Class act - Weekend

Class act

Up close with four young teachers sharing their knowledge and passion

By Patricia May P. Catan and Christian Jay B. Quilo
Profile photos: Contributed


THE teaching profession does not discriminate when it comes to age. Young or old, both are considered heroes, but what really defines them are their passion and knowledge for teaching. The younger generation of teachers are then the hope of this generation and will help restore humanity’s faith in millennials. Here to share about their teaching experience are four young and devoted teachers.

Via Angeli Hinoguin, 22

Via Angeli Hinoguin
Via Angeli Hinoguin

For Via, it started in elementary when she was chosen to be one of the “little teachers” at her school. “I really enjoyed teaching the other children. Seeing that they all enjoyed the story and how animatedly I told it, I became drawn to teaching,” Via recalls the first time she fell in love with teaching.

In high school, she was given another opportunity to live out her dreams as a teacher — this time as a substitute for classes in religion and math.

“I have my teachers to thank for my love for Math because they made the subject seem so easy and interesting. Whenever I was successful in solving a particular problem, I felt so happy and fulfilled,” Via says. This desire to share this success with others inspired her to pursue teaching, particularly as a Math teacher.

Now, she is a Grade 8 teacher for Math and Computer at Sacred Heart School – Hijas de Jesus. Her approach to teaching: “I want the students to be engaged and to take charge of their own learning, providing them with opportunities to learn by themselves and with others.”

Considering Math isn’t a subject enjoyed by everyone, teaching this subject can be quite a challenge. “One of the greatest challenges as a Math teacher is to make students have that positive attitude towards learning the subject and to help them understand its relevance to their lives so that they will be able to develop the most essential skills for the 21st century,” explains Via.

When she first started teaching, Via felt so much pressure. “During my first year, I put myself under so much pressure to meet the expectations of everyone. However, I learned eventually not to give in to the pressure and instead, to focus more on developing myself personally and professionally so I can effectively inculcate the values of the school to the students. I am also grateful because my fellow teachers were there to guide and assist me whenever I was not sure what to do,” she reminisces.

As a teacher, Via’s goal is straight-forward and noble: “I aim to equip my students with the necessary skills and values so that they may be able to surpass whatever challenge life throws at them.”

Grace Niña Monterde, 21

Grace Niña Monterde

Grace was only an aspiring teacher back then who took inspiration from her own teachers when she was still a student, but what made her follow this dream were the children she met in college who made sacrifices just to go to school and were determined to learn.

This dream led Grace to become an educator at present who teaches Grades 6 and 7 for Mathematics at Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion-Cebu, and being the passionate teacher that she is, Grace believes that students should be the center of discussion. “They should be given the chance to share or discuss something to the class. I encourage my students to reflect or assess how the lesson can help them in real life,” adds Grace.

Fulfilling her dream as a teacher, Grace shares that the best part of teaching is when the student grows not just in terms of knowledge but in terms of attitude. “It is very fulfilling for me as a teacher to see that all my students are learning and changing for the better,” says Grace.

But part of every teacher’s life are the challenges that come with it. One is the diverse learning needs of students that Grace finds quite challenging as well as to keep the interest of students toward the topic since children have short attention span. A teacher who’s passionate, a good communicator and listener, flexible, and has the in depth knowledge on the topic is therefore what students need according to Grace.

“I believe that students can construct their own knowledge and learning through real world problems and proper facilitation,” states Grace on what her teaching philosophy is. Grace who belongs to the younger generation of teachers in her school only feels pressure when she is being observed by administrators, but other than that, she says that experienced teachers never hesitate to help or guide the younger ones.

Grace hopes to get a Master’s Degree in Education to broaden her knowledge as a constantly growing and learning educator and then share more of this acquired knowledge to her students.

Hillary Mae Bucao, 22

Hillary Mae Bucao

Hillary’s dream of becoming an educator traces back to early childhood when she used to play teacher with her cousins during the summers. This childhood experience translated into a significant point in young Hillary’s life as it made her into what she is today.

