When the year started, we got to hear from our fellow students how online classes were going for them. We’ve actually been talking to the student body a lot in the past few months, and it’s been a rich experience. However, we mustn't forget that we students aren’t the only members of the ICS community. Have you ever wondered how the teachers were feeling during these uncertain times?
Last week, we got to have an engaging conversation with Teacher Pat Macalinao, Teacher Josh Salazar, Teacher Yeng Tayone, and Teacher Cel Villanueva. Whether you’re interested in how their love for teaching started or how they’re doing now, this article has got you covered!
Everyone starts somewhere, even our very own well-respected teachers. Before knowing how they are now, isn’t it important to understand where they came from?
“I never thought that I was gonna be a teacher, but it was always in my heart even when I was in high school,” Teacher Pat remarked as she talked about how she always enjoyed speaking in front and reporting. Despite this, she actually took up Chemistry in college because her father wanted her to have “more options”. After graduating though, she still wanted to pursue teaching. She submitted applications for laboratories and schools and decided that the application approved first would be her job. Eventually, she got accepted into a small school, and the rest was history.
“Na-favorite ko yung Filipino dahil sa Noli Me Tangere,” Teacher Yeng explained when she talked about how teaching has always been a calling. Her interest in politics made her like the subject Filipino more in her third year of high school, and she decided that if she were to become a teacher, she would also want to teach that subject as well. This is why she enjoys being a Grade 9 teacher. After all, she gets to teach Noli Me Tangere, the subject that inspired her to teach in the first place.
Teacher Josh on the other hand never really considered teaching as his future. His “grand dream” was to be a businessman or CEO. When he took up Accountancy though, he realized he wasn’t happy with that dream. “I was yearning for companionship. I was yearning for fellowship with other people,” he said as he explained why he took up his second course, Communications and Public Relations. He still decided to pursue business but more of the public relations aspect of it, and eventually, he got into the job he “always wanted”. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the job wasn’t for him. He got inspired to teach after going through a mission trip to Thailand where he had his first set of students. Something about the way those young people tried to understand and learn new things resonated in him, so the first thing he did when he came back to the Philippines was contact people from ICS to see if there was an opening. There was, but it was an opening for Filipino. He did try it out, but he eventually learned that teaching Filipino wasn’t his strong point. He waited for a while until he was informed about an opening for being an English teacher. After getting the job, he realized, “This is exactly where God wanted me to be.”
Teacher Cel didn’t really see herself becoming a teacher as well. She didn’t think she was good at handling children, so it wasn’t a conscious decision for her to start teaching. “Yung dream ko talaga is to become a full-time artist,” she explained as she talked about wanting to have her art in galleries and starting her own art brand or art shop. She felt like becoming a teacher was mostly an opportunity given to her so that she could improve on her weaknesses. From there, she grew to love helping students develop their creativity by sharing what she knew about art.
If students are having a hard time with this online set-up then it’s not so surprising that it’s tough on the teachers as well. You may be wondering, what exactly keeps them going?
“Definitely working from home doesn’t motivate me,” Teacher Pat jokingly said as she explained how she previously took a break from teaching for a year at one point, and during that time, she had to work from home. It was then she realized that she didn’t enjoy it at all. She was then happy to return to teaching, but as we all know, now everyone has to stay at home because of the pandemic. Despite the uncertainty during these times though, her hope in the Lord is what pushes her forward.
“May igaganda pa ang bawat bukas,” Teacher Yeng remarked, sharing the motto she lives by during this pandemic that she got from Joselito delos Reyes. She emphasized the importance of being positive in order to persevere. She talked about how there’s no use in giving up because it’s not like that will cause the virus to stop.
Meanwhile, Teacher Josh’s motivation comes from the fact that he’s preparing for the next chapter in his life. After all, he needs to work hard in order for that to work out. Aside from that though, he also genuinely doesn’t want to stop teaching just because of the pandemic. Knowing that he still has things to teach his students is what keeps him going, as he told us, “My conscience cannot take leaving behind students.”
“Everyone deserves to have an education and to be encouraged during this time,” Teacher Cel said, as knowing that fact and seeing her students’ faces is what keeps her going. She explained that even if it’s only through a screen, she still enjoys that kind of interaction.
