99th Baguio Charter Day Anniversary Issue
     
Supplements
99 thoughts on Baguio's Centennial
Esther someone else like her?
A tribute to those who care for Baguio
A pasture of hope:
Good Shepherd Convent
Through the barriers of silence & isolation
They're loved because they care
The man called morris
Teacher volunteers:
Pathways to Higher Education
My best teacher
Indigenous women and a cooperative
Two Baguio families are local visionaries
Top 10 reasons why getting a Baguio education is worth it
Conversations with Gaia
Winning Photos
99th Baguio Charter Day Cartoon
by: Armi Afalla

If the so-called ‘teacher volunteers’ were to be asked to complete the phrase: “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would...” Their answer would be — “Teach in any capacity.”

Who are they, you might ask? You will be surprised that they have been around for a long time and that maybe, you have even met them and they helped change your life. I for one consider them the modern heroes of today, especially in the field of education.

These teacher volunteers are those who teach for service. Many of them are college students who share their knowledge and skills to poor but deserving students. Likewise, some teacher volunteers are actually professional teachers who inspire students to do their best in their studies.

Definitely, volunteer teaching is making a difference to the lives and future of students in Baguio City. This is a way of fostering a culture of caring.

Volunteer teaching and teacher volunteers were made possible through the Pathways to Higher Education program.

“Volunteerism is heroism”
This is what Pathways to Higher Education believes in.

The Ateneo de Manila University, with its partners in learning — Ford Foundation and St. Louis University — initiated Pathways to Higher Education. This is an innovative education prog-ram which aims to identify bright or intelligent but financially underprivileged high school students of public national high schools and help them in their future college education.

In the process, Pathways is responsible in giving enrichment classes, supplementary learning activities, personality enhancement workshops, and leadership seminars for students to perform better academically and avail themselves of scholarship grants.

Hence, Pathways is not necessarily a scholarship program but its goal is to equip students with additional knowledge and adequate skills to earn grants from different agencies and various foundations that give scholarships. This process is captured by the saying: “Helping people help themselves.”

Consequently, in order to contribute to the work of Pathways and aid students in pursuing their college degrees, there is a need for teacher volunteers.

Teacher volunteers handle scheduled tutorial classes for public high school students in the basic subject areas of English, Science, and Mathematics.

Networking for a cause
At present, Pathways is under the SLU-Vinculum Club, a multi-awarded youth group for its awareness and involvement in social issues and service to marginalized youth, through its extra-curricular projects.

Recently, the “Rangtay-Sirib Summer Enrichment Classes” were conducted by Vinculum members with the support of teacher volunteers to continue what had been started by Pathways. These are yearly summer tutorial classes held half days for a month in pursuit of the program’s mission in providing educational assistance to academically gifted but financially deprived se-condary students to enter and finish college. Selected participants are usually those in higher years or graduating students from three public high schools in Baguio City: Irisan National High School; Pines City National High School-main and its annexes; and Baguio City National High School-main and its annexes.

At the same time, the SLU-College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA) Honor Society joined Vinculum in connection to their social involvement, one of which is to share intellectual resources for community-related extension projects. In here, the CEA teacher volunteers came up with their outreach tutorial during Sundays at the Mountain Maid Training Center (MMTC), better known as the Good Shepherd Convent.

Originally, Pathways recognized the important role of parents in the continuing education of their children. That is why it also provided livelihood training opportunities for the parents of the qualified student participants. Several of those parents were employed at MMTC. In exchange, their children will have free tutorial classes while enrolled in the basic subject areas.

A system of helping
MMTC or the Good Shepherd Sisters had an effective strategy for helping the poor, sending students of the Cordillera region to college by selling their products. They established a system wherein students could make their way to college if they were willing to work at MMTC.

Therefore, teaching voluntarily is already fostering a culture of caring in the education of the youth in Baguio City. This also means ‘giving and receiving the gift of learning’ through volunteer teaching.

As a volunteer teacher myself, I’ve learned one has to have time to spare and a sense of service for the welfare of others, and not expect payment in return. The least that one can do is acknowledge that they exist for a cause and that gratitude is enough. It is a calling for those who would want to be one of the Rods, Daves, Allans, Narlizas, Michaels, Venuses, and other teacher volunteers out there. Indeed, I sure am glad that I got acquainted with them and became a part of the family of teacher volunteers.

Let me end with this passage from the Pathways publication, “I believe that if each Filipino develops the spirit of unity and volunteerism, our society will find it easy to achieve the success and progress we are wishing for…”

 
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