Teachers are not merely educators. They actually juggle so much more than what you can imagine. They are constantly wearing different hats at one time “in the name of passion,” as what they would usually say.
Being a teacher also means being a parent, friend, counselor, cheerleader, caregiver, boy/girl scout, nurse, protector, comedian, magician, among many others. But above all, teachers are also human – they seek for joy and fulfillment.
Normita Liwag, 52, and Professor Alleli Domingo, 58, never had a child. Their decades of teaching, however, give them an everyday sense of pleasure that some ordinary parents don’t usually experience.
Liwag, an Alternative Learning System (ALS) instructor, teaches prisoners, people with disability (PWD), prostitutes, and out-of-school youth (OSY) in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
Domingo, on the other hand, is a Mathematical Science, Physics, and Operation Research professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) who is known for incorporating the “most-scared subjects” to history and art in her class discussions.
“Kahit wala sigurong sweldo, magtuturo ako,” Liwag says. “Makita ko lang silang matutong bumasa, sumulat at may marating sila, talaga namang walang kasing saya.”
(I’ll probably continue teaching even without pay. I’d be very happy just to see my students learn how to read and write and see to it that they’ll have a better future.)
Domingo shares, “I feel a great sense of satisfaction whenever the students’ eyes light up and they really say ‘Ahhh. Gano’n pala ’yun! (Is that so)’ I love learning and I love the dynamism of interacting with students so I have had good teachers as well. I would be in awe whenever they prove theorems and then they show me how it is done and then I would be in awe when they can connect this theory with this application.”
Another educator, Haide Pandoy, 60, of Malabon National High School says the best reward she gets in teaching is the sharing of knowledge itself.
With a heart for environmental projects, Pandoy’s noteworthy contribution is the preservation of Isla Sitio Pulo’s ecosystem in 2008.
“Ang turo sa akin ng nanay ko, dapat lahat ng gagawin mo ay para sa kapwa. (My mother taught me that all things you do should be for your fellowmen) It’s useless that you own the whole world. You have to think what will happen to your soul. So you have to earn your credits in heaven, not on earth,” Pandoy opines.
Dr. Aris Larroder, 34, a Grade 9 teacher at the Philippine Science High School Western Visayas, experiences a different kind of appreciation when his students get to see something that other scientists have seen.
Larroder advocates indigenous knowledge system in his Physics and Natural Sciences lessons.
Liwag, Domingo, Pandoy and Larroder are this year’s honorees of “The Many Faces of the Teacher,” an advocacy platform of Bato Balani Foundation and Diwa Learning Systems Incorporated that recognizes outstanding educators who have had positive and significant impact on their school and surrounding communities.
With their dedication in their profession, the organizations note these teachers are examples of true heroes who can be a source of inspiration and knowledge for their students and fellow educators.
Bato Balani Foundation believes that by discovering these noble educators and honoring them will make every one aware of the sublime nature and valuable contribution of the teachers to society thereby encouraging other Filipino mentors to achieve excellence in teaching.
Larroder agrees that teachers truly assume many roles, especially in addressing today’s “relaxed and easily distracted” students.
“I think the best way to teach would be to become the role model because students would see them doing things. And I guess everybody knows that the best way to teach is actually to act out. If students don’t see them doing it, then how can they tell students that they should do it,” he advises.
Domingo adds that teachers should be encouraged to achieve excellence in their profession as they are playing significant roles in molding the country’s future leaders and heroes.
“To my fellow teachers, we should keep going because we are touching the future. My favorite line about teaching is Christa McAuliffe’s ‘I am a teacher and I touch the future,’” she says.
The four echo the same goal: To see their students succeed in life.
It might be a cliché but they all vow to keep on teaching “until we die.”