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Teaching English to US kids: a Pinay's Success Story

It was in November 2004 when the agency contacted me and said that I was one of the teacher applicants who was
scheduled to be interviewed by the human resources representatives from the Baltimore City Public Schools. They
told me the time of the interview and that it was going to be held at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City. I had
mixed emotions when I learned about this great news. I was ecstatic because I knew that I was getting close to
achieving my American Dream. At the same time, I was also nervous because I knew that it was going to be a tough
competition among the teacher applicants.

Preparing for Charm City

So, I started planning and preparing for that interview. I began thinking about the professional attire that I was going
to wear. I also started reviewing my notes and books on special education and did my research about the Baltimore
City Public Schools and Baltimore City in general. After my research, I learned about the special education programs
they had that time, curriculum, population, products, famous places and its wonderful people. As a matter of fact, the
city earned its name as the Charm City in the United States because of its beautiful people. In addition, I have also
learned that one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe was from Baltimore City. You can just imagine how excited I
was after learning all of these facts even before my interview.

When the day of my interview came, I went to the hotel equipped and ready to be grilled with questions. There, I saw
a lot of teachers waiting outside the room. Just like me, I can see in their faces excitement and nervousness. I was
able to witness different behaviors while waiting for my turn. Some were reading and reviewing some notes and
books. Others were just chilling and waiting for their turn to be over, while the rest were having conversations with
each other. Based on the conversations, I learned that everyone had only one goal! That was to pass the interview
because that was our ticket to have the taste of the American Dream.

The interview that would spell the future

During my interview, I was surprised that the interviewer was kind and was making me feel comfortable. During the
interview, I have learned that they were hiring Filipino teachers because there were not enough highly qualified
teachers in Baltimore City Schools to teach math, science, and special education during that time. The No Child Left
Behind Policy has been requiring school systems to hire highly qualified teachers, which means teachers who are
certified or have the potentials to be certified in the said areas. As a result, they ended up hiring teachers overseas
which included the Philippines. They included the Philippines because of our educational system being patterned
from theirs and with English being our medium of instruction. In addition, speaking and hearing someone speaking
the English language is an everyday occurrence in the Philippines when doing business transactions and in academic
institutions. Even the street vendors who some of them may not be able to express themselves in English fluently are
also able to understand the language. Isnt it amazing? This is an asset that I think our country has.

I was interviewed for at least 30 minutes and I was able to pass the interview with flying colors. The districts
representative told me that I was already hired even if she was not supposed to disclose the result yet until all of the
more than 200 applicants have already been interviewed. It was such an unforgettable day! When I got out of the
room, it felt like I was in heaven! I kept jumping up and down while the rest of the applicants were looking at me
crazily and maybe enviously. Others also asked me about the questions that were asked and a lot more things.

After this memorable day, most of my days were spent submitting and processing all my documents. I thought
passing the interview was the ticket to the US, but no! It was just the beginning of a very tedious and agonizing
process. It was in May 2005 when I was scheduled for an interview before the US embassy. I would not forget that
day, when my visa was granted. It was a dream-come-true. All of my sleepless nights, effort, perseverance and
patience were paid off. I immediately thought about the financial gains that it was going to bring me and my family. My
family and I started building castles in the air, like with my whole family migrating to the US, experiencing the snow,
etc. I was also after the wonderful experience of being able to teach English to a country whose mother tongue is
English.

Goodbye Philippines

The remainder of my days after getting the visa was dreadful. I needed to resign from my school where I was an
English teacher for eight years. I needed to face my students, colleagues and administrators confidently to let them
know that I was fine but in reality, I was not! Besides saying goodbye to my institution, I also came to the realization
that I was leaving my two children and husband in less than a month. My daughter was just in third grade during that
time while my son was just in first grade. That thought started to pierce my heart. I would cry every night just thinking
about it! It was too painful to think about that I felt like I was going to die. But then again, the dream of me giving my
children a brighter future defeated my loneliness. That time, as a parent, it was more important than for me to cater
the loneliness that was ahead of me.

