Quantcast
Latest Stories

If I can teach one child, I shall not live in vain

By

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”

I always recite these lines by Emily Dickinson whenever I feel enervated.

I am a teacher because it was the only option I had when my Aunt Cirila convinced me to study in Manila and stay with her and her family at Villamor Air Base.

I was a psychology major but my aunt had said education was the best course for a woman and so, though reluctantly, I followed her advice and enrolled at Philippine Normal University.

I gradually learned to love my course as, over dinner, I listened to daily debates and discussions by my cousins who were completing their government service as scholars at the premier state university.

I kept hearing about how our country needed people who were willing to sacrifice for its good.

I started teaching at Our Lady of Peace School, Assumption College and St. Clare Montessori School in Antipolo City.

But after 12 years at private Catholic schools, I joined the public school system when my husband and I decided to settle in Balanga, Bataan, in 2006 for the sake of our asthmatic children who needed to breathe clean air.

I have found the private and the public school settings completely different.

In private schools, there is a greater motivation to make lessons exemplary everyday because efforts are acknowledged immediately by administrators who get feedback from parents and students. Seminars, training, workshops and exposures are better in the private setting because they are always aligned to your needs.

Lessons are also given in advance in the summer so I can find out what kinds of instructional material are needed. Parents are treated more professionally and ethically, and school leaders are more transformational and transactional.

My first year at a public school was a baptism of fire. I wanted to quit because the kids were rude and mean. But as the days passed, I began to realize that what public schools needed were more caring, committed and dedicated teachers, the kind of teacher I had always tried to be.

How can you leave pupils who come to class without having eaten breakfast because their parents had no money? How would you feel when you see them using pencils shorter than cigarette stubs? What would you do when they tell you they walk a mile to school? When you see them using plastic shopping bags for their things, wearing slippers that barely protect their small feet and getting by with shirts that used to be white but are now brown?

I could have accepted a lucrative job offer abroad but I want to be part of the change our country needs. I want to push more kids to study harder, to rise from extreme poverty and improve their lives.

While I see many things wrong with the system and people who should not be where they are, my pupils are more important than all these things.

Besides, there are good men and women in the system, too. The Reading Association of the Philippines and the Petron Gurong Kaakbay-Sa Aklat Sisikat conferences gave me the chance to hear from Department of Education officials and be inspired by them.

I am always on the lookout for good seminars and training to improve my skills because I believe my students always deserve the best.

I got involved in the Inquirer Learning section’s Serial Reading Program on my own initiative. This is now my fifth year as a partner-teacher of the program.

Although I have to spend my own money to attend seminars and debriefing sessions, and do not earn points to help me in the school system ranking, I persevere.

I believe the program can help develop my pupils’ literacy skills through varied activities. Whether or not my efforts are recognized, I will pursue the program’s advocacy to make all learners become active readers.

Teaching involves hard work and perseverance. Forget the imperfections of the public school system and focus on what you can share with your pupils.

Let us not seek promotion in everything we do for our pupils. Let us not stop improving ourselves. Let us fight poverty by giving our youth the quality education they deserve.

Marlyn B. Gerio, a Master Teacher I at  Cataning Elementary School in Balanga City, has a master’s degree in reading. She is the teacher adviser of the school paper.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Learning , marlyn b. gerio , teaching




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement