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Teachers who count


BSP GOVERNOR Amando Tetangco Jr. (left) and Education Undersecretary Yolanda Quijano (right) with the four national winners of the BSP-DepEd Guro ng Pag-asa. JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

The timing was perfect for the awards for teachers given last week by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

Financial experts and advocates from the different countries in the region were in town for the First Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting on Child and Youth Finance. The awarding was held at the closing dinner of the regional meeting, with Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. personally handing out the prizes.

“When a 2006 survey indicated that less than

5 percent of the Filipino youth saved regularly, we made a decision to place child and youth finance education high on our agenda,” said Tetangco in his welcome remarks at the Children and Youth Finance Institute regional meeting, which was held at the BSP complex by Manila Bay.

In 2007, BSP and DepEd rolled out their financial education curriculum.

“The lessons range from telling the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ to undertaking income-generating ventures, to the concept of inventory to acquiring the qualities of a successful entrepreneur,” said Tetangco. “All these with the aim to hone [the students’] financial decision-making skills … that will serve them well into adulthood.”

With the help of printed teaching guides, the program has since been implemented by, and has relied heavily on the passion of, elementary school teachers who have remained largely unrecognized for their work.

Rhyme and reason

And so there was definitely rhyme and reason for the launch this year of the nationwide search for the Guro ng Pag-asa (Gantimpala para sa Ulirang Pagtuturo ng Pag-iimpok at Araling Pansalapi  but, to be on the money about it, Teacher of Hope in English).

The reward program is meant to recognize public school teachers who have invested time and effort in engaging their students in lessons on money management integrated in the subjects Araling Panlipunan (AP or social studies), Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP or values education) and Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP or home economics and livelihood education).

Many of these teachers have started their students on the habit of saving money.

Former Education Secretary Fe Hidalgo headed the panel of judges who attended demonstration classes and conducted final interviews before choosing nine area awardees from the major islands and the National Capital Region. Out of the area awardees, three national winners were supposed to be named but, as it happened, this year there were four national winners because of a tie.

The four national winners each went home with P100,000 and a medallion. Their respective schools were awarded a technology suite consisting of a computer set and a printer. The area winners were each given P50,000.


Live wire teacher

The winner for the AP learning area was Violeta R. Roson, the vivacious teacher of the Grade 3 special science class at Francisco Benitez Elementary School in Makati City.  For 40 years now, she has taught subjects as diverse as English, science, Hekasi (heograpiya, kasaysayan, sibika), Filipino and values education.

“The teacher does not have any option but to be a good person,” Roson said in her essay. “What she does is remembered more than what she teaches … It is a must for teachers to display positive behavior because we don’t only teach our subject, we teach life.”

Roson is a live wire in the classroom. In the video presented during the dinner, her students are on their feet and looking like they’re having fun.

Roson taught the value of managing resources efficiently by creating poems and songs (rap, anyone?). She engaged the students in seminars, forums and other activities “to make financial education enjoyable.”

“I can still do the ‘Gangnam’ dance,” the 60-year-old winner said in her response after the presentation of the awards.

Roson, who is the district coordinator for Hekasi and a DepEd curriculum writer and textbook evaluator, had a hand in the inclusion of financial education in Hekasi books and in the teaching of financial literacy as integrated in those books.

According to principal Cecilia S. Payumo, Roson is a most sought-after seminar facilitator. “She conducts trainings in the community on responsible parenthood, livelihood training skills and recycling nonbiodegradable materials.”

Roson has written the following: “Basic English Builder Workbook 3,”  “Science for Daily Use,” “Skills Development in Math” workbook, traffic safety education module, “Alamat ng Makati” and modules in solid waste management.


Two for values

There were two national winners in the EsP learning area: Evelyn E. Balunsay of Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School in Manila  (See related story below) and Lynie Maria R. Amboni of Baguio Central Elementary School in Davao City.

Balunsay, 54, has been teaching for 25 years, and is handling the two accelerated classes at her school.

“As an educator, it has always been my practice to inculcate among my students not only knowledge and skills but, most of all, the right attitude and conduct,” she said in her essay.

The master teacher uses role playing, poetry, songs and comic strips to introduce financial literacy to her young students.

“This way, pupils get to learn how to work cooperatively, which is the way things are done in real life.”

Principal Elizabeth R. Arrobang acknowledged Balunsay as one of the best teachers in her grade level.

Teaching by example

The other winner, Amboni, 39, teaches science and EsP to fifth and sixth graders.  Based on the number of teaching years, she would be the least experienced among the winners with her 13 years, but Amboni was a formidable contender.

She guided her class through the Bio Intensive Gardening (BIG) and selling programs at her school to give them practical training in entrepreneurship.

“We donated the money from our BIG sales to the feeding program,” she said in her essay.

A believer in teaching by doing, Amboni extended her money management lessons to her own life. She started an ukay-ukay or wag-wag (secondhand clothing) business to augment her income as a teacher.

“It is my responsibility to mold the youth, to teach as best as I can, to discover new ways to teach,” she said in her essay.

Principal Charito F. Cortez couldn’t have agreed more. In her recommendation, she listed Amboni not only as the BIG manager, the Teachers’ Club president and a  Baguio Teachers Development Cooperative board member, but also as the school statistician and officer in charge in her absence.

Davao is not a just a skip and a hop away from Manila, but wishing to share the moment of glory with her principal, Amboni and her husband shouldered the expense of flying Cortez into town.

For the EPP subject, the winner was May C. Villanueva of Santa Rosa Elementary School in Laguna. She was a Grade 4 teacher when nominated. She is now the principal of San Roque Elementary School in Alaminos, Laguna.

Villanueva was also an active teacher-coordinator and facilitator in the implementation of the Atikha school-based program addressing the social cost of overseas migration, which includes a Youth Savers Club.

District Supervisor Romulo  Dicdican supported the 41-year-old Villanueva’s nomination for the award. He noted that Villanueva had participated in training programs on financial education in entrepreneurship, as well as community and civic savings campaigns.

All in all, the Guro ng Pagasa set of awards was a recognition well deserved.

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