When the day of my departure came, reality started to sink in! This was the reality of being away from my children
and my husband. At the airport, I could see on the faces of my innocent children how lonely they were that their
beloved Mama was going to leave them. I could see how they wished they could stop me from leaving! It was the
loneliest moment in my life. Even lonelier and more painful than the feeling that I had when my father died. It was like
a nightmare. I wish it was! That way, I could have just waken up and found out that it was nothing but a dream but it
was reality! My family was sitting in the bench outside the airport as they bade goodbye. I needed to show them that I
was brave but the truth was, my heart was bleeding inside.

Adjusting to the American culture

I, together with 50 other teachers, came to Baltimore City, Maryland in June 2005. We shared the same experiences
and heartaches. We had difficulty adjusting to a new country, city, and most of all, living with three other Filipino
teachers in a two-bedroom apartment. But we started to like it. We realized that besides God, we only had each other
because we did not have any family members who would be able to assist us in times of need. We would take the
bus, metro and the subway whenever we needed to go to shopping centers. We would also gather in each others
apartment every Friday night for Bible studies.

My first year was a challenging one. I realized that teaching the native speakers of the English language is still
different from teaching English to second language speakers of the language. They used a lot of idioms which some
of them, I was not even familiar with despite me being an English teacher. My accent and pronunciation of some
words were also different despite me teaching speech and oral communication to college students. My students
would correct me and ask me to repeat what I was saying. I did not get slighted by it, but rather, took it as a
challenge.

I had students who had behavioral problems but my being strict with my students in the Philippines and my
knowledge about special education helped me a lot during my first year. They came very handy. I did not have
serious problems with classroom management compared to my other colleagues. Some of them were disrespectful
but it was not because of my accent and being a Filipino. One thing that these children are very much oriented with is
that they could not discriminate people because of their speech, nationality and especially, the color of ones skin.
They know that it is racism.

It was an adjustment to the culture as well. There were some things that I would miss that our students do in the
Philippines that our students here do not do. Back home, our students and parents regard us as their second parents.
They put such high regard to teachers. Filipino students stand to greet their teachers and whenever they respond to
our questions. It took me about a month to adjust in this regard. Then, I realized that both I and my students were
actually adjusting to each others ways and cultures. I also realized that children are children wherever you go all over
the world. They will always need affection, love, care, and most of all, will always be hungry for knowledge.

Bayanihan spirit lives on

I started to build and develop a rapport with my students, parents and colleagues. Then, my students started inquiring
about the Philippines and its people. They wanted to know all the things about my country. They were so curious
about our country because they were not even familiar that our country exists until I came to the school. One thing
that amazed them was when I told them that when the American children are in school, the Filipino children are
sleeping. They did not have any idea that it was happening on the other side of the world! My administrators and
parents liked me as well. Parents were happy that their children were being taught by a highly qualified teacher. They
also liked me because they saw my passion and dedication to the teaching profession.

I had colleagues who were already deciding to go back home during our first year. However, with continued support
and faith in God, we were able to survive our first tough year. One thing that I can say about us Filipino teachers is
that, were resilient and as pliant as the bamboos. Trials seemed to make us fall down but we just dusted ourselves
off instead and continued to stand from where we left off.

In retrospect, it was a very challenging yet rewarding first year. Besides our administrators, parents, and students, we
are also thankful of the Filipino communities who supported us all the way. We truly have witnessed the authentic
bayanihan spirit from our friends in the River of Life International Christian Fellowship. They were the ones who
were there to provide not only our tangible needs but most of all, our spiritual needs. They demonstrated the real
essence of a Christian spirit- that is helping brothers and sisters without any expectations of being paid back. Our first
year was successful because of their support.

