At home with school kids

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star

I was recently invited as a guest teacher to 46 Grade 3 students of Kamuning Elementary School as part of the Teach for the Philippines Week celebration. I taught Sibika together with Teacher Dominique “Dom” Manahan, a Teacher Fellow of Teach for the Philippines. The objective of the lesson “Ang Kultura ng Aming Komunidad” was to help young students describe the kinds of homes in their community through art.

Teaching the kids was an exciting and enriching experience for me. I saw their enthusiasm to learn new things through their interaction with us. This was familiar territory, after all, Nanay taught Grade 1 pupils for over 40 years.

Dom is an Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) alumna who chose to be a Teacher Fellow of Teach for the Philippines, a for-purpose, non-profit organization that works to provide all Filipino children with an inclusive, relevant and excellent education. She enthused, “I chose to commit to this movement of educational reform because I believe these kids just need committed teachers to be their match in sparking-up the passions they have within them.”

The organization believes that all Filipino children have the right to receive proper education and that the opportunities and possibilities accessible to a child should not be determined by the circumstances of his birth.

In the Philippines, there is a two-tiered education system. In an elite private school, a student receives 12 to 14 years of education compared to a student from a public or non-elite private school who only gets 10 years of schooling before he graduates. To solve the educational inequity, the Department of Education recently approved the K+12 program which increases the 10-year cycle to a universal standard 13-year cycle. Until this transition is fully completed, educational inequity is one of our country’s most urgent problems that must be addressed. Likewise, the population of school-aged children in the country is steadily rising while there is a shortage of teachers.

Teach for the Philippines works jointly with the Department of Education in its mission to end the educational inequity in the Philippines. It addresses the country’s teacher resource gap and eases the transition to a 13-year education system by enlisting the most promising newly graduates and young professionals to teach for at least two years in high-need public schools around the country.

The organization is an official network partner of Teach for All, a global network of school enterprises that implement the Teach For America initiative in their respective countries. Its renowned partners are Teach For America and Teach First in the United Kingdom. In the region, its partners include Teach For Malaysia, Teach For China, Teach For Japan, Teach for India, Teach For Pakistan, Teach For Nepal, Teach For Australia and Teach For Bangladesh.

Teach for the Philippines traces its roots from Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, an organization that advocates for functional literacy and professional development of teachers and school administrators. Sa Aklat Sisikat started its partnership with Teach for All in 2011. Sharing the common mission of making education accessible for everyone, they initiated the process of bringing the Teach for All model to the Philippines. With the full support of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation board, Teach for the Philippines was established in September, 2012 by Elizabeth Zobel de Ayala, Margarita Liboro Delgado and Clarissa Isabelle Delgado.

Teach for the Philippines is now led by young, civic-minded and entrepreneurial individuals. They all share the same goal that one day all Filipino children will have the chance to receive an excellent education.

There are 54 Teacher Fellows this year who graduated from UP Diliman, Ateneo, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Miriam College, Bulacan State University, St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, Manila Central University, St. Mary’s College-Quezon City, among others.

The fellows are teaching in Grade 3 because Teach for the Philippines is helping the Department of Education pilot the K to 12 program. The ability to read fluently by the end of Grade 3 is one of the most important benchmarks of a child’s academic success. Grade 3 is the year when students transform from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”

For details, log on to www.teachforthephilippines.org.

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