Although she trained to be a teacher, Aileen Dacasin spent only a year in the classroom after graduation before pursuing another career path.
But it proved to be only a detour and the road she took eventually brought her back to teaching.
“I take my topping the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) as providential,” said Dacasin, who was No. 1 in the exams for elementary teachers.
“God didn’t place me on top just for me to abandon teaching,” she said. She will continue to believe so “unless, of course, God Himself makes it clear to me that He wants me to be a mongha (nun) at this instant.”
A 2010 graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Dacasin had a rating of 89.8 percent to lead the 10,310 passers out of 37,117 examinees, according to the Professional Regulation Commission which released the results last month.
The topnotcher initially pursued a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree before moving to the College of Education to work for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
“After graduation, everybody went into teaching, so I told myself, I had to join the bandwagon. But I realized I wasn’t ready,” she said.
“I literally became a bum for a while since I didn’t want any commitment … I did tutoring. Then I decided to go back to my alma mater,” she said.
In 2011, Dacasin began teaching in the nursery-to-high school Mother of Divine Providence School in Marikina City. She left after a year to join a publishing company as a book editor.
The 25-year-old resigned in April but continued to contribute articles to the company’s supplementary educational magazine.
She then decided to go back to teaching. “I missed it,” she said. “Teaching is very fulfilling because you directly see whom you are serving. You directly give yourself to them.”
Dacasin said she hoped to balance writing and teaching as she prepared to start working next week for Paref (Parents for Education Foundation) Rosehill School in Antipolo City.
“I want to give myself a chance to understand how the Paref system works,” she said. “I believe that the parents are the first educators of their children. Teachers are only there to assist the parents.”
The Paref system recognizes parents as the primary educators and emphasizes the importance of parent-teacher collaboration in a child’s education, according to the academic organization’s website.
Dacasin explained that the system was about a community of parents helping each other. “Parenting is not usually everyone’s forte so parents need to learn from and help each other,” she said.
The teacher considers herself a “lifelong learner.” Philosopher Peter Kreeft is one of her heroes. She was still at UP when she first read Kreeft’s “Three Philosophies of Life.”
It was one of the most inspiring books, she said. “It makes you think about your philosophy in life and how you live your life.”
Among her other favorite books are Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Other Stories,” and J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Silmarillion.”
Dacasin looks up to teachers like Socrates and Indian toy inventor Arvind Gupta who traveled to schools to share his love of science.
Her advice to those who will be taking the teacher’s board exams? “Look beyond the LET. See yourself as a teacher. How would you like to be? Which theories or principles will you uphold? What do you believe in?”