Pacete: More power to young teachers

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” These are the declarations of William Arthur Ward about teaching. Really, the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

I was invited by Joseph Gabriel Educado, project head of #youTeachForLocalHeritage to be a resource person in the gathering of young teachers. He is also the area core group member of YouTeach Philippines-Negros Island.

According to Joseph, his group is a national network of young teachers committed to helping each other preserve each other’s ideals and pursue each other’s dream.

This is a new organization, launched early this year through their First National Young Teachers’ Boot Camp. Through the boot camp, the regional core team gained the necessary attitudes and skills, and provided them the tools to launch the organization locally.

On January 27, young teachers will gather at the audio-visual room of Silay Institute to have “healthy conversations” and brainstorming on how they can be advocates of their local heritage in their classrooms and beyond. This is in time also for the celebration of YouTeach Philippines 1st Founding Anniversary with the theme “Celebrating the Good.”

Joseph invited me to speak on the topic, “Education and Heritage: The Melding of Both Worlds.” That could be good because I believe that a teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops. In teaching, it is the method and not the content that is the message… the drawing out, not the pumping in.

I was once a teacher and I advocate that a teacher should be a warrior. He has to wage war against prejudice, greed and ignorance. The job of a teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the growing child shall come to apprehend it with an excitement by awe and wonder.

My task is to show these young teachers the means to integrate culture in their lessons. Culture is the way of life evolved by a group of people that can be transmitted from one generation to another. It could be manifested in customary beliefs, social forms, or in material traits of racial, religious, or social group.

Culture is the heritage of quality of life: “ang pamana ng ating kagalingan” and “ang pamana ng ating karangalan.” Culture could be viewed from the point of view of Lao Tzu. “Knowing others is wisdom.” “Knowing the self is enlightenment.”

It is expected that teachers will become cultural workers. They will seek to sustain the interest of the people in the community and that of their students in school concerning enthusiasm for heritage. We can always start with our own Mother Tongue, Hiligaynon. The new (and young) teachers could always explore heritage through our culinary arts.

Just like what we have in Silay, students could be made participants in “Kaon Ta Food Festival.” The kids will enjoy in rediscovering heritage games. Teachers can tell stories from childhood on how they enjoyed playing with neighbors.

Heritage could be highlighted through fiestas and other important events hosted by towns and cities. Cultural mapping inside the classroom could be in a form of a game. Students will identify heritage sites by looking at the town’s map. Let them work in group and explain what they have found out.

Environmental landmarks are also part of our natural heritage. They could be related to topics like climate change, natural habitat, and calamities. When a teacher takes up appreciation for dance, music, visual arts and the involvement of artists and organizers, he is talking about heritage.

The history of the place is heritage. Take up topics about indigenous household utensils and farm implements, evolution of costumes, fishing gears, work in embroidery, pots and earthen wares… or even the evolution of underwear. They could be interesting and amusing.

These new and young teachers believe that youth is power. Youth is not forever. There is a need for the youth to maximize their connection with each other. They are in this gathering to elevate core values and competencies. They are advocates for change!
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