We, teachers, play a broad spectrum of roles. Not only that we deliver well-planned classroom instructions and assess the performance of our students, we also reach out to them to understand their interests, needs, and unique personalities. We go beyond the routines and formalities and join them in their comfort zones should we need in order for us to help them along the way of their academic journey and holistic development. That is, we also assume the role of a mentor, a friend and confidant, an elder brother or sister, and a second parent.
It is sad on the part of a teacher learning that behind the smiles and seemingly indefatigable spirits of our young students lies the fact that most of them do not have nor even have experienced a complete family. In my one-on-one interviews with my student advisees during our Career Planning Program in 2017, I found out that most of them have a distorted family system, either the father or mother left. Worst, some even had to work for their studies because their parents, who have other families already, could not send them enough for a living. With this, I have always encouraged my students to be sensitive enough with the needs of their classmates, hence the concept of silent ‘bayanihan.’ In the same way, I have always been extending help to my students in whatever ways I can.
While it is impossible for me to provide all services and assistance to my students all by myself, I have experienced as well referring some of them to the experts, i.e., the school guidance counselor, the Assistant Principal, and others I know can handle the cases better. For instance, I had a student who had been absent for a few consecutive days because of his addiction to computer games. I reached out to the parent, requested all the subject teachers for a conference with the parent, and as the parent and I agreed upon, referred the student to the guidance counselor. I must say it was just on time that the case was resolved before the student would extend another summer for remediation. It was for me really fulfilling that I saw my student marching on stage on his graduation just as expected.
Once I became an instant father as well to my outstanding student advisee when, during his Recognition Day, his father could not make it because of work. I was touched that the student approached me to be with him on stage to receive his academic awards. In the same way, I was also invited by my CASTI Senior High President during her debut where I was given the honor to initiate a toast among the attendees. Since I was given a homeroom class and student organization, I have been in communication and collaboration with parents who always keep on track of the progress of their children.
Apart from my roles as a concerned classroom teacher and homeroom adviser, I have been given opportunities as well to be a co-trainer for our annual out-of-school student competitions. Usually, we allow our student trainees to bring out their own talents and inclinations, develop confidence in their demonstrations of such, and receive feedback and suggestions for improvement. In April 2018 prior to our first Senior High School Graduation, I was also given a special task to help the 12 graduating honor students in the preparation of their welcome and valedictory speeches. While on a summer break, I found myself busy proofreading and polishing their submitted speech manuscripts. All of them had been my students, and it was really such an honor having been a part of their senior high school journey, until the very end – their graduation — Marc Kenneth Marquez, Service to the Students (Teacher Regularization Portfolio).