Looking back
This is now my sixth year in my school and in my district. I have now been a part of our leadership team and
executive board. I, together with my principal and other selected colleagues, meet weekly to discuss school policies
and programs that will make my school a well run school. My principal has given me multiple awards because of my
contributions in my schools achievement of the Adequate Yearly Progress for three consecutive years. I also have
dismissed a lot of special education students because they have already been performing on grade level after giving
then intensive reading instruction. I am glad and blessed that they recognize my contribution to my school.

I have a lot of things to thank God for. My family has been here with me for three years now. My daughter is now in
ninth grade and my son is now in seventh grade. Both of them are consistent honor students. Besides enjoying some
financial gains that coming to America had brought me and my family, I am so thankful that I was able to know the
real God. My God who continues to love me unconditionally despite of my inequities. My God who promises in
Jeremiah 29:11 that, For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to
give you hope and a future!

If you ask me if I feel bad about leaving the Filipino students behind despite them being in need of good teachers like
us, my answer is sometimes. On the other hand, I also believe that we do not have to be in our country to make our
country proud. Every day, I always instill in my mind that I am not just carrying myself but Im also a flag carrier of
my beloved country. Every day, I make my country proud by making sure that I am giving my best to my American
students. That way, they will remember my country because of this Filipino teacher who touched their lives and
whose name has been engraved in their hearts. I serve my students because I do believe that God brought me to this
country for a reason, and that is to be like a parent to these children who are hungry and longing for a parents love
that some parents could not provide.

Mabuhay tayong mga Pinoy!

It has been a very successful six years because of my faith in God. Without Him, I am nothing. I would have gone
home and accepted my defeat. I offer all of my success to Him. I hope that my story will inspire other Filipino
teachers overseas. I know that it is tough to be away from our families but there is always light at the end of the
tunnel. That light is God! The more we experience struggles or challenges the more that we should cling to God
because He is our rock and provider. May God continue to bless us and our families with good health, perseverance,
wisdom and determination. May He also continue to bless our country and our adoptive countries as well. When you
feel lonely being away from your family, just read Romans 5:5, Matthew 6:25-34, and Jeremiah 29:11. I hope that this
article inspires all of the Filipinos worldwide! Mabuhay tayong mga Pinoy!!!

P46.
Yes, must be able to meet because need to know or knowledge to
understand coz to requires to every teacher to meet the level of
effectiveness & efficiency.

I think there is similarities but no differences because the recognition of


professionals from other country is different especially the qualification.

Filipino teachers are comparable to fellow teacher in other country my


answer is YES! Because just like the other teachers from the foreign land,
Filipino teachers were also passionate to teach, they have remarkable
values, skills abilities & knowledge which were comparable to other teachers
aboard.

21st century is to prepare myself with the pedagogical knowledge & skill/
strong subject matter knowledge to make sure no learners is left behind.

Talking to someone whom you can fell the sincerity of the heart, the
eagerness and fine to share her experience during her teaching career.
She said that for almost 30 years of teaching I experience a lot.

She still remember the transition of education curricular into a curriculum


where performance tasks is the most important/essential.

She also said that her profession is the noblest profession as you really
have to give your heart and life onto it. Sacrifice to students whom you
feel bad and slow in the class. Giving and lifting them to boost their
selfesteem and encourage then will be the toughest job you have to
import to them.

MRS. NECITA R. LIM


Retired Teacher
I can say that Yes! Im satisfied because I have already helped
mold the minds of the students for the part years.

It makes me happy if my student can easily group the ideas that I


wanted them to convey and also seeing the, become successful in their
lives. It made me sad when I observe that they just take their studies for
granted without considering the hardship that their parents learn gone
through just to be able to send them to school.

By letting the experience the real essence of being a teacher &


emphasize to them that it is really fulfilling when you teach by heart.

With the high technology that we have now, I can say that they are
must better than I was before. They can easily update their instructional
materials because they can be found online.

I received an award from District Level only as Outstanding Teacher for


Student with Additional Needs. I planned to gain more knowledge in
dealing students with additional needs. Hoping to retire as a Special
Education Teacher.
She is Mrs. Kimberly B. Jason working at Kabalalahan Elementary School. She is
employed last 2015. She passed the LET March 2012.

