Mula sa TFP
Isinulat ni Ms. Ednalyn Lebrino
Watching documentaries about education in the Philippines made me see the disparity between public and private schools, especially on access to quality textbooks, facilities, and programs that upgrade students’ skills and knowledge. I was fortunate when I was studying because I lived in a premier city and the city government-funded our school supplies, uniforms, textbooks, and facilities. There were also numerous private institutions that shared their resources with our school, but that was not the case with other schools in other cities and in the far-flung areas of the Philippines.
During my community immersion in a public elementary school in NCR, I was surprised by the number of Grade 5 and 6 students who were still having a hard time reading. The school had a small library with a limited number of references. The comfort rooms were also not working and brownouts were frequent. In fact, it was during a brownout when I had my immersion. I had the chance to talk with the students and I learned that most of them needed to juggle work and school at the same time. After the day I spent with them, I realized that something needed to be done. I knew that I couldn’t solve every problem they had, but at least I can do what I know best, and that was to teach.
I joined Teach for the Philippines in 2008 and am part of the graduating class of 2020.
Teach for the Philippines (TFP) is a non-government organization that promotes education equity.
They train fellows to become teachers in their partner schools. After two years of teaching, TFP graduates will become TFP alumni who will have the chance to work in DepEd, CHED, and LGUs as ambassadors who can hopefully make education reforms in the future.
After my training with TFP, I was placed in Concepcion Elementary School (CES) in Marikina City. I was a third-grade class adviser and a Filipino/MTB subject teacher for two years. I had a lot of wonderful memories with my students and one of my favorites was reading stories with them. I was always in awe at how they responded to every word that I read, how they participated with the storytelling as actors, and how they expressed their learnings from every story afterward. It was delightful to see how these young minds can exhume treasures from books. I often started my classes with that because just like the school I had an immersion with, CES, like other schools in the Philippines, had a problem with its students’ illiteracy.
According to our Phil-IRI results from last 2018, 44% or half of the population did not possess nor exhibit the reading ability that was expected from them. To address that, programs were made that include the help of the whole community. Teachers held Drop-Everything-and-Read (DEAR) every day and reading remediation after class. The Local Government Unit gave storybooks to kindergartners so they can learn to read early. Some parents volunteered to read storybooks and asked comprehension questions once a week. TFP staff also lent their time to do storytelling. Moreover, they connected us with Ateneo Heights who held a free writing seminar called “Kwentong Pambata” to our Grades 4, 5, and 6 students.
I was pleased to see our LGU, parents, teachers, and other private institutions worked hand-in-hand to address the issue of illiteracy. Truly, education should be everyone’s priority. I was also extremely grateful that our students were given opportunities to learn beyond the four walls of their classrooms. It was evident that they looked forward to being part of those programs where they got to enjoy reading, hearing stories, and most of all writing their own.
Writing stories or other forms of literature was essential for our students because our battle with illiteracy does not end in learning how to read and understand the text. It also includes learning how to write. If reading is breathing in, then definitely, writing is breathing out. Writing a good narrative is the product of having a wide vocabulary and knowing the story elements which students’ can have when exposed to literature. Literacy expert Dr. Rosalyn Mirasol said, “you win the reading game if you are able to apply what you learn.”
With that, I am assured that CES will have 100% literacy as long as the community works together. #parasabata #parasabayan