Topnotcher in board exam for teachers not an education major
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - March 12, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Deidre Morales, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, did not expect to be one of the topnotchers in the recent Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). 

After all, she is not an education major. She took up Bachelor of Arts in Araling Pilipino.

But when results of the January 2014 LET were released over the weekend, she could not believe that she clinched the top spot in the LET for secondary teachers, along with Eduard Aldabon Pagtulon-an of Central Mindanao University.

Morales, 23, said she initially thought that her friends, who informed her that she topped the examination, were just playing a joke on her.

“I did not expect to be a topnotcher. I was not even sure if I would pass the exam,” she told The STAR in Filipino.

Morales graduated high school from Miriam College. She was initially accepted to the BA Filipino program of the UP College of Arts and Letters (CAL). 

She said her initial plan was to shift to a degree offered by the College of Education to pursue her dreams of becoming a teacher.

Later on, however, she became more fascinated with the subject, prompting her to shift to Araling Pilipino instead, which gave her the flexibility to pursue her interests.

Araling Pilipino is an interdisciplinary degree that allows the students to choose two disciplines that they want to focus on. These include courses offered in CAL, College of Mass Communication, College of Social Work and Community Development and College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

For Morales, who graduated in 2012, it was education and creative writing in Filipino.

“It’s like hitting two birds with one stone,” she said, describing her choice of academic program. â€œI was able to take education and creative writing classes, which I really liked.”

But despite her units in education, Morales said she had to enroll in additional classes after graduation to meet the requirements set by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Morales, who is now teaching both foreign and Filipino students at the Xavier School in San Juan, said she would not trade teaching Filipino for any other subject.

“I don‘t know why a lot of people do not appreciate Filipino as a subject,” she said. “Filipinos know about Harry Potter and other western literature more than our own.”

She also teaches Philippine literature.

“Filipino is part of our national identity, it is a part of who we are. It is important for us to learn about it,” she said.

She said she hopes Filipino students would be able to appreciate the works of literary masters like Jun Cruz Reyes, and be introduced to classic Philippine literature such as novels “Dekada ’70” and “Bata, Bata… Pa’no ka Ginawa?” of Lualhati Bautista.

Morales said she is keeping her options open when asked if she is interested in teaching in another school.

She drew the line, however, on teaching in the Philippines even with the rising popularity of teaching Filipino as a foreign language in other countries.

Morales – the second of three siblings and daughter of a nurse and a radiologist – said her parents initially wanted her to pursue a career in the medical field.

“But they now accepted my choice and are happy with what I achieved,” she said.

Daisy Buenaventura Reyes of Xavier University topped the 2014 LET for elementary teachers.

The PRC said 11,120 elementary teachers out of 38,377 examinees (28.98 percent) and 12,033 secondary teachers out of 42,358 examinees (28.41 percent) passed the exams held in 15 testing centers across the country.

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