As a beginner professional teacher, she felt happy at the same time curios on thing
she will do include the classroom. Happy in a sense that she will be sharing her
knowledge and be able to influence others. Curios in a sense that as beginner she will
have to observe things so she will be able to adjust and adopt in a new environment.

According to her, she will take her master as well as doctorate if given a chance so she
will be able to explore her horizon, knowledge and skills so she will be an effective
and master/expert teacher someday. She us planning also to take the responsible the
whole school not just class adviser but adviser to all teaching staffs because for her, to
be able to influence others is one of the most fulfilling and achieving moment she can
give to others.

Ray

Be kind, be honest, be compassionate, be


insistent on high standards, enjoy learning with
your students and if you cease to be positive
every day, know when to get out of teaching.
Students will respect you for your integrity.
Perhaps you could get your friends to write a
list of what they see as your personal qualities -
if that's what they see, it's what your students
will see. Always get enough sleep, because you
know you are not the same person when you
are tired.

He is Frederick Crusit a high school teacher of Buenavista SPED-IS, he is been


teacher for 15 years. According to him imparting and integrating experience
which have a great impact to his life and can serve as good example or model to
the learners. He is honest, committed, with integrity and deep concern to the
lives of the learners.

He is also patient and perseverance in importing knowledge to his learners.

He is Frederick Crusit a high school teacher of Buenavista SPED-IS. He is a


teacher with compassion, intelligent, innovative, reliable, fair and self-
confident. Those Personal qualities help him build a teaching learning
environment move conducive and living classroom setup. He let his student
innovate things for their own learning.
Teaching gives me satisfaction. There's that feeling of completeness once I see my students happy
because they were able to understand my lessons. If we are patient enough to teach, we can see
better results and that's where satisfaction comes in.

As a teacher, it doesn't only mean instruction in a classroom; it also means digging reasons why a
certain student gets low grades. It gives me happiness when I can help them in any way I can to
imorove their performance in school including financial assistance. It makes me also sad when all
my efforts will be in vain because of the lack of support from parents.

My first day of teaching will always be remembered. As I went inside my chemistry class,
everybody was silent, then I said
to myself, the students might be afraid of the subject or they respected me. That was the
beginning of my teaching career and until now every time I get inside my classes, all are silent.
Thus, I am being respected.

When a teacher gives his all, time and talents, he has contributed a lot to the teaching profession.
Slow learners needs to to uplifted, I give more time to them to let them realize the joy and
meaning of life despite their capacities. In doing so, they will be challenged and can strive harder.
For the fast learners, I can say that my commitment in giving an extra mile to serve the students
in terms of training and coaching for competitions inside and outside the school is my greatest
contribution to the teaching profession. I have coached national winners for years and it gives me
joy seeing my students victorious. This means, we should not be selfish of what we have for the
improvement of a student especially in building self-confidence. The heart of education is the
education of the heart.

To retire from service in the future with a reputable name and to be remembered as an efficient
loving teacher are only a few that I want to happen in the future. After retirement, I will open a
training center to coach singers, public speakers, writers, pianists and journalists, for by doing so,
I will not stagnate but will be active and help the talented students.

Promotion is every workers' dream. I got promoted because I did my best as a teacher; won as an
outstanding teacher of the year for 3 consecutive years. I finished my Masters Degree in Teaching
Science when I was 26 years old. Two years later, I enrolled Doctor of Education major in
Educational Management then graduated after three years, I was then 31 years old. Continuing
education is the number 1 factor that is needed in promotions at work. I became school principal
when I was 26 years old, awarded outstanding school principal national level, and of course my
salary increased as the responsibility becomes greater.

JOANNA LEE TAN- CASEAS, Ed.D


Classroom teacher-1991 up to present
School principal-1997 up to present

Graduated from:
Silliman University, Dumaguete City
Southwestern University, Cebu City
Asian Institute of Management, Makati, MM