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The meaning of being a teacher

They say teachers are the foundation of every society. They are the person behind every great mind; they prepare, they mold, they nurture students to help them reach their full potential, and, hopefully, pay it forward. 

The meaning of being a teacher
ABOVE AND BEYOND. The four honorees of this year’s ‘The Many Faces of the Teacher’ (from left) Venus Metilla Alboruto, PhD.; Yrene Aguilar-Dineros; Junmerth Cretecio Jorta; and Aletta Tiangco Yñiguez, PhD., go beyond their duties to share their knowledge with students and communities. 
Despite their huge role and contribution to the nation, educators face all kinds of challenges just so they can reach out to more learners. You can say it is not easy being a teacher. But these four educators go above and beyond their role to share their knowledge with students and communities, paving the way for a better future. 

Diwa Learning Systems, Inc. and Bato Balani Foundation, Inc. present these four honorees of “The Many Faces of the Teacher.”

Making education fun

The meaning of being a teacher

Innovating teaching practices is part of an educator’s role, especially for large-sized classes of 55 to 60 where learners get distracted quickly. To ensure everyone in the class focuses on the lesson, Venus Metilla-Alboruto, PhD. uses Strategic Intervention Materials (SIMs) that allow her to provide the right environment for learners to thrive in.

SIMs are a series of interactive modules she developed which focuses on science process skills development and knowledge in different scientific concepts. Alboruto uses SIMs to let students learn and understand the different lessons.

According to Alboruto, SIMs are a complete package that comes with activity cards, comics that will attract their interest to read, as well as assessments that can also help absentee students and even working students. They are able to bring it home and return after every lesson.

“As a public school teacher for 17 years, I have met students who were like me when I was young—many of them come to school without paper and pen, on empty stomachs, and needing care and attention,” says Alboruto.  

“Seeing how they need inspiration drives me to do my best as their teacher. Hence, I am always trying my best to apply innovative strategies to make them stay motivated in class. I always bring extra pen and paper, and sometimes extra snack, and provide them with Strategic Intervention Materials that enable them to work independently or with their peers, and cope with the lessons that they missed to master.”

Through the Department of Science and Technology–Science Education Institute, Alboruto upgraded her SIMs using augmented reality and called it SIMATAR.

Giving everyone a chance

The meaning of being a teacher

Yrene Aguilar-Dineros is regarded by her students as a mother figure. Dineros, who is currently an Alternative Learning System Instructional Manager and a Master Teacher II at Quezon City High School, helps out-of-school youth by integrating skills training in her ALS classes.

She also teaches dropouts, working individuals, and senior citizens. She gives classes on basic literacy as well as skills training on dressmaking, food preparation and housekeeping, wellness, electronics, and customer service.

“Ever since I started my career as a teacher in 1980, I have already taken the role of a second mother to my students. My students just have varying ages now,” shares Dineros. 

To date, she has the most number of ALS students in District IV, Quezon City. Through these classes, she hopes that her students can have better opportunities for employment overseas. 

“Yes, I wear many hats. That is because I want to do everything I can for these people who have been neglected for the longest time by our educational system, while I still can,” said Dineros. 

“Some would say that I should already be spending my spare time and weekends resting. But, how can I, knowing there are still so many who need me? During these times, I attend to my ALS students. I teach them basic literacy so that they can get a diploma.”

And because she also has bigger dreams for her students, she teaches them Nihonggo, a language she learned after receiving a scholarship grant in Japan.

Serving his purpose

The meaning of being a teacher

Junmerth Cretecio Jorta started as a public school teacher in 2012 at Kalaganan Central School. He shared that there was an empty feeling inside that he wanted to fill up—looking for a purpose in teaching.

“I asked the Lord’s guidance,” he said. “Gawin akong missionary teacher.” The time came when the principal at Kalaganan Central School finally asked him to handle Kèupiyanan Tè Balugo, a school for the Indigenous People learners of Sitio Balugo, Barangay Kalanganan in Bukidnon

Sitio Balugo is hours away from the main road. But Jorta, through his faith and belief that he needs to take care of the community, managed the discomfort of sleeping in a classroom and having to cook for himself. “God called me to be there,” he enthused.

He saw that many of the students go to school with empty stomachs or miss school because they have nothing to eat. But through his program called “Balugo Pagkaon Sakto,” more and more students in the community in Bukidnon have enrolled and continued to study.

Advocating for the environment

The meaning of being a teacher

As a biological oceanographer, Aletta Tiangco Yñiguez, PhD. not only takes care of her students but also the environment. She is currently an Assistant Professor 7 at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and has been teaching for over 10 years.

Yñiguez is one of the country’s foremost experts on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) more widely known as red tide. She and her team of scientists and students are figuring out the triggers of this phenomenon and the potential for predicting it.

She currently leads COASTS (Community Alliance for the Sustainability of our Threatened Seas), a partnership between the academe, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, coastal communities, and LGUs. It aims to improve food safety, livelihood security, and ultimately good quality of waters through an early warning system that would help address problems related to the occurrence of HABs.

Aside from teaching her students and reaching out to communities, she also lead summer camps helping high school students understand the fragility of the environment and rehabilitate the way people interact with marine life. She also manages a Facebook page called Baybay-Dagat to further her advocacy of caring for our oceans and securing it for the next generations.

“Even though I didn’t set out to become a teacher at first, I am now thankful I can share my own continuing curiosity, wonder, and discoveries about our oceans. I hope I can stir the same feelings in my students, as well as the people they engage with in their daily lives,” shares Yñiguez. 

Topics: Diwa Learning Systems , Bato Balani Foundation , Strategic Intervention Materials , The Many Faces of the Teacher
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