future Upian National High School.
On the other hand, Jorta did not only brave the trails to teach the Matigsalug tribesmen of Bukidnon, he
also helped them address the most basic concern of anyone, which is food sufficiency.
He saw the reality that most of his students go to school with empty stomachs. This urged him to establish a feeding program called “Balugo Pagkaon Sakto,” which has been running for three years now. The program, which has gained the support of non-governmental organizations, as well as the local government and the municipal office of the Department of Agriculture, has helped him encourage more students to enrol and curb absenteeism and dropout.
Besides the feeding program, Jorta also led the efforts to acquire resources for other school facilities.