Reminiscing on the “Old Normal”
Even though we’ve heard the question, “What do you miss the most about face to face classes?” more than once during his quarantine season, it still never gets old hearing what people have to say about it. Whether they be the big things or the small ones, asking this question makes us appreciate the good times we had before the lockdown.
Teacher Pat mentioned something that all of us can relate to, which is missing the people we used to see almost every day. She explained how she misses the simple interactions with her fellow co-teachers, staff, and students.
“Nakakamiss maglakad ng walang mask,” Teacher Yeng said as she expressed how sad it was when she saw her co-teachers outside of school because it wasn’t like how it used to be with all of the safety precautions that we have to keep in mind.
On the other hand, Teacher Josh said something a little bit different. He shared with us how much he missed the school plays. To be more specific, however, he missed how he was able to express himself more freely at school than at home because of the need to modulate his voice. He mentioned that having the opportunity to simply have fellowship with everyone at school was his way of showing love and care to those around him.
“I miss all of the extracurriculars, especially the Wednesday assembly,” Teacher Cel shared as she explained how weird it was to go to school during quarantine and not see the high school body gathered in the 4th floor assembly area. She mentioned how it’s the little things that she misses like hearing all of the noise, seeing her students in the hallways, and the interaction during classes.
Seeing people through video calls and in person is really different and can be hard on some people, which is why it’s important for us to keep all of the memories before lockdown alive. Having all of the meaningful memories to look back on can be something that we can go to whenever the online set-up becomes heavy.
Words of Encouragement
We’ve all had our bad days, or more so, even the worst ones where we just feel like giving up. Even though we sometimes feel like life just stays that way, we should continue to keep our eyes fixated on Him, just like how these fellow teachers have.
“At these times that are uncertain, it is only the Lord that is certain,” Teacher Pat said as she reminded us how constant and never-changing our God is. She also shared Proverbs 1:7, which says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Even though a lot of things in our world are confusing right now, we should always remember to stay close to our God and be wise.
Teacher Cel shared a quote from Morgan Harper Nichols as an encouragement for the students, which says, “You are not a burden for having burdens that you are learning to lay down. You are not a failure for not reaching the heights you thought you’d reach by now.” This is a reminder for us, students, that life doesn’t have to stop because there are still tons of things we can find joy in. “A big thank you for being underrated heroes,” Teacher Cel said as she encouraged the teachers. She also reminded them to take time to rest by saying, “Rest is available. Rest is a blessing. Rest is also part of our service to glorify God.”
Teacher Yeng shared to us a verse from college that she didn’t expect to stay true to her life until now. The Bible verse that she has stuck with since she was a student is Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” On her end, there were a ton of plans that have been pushed back or discontinued; however, we should always remember that the season of waiting is beautiful. She ended with, “Nakita ko na ginamit pa Niya ang pandemic para mas makita ko yung grace niya sa akin.”
“Never give up, never give up, never give up,” Teacher Josh said as he quoted this famous saying from Winston Churchhill. He further shared his own insights regarding this quote by explaining what it actually meant. He mentioned how the first “Never give up” meant to never give up on courage because it can only bring us so far, especially with what is going on. The second “Never give up” meant to never give up on stubborn perseverance. Even though things in our life are difficult right now, we shouldn’t give up hope, but instead, we should keep going on. Lastly, he reminded us to never give up on faith because God will always see us through.
As you’ve read the wonderful words of encouragement given to us by these teachers, we hope that you felt the light and love, just as we have while we listened to them. We can already point out the fact that life isn’t easy, but going through it with the people you love and for the God that we serve makes it all worthwhile.
Thank you, Teachers
It was truly a pleasure and a privilege to be given the opportunity to hear what the teachers have to say. As we, students, are struggling with the current situation, we should also keep in mind that the teachers are going through the same thing. If there’s one thing that we don’t tell them enough, it’s most likely the phrase, “Thank you.” With everything going on around us, we sometimes forget to tell our teachers how much we appreciate them and everything they do for us.
Thanking them can be as simple as listening intently in class or giving them a short message of encouragement. Teaching in itself is already a challenge, but having it online can be even more difficult. Once you’re finished reading this article, maybe you should message one of your teachers telling them how grateful you are for their hard work and perseverance. A simple “Thank you” or “We appreciate you” may be what they need to be reminded that they really are one of the most significant heroes this quarantine.