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“Back then, I felt I need to do something significant because I think I could do more. it was about my own fulfillment,” confesses Levi Jun Miscala. “This time, it’s different. It’s not about my fulfillment anymore. While working in the [school] community [in Biñan, Laguna] for two years, I fell in love with the place and with its people. I started to care and empathize with them. I started to fight for what they care about. I started to love what they love.”

At only 23 years old, Levi has been a Teacher Fellow at Teach for the Philippines for two years already. As a Teacher Fellow, he, along with four others, were sent to teach at Dela Paz Main Elementary School, one of the most populated public schools in Biñan City. “We go where we are needed,” he explains.

In the classroom, he is the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) teacher. With just four working computers, he shows 40 plus students how to make their way through a computer. “I had to think of innovative ways like using a fake keyboard made out of illustration board, an imaginative mouse called magic mouse, and using real objects and games to represent computer concepts,” he says.

But his work doesn’t stop there, outside the classroom — where the majority of his workload takes place — he and his team work with the community, getting the parents involved in their children’s studies, as well as encouraging student leaders to come up with their own projects to help address their community’s needs.

And just like public school teachers, Levi and his teammates are assigned to coach in academic and extracurricular (sports and journalism) competitions. “Recently, together with Department of Education — Binan Division and Binan Culture, History, Arts, and Tourism Office (BCHATO),” he shares, “we implemented the first-ever student arts festival in Biñan City for five days affecting 272 public school students and 71 public school teachers. This program is personal because it’s my hope to see young artist being taught and honed by professionals.”

It’s hard work, but Levi is inspired by his co-teachers. “I think my co-teachers deserve to be recognized as heroes. They have been working in the system for more than 25 years and I’m inspired to emulate their grit and perseverance in serving this nation.

“As Filipinos, I think it’s our primary job to serve this nation,” he continues. “I’m not saying that all Filipinos should work in the government or with NGOs, but just by simply being a responsible citizen. I think we also need to own our country’s problems instead of blaming other people or the government.” As a teacher, he is helping shape the next generation of Filipino leaders to do just that. 

 

The abridged version of this article appeared on the Manila Bulletin’s April 8, 2018 edition. 

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