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‘Cher Ed: On why an Engineer Teaches

It was in 2010 when the road I was on diverged into different paths. I thought hard about where and what I should pursue as an undergrad.  Our family situation, could not afford an expensive university, and I was terrified that a degree would never be within my reach. But God has His way, I secured a place in one of the cheapest state universities in the country- PUP.

Upon admission, my mother encouraged me to pursue education (at that time she was after the job security of  a teacher) — the idea played on loop in my mind. Why not? I loved to teach. However, after further thought, I realized teaching would not save us from poverty so I pursued a more promising degree — Computer Engineering. Five years later, my decision was right, IT related jobs have the highest starting salary versus all other degrees.

But could it be possible to unlove what our heart desires? In my case, the answer was no.  I can try to forget, shelve or fake it, but my core remained the same — I love to teach.  So… I rerouted my path and remembered my heart’s desire.  I came to know Teach for the Philippines, an organization which encourages people from all walks of life to commit to education. I inquired and waited for the opportunity to apply and the rest is history– I am a teacher today with an Engineering Degree!

Given where I am, I can repay the organization with utmost gratitude by living out its mission and vision which I embrace fully. I continue to think about and ask where my love of teaching hails… maybe from my mother, who was deprived of finishing high school and college because of poverty?  … Maybe my own experience when I was almost deprived of an opportunity to continue my education?

I know now that it is in my nature to pour myself to others, to serve them and push them to expand their own possibilities.  Every day I walk to the classroom, I look at my pupils and believe they will and should go far. I make them understand that who they are now is very different from who they can become. I may not be with them 24/7 but I have one hour every day to touch their minds. Within that one hour, we learn about each other.  As a Science Teacher, I teach them energy, animals and the solar system.  But it is my students, especially my “last section class,” who have taught me to be patient when discussions are difficult, to be understanding when they don’t have money for a one fourth sheet of paper, and to just smile and laugh when things go perfectly.

As a teacher, it is my duty to bridge dreams to reality and make my pupils believe they can be anything if they don’t give up. I push them to their success, to see that the world is ready to offer them different journeys.

I have always believed that teaching is more than just a salary or good benefits.  Teaching is a profession which requires more than a hundred percent of passion. This is a job for the soul and not for the pocket.  What then is our reward? It is to see our students realize their place and worth in this world and share with them their small and big successes in life.