Today’s agenda included a visit to two public schools, Sum-ag Elementary and Mariano G. Medalla Integrated School. At Sum-Ag, we received an incredible welcome and celebrated a young swimmer’s achievement of earning six medals at the Philippine National Games. We met extensively with both principals, each noted for his progressive thinking as an instructional leader, and toured several classrooms. Both schools battle extreme overcrowding and a shortage of resources that many teachers in the U.S. cannot fathom.
I also had the opportunity to team-teach a portion of the epic poem, “Beowulf” with Janrae Sanicas, followed by an observation of another teaching team and an excellent debriefing session among the four of us. This session reinforced many of my beliefs about teaching, particularly that of the importance to know your students well as people first, to know their range of skills at that time, and to adjust accordingly while working in the classroom. Good teaching is creative and fluid, and I am seeing many examples of this at LCC-Bacolod.
Genevieve Geriane began her lesson today by giving students time to reflect as she sang Mariah Carey’s song, “A Hero Lies in You” while moving among the students. She has a beautiful voice and I should note that song is a normal component of activities here, whereas students in the U.S. would find it odd for a teacher to sing, even if they sounded good! Janrae asked her students, “Who are your heroes?” Their answers were swift and touching: “Jose Rizal, my parents, my teachers.” We may think that as adults our actions don’t matter to many young people, all caught up in a teen-dream world of friends, texting and music, but they do. We do matter, and kids are watching us – not just our kids, but all kids.
Even more importantly, they’re looking for the encouragement, faith, and opportunities needed to find the hero inside of themselves. Who will write the books we read in college classes 100 years from now? Who will plan, write and implement intervention programs and action research projects to improve schools a generation from now? Who will show us that good triumphs over evil? Who will maintain a passion for integrity and pass it on to others?
I continue to see students consistently work, play and support each others’ learning without complaint, always offering a friendly smile and a “Good Morning, M’am.” One student, Angeline, summed it up best today after conquering the “Beowulf” text, proclaiming, “Being a great warrior comes from within.” Being a hero comes from within, and I am humbled to see so many children putting forth the the fight for the future.