Living her childhood dream, Hillary is now an English and Social Studies teacher to senior high school students in Brighture Academy. Hillary finds joy in getting to meet different students with different backgrounds and stories to tell. But what makes teaching fulfilling according to her is seeing her students outgrow the single, often horrible and harrowing, narratives they tell themselves and create many new ones.

Patience, understanding and compassion are in fact what she believes a teacher must possess. “A teacher should, first and foremost, be the most human he can be and treat his students humanely. It has been said that to make plants’ roots sing, you must speak kindly to them. I think the same goes for kids, too. They need so much encouragement,” remarks Hillary.

She also believes that old things do offer their wisdom, which made her follow the CAD format of objectives in the old lesson plan format where the teacher addresses the cognitive, affective then demonstrative part.

“The student has to comprehend the subject, feel the subject’s importance to him and the society he’s in and then perform tasks related to the subject to show his mastery,” says Hillary.

Working as a teacher presents its own challenges, especially time management, knowing that a teacher’s working hours never follow the 8 to 5 routine. Although time may be an issue for Hillary at times, her teaching philosophy still remains the same: Teach them how to be human first. The rest will follow.

Being one of the younger teachers doesn’t bother her at all as she feels a kind of privilege to be among older co-teachers. “The fact that I am able to lend the energy and enthusiasm that are, at times, called for makes for memorable experiences,” says Hillary.

The only goal left to fulfill for Hillary is to finish her Master’s degree and then proceed to get a Doctor’s before hitting the three-oh. “I’d like to believe as well that I am capable of a lifetime of learning, unlearning, and relearning to better carry out my role as an effective and efficient teacher.”

Raphael Renz Unabia, 23

Raphael Renz Unabia

Renz may have graduated just two years ago and is relatively new as a teacher, he is certainly no stranger to the profession. Coming from a family of teachers, he grew up observing his uncles and aunts work and on occasion, even assist in checking papers or preparing the classroom. “As a kid, my only dream was to become a teacher. I saw their passion in teaching and it motivated me to follow in their footsteps,” recalls Renz.

As an educator, Renz believes that every child is gifted with intelligence and possesses talents that are unique from other children. “My task as a millennial educator is to facilitate the development of every pupil to the optimum and to the maximum by encouraging them to excel in the field they want to pursue,” says Renz.

Currently teaching at Saint Theresa’s College – Cebu and handling subjects in Grade 1 and Grade 5 plus an advisory class, Renz has quite a lot on his plate. Although he does not adhere to a specific teaching style, Renz does have one mission in mind when he is with his students: to empower them by letting them learn by themselves and involving them in activities that foster collaboration and critical thinking.

Like every teacher, Renz finds satisfaction in seeing his students move to the next grade and eventually graduate. But for him, being a teacher is more than just helping kids finish school, it’s also about being “immortal” — in a sense that his pupils will take all the values and lessons he as a teacher imparted to them for the rest of their lives.

For sure, the profession comes with its own set of challenges like paperwork and other deliverables, but Renz sees a challenge from a slightly different perspective: the continuous progress of technology and how it affects education. “Anything can be accessed with just a simple click of a button. Kids nowadays are exposed to different kinds of information, regardless if they are true or not. The challenge now is how to teach them not just to be responsible in the outside world but also in the cyber world,” explains Renz.

Although younger than some of his peers, Renz considers himself lucky to work with well-experienced co-teachers who are very supportive and have nothing but the best interest not just for the students but for the new and young teachers in the faculty as well. “The pressure does not come from my peers but rather from myself. I want to exceed expectations and be an excellent teacher to my pupils,” shares Renz.

Currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Educational Management, Renz has a long term mission and vision in mind. “I want to finish my Master’s degree so I can contribute to the development of our educational system. I don’t see myself as a teacher forever but rather, as someone who works in the development of the quality of education in the Philippines. I have a wild dream — to become the next Secretary of Education.” With a strong work ethic and a passionate drive to excel, that dream doesn’t seem so farfetched for Renz.

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